Author Archive | Kala Riddle

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Muesli Musings

The Fruits of Summer

This is the time of year when sunshine is bursting in the flesh of sweet sweet fruit. Sunlight muscles out the darkness of night, and we have more time for all the things on our never-ending to-do list. One thing I always find is that more light hours of the day do not necessarily yield more tasks done, as the sweltering heat commands a level of respect and relaxation in the middle of the day. Time is at once accelerated and stagnant in the rippling heat waves of our longest days.

It’s these pockets of time that teach me to slow down and make time for what I want. When I take the time to be still and observe, I notice buzzing bees, busy ants, playful birds, and the fragrant bellow of fruit ripening into bright, drippy color. I can even detect the smallest rhythmic dance of leaves stirred by a hot dry breeze. 

This stillness of nature is there every moment of every day when we’re all bustling about our days and counting through the tasks to complete. I invite you this season to slow down and enjoy the fruit of summer. Savor each as … Read More

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New-Age Country Breakfast

 

One of the things that makes food so enjoyable is its ability to capture memories, powerful, sensory, olfactory memories born from food and packaged forever into our brains. Triggered by the spicy smell of thickening sausage gravy, the hiss of apples cooking in brown butter, and the sight of an over-crowded pie pan filled with white biscuits, I am nine years old and I can eat more biscuits and gravy than my grown grandfather.

Isn’t it funny how food has such control over us? Funny though food is, stored in the mind as a positive or negative experience with emotions to boot, it’s even funnier knowing that those emotions are actually born from deep within your gut.

Inside the deepest depths of your core, there are roughly 400 different species of bacteria—thus those bacterial genes outnumber our human genes thirtyfold. In essence, we are all more bacteria than we are human—which is a crazy thought. These critters make up what we call the human microbiome, and it houses 95% of your feel-good serotonin production. They work for us to keep us balanced, regular, and happy, so long as we feed them well, meaning with simple, whole foods.

Whole foods, Read More

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Secret Ingredient Vegetable Stock

Ahhh simmering stock: to me the smells of autumn and winter, literal house warming, and a most timely recycling opportunity.

It amazes me that from papery onion and garlic skins, winter squash seed pulp, onion ends with root hairs intact, herbaceous thyme and parsley stems, fibrous kale stems, tough fennel cores, lemongrass clippings, carrot tops, mushroom stalks and celery butts, we can extract healthful and flavorful nutrients into water, transforming it from bland beverage to nourishing tonic that breathes new life into the meals that feed your family throughout the year.

It’s ridiculously simple: keep a gallon-sized plastic bag in the freezer to collect vegetable scraps, accumulate enough to make a handsome amount of stock, cover with water, season with salt, and simmer away unattended for a while. There is one other piece that you’re missing in your stock pot and it is likely another item that is being tossed into the waste bin after one-pot pasta dinners: parmesan rinds!

This often-discarded part of the cheese wheel still has something to offer. Once you reach the hardened outer rim of your cheese chunk, toss it into your pot of vegetable stock and find a punch of umami and depth of Read More

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U-Pick Pomegranates

With a singleton and two sets of twins, life on a cul de sac in Orland felt claustrophobic.  The simple country life beckoned and the Wunsch family made the brave decision to follow their dream of raising their five children on the Corning country side, instilling in them the honest values of hard work, fresh air, and wide open spaces.

“It was my husband, Eric’s, idea to plant pomegranates,” Suzanne recollected with an infectiously wonderful personality. I could almost hear her smile through the phone when we spoke the first time.

“It’s very rare to find a person who doesn’t like pomegranates. I think I’ve only ever met two. Most people think, ‘pomegranates – I love pomegranates!’”

With a passion for pomegranates, Eric and Suzanne Wunsch planted their first acre of drought-tolerant pomegranate trees on Halloween Day with their children in 2004. Their intention was to harvest their own estate pomegranates to make jelly for their friends and family every year.

They planted six more acres before 2009. The plan was to sell their fruit to packers, until neighbors and friends growing pomegranates commercially relayed the low prices pomegranates were bringing in at the time. Going into the pomegranate business Read More

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