The Historical & Cultural Significance of Oaks & Their Edible Fruit, the Acorn

There are not many places around the world where oak trees haven’t left their mark. The giant oaks were so stout and the wood so long-lasting, many an ancient habitation was built using oak stumps for a foundation, some reportedly still standing hundreds of years later. The Greeks and the Romans both chose the oak to build their homes, ships and bridges. The Vikings used the oak heartwood to build their long ships and later the English used it to build their legendary fleet of war ships. An old Encyclopedia Britannica from 1884 stated that, “the church till recently standing at Greenstead in Essex, and supposed to have been erected in the 10th century was wholly formed of oak trunks roughly squared.”

The fruit of the oak, the acorn, was also prized by the ancients. The oak was, and still is sacred to the Druids of Northern Britain and it is easy to understand why.  Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVER

Organic Gardens, Butterflies and Fava Beans

Planting fava beans in your garden will attract butterflies and bees that pollinate your other crops and fix nitrogen into your soil. Great for companion planting, fava beans will get a little tall and could shade things but you can always pull them or trim them and as a benefit you can eat them. In temperate climates you can plant them as a winter crop and they will be flowering in the spring.  Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVER

Go Ahead Get a Little Egg on Your Face, Make Dumplings!

Making egg dumplings doesn’t require much effort or ingredients. They’re also hard to mess up. Because it requires little resources, if you mess it up you haven’t wasted much food. Dumplings can be dropped into any soup or stew. They would also be good dropped into simmering Italian sauce and there is no end to how you could get creative with dumplings. Because they are made with flour, it’s a quick way to add carbohydrates to your meal without making biscuits or bread. Here is a simple recipe:

1 & 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup of milk (I experimented with water and it worked so try soy, rice or almond milk)

1 beaten egg

salt to taste

In a small bowl, beat the egg with the milk and no more than 1 teaspoon salt. With a wooden spoon, mix in the flour. Drop by spoonfuls into your choice of simmering stew or soup and cover with a lid, cooking about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and serve.

Variations could include adding spices and experimenting with different types of flours.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Poor-Jonnys-Cookbook-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114031

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/260122

eBook through Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/poor-jonnys-cookbook-suellen-ocean/1102338251?ean=2940016618609

Sit Down, Relax and Read a Cookbook

I’ve found that the act of merely reading a cookbook will make you a better cook. It’s a lot like looking at a fashion magazine. You get ideas. Trust your mind to store enough elements of that spicy Spanish rice recipe and trust it to remember the way the Italians threw an egg in the middle of some dough to make egg noodles. I have a whole shelf full of cookbooks and you may too. There is no way that I have the time to make all the tantalizing recipes in those books but I do have the time to now and again put my feet up and read about how others spend their time in the kitchen. What spices do they use? How high do they turn up the oven up for desserts? What fruits do they throw into salads and what type of greens do they use? When you’re cruising through the produce isles, a red light will go off and you’ll grab that green pepper for stew, the mango for salad and the sweet potatoes for a different piecrust.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Poor-Jonnys-Cookbook-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114031

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/260122

eBook through Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/poor-jonnys-cookbook-suellen-ocean/1102338251?ean=2940016618609

What Is Allspice? It’s Not A Combination of Spices

I always thought that Allspice was a combination of spices. There is a spice called Five Spice but that is something different. Allspice is the berry from the Myrtaceous tree. This tree grows in the West Indies. The spice is a little pungent but very aromatic.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Poor-Jonnys-Cookbook-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114031

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/260122

eBook through Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/poor-jonnys-cookbook-suellen-ocean/1102338251?ean=2940016618609

Fried Green Tomatoes? Here’s How…

An early American classic. Fried green tomatoes have been enjoyed in the early summertime for many years. Why wait for the red ones, we’ll have plenty of those. When the big green tomatoes appear, enjoy a treat quite different than red ripe tomatoes. Slice green tomatoes and dip in a beaten egg then into dry corn meal. Lightly oil a skillet. Over medium heat cook covered about 3-4 minutes, turn. Cover again and cook until done. Options include adding garlic or onion powder to the beaten egg and Parmesan cheese as a topping.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Poor-Jonnys-Cookbook-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114031

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/260122

eBook through Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/poor-jonnys-cookbook-suellen-ocean/1102338251?ean=2940016618609

Tofu… How Do You Cook It?

Tofu…  How do you cook it? You can fry it like bacon, break it up and boil it in soups, bake it, microwave it, broil it, steam it or any other way you can imagine. Cooking it in a cast iron skillet that is only lightly oiled, then cooking the tofu over medium heat with a lid on will give it a combination steamed/fried effect. Tofu can be cooked this way, then served with gravy. It can be cooked this way then marinated.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Poor-Jonnys-Cookbook-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114031

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/260122

eBook through Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/poor-jonnys-cookbook-suellen-ocean/1102338251?ean=2940016618609

The Problem With People is They’re Hungry All the Time, lol …

I can say proudly that I am the cook at my house. Years ago I took control from my husband and declared, “I’m the food manager”. That was my blunt way of informing him that I was going to control the show in the kitchen. He did not mind. Thirty years later he still doesn’t mind. The more I cook the more he loves it. He tells people what a great cook I am and enjoys most everything I make. The problem is, like the rest of us, he’s hungry all the time. I once saw a video that was taken at Thanksgiving. The mother of the videographer worked all day long in the kitchen which many people do on our favorite food holiday but when they fast-forwarded the video, we watched her in high speed, for a long time cooking, bending, baking, etc. When it came time for everyone to eat, the fast-forward video showed everyone scoot their seats up then scoot them back and leave the table. If you blinked you missed it. It was hilarious. Those of us who put our heart and soul into cooking can relate to the video and it’s a good thing there are lots of left overs at Thanksgiving. But I’ll tell you, I just wish we weren’t so prone to having to eat, all day long, everyday. Why, some of us even wake up in the middle of the night to eat. Whoa, what’s up with that? Ice cream? Think about it, we are eating machines.  And if I don’t  eat and eat well, I have no energy. Like I said, we are eating machines. We are just like a car. No gas no go.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Gold River one of her books for a buck available at Amazon, B&N and Ocean-Hose.

http://www.pacificsites.com/~oceanhose/

Recession Grocery Shopping – You Can’t Win!

You absolutely can not win if you go grocery shopping, especially if you have a partner. If you spend too much, which you will, especially with prices so high (bread is four dollars in California) or if you don’t come home with anything interesting to eat. My husband went last night and of course spent more than we had agreed on. But he said, “I figure I’ll be in less trouble if I bring you something good to eat”. Smart man. I can remember years ago a very stressful shopping experience. We had this little tiny Subaru hatchback and I had the delightful experience of having only seventeen dollars. My list included a bale of hay, groceries and gas. Whew. But I did it. I shoved that hay into the hatchback, bought the least amount of gas I could and found groceries really cheap at the gas station mini-mart. I always thought those days were behind us but this recession has brought them back again. I am grateful I have all the frugal skills I acquired during lean times. These days… I need them.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Gold River one of her books for a buck available at Amazon.

Protein, Protein, Protein … but not too much

As a vegetarian if I don’t receive enough protein I will eat and eat and eat … and eat! Until my body receives the protein it needs, I’m hungry! Yet I cringe when I read about cancer being caused by a “protein” that runs amok. Eating too much protein can cause its problems and finding adequate protein without turning to animal sources is sometimes frustrating. But mixing the right amino acids together, which can mean beans and rice is crucial to satisfying hunger.

It’s very tempting to simplify things and think that because one is obese they are well-fed. Protein is expensive and many who are struggling financially eat a lot of starches (macaroni and cheese boxes) to get by. Higher quality starches like whole grain brown rice and whole grain pastas and breads, though they are more expensive, are a better bargain in the long run because of the nutrition they provide.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Gold River one of her books for a buck available at Amazon.