Tried this tonight.

Very simple, flavorful, and forgiving.

Found it on one of my new favorite blogs…..

I’ll definately be spending some time perusing the archives.

Thai Basil Chicken or Gai Pad Krapo

2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3-4 serrano peppers, halved, seeded and finely chopped (you could also use less of red thai chilies if you can find them)
(I only used 1 serrano, note to self: do not fear the serranos, shoulda used all 4)
3 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
(I only had a few green onions, so, that’s what I used)
6 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2/3 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2″ lengths
1 pound ground chicken
(I used leftover cooked round steak)
1/4 cup fish sauce, plus more if desired
1 tablespoon sugar, plus more if desired
2 bunches basil, leaves only
in wok or large skillet over high heat,
(Don’t have a wok, just my trusty cast iron skillet)
 heat oil until shimmering. add serranos, shallots and garlic and cook 1 minute, or until nearly golden, stirring constantly.
(Next time I will add the garlic later, it burned slightly)
 add green beans and cook 3 minutes, or until softened, but still crunchy.
add ground chicken; using wood spoon or spatula, break up the meat into small pieces. cook 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through, stirring often.
add fish sauce and sugar to pan; stir to combine. add more fish sauce or sugar, if desired.
( Sauce was a little strong for me so I added about 1/4 cup chicken stock)
add basil leaves; reduce heat to medium-low. cook 1 minute, or until leaves are completely wilted.
you could serve this on its own, but brown rice (or white) and an egg with a runny yolk will make it a complete meal. once it was on the table, we drizzled with the fish sauce mixture, below.
(I served this over white rice cooked in homemade chicken stock and with an egg on each plate, the runny yolk makes the dish!)
(I didn’t make the sauce, but, would like to try it next time)
nam pla prik (chili fish sauce)
if your finished sauce is too intense, add water.
3 to 4 parts fish sauce
1 to 2 parts lime juice
1 chili, finely chopped (or more)
1 shallot, thinly sliced (or more)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or more)
whisk together all ingredients; taste and adjust seasoning.
Even with the substitutions I made and misjudgement on the peppers this was delicious, fast, and EASY!
Very simple and traditional ingredients.
We will be making this lovely dish again,
 it will be affectionately known as the “Gay Crappo Stuff”
Warning!  The fish sauce makes your hands smell like butt, your welcome.


I ‘m calling this post “White Girl Makes Tamales” because while researching how to make these I realized how very cultureless (is that a word?) I am, how very rootless I am, how very, well, white I am. Not that there’s anything wrong with being white, it just seemed like all the “making tamales” videos featured groups of women, that appeared to be related, gathering for food preparation and wonderful fellowship.  I just don’t see that very often in my little world. Maybe I should stop whining and purpose to start some traditions in my own family.

Or, maybe I should have titled this post “Poor W.A.P. Girl Makes Tamales”? (W.A.P.=Weston A Price)

 I’m not really poor. My kitchen is, however, fairly basic. I don’t have a food processor or a blender or masa grinder. That didn’t stop me, though. Encouraged by the fact that the village woman Dr. Price studied had very basic tools and managed to do amazing things, I had to at least try.

Homemade Tamales


About a pound of dent corn

 1 Tbs pickling lime from the canning section of your supermarket, sometimes called Cal)

pckg of corn husks

about 1/4 cup lard

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Rinse dent corn well and place in pot and cover with water.

Stir in Lime and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer (slightly bubbling) for about 10 min. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Cover with a cloth and allow to sit for at least 24 hrs., I let mine sit for about a week and a half.

Drain, under cool running water, pick up handfuls of the corn and rub between your hands under the water to remove loose skin.

Traditionally masa for tamales would be prepared like this……..

My kitchen isn’t quite this basic, but, I was able to come pretty close while grinding my corn. In the video she is using a Metate, made from a volcanic stone called Basalt. Fortunately, I gave my husband a Molcajete for his birthday. A Molcajete is also made from basalt, but, is shaped differently and is typically used for making salsa.

After chopping up the corn, one. handful. at. a. time. in a little veggie chopper,

I ground it, one. handful. at. a. time., in the Molcajete, like this….

I would grind until the corn would come together well…

I could only grind a handful at a time, any more than that and I couldn’t get the corn fine enough.

Yeah, it took awhile, but my arms will be ripped for summer, lol.

While I was grinding, I had my sauce simmering happily nearby….


about 8 chiles, either California or something similar.

one handful chopped garlic cloves

Cut of the stems and deseed

Place them in a sauce pan with the garlic and cover them with chicken stock (can use water too)

Simmer until soft and puree, I used my stick blender, then add in meat, I used leftover beef roast, about this much…..

Now, place about 1/3 of your corn husks in water to soften.

While the husks are bathing, mix the corn, lard, baking powder, and salt.

You want a consistency that will spread without running or cracking, I I ended up adding a little stock to get it just right.

I don’t know if you can see them in the the advice of a very wise friend, I added a few handfuls of craisins to the sauce/meat mixture. Oh was she ever right! The sweetness of the craisins was wonderful with the smoky-ness of the sauce, yum!

I also sprinkled a little cheese on each one.

now, roll these up, from one long side to the other and fold the empty, pointy side under.

If, like me, you don’t have a Tamale Steamer, wad up a large ball of aluminum foil and place it in a pot with a couple of inches of water.

Bring the water to a simmer, turn it down a little, so the tamales will steam, and prop the tamales up around the foil, like this…

these were perfect after about 25 minutes. let them steam until the husk pulls away from the tamale easily.

These were a little dry, I think, because some of them cracked while cooking. This might be a combination of not enough lard and not getting my corn ground fine enough? I’m not sure, this was my very first taste of tamales. What I am sure of…I will be making these again, they were really good. Maybe next time I’ll have friends over and start a new tamale tradition 🙂

So, you finally got a Bosch and grain mill.

Your grinding your own grain, baking your own bread.

Your family’s finally starting to like whole wheat and even the really cool homeschool moms are actually making eye contact with you…..

then someone introduces you to traditional foods, omg, phytates??

Now what???

If sourdough is too sour for your family, here is some help. This bread recipe is a healthy alternative to regular homemade bread and a nice way to transition your family’s palate to real sourdough.

Soaked Whole Wheat Bread  (adapted from the bread recipes at The Urban Homestead and The Family Homestead)

Makes 5 loaves

6 cups liquid- with about half being yogurt, whey, kefir, buttermilk or any combo of these

1/2 cup honey or maple syrup

1/2 cup olive oil (can also use other traditional oils)

3 TBS yeast

2 TBS salt

15-17 cups whole grain flour (I use whole wheat)

1.Grind about 17 cups whole wheat flour

2. Add liquids to Bosch including sweetener and oil ( I used about 3 cups kefir this time)

3.Now add about 3/4 of the flour stirring every few cups to check consistency. You want to stop adding flour while mixture is still very moist.

I had put in 11 cups here

4. Put the lid on your Bosch and forget about it until tomorrow, if you can. I still get excited when I check on it from time to time and see condensation forming! There’s cool stuff going on in there!

Now, when to do the next step is up to you. The longer you leave the dough sit, the more sour (and better for you) it will be.

The first few times I made this bread I would start it in the evening and finish it first thing in the morning. About 8-12 hrs is what I suggest starting with and as your palate adjusts leave it longer. I let mine sit for 24 hrs now. It makes the best bread for liver pate, especially if you toast it in butter first!

So, when you’re ready, take the lid off the Bosch and admire all the bubbly goodness!

Get a little bowl out and to it add around a Tablespoon of whatever sweetener you used for your dough, 1/2-3/4 cup water and the 3 Tbs of yeast, gently stir. Allow this to sit until the yeast is good and awake, it will be bubbly on top, almost a little frothy.

Add this little mixture to your Bosch, along with the salt, and turn it on for a minute or two to incorporate well.

After the yeast is mixed in and with the Bosch still running begin adding the remaining flour, pausing after each cup to see if more flour is needed.

Only add flour until the dough cleans the inside of the bowl

I do not keep adding until the dough is more formed, like a ball, as some do with regular recipes.

Allow the dough to knead only as long as it takes to start seeing strands in the dough, and the over all texture will be smoother. The dough will feel tacky but not stick to your hands alot when you try to handle it. I do not have a good photo of this, sorry. I usually let mine knead for about 5 minutes.

While the dough is getting a workout turn on your oven to 350 degrees,  dab a little olive oil on a paper towel and oil your bread pans really well. When finished I use the same paper towel (that still has a little oil left in it) to oil a little area on the counter where I will be working with my dough.

As soon as your oven reaches 350 degrees turn it off, we only want to get the oven warm.

After the dough is ready, transfer it to the oiled area on your counter and divide into five, roughly the same size, balls.

Don’t worry if you don’t have 5 bread pans, I don’t either. Use what you have. I only have 3 bread pans, so here is what works for me.

I divide my dough into 5 balls, okay, lumps 🙂

I combine the 2 smallest lumps and put them into a casserole dish. The remaining 3 lumps go into actual bread pans.

Place all the pans into the toasty oven to rise. Your bread dough will be very happy in there so start checking on it after an hour or so.

Soaked bread will not rise like regular bread dough, can take a little longer to rise and it doesn’t ever get that poofy, store bought bread shape. Let it rise until it just comes over the tops of your pans.

At this point turn your oven back on to 350 degrees and bake for 30 or so minutes. Your bread is done when it is a dark golden color on top.

Note: Do not wait for your bread to have that solid sound when tapped on the bottom. This type of bread stays very soft and looks kind of like a sponge on the bottom when done.

(Be sure to allow bread to cool before removing from pans)

I would love to know how it goes when you make your “Soaked Bread”!

This post is a part of Kitchen Tips Tuesdays at Tammy’, head over there for more great kitchen tips!

Kids are really smart. We are not going to convince them that liver is yummy. Especially if we don’t happen to feel that way ourselves!

But! It is so good for them..and us, that it’s worth at least trying to sneak it in, somewhere. Think about the really old people you know. The ones that fly past you at the mall. The really old ones that still smoke and spit. Ask ’em what their moms fed them growing up and they’ll tell ya “liver and onions”! (and cod liver oil, but we’ll talk about that another day 🙂

So how DO you get your family to eat liver?

The very best way to introduce liver to your family is to sneak it in to a recipe in small amounts, without them knowing anything about it. Then gradually increase the amount as everyone’s palates adjust.

I’ve found liver is best disguised when combined with a spicy food like medium or hot sausage. If you don’t eat pork, pepperjack cheese works nicely.

My favorite recipe with liver is “Spicy Meatballs”. It’s based on a recipe I found on my friend Katie’s blog.

Spicy Meatballs (Katie’s Recipe)

1T minced garlic

2t fresh chopped parsley

1T dried basil

2t ground cumin

1T dried dill weed

1/2t ground black pepper

1/2 dry bread crumbs

1.5t yellow mustard

1/2t salt

2 eggs, beaten

1C shredded pepperjack cheese

1.5lb ground beef

1/2 lb liver (liver from grass-fed animals is the healthiest choice, if you can’t buy from a farmer’s market or directly from a farm, most grocery stores (I know Wal-Mart does) sell calf livers. This would be the only liver I would buy from the store! In the U.S. calves are still started out on pasture, so calf liver from the store is still a good option)

Soak your liver in lemon juice for at least 30 min. before using, this helps remove impurities and improves the texture.

Puree liver and combine with remaining ingredients. If you have time to mix this all up either the day before or the morning you plan to cook them the meat sort of marinades in all of the spices and makes the meatballs even yummier!

Form into meatballs and bake in a moderate oven (around 350 degrees) until 140 degrees inside (usually somewhere around 30-40 minutes)

I only had to make these a few times until I noticed myself craving them! Amazing how our bodies know what’s good for us (if we’ll pay attention:)

Now when I make these I use 1lb grass-fed beef, 1lb medium sausage (in place of the cheese), and, because our palates have adjusted, we use 1lb of liver as well!

I always double the recipe. When they’re done I spread them out on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer and after they’re frozen I put them in ziploc bags!

This is SOOO convenient!

I can pull a couple of handfuls out and warm them in a little pasta sauce for a really quick spaghetti dinner.

Or take one or two out and chop them up in an omelette (my personal favorite).

They’re also great on a hoagie with a yummy sauce.

That doesn’t sound so bad now, does it?

Well, if feeding your kids liver now so they can have lots of fun mall-walking and spitting when they’re really old isn’t reason enough for ya…..take a look at this!

  APPLE (100 g) CARROTS (100 g) RED MEAT (100 g) BEEF LIVER (100 g)
Calcium 3.0 mg 3.3 mg 11.0 mg 11.0 mg
Phosphorus 6.0 mg 31.0 mg 140.0 mg 476.0 mg
Magnesium 4.8 mg 6.2 mg 15.0 mg 18.0 mg
Potassium 139.0 mg 222.0 mg 370.0 mg 380.0 mg
Iron .1 mg .6 mg 3.3 mg 8.8 mg
Zinc .05 mg .3 mg 4.4 mg 4.0 mg
Copper .04 mg .08 mg .18 mg 12.0 mg
Vitamin A None None 40 IU 53,400 IU
Vitamin D None None Trace 19 IU
Vitamin E .37 mg .11 mg 1.7 mg .63 mg
Vitamin C 7.0 mg 6.0 mg None 27.0 mg
Thiamin .03 mg .05 mg .05 mg .26 mg
Riboflavin .02 mg .05 mg .20 mg 4.19 mg
Niacin .10 mg .60 mg 4.0 mg 16.5 mg
Pantothenic Acid .11 mg .19 mg .42 mg 8.8 mg
Vitamin B6 .03 mg .10 mg .07 mg .73 mg
Folic Acid 8.0 mcg 24.0 mcg 4.0 mcg 145.0 mcg
Biotin None .42 mcg 2.08 mcg 96.0 mcg
Vitamin B12 None None 1.84 mcg 111.3 mcg

This chart is from The Healthy Skeptic. (Great Source for Health Info)

And, because recipe posts are lame without pictures, I’ll try to get some up today!


This post is a part of Kitchen Tips Tuesday at Tammy’s Recipes. Head over there for more great kitchen tips!

I like to make lots of soups and stews during the cold months and  many of them call for a few slices of bacon or a little bit of sausage.

Since switching to a traditional diet I’ve been purchasing pastured and nitrate/ preservative free meats. These cost more than store bought meats, but I’ve found I can get by with a little less than what recipes call for without affecting the end result.

So, when I want to add 4 or 6 slices of bacon to say… a lentil stew, but the bacon in my freezer is a whole pound, here is what I do.

I take the bacon from my freezer and place about a third of the package in warm water…..

After about five minutes I take the bacon out of the water. The part that was in the water is completely thawed!

I use kitchen shears to cut off the portion I will be using.

After that, the rest of the bacon that’s still frozen, goes right back in to the freezer!

Super fast. Super easy!

Have a great Tuesday!

I recently signed up for Cheeseslaves Menu Mailers you have to give them a try!

I’m having so much fun!

I don’t know if it’s the beginner friendly gourmet recipes?

Or, maybe feeling like we (everyone on the Menu Mailer Forum) are learning, cooking and experimenting together?!

I am having a little trouble though, with finding an ingredient for one of the Holiday dishes…..the duck for Roasted Duck.

Anne Marie always gives great alternatives for hard to find ingredients, but I really want a duck for Christmas!

I’ve checked with local farmers, health food stores and even online, no luck.

I did find ducks on craigslist. The only problem, they’re still alive!

Well, I am trying to eat 100% traditional for one year, right?

And, what would a traditional woman from a far off village in Dr. Price’s book do?

That’s right! So, guess what I’m gonna do?

Yep! AaaaaaaH! Can I do it?! I have to!!

But ducks are so cute! Is it going to be like killing a kitty or something? OMG, get it together! People do this all the time!

I have so much respect for all my new farmer friends, they are amazing! I can totally do this!

I’m going to buy the ducks right now. Yes, I’m buying more than one. If I’m going to get a duck for Christmas Roasted Duck, I may as well get one for a nice cassoulet and try my hand at home grown fois gras, eh? huh huh, oui oui!!

I’ll keep you updated!

That’s right, I used liver and love in the same sentence.

If you’ve never liked liver, do yourself a favor and give this recipe a try.

I found it over at  The Nourishing Gourmet, Kimi has lots of great, budget friendly recipes.

Delicious Liver Pate…..

You’ll need…

    1 pound of chicken livers, washed
    1 cup of minced onions
    Garlic, three cloves, minced
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/4 cup of ghee, plus two more tablespoons (Butter could be used as well)
    8 fillets of anchovies 
    1/4 cup of white wine
    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    pinch of red pepper flakes

1-Over high heat in a large saucepan, heat ghee. Add onions when hot, stir, cooking for about 5 minutes, or until softened, add garlic and thyme, cook for a minute or two more. Take off of heat and pour this mixture into food processor or bowl.

2-Heat the remaining two tablespoons of ghee until hot and add livers, cook until done on the outside but still a bit pink in the inside, add to food processor or bowl.

Add 1/4 cup white wine to pan after removing livers. Let simmer just long enough to “clean” the pan.

Add this and remaining ingredients to bowl or processor.

If, like me, you don’t have a food processor, yet, a stick blender works great!

Process until well pureed and all of the ingredients are well combined.

I divided my pate into single, 1 oz servings and put them into the freezer for a quick and easy snack.

Of course, I had to eat some right away, you won’t be able to resist it either!