Friday, April 24, 2009

Fight Back Fridays: The Daffodil Principle

Some time ago, a friend sent me a copy of The Daffodil Principle If you've never seen it, I've linked up to a version of it on YouTube -- and I'd encourage you to watch it.

It occurred to me when I was considering what to post for Fight Back Fridays that "The Daffodil Principle" really embodies our philosophies regarding food... eating... and fighting back against conventional nutrition.

Before you stop reading and chalk us up for the biggest saps you've ever met, I'm going to ask you to give it a chance. Think about it.

I haven't been Eating Consciously for my entire life.

Neither of us have -- in fact, it's probably only been in the past two or three years that we've really made the decision to make serious changes to the way we think about food & eating.

We also didn't change our eating habits in one fell swoop.
No -- making changes to our diet has been a series of baby steps. I think one of the first stages of our transition occurred when we became conscious of how many servings of fruits and vegetables we were getting in a day. When we decided to opt for more (and better) servings of veggies, we started eating more leafy greens, broccoli, and other crucifers. Then, we took a look at the quality of the grains we were ingesting. We switched to whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and started trying out alternative grains like quinoa, spelt, and millet. We started reading labels. I started reading books and articles.

We changed the oils we were consuming. We ditched nasty fats like canola and vegetable oils. We embraced extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and red palm oil. We banned margerine from our refrigerator and welcomed back lard and bacon fat (from uncured, nitrate-free bacon).

We went BACK to eating butter and full-fat dairy. We started buying organic milk. And now we've switched (almost entirely) to non-homogenized milk.

We're still in process. It's a journey. And we approach it step-by-step, daffodil-by-daffodil. We know we won't change the way the world works in one day. Or even a lifetime. But, we persist -- thoughtfully -- and focus on the every day work of things. We've begun to really THINK when we put together a meal. What's in this meal? What's nourishing me? And when we make choices that are contrary to the wisdom we've acquired, we're doing so consciously (not unconsciously, as we did for many years).

These days, we're working on the sugar. We've all but abolished high fructose corn syrup from our diet, and we're working on getting rid of processed nastiness altogether. We're not perfect. We still eat some conventional manufactured sugars, and we still bow down to our Sweet Teeth every now and again, but we've started the switch to a higher concentration of natural sweeteners like maple syrup, raw honey, and sucanet.

We're moving forward. And it's a Beautiful thing.

Join us -- You can start by checking out all the great stuff at Food Renegades' Fight Back Friday Event.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rejected By Burp!: Curried Na'an Grilled Cheese

First off, thanks to everyone who voted for us in the Marx Foods Blogger Recipe Challenge: Morel Edition! Victory is sweet... but not nearly as sweet as our readers and supporters!

Our Morel & Leek Strata with Lemon Thyme Biscuits was a real winner. But, not every recipe that comes from the kitchens of Burp! fares quite as well. Sometimes we hit on a bummer. This is one of those occasions.

It all started when we gathered in the kitchen to come up with an entry for Panini Kathy's Grilled Cheese Pageant (great round-up, btw -- check it out!). Simple, right? Yeah... well...

From the start, I want to be clear that it wasn't so much that this recipe concept TASTED bad. No, on the contrary, it was a delicious combination of flavors. But the concept was lacking in... how shall we say?... elegance... due primarily to a bit of... seepage.

The idea behind the sammich was simple. Let's take classic flavors from Indian cuisine (namely curry, na'an, onion relish, and hot mango chutney) and combine them with a decidedly French flavor (St. Andre cheese) to create the ULTIMATE grilled cheese experience.

First -- the onion chutney (which really IS a great idea).
First, you take one thinly sliced red onion... and add a spritz of lemon juice.
Sprinkle with a bit of paprika, some cumin, and a dash of cayenne pepper.
And allow to steep for at least an hour at room temperature... at which point, you should taste it. It kicks serious butt. Pair this with all your favorite foods (and Indian dishes). You won't be disappointed.
Once your onion relish is ready, you can haul out the na'an. We cheated a bit and chose the curry flavored na'an from Trader Joe's (it was a week night, after all). Which is pretty good... but feel free to make your own.
Then, you'll want to slice up a bit of St. Andre triple cream. Truly decadent cheese... and completely worth the extra calories. I promise you.
Spread your na'an with a bit of hot mango chutney and top with the St. Andre. Get your hopes up... waaaay up... all out of proportion.
Then add a generous portion of the onion relish. Take a big whiff of everything altogether. It's heavenly. Remember, you have HIGH HOPES for this sammich.
You set it gently in the panini press... and put the cover down.
And that's when tragedy strikes. You never really thought about the fact that the St. Andre is a fairly delicate cheese. Or about the fact that it's a triple cream -- so it's heavy on the side of FAT. AND you've now exposed it to a great deal of unnecessary heat.... VOILA!
The cheese in this sammich drools out. It seeps like a bad dam. The heat of the panini press was too much for it, and it made what could have been an otherwise lovely grilled cheese into a ... grilled oil sammich with mango chutney and yummy onion relish.

Sadness ensues.
After sufficient mourning time, we pick ourselves back up again and proceed into the kitchen. Surely this grilled cheese sammich concept can be saved... and so, we begin again. Which is what Burp! is all about.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Morel Majority: THANKS for Your VOTE!

Thanks for all the votes... all the support... and for reading our blog and sticking with us. I promise we'll be back to our "regularly scheduled" programming now :)

Check out the Winning Announcement HERE.

First of all, I want to tell ALL of you how incredibly humbled and grateful we are for all of the support you've given us throughout this morel challenge! We are stupified. We could never have anticipated all the incredible emails... and comments... and votes!! It's Awesome!

But, the competition is still fierce. And a win is never guaranteed. So, it's back on the campaign trail for a few hours longer...

Did you vote for our Morel & Leek Strata over at
(Did you know that you can vote more than once if you have more than one computer?)

If not, we want you to at least consider a short trip over there to at least check out the competition. Cuz we firmly believe that we've got something good going on. And really -- If you can find anything more succulent, more tantalizing, more unique than this-here strata...
We'd be very surprised.
The polls are officially CLOSED.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

It's NOT a Morel Dilemma: Vote for US!

Peef is crazed.
His love for morels surpasses many things in this humble world -- sunshine, tulips, clean underwear. It seems the only thing he loves MORE than morels is... bacon. But right now, that's beside the point.

The exceedingly short morel season makes them all the more appealing. They only show up at the market here in Wisconsin for a week or two in early May. On top of everything, his birthday is coming up -- right at the peak of morel season. So, he's seriously hoping that a couple of pounds of fresh morels will soon be on their way to his empty mailbox.

According to him, morels would be the Best Birthday Gift EVER.
A Dream-Come-True. Better than winning the lottery.

That's why he wants YOU to vote for the Morel & Leek Strata that he helped Lo to make for the Marx Foods Blogger Challenge. Competition has been stiff over at the polls, and we're counting on you to make it happen!Get Thee over to and vote.

It's a Morel Imperative.

For those of you who have voted... and voted again... and spread the word along to your friends... we want to thank you! You're simply the best.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Fight Back Fridays: Double Ginger Granola Repast

In celebration of Fight Back Fridays (a great event sponsored by Food Renegade), I wanted to repost one of my recent favorites: Double Ginger Granola.

Not only is this hippie food AWESOME for you, but it's a fine example of how making your own breakfast cereal can save you money and contribute to your good health!
Granola is awesome because you can customize the flavors to your own liking. Add as much fruit as you like. Like nuts? Add those. Wanna change it up a bit? Throw in some carob chips! Or cocoa nibs!

This particular granola is a celebration of all things ginger -- with a few cranberries and some cocoa nibs thrown in for good measure. Read the full post, which contains all sorts of fun facts, here: Granola. Real food for real people :)

I'm sneaking this post in at the last minute (past the deadline, really) because I believe in this event. It gets great people together for a great cause -- to spread the word about real food!

If you haven't already, I'd like to invite YOU to participate in Fight Back Fridays -- a celebration of real food. It’s your standard blog carnival, but it’s all about being Food Renegades. Who are the Food Renegades? Well, they’re the adventurous ones — the people who opt out of the industrialized food system, distrust standard nutritional advice, and embrace Real Food.
Read the Guidelines HERE.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Morelity: Taking you through the Strata-sphere

We've tempted you a little bit with the photo of our delicious morel mushroom strata. Now we're here to show you how it all came to be. (And encourage you to meander over to MarxFoods to cast your vote for the winning morel recipe! The Polls Are Open. VOTE HERE.)

We started with our ounce of dried morels. Freaky brainy-looking creatures, aren't they?? OH, but they are so very delicious. Stay with me here...
Take those morels and bathe them in a cup or so of heavy cream. Then heat everything gently over medium heat just until it hits a boil. At that point, whomp a cover on top and set the 'shrooms aside for about an hour to steep.

Meanwhile, chop up a bit of fresh thyme. And make yourself a nice batch of lemon thyme biscuits.
When the morels are ready, you'll notice that they're considerably softer than before. And your cream has taken on a completely new personality. Not only is it lovely and creamy -- but it is redolent with delicious morel flavor. Remove the morels from their creamy bath and set that lovely cream aside for later.
Chop the morels roughly. Don't forget to stop for a moment and appreciate their fascinating architecture. And then saute them in a bit of butter to ensure that they're fully cooked.
You've already sliced up a couple of cups of tender, fragrant leeks. You'll want to saute them in a bit of butter as well -- just until they're beginning to grow transluscent.Now, we'll move on to the custard. You'll take a bit of broth (either chicken or vegetable -- whichever you prefer) and heat it to the boiling point. While the broth is heating, you'll whisk up a few eggs with a bit of lemon juice. Temper the eggs, and then throw everything back into the saucepan. Heat it until it thickens into a delicious custard.
Then mix it with the morel-infused cream, some milk, and a bit of that chopped thyme.
Slice the cooled lemon-thyme biscuits in half and layer them into a buttered 9x13 pan.
Cover the biscuits with the sauteed leeks, morels, and a bit of grated Gruyere cheese. Try to prevent yourself from drooling all over everything.
Pour the fragrant egg custard gently and evenly over the top of the biscuits...
And then bake in a preheated 350ºF oven for about 30 minutes -- or until the custard is set and everything is browning a bit around the edges.
When the strata has cooled a bit, you can slice it into servings. We sprinkled ours with a bit of extra chopped thyme and placed it atop a bed of fresh watercress. We also fancied up a delicious ripe strawberry, and sliced one of the last of our perfectly ripe oranges to garnish the plate.
Your entire kitchen will smell positively fabulous by the time this strata comes out of the oven. And you'll be ravenous. Just don't forget to eat slowly. Savor and enjoy.

Morel & Leek Strata with Lemon Thyme Biscuits

If your tastebuds are tantalized, don't forget to vote for our recipe on the Marxfoods Blogger Recipe Challenge - Morel Edition.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Studies in Morel Development

What's that big banner doing on our blog?

I'm glad you asked.
As of today, fourteen lucky food bloggers have received 1 oz. of dried morel mushrooms from Marx Foods. We are one of those bloggers (OK, technically WE are two bloggers; but, we're ONE of the participating food blogs). With said mushrooms, we have received a mission:
  1. Create a delectable, original recipe featuring dried morels
  2. Get as many kind readers as possible to vote for said recipe (voting starts April 16th)
If we succeed, we will receive 2 lbs of fresh morels just as soon as the morel season begins in Washington.

We received our ounce of morels on Thursday afternoon. And since then, we've been wracking our brains to come up with the most scrump-dilly-ishous dish we could think of... something that would showcase the nutty, earthy flavor of the morels. Something interesting (NOT boring). And accessible (everyone can make it). And unique (we've not seen anything like it around). And ( ) phenomenally delicious.

After much deliberation, we decided upon this lovely morel strata. Delicious, buttery homemade lemon-thyme biscuits covered in sauteed leeks and morels and surrounded by a rich, creamy morel-and-lemon-infused custard. The perfect dish for your upcoming spring brunch... Your next luncheon... Or tomorrow's dinner.
Recipe: Morel & Leek Strata with Lemon Thyme Biscuits
(We'll post all the juicy details a bit later on in the week... along with a link to the site where you can vote!)
Now that you're drooling, maybe you're interested in procuring your very own batch of morels. If so, check out these lovely items at Marx Foods:
Fresh Morels
Dried Morels

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Sammiches: BBQ Tempeh with Chipotle Slaw

Alright, guys. It's time to haul out your inner vegetarian. Cuz I've got a sammich here that's gonna make you want to throw your Carnivorous ways aside. At least for an hour or two.

We like to start off with a couple of packages of Bountiful Bean soy tempeh. This stuff rocks. Tempeh is a nutritional super hero -- high in protein, dietary fiber, iron, potassium, calcium, and phytochemicals like isoflavones. The best part is, it's a fermented soy product, which means that your body assimilates the nutrients from tempeh far more easily than it does beans and tofu. Because the enzymes in the protein are partially broken down by the fermentation process, it also doesn't produce any sort of gastrointestinal distress (or gas). The fact that the Bountiful Bean brand is made locally is an added bonus.
We like to take the tempeh and cut it into strips. Then, we nestle it into an 8"x8" glass pan that's filled with a cup or so of homemade barbeque sauce.
Then we take another cup of the sauce and spred it over the top. The tempeh tastes best if it's allowed to marinate in the sauce overnight -- so we try to plan ahead. After the tempeh has marinated in the sauce, we toss it into a 350ºF oven for about 30 minutes until the tempeh has browned a bit and most of the sauce has been absorbed.
While the tempeh is cooking, we make up a batch of our favorite slaw. We like to make ours with broccoli slaw and a hint of chipotle. The smokey flavor is just perfect with the BBQ tempeh, and we can feel good about getting a nice serving of broccoli and carrots with our sammich.
When the tempeh is nicely roasted, we slice open a couple of whole-grain hamburger buns, add a few slices of tempeh and a nice spoonful of the slaw. And we've got ourselves a pretty impressive sammich. Add a side of sweet potato fries, and this is a Friday night dinner that's TOTALLY worth getting excited about.
Don't forget the recipes:

BBQ Tempeh
Chipotle Slaw

This post is our submission to the event, Fight Back Fridays, hosted by Food Renegade. The event promotes the sharing of collective wisdom regarding real, nourishing foods -- and the fight against conventional nutritional thinking. Check it out!

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Chicken Cacciatore

When I was a girl, birthday dinners were a huge deal. Each year, my mother would ask me what I wanted for MY birthday dinner. And each year, the answer was the same -- chicken cacciatore and cherry pie. To this day, the smell of chicken and peppers simmering away on the stove takes me back. Way back. Back to the days when a bowl of chicken cacciatore could rectify any wrongs. And cherry pie healed all wounds.

These days it take a bit more than cherry pie to heal what ails me (especially if you're referring to the nasty viral infection that hit me this past week). But, a good pot of cacciatore still goes a long way in turning around a bad day.

This cacciatore is a recipe we've made over and over, tweaking it to the extent that we can make it pretty much with our eyes closed. Since cacciatore recipes vary greatly, this one is probably just as authentic (or inauthentic) as any. The possible twist is that it contains artichoke hearts in addition to the (prerequisite) peppers.

Start off with a few staples from your spice cupboard -- a bay leaf, some basil, some oregano, red pepper flakes, and a bit of thyme. Take a photo, if you like... herbs tend to be serious attention hogs at our house, so we like to patronize them a bit.
For me, the mainstay of any cacciatore is sweet peppers. This is the perfect recipe to use up some of those beautiful peppers you've frozen from the previous summer's bounty. But, if you're out of those (as we are by now), you can feel free to substitute fresh peppers from the market.
You'll also want a few nice fresh chicken thighs -- which you'll coat with a bit of seasoned flour and brown up nicely in your Dutch oven.
Then, saute your peppers with some onions and garlic. Add a bit of tomato paste and those delectable seasonings...
And then throw in a bit of red wine. Once the wine reduces, you'll want to add more canned tomatoes to the mix.
And then nestle those chicken thighs back into the pot.
Put a cover on your pot and slip it into a moderate oven for about 40 minutes or so...
And wait patiently. When the pot comes out, and you remove the cover, it's going to smell positively divine. You'll want to remove the chicken thighs for a bit, stir in some artichoke hearts (yes, see, this is where things start getting really good), and allow them to heat through. Then, add the chicken back in and get ready to serve.
This cacciatore is nice on a bed of mashed potatoes... or rice. You also can't beat serving this with some nice crusty (garlic) bread to mop up all that delicious sauce.

I really like to pull the leftover chicken off the bone and serve it for dinner the next night with pasta. In fact, leftover chicken cacciatore makes some of the best baked ziti you've ever had in your life when tossed with pasta and a bit of mozzarella cheese and then baked for 30-40 minutes. Gosh, just the thought of it gets my saliva glands working over time.

Make it quick, before the spring breezes carry you away!

Chicken Cacciatore

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