Beef Kidney Paprika over Spinach

Contains:  Nightshades, offal, dairy.  Is:  Gluten-free, grain-free.

recipe, paprika, kidney, yogurt, spinach

My home version of chopped – without being time-limit-anal.

Okay, my version of “Chopped” without the insane and foolish run around before the 30 minute timer buzzes.


kidney, paprika, yogurt, spinach, recipe

The paprika choices in my kitchen. I elected to use both of them.

This was part of a recipe challenge on  I had to incorporate paprika into a dish of any sort.  I could use any type of paprika.

Beef Kidney:

recipe, paprika, kidney, yogurt, spinach

One beef kidney, 0.9 pounds. That central cortex must be removed.

It was thawed out, and I wasn’t going to be available to cook in a few days, plus I wasn’t always going to be dining at home every meal anyway – and I had other things in my fridge that also wanted the same consideration.


yogurt, recipe, paprika

You want plain and unsweetened yogurt. I prefer whole milk yogurt – less likely to have sweeteners as excipients. (Tastes better, too.) For dairy avoidance: go use full-fat coconut yogurt.

Opened for a couple other dishes, and just for gnoshing on, I thought — why not use it with the other items, eh?

recipe, paprika, kidney, yogurt, spinach

Marinate the kidney with the paprika, a little salt, and a little pepper – in a yogurt sauce


Yup, another Use It Or Lose It.  Although I could have treated the chickens with it.  But hey, I needed to eat my greens!

Prep Time: 15 minutes. 
Marinating Time:  6-24 hours.
Cook Time:  45 minutes.
Rest Time: not essential.
Cuisine:  Hungarian/Offal.
Serves:  2.

Beef Kidney Paprika over Spinach

  • About 1 pound / 450 grams of beef kidney.
  • 3/4 cup / 180 mL whole milk yogurt, plain and unsweetened.  (Full-fat coconut yogurt option)
  • 2 teaspoons total paprika (I used 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish hot paprika + 1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika)
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (I used Trader Joe’s Rainbow Peppercorns)
  • a pinch of pink Himalayan salt or sea salt.
  • 2 small onions (about 5 ounces / 150 grams), peeled and coarsely chopped.  
  • 2-3 teaspoons of a healthy high-heat vegetable oil (I use avocado).
  • 280 ounces fresh spinach.

So, I cut up the kidney (1- 1.5 inch chunks optimal), removed the cortex (that hard white center), discarded that.  Made a mix with about 3/4 cup yogurt and a teaspoon each of my two types of paprika – one could also do two teaspoons of the milder Hungarian and leave out the spicy smoked – or if one has a mildly seasoned smoked paprika, that should work as well.  Add the pepper and salt.  Taste and adjust, keeping in mind that once the kidneys are added and they marinate, this will dilute some.

Marinate the kidneys in this, and refrigerate for 6 – 24 hours.

Occasionally, pull the dish out of the fridge, and stir.

When you are ready to cook, take the onions and sauté until lightly browned (and at least translucent) in a skillet to which you’ve added your oil and have brought to medium high heat.  Ten-fifteen minutes.

Add all the kidney and marinate mixture, and reduce heat, but keep the skillet contents simmering.  Stir often.  Cook about 25-30 minutes.

In a steamer, add water below, and add the spinach above.

Timing for the spinach will depend on whether you are using a gas, induction or regular electric range.  Bring the water in the spinach steamer to a boil, then time for about 5 minutes to wilt your leaves.  You want to time all this so that the spinach isn’t overcooked, but that the kidneys are done.  (One can always turn the kidney skillet down to a low heat while the spinach water comes to a boil and then the spinach steams.)

Serve the kidney mixture over the bed of spinach you lay out on a plate.

If you wish, dot with parsley for garnish.

This kidney came from a grass-fed, grass-finished cow (or steer) from Vermont.  

And we serve it with respect to Farm Fresh Tuesdays








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NOFA Summer Conference 2019 Review

Held within a commuting distance (more or less…) from my current Massachusetts home, this year’s NOFA (Northeast Organic Farmer’s Association) summer conference was definitely on my agenda.  It was worthwhile enough I’d have travelled longer and spent overnights, in order to attend and learn.

Alpaca, NOFA, summer conference

This Alpaca was pleased to be a part of a photo op. While I didn’t attend any livestock workshops this current event, a few such were available.

NOFA has chapters in the following states:  New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.  No idea why Maine lacks a chapter, but I did run in to more than just a few attendees from Maine.

The conference runs for three days (Friday through Sunday) on the second weekend in August, should you choose to mark your calendars now.  Last year, there were workshops Friday afternoon, but this year there was just the meet-and-greet sort of evening events.  You can house on site, or you can camp, or you can find a local motel, or – as I did – you can wake before the chickens and commute.

Two friends from New York joined me for the dates.  We’ll be pooling what we collectively learned.

Overall conclusion from the workshops I’ve attended, and people I talked to and networked with:  EXCELLENT.  I’ve learned a few things I’ve been doing wrong (will slightly elucidate below, but will have more details in posts as I rectify).

review, nofa, northeast organic farmers association, 2019

Program book.

About me:  I have no real commitment to gardening, farming or homesteading organically, in the legal sense.  I do plan to make the vegetative/agriculture portions of my ventures “organic”, or as some say, “beyond organic”.  But I’m not looking to certify myself (some may claim I’m already certifiable… a joke probably only understandable if the reader is conversant with American idiom.)   I retired in part to minimize certain types of paperwork in my life.  BUT long-term sustainability of crops generally involves using organic principles, rather than swishing a plot with pesticide or herbicide.  As for the poultry aspects of my operation:  I feed organic feed – but they also get kitchen scraps which are often not organic.  If they are sick, I’m not above using antibiotics as indicated, with full disclosure.  And I may spray my legs with Deet due to disease-carrying ticks in my area.

At any rate, my procedures with chickens will also apply to four-legged livestock when I start running them.

This year, I did not attend any poultry or livestock workshops.  It was all Ag here.

I’m going to get the downsides (as I saw them) of this conference down quickly – mind you, these can pretty much be skirted around, and overall I’d give the conference a 4.5 + out of 5.0 rating.  Basically, I don’t want to end on a down note here, because the ultimate take-homes were very positive. So… doing this now.

  • It would be nice if people arriving would be able to get morning coffee without paying for breakfast, if they don’t want the whole deal.  Not everyone has budgeted for the food plan, or for every one of those meals.  Turns out one of the mushroom vendors did sell cold-brewed and cold-served coffee, but I didn’t find that until Sunday.  I think coffee/tea could perhaps be provided at least through the morning from the site, without having people pay $12 at the door for breakfast?  No one knows if those mushroom vendors will be there next year.  Or, still providing coffee if they are.
  • The organizers did a commendable job in identifying certain tracks of workshop programming.  Normally when I’ve gone to conferences, this means a specific workshop or seminar will appear at a specific time slot, and others falling into that specific categories will appear at other times – so the interested attendee can attend ALL things in his or her specific interest panorama.    If you were specifically interested in Soil Health – you had to field between THREE workshops at the same time on Sunday at 10 AM.  It wasn’t like there weren’t a few open time slots elsewhere for most of these to be scheduled into…   ( I DO know presenters do have their own logistics…  but figure this out when setting up the brochure…) TBH, this did not affect my own attendance, but just keeping note where others might find it problematic.
  • The impression for the write-up of the Sandor Katz keynote speech was that, along with fermented food, there’d be a good section on fermenting soil.  He spent about 3 minutes discussing the latter.  Yes, I realize there is a food-prepping set of workshops going along with the growing-of-foods, and that the come-on for the event brochure spoke about nutrition — but for one, I’d appreciate a better write up about what he was to focus on in his talk.  I’d rather have had another hour out with the vendors… (Note:  this is NOT a ding on Sandor Katz, who does great work.  Just on how this was written up.)  And, yes, I can see  food nutrition is a focus for this 2019 event – which does not displease me.  The talk might have also been better if he’d gone into a few nuts and bolts on fermenting, as well.
NOFA Summer conference 2019, review

Another alpaca on display.  There were also guinea hogs, and some sheep.


Okay, negatives over with, so now on to where I go from here.  With a quick mention that the cafeteria here at Hampshire College does an awesome job with making food, should you decide to purchase any of the meals when you sign up.  (I’d do it in advance, costs more at the door – understandably – with pre-enrollment on a meal they have a far better idea of how much to make without wastage.)  Food is available for vegetarians, vegans and omnivores.  All pretty dang good.  Hampshire College (site of the event) uses their regular kitchen staff, and many of their day-to-day college recipes.  I DO wish I’d had such tasty food back in my old college days!!!

Last year there’d been workshops starting Friday afternoon.  Not this year, so I skipped the social things scheduled later in the day, and arrived on Saturday the 10th.

This year, Saturday morning.  My workshop visitations follow below.  (Workshops last 90 minutes.) There were a LOT of things to choose from at each time point.  In fact, I seriously wished for a return to a Friday afternoon list of choices.  I’d have gotten a couple more workshops in!


  • 8 am:  Principles to Produce Nutrient Dense Foods
  • 10 am: From Bubils to Bulbs:  Growing Garlic and Saving Propagation Methods
  • 1 pm: Making Bio Nutrient Raised Beds and Containers Really Work
  • Keynote speaker (see above). 


  • 8 am:  Ventilation in Greenhouses and High Tunnels
  • 10 am: Managing Invasive Plant Species without Synthetic Pesticides
  • 1 pm:  Getting Started with Small Scale Grain-Growing
  • 3 pm: Fencing for Gardeners

I learned valuable things from all the above, although the Invasive Plant guy did take 40 minutes to talk about Why Not To Use Chemical Control on unwanted plants.  Even though he was interrupted by a woman at the 30 minute mark to tell him he was preaching to the choir, and let’s get to methods, already… I’d say most of us gave her a round of applause… Took him another ten minutes to get there… session nearly half over… (Yes, I did mark the time on my phone, so I am not guilty of any exaggeration.)  But he did get to provide useful and actionable information after that point.  Best methods depend on what one is getting rid of – in open sun lit fields, a solar method often works – cut everything back, cover with straw or hay, cover that with clear plastic, tack down the sides, and wait about 60 days.  More shrubby things – cut somewhere between knee and waist height prior to fruiting / seed formation.  Do this two or three times spread out over two years.  Then come back in and cut to the ground.  Most invasives will not survive that.  Then, there’s goats.  Or mechanical pulling.  Or, if you are careful and know what you are doing, controlled burns.  (You may need – and want!- permits, depending.)

Found out I should have set my raised bed soils up more effectively.  It’s not a wash.  Just a little more time, and I can do it.   Working up my game plan from some very useful notes from both the first and third workshop on Saturday, which can be applied both to the ground plants and to the raised beds.  I will be renovating those beds as I can.  At least for now – since my beds are effectively pretty soil-sterile – I will be adding inoculants with further seeding.  Last night I also caught a YouTube video on seeds I can start now in zone 5 — most of the brassica (yes, I have more bok choy I can plant), and of course cold weather crops such as spinach, lettuces, radish, beets, and the like).

NOFA, cherry tomatoes

My own cherry tomatoes, picked the night before attendance.

Got a multitude of good info for greenhouse setup, ventilation, AND circulation.  The presenter touched on both powered and non-electric greenhouse needs.  (I plan on one of each.)  One of the worst things, and often overlooked, is proper circulation of air within your greenhouse or high tunnel.

I eat mostly Paleo, so going to a grain workshop seems a bit counter-intuitive, but I’m interested in the ancient and landrace varieties anyway.   Turns out I’ll be starting up three winter grains in a small segment for each.  The presenters promote experimenting to develop best plant stocks and yield. Looking forward to seeing what comes of this. This was a sort of “on a lark” workshop for me.   So… I’ll be renovating the soil in three patches (that haven’t already been planted for this summer), and adding in some grains shortly.  I’ll take readers along on that venture!

As for garlic – I learned how you can plant the bubils (the things that appear at the end of garlic scapes of hard-neck garlic), and how to optimize size of garlic grown.  The presenter prefers to use varieties that make many cloves, rather than just 4 or 5 – since he replants from his own heads.  (I’ve liked the large but few cloves per head varieties since I find them easier to peel in the kitchen… but he’s gearing for sale.)  He also touched on drying the garlic – each month in storage they dry down further and weigh less when one goes to sell them by the pound.  But you can still store garlic and have it in great shape for eating next year, prior to your new crop being ready.

Ultimately, there wasn’t an un-regretted workshop I attended.  I just wish I knew how to bi-locate.  There are around ten workshops at each time slot.

Apart from the above:  there were workshops on animal husbandry, food justice, dealing with climate change, growing and harvesting mushrooms, nutrition, foraging, and so forth.  Right now I need to single-focus to my own homestead and its current and near-future needs.

Vendors:  A lot of good ones, but the two tractor vendors from last year did not appear this time.  (I have saved the Yanmar tractor info – I remain seriously interested.)  The solar over your livestock barn people didn’t return either, but again, I do have their info and will be contacting them when I can/am ready.  Latest, next spring or early summer.

Only one book purchased this year.  Compost Teas for the Organic Grower, by Eric Fisher.  Some presenters want us to rely less on compost teas, but none are agin’ it, as the expression goes.

Again, I picked up lots of literature, and I will be sending out soil samples for analysis from segments of my property to the Ag facility at U Mass later this week. Glad I got a kick in that particular nether region of mine!!!

Northeast Organic Summer Conference

Link Parties:

Farm Fresh Tuesdays
Homestead Blog Hop






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Deviled Eggs: Balsamic Bacon

Contains:  Eggs.  Is: Paleo, Whole 30 (depending on bacon source).  

Recently (well, back in late July), for a picnic, I made deviled eggs.  Hard-cooked 18 of them (the hens out back have been prolific), and brought three different recipes to the event.  One was Mom’s original one; another was found on, a post by Morning Glory there; and the third was just considered from wanting a bacon deviled egg – which was originally supposed to be with the avocado I forgot to buy, then was going to be done with horseradish sauce (which I’d neglected to return to the fridge overnight on a really HOT night), and so I settled on balsamic reduction as my primary/base seasoning (other than the bacon).

deviled eggs, recipe, bacon

Deviled Eggs with Bacon & Balsamic Reduction

My bacon was sourced at a farmstand in Connecticut, the scallion in the recipe came from the Otis (MA) farmer’s market.

Prep Time:  15 minutes.
Cook Time:  20  min. for the eggs, 10-12 for the bacon (they can overlap). 
Rest Time:  Until the bacon and the eggs are room temp or cold.
Serves:  6 people?  Finger food like this will vary.
Cuisine:  Western world.
Leftovers:  Depends on how long they’ve been sitting out, and the temperature where they sat.   But eat the rest within a day.

Deviled Eggs:  Balsamic Bacon

  • 6 hard cooked eggs, peeled.
  • 2 tablespoons loosely packed bacon crumbles.  (Make these yourself from real bacon – cook up 2 or three slices, to a crispy but not burnt texture.  Bacon slice sizes vary a bit – especially if you do local farmer pasture-raised bacon…, so cooking time will vary.)
  • 4 teaspoons balsamic reduction.
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise.  Ideal is to make your own, but I didn’t get the chance.
  • Ground pepper to taste.
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of scallion/green onion, starting from the bulb end.  Chop finely.

Bacon Notes:  Make your bacon as per usual (timing will depend on your slice thickness and bacon quality, as well as method), allowing the slices to get crunchy.  Bring over to a paper towel on a plate, and allow the towel to absorb extra grease.  Pat with another end of the towel.  Allow to cool, then crumble by hand.

Egg Notes:  To make the hard cooked eggs, I add eggs to a pot of salted water, not too many – less than the amount that would make one layer of eggs.  The salt is to maintain the osmotic pressure from within any egg and the surrounding water – in case there are small cracks.  The crack may still develop, but this usually keeps the egg from spewing forth all through the water.

I heat the pot to boiling, let it boil for about 2-3 minutes, then I turn the heat OFF, leaving the pot on the cooktop.  If on an electric range, I let sit for at least ten minutes (the element stays hot) – if on induction or on gas, let sit for at least 15 minutes – these both cool down much faster than standard electric elements (or hobs).  Your methods might vary from your own experiences.  Oh, if I have the opportunity, I use a spoon to move the eggs around in the water before they set completely – this helps keep the yolk from being so far to one side that they are hard to cut into halves appropriately later on.

The older the egg, the easier to peel.  Obviously, there’s a lifespan in the other direction…  If your eggs float to the top of the water bath, they’re probably too old.  (Staying on the bottom but with one end pointing up is fine.)

Anyhow, peel the eggs, slice in half longitudinally.  Remove the yolks to a separate bowl, and lay the white “boats” down on your eventual serving platter.

Recipe Notes:  To the bowl with the yolks, add the mayo, the balsamic reduction, ground pepper.  Mash and mix with a spoon.  Add the scallion / green onion, and the bacon.  You may have more bacon than you need, judge accordingly.  Mix through, no mashing now.

Dollop into the “boats”, sharing the wealth among all of them.

Refrigerate until just before serving.  (When I took them to a picnic on a hot day, I sat them on frozen freezer packs, to be safe.)

deviled eggs

A separate batch of moderately spicy eggs… miso, quaram masala. Topped with parsley.


deviled eggs, recipe

Mom’s curry mustard pickle eggs to the left, topped with mild paprika. Those spicy ones discussed in the previous photo, to the right.

deviled eggs, bacon, balsamic, recipe

This eggcellent post is eggxactly what is needed to lay and hatch out at some Link Parties and Blog Roundups.  Without the Round-Up, of course.  So, it’s cackling its way at:

Fiesta Friday, hosted this week by Antonia @ and Angie @ Fiesta Friday.

Farm Fresh Tuesdays

Homestead Blog Hop

Full Plate Thursdays


Oh, and:

baby chick

My newest hatchling, a half-sibling to Chickpea. This one is Lentil. The chick was born/ … er, hatched, July 30th and is currently less than two weeks old. Depicted to the left is Fimbrethil, one of the broody hens and her primary foster mama. She hatched Lentil, but both she and Idril work to take care of the chick. Oh — down to the bottom left corner, you see part of Chickpea.



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The “Un-Philly” Cheesesteak

Contains:  Dairy.  Is:  Gluten-free, grain-free, nightshade-free, primal.  

Philly, Philadelphia, cheesesteak, lettuce, provolone, onion

The Un-Philly! Strip steak, provolone, onion, Romaine.

I have never eaten a true Philadelphia cheesesteak.  Oh, I got served things with that name at both the college and the workplace cafeterias, long buns with a smattering of dried out meat of uncertain grade, with a Cheeze Wizz addendum.

Philly, Philadelphia, recipe, cheesesteak, provolone, lettuce, onion

Use strip or ribeye steak. Trim off extra fat. I did not use this entire piece!

My one trip to Philadelphia was a class day trip undertaken when I was (probably) in the 5th grade.  I think we just got sandwiches or maybe even our parents made our lunches to send with us.  We got to see the crack on the Liberty Bell and we got to pick up facsimiles on crunchy paper of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and things like that.  Sampling food wasn’t on the radar for that trip.

Haven’t been back.

recipe, cheesesteak cheese steak, Philly, Philidelphia, lettuce, onion, provolone

Cook the onion for a light carmelization, just a little browning. Sauté your strips of strip to your preferred done-ness…. then….

recipe, Philly, Philadelphia, cheesesteak, cheese steak, provolone, lettuce, onion, gluten-free, grain free

… place the provolone atop, and let cook another 30 seconds or so. Then, gently fold onto a large, long Romaine lettuce leaf.  The cheese will melt.

I’m calling this the “Un-Philly” because I understand there’s a lot of inaccurate “Philly” cheesesteaks out there.  Well, starting with those awful cafeteria concoctions.  I don’t want to add to the crowd of wannabes, but… And, because I don’t like those big hunks of bread anyway, I decided – why not create my own variant, but just not really pretend to give it the name of Philly Cheesesteak???

So what I did:

Used NY strip steak because it was available.  (The typical is ribeye, so sub that in if you have it and want… — frankly, I do have ONE last ribeye in my freezer from my meat share, but since it’s my favorite fancy cut of steak, I’d rather have it as a nice medium rare steak, not turned into this dish.  Um, sorry, sorta….)

recipe, Philly, Philadelphia, cheesesteak, cheese steak, gluten-free, grain-free, lettuce, onion, provolone

Took some photos before putting the other leaf atop the first with its tasty meat, cheese and onion.

Used Romaine lettuce instead of a heavy bun or loaf.  My theory on bread is that I don’t want to waste the carb intake on something that doesn’t really taste that good — there ARE good breads out there, and I WILL buy them (and even go back to making them myself), but finding a good tasting bun without a rap-sheet’s length of dodgy ingredients in a supermarket is iffy at best. There is a great bakery about 40-45 minutes from here, and another about an hour and a half away.  Eh, let’s go truly grain-free and do lettuce.  Only had to drive 20 minutes!  Romaine is of the approximate shape for this meal.  Lettuce tastes better (to me) than supermarket breads.  And, at the moment, Romaine’s not on recall!

Recipe, Philly, Philadelphia, lettuce, onion, provolone, cheese steak, cheesesteak, primal, gluten-free, grain free

Ready for its close up.  Note:  new camera lens… 

Used provolone cheese.  According to what I’m reading, the most appropriate cheeses for a true Philly cheesesteak are either white American cheese OR provolone.  Score one for the home team!  At least I have this in place.  Cheeze Wizz is apparently mostly for the tourists, but even if it weren’t, I’m NOT touching that stuff!

recipe, Philly, Philadelphia, cheese steak, cheesesteak, lettuce, provolone, onion, gluten-free, grain free, primal

Yes, I’m eating… nice strands of melty cheese. I was able to eat parts with my hands, but there was that fork option, too.

I used sautéed onions.  This seems to be a valid way to make a Philly cheesesteak, but ends up in an optional area for this treat.  I’d definitely say “yes!”

So, well, the end result is that I still haven’t eaten an authentic Philadelphia cheesesteak, but I’m more than happy with my “un-Philly”, anyhow!

Prep Time:  10 minutes.
Cook Time:  20 minutes.
Rest Time: de nada
Serves:  One each.
Cuisine:  American.
Leftovers:  Cook the meat and onions, just don’t assemble. Reheat that part briefly, add the cheese, then plate onto the lettuce and devour.


The “Un-Philly” Cheesesteak

  • 5 ounces / 150 grams of thinly-sliced beef steak (after any fat cap removal).  Ribeye is traditional, I used NY strip.
  • 1/2 small onion, sliced and chopped.
  •  2 slices provolone cheese. 
  • 1 tablespoon butter or avocado oil.
  • Salt and pepper to taste – I used probably 1/16th a teaspoon of the former – if that, and maybe 1/8th teaspoon of the latter.  (Let your own tastes be your guide!)
  • Two nice leaves of Romaine lettuce.  

A hint for the steak – freeze for about 45 minutes prior to slicing, this will help you make thinner slices.  If you have a deli slicer (lucky you!) you can probably even get the slices thinner, but not essential.  You definitely want to discard any fat cap or fatty regions.

Add the salt and pepper to the beef, mix a bit, and let sit at room temp for around 20 minutes.

Take the butter or avo oil, and heat in a skillet on medium.  When the butter or oil is hot, add the onions and sauté until translucent, or even a little bit brown.

Add the beef to the skillet and saute for 5 or 8 minutes, or to your preferred level of done-ness.

Drape the cheese over for another 30 or so seconds.

Using a spatula, fold the meat and onions with cheese into a Romaine leaf, arranging everything to your satisfaction.

Cover with the second leaf and serve.  You probably won’t be able to eat this with your hands, so have a knife and fork at the ready.

This was quite good!  I’m very glad I didn’t try to find some appropriate bread, but that’s up to you.  If you do use bread, I’d want to toast it in the skillet.  And this dish is reasonably fast to make, good on a hot evening.

recipe, philly, philadelphia, cheese steak, cheesesteak, lettuce, onion, provolone, primal, gluten-free, grain free

Wandering over to be shared with Fiesta Friday (with tasty co-hosts Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Rita @ Parsi Cuisine),.
and with
Farm Fresh Tuesdays,
as well as
The Homestead Blog Hop,
Full Plate Thursdays,




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Rice Flavored with Cumin, Fenugreek, and Curry Leaf

Contains:  Fascinating Indian flavors, optional dairy (ghee).  Is:  Gluten-free, vegetarian, potentially vegan.  

rice, basmati, Indian, fenugreek, methi, jeera, cumin seed, curry leaf

Seasoned Basmati rice, yummy in itself.

The idea of flavored rice truly appealed to me, especially for eating in combination with Indian dishes – or perhaps on its own.  I had leftover okra curry, and since most folk DO serve their curry over rice, and I am low carb rather than keto… why not?

For Indian foods, I prefer to use white Basmati rices.  There are all sorts of discussions out there about whether brown or white rice is “healthier”.  For rice, there are pros and cons either way – so I use what I prefer for a specific dish.  For me, Indian is always this white Basmati…  One thing I do try to do is buy rice grown in the US as opposed to Asia as there is often a higher level of arsenic in the Asian soil, which for whatever reason is rapidly absorbed into growing rice.  (Not because of pollution, just naturally occurring.)  But even this I don’t make a hard and fast rule – there’s still some in Californian soils, too.

My best luck in making rice is by using my Japanese rice cooker, so that’s what I’m going to do.  (Burnt too much rice to the bottom of pans back in the day… not going back there, and Basmati rice cooks well in one of these cookers…)

The cumin is best added as roasted seeds, for the best in flavor.  There are places for the powder, but this isn’t necessarily one of those.  Fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) is something I’ve had hanging around my kitchen for a couple other recipes, and I do like the quiet flavor it adds in uttapam pancakes, so why not?  Curry leaves (not to be mistook for curry per se), add a rich earthy flavor where one uses them.

If I could have found where I’d stashed the (recently-purchased) saffron, I would have added two or three crushed threads – feel free!

So, this dish is by no means highly spiced (as in hot).  In fact, if you think Indian foods are nearly all heat, this is one dish that is not.

Basmati rice, methi, jeera, fenugreek, cumin

Using these to flavor my rice.

I am serving this with my past Friday okra, mushroom, tomato and onion vegetarian curry, with at least one remaining serving.

Prep Time:  25 minutes, includes soaking.
Cook Time: 1 minute for the cumin.  45 minutes (in my rice cooker). 
Rest Time: Oh, five minutes or so, but it can hang out in the rice cooker if other things need to be prepped further.
Serves: 1-2.
Cuisine:  Indian.
Leftovers:  I’m fine with rice same day.

Rice Flavored with Cumin (Jeera) and Fenugreek (Methi)

  • 1/2 cup Basmati rice
  • 0.875 cups/ 210 mL liquid (or to package specifications).  I used 0.5 cups water plus 0.375 cups veggie broth (to equal 0.875 cups volume); play around to preference.
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or, for dairy-free/vegan, use a high heat cooking oil.
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds / jeera.  I am using the smaller kala jeera seeds.
  • 1 heaping teaspoon dried fenugreek (methi) leaves.
  • 2-4 curry leaves, crumbled.
  • Salt, to taste.

OPTIONAL special equipment:  a rice maker.  Otherwise follow package instructions and make this dish in a covered stove pot.

Soak and/or rinse rice as directed.

Add to the rice cooker, with the appropriate volume of liquid.  I used a water/veggie broth combination to bring to volume.

In my case, I let my rice soak in that specific volume for the specified 20 minutes before turning the cooker on.  Meanwhile I prepped the rest of the ingredients.

In a small saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of ghee (or your favorite high heat healthy cooking oil), medium high.

Add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds.

Watching the saucepan, allow the seeds to sizzle and roast a little.  When aroma is released, you are done here.

Scrape them into the soaking rice.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the rice.

When ready, turn on the rice cooker to “regular” (or to whatever your rice cooker instructions indicates is that level of “cooked”.  Let it do its thing until done.

Gently mix when done and ready to serve.  My cooker came with its own spoon / mix-a-ma-jig; it is designed to help break up clumps of rice without mashing it.

Eat as-is, or top with your favorite (or to-hand) Indian main.

For me, rice tends to dry out funky if not eaten within 24 hours, and even adding in more sauces or toppings doesn’t quite restore the original quality.  Your taste buds may differ.

PS:  The aromas are awesome whilst cooking!

rice, balsamic, Indian, methi, fenugreek, jeera, cumin seed, curry leaf, recipe

Blog Hops and Blog Parties:

Oh, adjacent photos of the rice with the curry from last Friday:

recipe, rice, basmati, Indian, curry leaf, fenugreek, methi, vegan curry, jeera, cumin seed

This rice dish topped with last Friday’s vegan okra-based curry.


recipe, curry dish, rice, basmati, Indian, cumin seed, jeera, yogurt, curry leaf, fenugreek, methi

AND, that previous dish, also topped with a little yogurt (coconut can be subbed for the milk yogurt).




Posted in Asian & Asian Influenced, Cooking, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Indian Curry: Okra, Mushroom, Tomato, Onion

Contains:  Nightshades.  Is: Vegetarian, vegan, Paleo, Whole30.  

recipe, Indian, okra, mushroom, tomato, onion, curry, vegetarian, paleo, Whole30

Aromas and tastes were awesome. (This serving was actually breakfast here, this past Wednesday.)

I’ve been wanting to do a vegetarian Indian okra and mushroom dish for awhile.  Everything else was here to hand, just needed the inspiration towards putting this all together.  Will be getting three good meals out of this.  

Indian, curry, recipe, okra, mushroom, tomato, onion, Paleo, Whole30, vegetarian, vegan

Just about cooked here. Aromas are wonderful.  The green not yet mixed in – that’s curry leaf.

The okra (bhindi or vendakkai) is not at all slimy in this recipe – both the longitudinal cutting, and the high acidity of the tomato, defeat any slime.  Personally, I don’t mind the slime, but wanted to cook this the best for the majority of my readers.  Try to find it as fresh as you can – I have the best luck at Indian specialty markets.  Alas, this batch came from a regular supermarket, but was still good enough to pick over and buy.

recipe, Indian, curry, okra, mushroom, tomato, onion, Paleo, Whole30, vegan, vegetarian

Onions, mushrooms, okra… lined up for the skillet.

Prep Time:  10 minutes.
Cook Time: 25 minutes.
Rest Time: unnecessary.
Serves: 3.
Cuisine:  Indian.
Leftovers: Oh, boy yeah!

Indian Curry:  Okra, Mushroom, Tomato, Onion

  • 1 large onion (about 250 grams / 9 ounces), peeled and coarsely chopped.
  • 200 grams / 7 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced.
  • 200 grams / 7 ounces okra / bhindi, caps removed, sliced once longitudinally, and for the longer pieces, cut further in half or thirds.
  • a pinch of asafetida / asafoetida / hing.  (If you don’t have, omit.)
  • 1.5 tablespoon cumin seeds / jeera
  • 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
  • 400 grams / 14 ounces diced or crushed canned / jarred tomato
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons amchoor powder (If you don’t have, omit.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I didn’t need either.)
  • 3-4 fresh curry leaves, coarsely chopped.  If frozen, use one or two more.
  • Cooking oil or ghee (I used expeller-pressed avocado oil; might not be Indian, but it imparts no flavor and is healthy.)

Prep everything, and to a large skillet add some oil or ghee.  Bring to a medium-high  temperature.  Add in the cumin seeds, and cook until aroma is released.  Add the asafetida.  Then after a moment, add the onions.

Stir these until translucent, about 10-12 minutes.

Add mushrooms and okra, and cook until the mushrooms are done.  If you need more ghee or oil, add this now, a little at a time and no more.  Mushrooms tend to absorb.

Add the ginger-garlic paste, stir a minute or two.

Add the tomato, and then all the other ingredients/seasonings except the curry leaves.

When the sauce begins to simmer, reduce heat.  Allow to cook at least five more minutes, perhaps ten.  If the sauce is too thick for your tastes, add some water; if too thin, cook down some more.

Test a piece of okra.  If and when it is done to your tenderness liking, you may add the curry leaf.  Stir for another minute, then serve.

You can serve this over Basmati rice, or you can omit and top with plain yogurt (milk or coconut).  Or have the best of both worlds.  Or do as I did for my first serving, and have this with neither the rice nor the yogurt, for a full Whole30 experience.

recipe, Indian, okra, mushroom, tomato, onion, vegan, vegetarian, Paleo, Whole30, curry

This is very much a tasty dish.  Feel free to adapt seasoning amounts to your own preferences – and note that some herbs and spices may be more potent than other batches of the same herbs and spices.  Were I ever to go truly vegetarian… Indian cuisine would have to be a mainstay for me!  (They’ve had generations of doing it RIGHT.)

We’re sharing this with:

Fiesta Friday (this week’s hosts: Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau and Laurena @ Life Diet Health).
What’s for Dinner – Sunday Link-Up.
Full Plate Thursday.




Posted in Asian & Asian Influenced, Cooking, Mushrooms, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Homesteading Updates: Chickies! Veggies! Photos!

homesteading, speckled sussex, cockerel, chicken

First day out on the pasture. This is one of my two speckled Sussex cockerels. He was the first to come and greet me when I went out to check them.

The cockerels, which are immature roosters, have settled in nicely out at their outdoor abode.  I let them out in the yard for the first time on the 11th.  I wanted to be sure they were big enough, and that they associated their tractor with home.  Being as they are heritage breeds, they don’t grow as fast as those broilers I had last summer, and certainly not remotely as fast as the Cornish Cross supermarket bird.  They are 10 and 11 weeks old as of this posting.  Within the same breeds (I have two of most of them) I can see the size difference one week still makes.  If these had been Cornish Cross hybrids, they’d be already dying of heart failure in the heat, and would have bad, breaking legs by this point.  They just grow too fast for their own good, and typically end up slaughtered anywhere from week 6 to week 8 of life.

Homesteading, cockerels, heritage chicken breeds, delaware

The white one is a Delaware, and he’s my largest cockerel. The lighter brown one is the lone New Hampshire Red, and the one waving its nether regions at four o clock is a Welsummer.  At seven o’clock we see a buckeye.  

There are 14 cockerels all told.  I’m working on deciding which breed or two I truly want to focus on, because my goal is to breed them up and try to further those specific lines.  (I’d still keep a coop for whomever wants to be in that space…)

Feed:  MannaPro Organic Grower Crumbles.  Plus kitchen scraps (not necessarily organic), dried mealworms, scrambled eggs.  Free-range nibblies and grasses and (please, please) ticks.  Eat ’em ALL!  Lots of water.

homesteading, chicken coop, buff Orpington, Orpington, broody hen

Idril is broody once again!!!! Buff Orpington.

Over at the hen house, Idril has gone broody again, as of early last week.  I am allowing her six eggs to hatch and rear.  Now, this could be way too many chickens for this coop and run  (I’m counting  them before they hatch….?) if they all survive, but we will cross that bridge later.  I do know people in town who are interested in re-starting their own flocks after predator decimation, and that’s a possibility.  We will see what develops.  (Assuming anything develops.  But it’s warm enough out now that if Idril leaves her nest too often, it shouldn’t really affect the eggs much.

Homesteading, chickens, baby chicks

Chickpea. F1 Silver-laced Wyandotte x probable buff Orpington. Chickpea’s foster mama is Yin, black Australorpe.  Born May 28th.

Speaking of which, here’s little Chickpea, Yin’s sole fosterling.  I’m still working out chicken genetics, but the mother has to be either a buff Orpington or possibly one of the buckeyes.  I do know that other clutch members were either going to look like Chickpea or look like the black Australorpes.  This chick is too devoid of color to be the result of my Wyandotte roo mating with another silver-laced Wyandotte – I remember what the pure heritage chicks looked like!

She (or he??) is thriving quite well in with the hens and roo in the coop and run.  I don’t let her out yet, but the others do go and forage when I am home.

I wrote the above 4-5 days ago – as of two or three, Fimbrethil, another buff Orpington, is also now broody.  I’m making them share eggs.  Six max from both together, and one of them also gets the ceramic egg… 

And now, we come to the vegetative section of this blog!

homesteading, apple orchard, William's Pride

Three young apples on my William’s Pride. I’m proud of him! (Yes I need to weed here, and I need to plant him a companion, ASAP. Lucked out with the fruit.)

For some reason, my William’s Pride apple actually bore fruit.  All the other mini-apple trees planted in his cohort died the first winter.  However, there are elderly apple trees that semi-line the outskirts of my field – possible a good wind blew enough pollen over that this little guy now has three baby apples growing here.

Raised Bed Gardening

homesteading, nightshades, tomato, peppers

One red cherry tomato plant. Three varieties of peppers in the second region.

homesteading, potatoes, growing potatoes

Taters. Yukon Golds, to be specific.  Need to start hilling them.

Nightshades.   Way late in the season, so I had to purchase existing plants with regards to peppers and tomatoes.  I picked some with fruits already forming.  For the peppers, I’ve three varieties.  Having had peppers decimated by wildlife in the past, I’ve decided to surround each plant with Milorganite.  No idea if this will keep everything away – but when I tried that Irish Spring soap thing back a decade ago, that was an epic fail.  At least, deer should be deterred with the Milorganite…  Hopefully more critters.  So far, so good.

The tomato is a red cherry tomato variety.  I know I can grow the cherries.  We’ll start the real things NEXT year!

The only potato I truly enjoy is the Yukon gold, although there are also other good gold varieties.  I bought about half of the above, and the other half came from things that went to sprout in my root cellar.

homesteading, pumpkin, squash, growing

Pumpkin squash.  Probably too close together but I will be spacing them out.

homesteading, delicata squash, fennel, growing

Delicata squash. There’s more delicata than depicted. Oh, plus a fennel plant to the right.

Squash family veggies.  Yes, I saved seeds from both my delicata squash, and a pumpkin a neighbor gave me last fall.   I’m realizing, seeing what his pumpkin plants are already doing, that they’re gonna have fun taking over their bed!  I think in future years those guys won’t be in a bed, but will have their own ground level patch elsewhere.

homesteading, watermelon, growing watermelon


Watermelon.  At a recent farmers’ market, I picked up two watermelon seedlings, each of a different variety.  They didn’t have labels on them, so what I get will be what I get.  I was subsequently told that watermelon is hard to grow, but we shall see.

homesteading, basil, growing basil, seedlings

Various varieties of basil seedlings. I will be thinning just as soon as the seedlings reach acceptable microgreen size, probably later this week.

Basil seedlings.  Yes, I got a combo batch of several types of basil.  The row to the far right is tulsi/holy basil, followed by purple basil, followed by Thai… and so forth.  One row looks pretty anemic.  I am letting them all grow a little bigger, to “microgreen” foodie size, and then I’ll thin quite a few into my salad…

Leafy greens.  I can’t find my seeds!  SO I just went and ordered more from Baker Creek.

I do hope I find them sometime soon, I had a lot of good things that will have time to grow and produce! But if I don’t… ordering is insurance.  The items I ordered are all quick growing greens, or they are hardy into early winter vegetation.

homesteading, raised beds

Overview (prior to most of the plantings)



Linking to:  Farm Fresh Blog Hop #10!!  Fiesta Friday #285!! Homestead Blog Hop #249!! 



Posted in Cooking | 3 Comments