Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Lamb Stew

Happy Easter!  
Happy Fertility and Abundance of nature to all my pagan friends! 

This pic shows 1.5 pounds of lamb
casserol before going into oven

Anyway you celebrate, I am sure you had some amazing food. 
Here is my version of slow cooked stewed lamb. For this recipe I used two casserolles to accommodate the quantity of lamb, but you can half the recipe if you have less people to feed. This recipe fed 7 people comfortably. 
I used Niman Ranch lamb meat which turned out quite delicious.
The vegetables used were all organic and local!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees


3 pounds boneless lamb shoulder cut into cubes 
4 russet potatoes cubed
10 multicolored carrots cubed.
6 pearl onions cut in half 
2 parsnips chopped into cubes
4 garlics chopped in quarters
2 cups of water to cover vegetables and meat.
2 cups of beef broth to cover vegetables and meat
A handful of fresh parsley chopped 
A handful of  fresh oregano chopped 
2 teaspoons of pepper. 
2 teaspoons of sea salt. 
2 dashes of cumin 
2 dashes of dried sage
2 tablespoons of flour 
2 tablespoons of sugar 

First, prepare your vegetables on the cutting board and have them ready to add to the lamb. At medium heat, sauté lamb in casserole with the salt, pepper, sugar and flour for 5 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. You must keep turning lamb pieces over, so they cook evenly. Turn off heat. Next, take out the extra liquefied fat from the pan with a large spoon. Next, add all herbs, cut vegetables, and seasoning on top of braised lamb cubes. Finally add liquid water and beef broth to mostly cover lamb and vegetables. The liquid does not need to cover them completely. Lower oven to 325 degress and  cover casserole with lid and place in middle of oven for 1.5 hours.
When ready, the meat and vegetables should be tender and easy to cut into.
Serve with sauerkraut, or slow simmered cranberries, or cocconut date rolls. 

Enjoy with family and friends! 
Love, Tarabud

Monday, February 24, 2014

Joyful Living In Ecological Awareness

Hello Foodie Cooks, Farmers, Urban Homesteaders, and Followers, 

It's 2014, and I am coming up on the four year anniversary of Foodie Out Of The Closet Blog. I clearly started this endeavor in February 2010 with my Foodie Manifesto, and it has been a fun adventure of videos, audio podcasts, meeting new people (farmers and makers) in the community who are passionate about sustainability and the future of our planet.

I hope you don’t mind I quote myself.
After finishing my graduate degree at John F. Kennedy University in psychology, and practicing for a few years in the community, I fell into an emotional slump. I was reading and watching many films about the demise of our planet, and was seriously passing through Eco-Anxiety. The most productive phase of this Anxiety Disorder is when you become an active spearhead to bring awareness to the community. I quit my job and began doing my Foodie Out Of The Closet blog, incorporating all my love for cooking, food, farming, and planet awareness. I set out one morning to interview the local vendors at my farmers market, in Oakland.

This time of reflection has brought me right back to focus on the new home my husband and I have begun to invest our energy into. It has been such a long time coming, that we are able to live our lives as we imagine it, gardening where we grow as much organic food as we eat, raising chickens, collecting our own rain water (California drought permitting), solar powering our home, among others things such as living minimally and as gently as possible on this precious planet. This home has not only been a great blessing that we have actively manifested, but also a lot of work! My husband just finished installing wood floors, which was no easy job, for one person. Of course, I provided the lemonade, the meals, and the supportive remarks! Next project will be to remove the two satellite dishes on the roof from previous owners, installing rain gutters, followed by building a fence to give us more privacy in our back yard, and immediately following that, building a chicken coop! 

This brings me to raising our baby heritage breed chicks, and the losses that become little thorns of change in our lifestyle. Raising your hens is a bit of double edged sword. For one thing, we are being more sustainable because we are not driving to the farmers market which thankfully lowers our carbon foot print, we are recycling wasted food from our own kitchen, they are wondrous fertilizers and bugs eaters, lovely pets, and moreover we are more self-sustaining; but at the same time, there will be this loss of community in not visiting with our local farmer Mr. Ledesma at the farmers market and talking about his farm and the growing seasons, most of all buying his delicious eggs. It’s a tricky balancing act, and obviously the positives outweigh the losses, but let’s not ever imagine that we can do urban farming completely isolated.
Top to bottom:
Myrtle - Black Australorp
Pepper - Plymouth  Rock
Mrs. Rhodes - Rhode Island Red
Goldie - Cochin Bantam. 
Our business is now directed to a local homesteaders shop called Pollinate Farm and Garden  in Oakland, California, for baby heritage chicks, organic baby chicken feed, wood shavings, grit, and other necessities of raising chickens at home. We are certainly engaged in the community, like never before, as I will be sharing our back yard chicken eggs with friends and strangers in the community. For example, with the Home Depot salesman who cut wire fencing for me without charge as he found out I was raising baby chickens in an incubator, only if I brought him back some fresh eggs in a few months. We will also be supporting local establishments like Economy Lumber that has great recycled wood pieces for our future chicken coop. We do our best to remain as local as possible. 

I used to want to travel endlessly (which I did), but now I just want to stay home, cook, plant  vegetables in my garden beds, raise a little gaggle of hens, and write poetry and novellas. How things change in wonderful ways as we age?!  Being at home more, has allowed my imagination to run wild and come up with my newest historical fictional novellas, set in Colombia (Author's Page). These are the benefits of living a more settled life more in-line with my values, things percolate and one can become more focused or more invested in the future too, because I still believe that one family’s choice makes a difference when they add up to multitude of families making more informed decisions toward the future. This year, I look forward to more posts that reflect urban homesteading lifestyle, local gourmet food makers features, farmers interviews, even some wine makers, and perhaps more quiche recipes! May the spirit of joyful ecological awareness be with you and your family!