Pure Soy Milk

I received the OK from the Washington State Department of Agriculture to sell my soy milk. I’ve looked at the soy milks sold in grocery stores including stores like the Skagit Valley Food Coop and Community Food Co-op in Bellingham, and it’s impossible to buy unadulterated soy milk. Almost all of them have some added sugars such as cane sugar. They all have stabilizers such as gellan gum or carrageenan; salt; various vitamins; and some add oils such as canola oil. Pure soy milk doesn’t seem to be sold anywhere.

You can get it from me. I’m selling it on Saturdays at the Mt. Vernon Farmers Market in downtown Mt. Vernon, Washington. The Anacortes Food Coop also carries it.

And why would you want pure soy milk? If you are using it for cooking, such as making soups, curries, or hot pot dishes, having added sugars, gums, salt, and additional oils, ruins the flavor.

Peanut Butter-Miso Soup for Winter


Happiness is a basket of eggs. Hens laying eggs again is a sure sign that spring is just around the corner.


While we wait for spring to arrive, a good way to warm your heart on a cold day is with a steaming bowl of peanut butter-miso soup. I saw this made on a Japanese program last week, and it’s a satisfying combination that is simple to make.


For soup for two or three, take a heaping tablespoon of peanut butter and one of miso and stir them together. Put two cups of water in a bowl and bring it to a simmer. Add the peanut butter-miso mix and stir it into the simmering water. Then add cubed tofu and fresh vegetables such as napa cabbage, bok choy, spinach, and green onions. Add meat too, if you like.


The peanut butter and miso combination makes a surprisingly rich, complex, satisfying flavor. Use a peanut butter that has no sweeteners or fillers. Look for the ingredients on the jar of peanut butter. The only ingredient should be roasted peanuts. Or roast your own peanuts and make your own peanut butter.

Close to Perfect


I had a feeling this loaf was going to be good. Relaxation is the main ingredient for making bread. After mixing flour from Skagit grown wheat with water and salt, I let the dough relax for twelve hours, folding it a few times as the wheat flour relaxed. After adding my levain, I let it relax another twelve hours, again folding it a few times to see how the dough was rising.

There’s not a lot to making good bread. Most of the time the dough is just relaxing, and I am off doing my own thing. After relaxing for so long, the dough pretty much shapes itself. There is no need to knead, no need to fuss. When it feels like a soft, baby’s butt, the dough is ready to bake. A light coating of olive oil once it comes out of the oven keeps the crust soft enough to cut easily, and yet still crisp and flaky.

I baked a close to perfect loaf of bread today. Our cat, Rusty, had a close to perfect nap.


Slow Food – Dinner Eight Months in the Making


It takes a long time to make a sumptuous winter dinner. After growing slowly for eight months, the end has come for this rooster. Yes, it’s sad, but he did have a wonderful childhood, raised by a mother who cared for him. He spent a summer running around with his siblings, dashing through flower beds, chasing each other around the pond, playing hide and seek in the brush. And this fall, when he matured, he had plenty of romance.

But, I can only keep a select number of roosters, and this one did not make the cut. He was too aggressive with the hens and other roosters. The roosters that get to stay must have better manners and treat the hens with more care.


So into a covered pot he goes, salted, and dusted with crushed pepper and allspice, and laid to rest on a bed of rosemary.


After four hours in a 200ºF oven, covered, and 15 minutes uncovered under the broiler, he’s nearly ready for dinner. All he needs to do now, is rest ten or twenty minutes before carving.


And finally, a simple feast, great for a December night.


Softening the Edges


Ever notice when you cut raw potatoes how sharp the edges are? If you’re cooking for someone you love, take a minute or two to do something about those edges. Do you really want to serve them sharp-edged potatoes? Before cooking them, it’s easy to soften the edges with a peeler. Just run the peeler over the cut edges. With the edges softened, the potatoes will be easier to eat once they are cooked.


With their edges softened, the potato pieces will look more appetizing in dishes like potato salad, curry rice, and niku-jyaga 肉じゃが.


What to do with trimmed off edges? Toss them in a salad, put them in soup, mince them and use them to thicken stews, or let the chickens have them along with the other scraps you have for them. They’ll turn them into wonderful eggs.


Supper Is Served – Very Slowly


Slow food, we read about it often. This is what slow food looks like. First it takes five to six months for the rooster to grow. You won’t find chicken like this in any store. As this is a bird which spent every day of its life outdoors, running around and exercising, it needs to be cooked slowly … very slowly … at a low temperature. 225ºF (105ºC) is a good temperature. After five hours, it will be so tender the meat will fall off the bones.

Take your time enjoying it.

It’s odd how so many people are in such a rush. Running around faster won’t bring them any closer to being happy. A restaurant chain in Florida is guaranteeing to fill your order in 60 seconds. That’s all the time people can wait for their meal to be served. Eating is not a race.

Why Is Mayonnaise White?


When I see mayonnaise in the store, I always wonder why it is so white. The typical recipe for mayonnaise starts with egg yolks, adds vinegar or lemon juice, salt, pepper, mustard (I prefer to use ground mustard seeds). After mixing these ingredients, you start adding vegetable oil drop by drop by drop until you have a thick emulsified dressing.


And this is what my mayonnaise looks like. Starting with egg yolks this rich and bright, the mayonnaise I make at home always comes out quite yellow. So what are the food companies doing to make their mayonnaise so white?

A look at their ingredients reveals the answer. A check of commercial mayonnaise reveals that they are adding water to their mayonnaise. In some, water is even the first ingredient, which means there is more water than any other ingredient.

Mayonnaise recipes usually call for a ratio of one egg yolk per cup of oil. However, by using water, you can actually emulsify up to a dozen cups of oil with just one egg yolk. Commercial mayonnaise makers also often use the whole egg, not just the egg yolk. As a result, the ratio of egg yolk to oil is much less than in home made mayonnaise which is why their mayonnaise is so white.

What Makes Store Brand Mayo White ~ Stack Exchange

Out of the Oven Today

After five hours in the oven at just 190ºF, and a short time under the broiler to brown the skin, here is the result – a juicy, tender roasted bird. This is real slow food, and worth the nearly half year it took to raise the bird and the many hours of slow roasting. You’ll never find a bird like this, even at WholeFoods.


In the Pot Today

The young rooster is in the pot, resting on a bed of oregano and garlic leaves. After adding some sake and whiskey it’s in the oven at just 190ºF (88ºC). It will slowly roast the rest of the afternoon. The great thing about having beds of herbs, is that I don’t have to worry about how many to use. If I want a bed of oregano, it is there for the picking. If the only place to get fresh herbs in your supermarket, you’re limited to small bunches or just a few sprigs at a time.

And yet, cities don’t need to be like that. Many herbs are prolific plants. Urban areas could be designed to grow endless quantities of herbs their citizens could pick at will. Planting strips, park hedges, sidewalk borders, rooftop gardens, apartment courtyards; all could be herb gardens available for city residents to use. Imagine getting off the subway on your way home from work, scissors in hand, snipping fresh handfuls of oregano, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, for use for that night’s salad, soup, and roast.

Spring Garlic with Chicken – True Paleo Fare

This is a simple recipe with just a few ingredients.

  • One whole five-month old rooster which has been crowing for no more than a month and butchered within the last four days
  • One bunch of green garlic freshly plucked out of the garden – to grow a bunch of garlic, leave whole bulbs of garlic in the ground the summer before. Each garlic bulb will shoot up a bunch of slender garlic, perfect for dishes like this.
  • Some sprigs of freshly picked oregano
  • Sake or white wine


Cut the rooster into drumsticks, thighs, and breasts. Save the wings and the rest of the carcass to make soup.


The breasts should be a nice rose color, the bones a shiny alabaster. The skin and meat should have a bright, translucent sheen. The fat should be a pleasing, lemon color. The thighs will be bright red.


Arrange the pieces of rooster in a heavy pot. Top with the garlic and oregano. Add some sake or white wine so there is a half inch to inch in the bottom of the pot. Cover the pot and put on a very low flame. Let it gently simmer for two hours.


Out will come tender, juicy, tasty meat. Dish up as whole pieces or cut up and serve. Sprinkle with salt if you like.