Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Day In The Life...

Yesterday's Sunrise
Click on photo to enlarge - © 2008 jim otterstrom

At 7:08 yesterday morning Dallas and I were walking westward along the north shore of Big Bear Lake into an icy wind as the sun rose from the east to reveal the front of a storm moving over the ridges into the valley.

I was bundled up in several layers, with two pairs of mittens on, and still had to guzzle my dandelion/licorice root/ginger/turmeric tea down so I could put my insulated mug in my backpack, thus enabling me to keep my hands warmer in my pockets.

Furry ol' Dallas was unfazed though, alternating between wading in the ice water, and curiously sniffing through the brush along the shore.

I should've worn Thinsulate gloves and a parka instead of the mittens and thermal vest, but the storm was moving in earlier than predicted so I didn't really expect it to be that cold and windy on the lake yet.

Throughout our 2+ hour walk I was on the edge of discomfort but it was such a beautiful morning I didn't want to turn around, and besides, Dallas was having a blast.

So, I just occupied my mind with other things than the bitter cold and we made it all the way over to Juniper Point and back, about 5 miles round trip, with many stops to take photos and enjoy the scenery.

When we got home Peggy scrambled up some home grown eggs, with baked garlic, onions, tomato, green chili pepper & turmeric, and we juiced up a blend of beets, carrots, kale, parsley, cucumber, apple and ginger.

Once breakfast was over we bundled up again and went outside to prune the pear tree and clean up some winter debris in the yard & gardens.

We let our hens, and Boris the banty rooster, out of the chicken yard to roam the native plant garden in search of chicken delicacies.

We then uncovered our beds of winter greens, which were getting too warm this past week or so, with the spring like daytime temps, and decided to leave them uncovered to reap the benefits of the coming snowfall.

The greens (several types of lettuce, spinach, kale & green onions), have survived the frozen winter in their covered raised beds and are certainly hardy enough to withstand a March snowstorm or two. Very cold temps may slow them down a bit but the greens will spring back with the slightest warming daytime temperatures, especially after a healthful natural drenching.

We had some cord wood that was too long for our woodstove and I had cut that down to under 18" on Friday, so I cleaned up the scrap and sawdust from that project before snow started falling in the early afternoon.

The rest of the day was spent indoors by the warmth of a fire while Peggy put together a delicious Mushroom Tofu Stroganoff for dinner (see recipe at bottom of post).

By late afternoon snow was falling heavy, but intermittently, with patches of blue sky in between. We woke up this morning to enjoy our green tea with a view of 4 1/2 inches of fresh, light, white powder.

For breakfast today it's cooked buckwheat, quinoa flakes & oats with hemp hearts, banana, raspberries, blueberries and almond soymilk.

The appetizer was another juice blend of beet, carrot, kale, apple & ginger.


Today, at 8:30 A.M.
Click on photo to enlarge - © 2008 jim otterstrom
Adapted to our own particular tastes from
The Tassajara Recipe Book


Prepare yogurt cheese* and marinate tofu** at least 24 hours before you plan to prepare the meal.

1 16-ounce block of tofu, pressed, drained, and marinated**(see marinade recipe below)
3 tablespoons avocado (or sunflower seed) oil
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon Bragg’s liquid amino’s (or substitute with more tamari or soy sauce)
1 large yellow onion, diced medium-small
1 pound Crimini or Shiitake mushrooms
5 cloves minced garlic
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon dried thyme (or ½ teaspoon fresh thyme, minced)
½ cup of dry sherry or red wine
1 cup of vegetable broth
1 ½ cups of yogurt cheese* (drain 32 oz. of plain yogurt through cheesecloth overnight in refrigerator)
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste.

Drain the marinated tofu (see recipe below)** on a slanted board while you gather and prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Cut the tofu into strips or cubes and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or so.
Remove and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of avocado oil in a 12-inch sauté pan.
When the oil is hot, add the onions. Sauté them on a high heat until they begin to brown, then turn down the heat and cook the onions carefully until they begin to caramelize, stirring frequently. This will take about 15 minutes. They should be soft. While they are cooking, slice the mushrooms about ¼ inch thick, chop the garlic, and warm the vegetable broth.

Mix the garlic, paprika, and thyme into the cooked onions. Add the remaining tablespoon of avocado (or sunflower seed) oil, the tamari and the Bragg’s liquid amino’s. Add the mushrooms, sprinkle on the turmeric, and salt & pepper to taste while carefully stirring.

Once the mushrooms begin to cook, add the marinated tofu** (see below), the sherry or wine, and let bubble & simmer for 8-10 minutes.
Add the heated broth to the yogurt cheese. Once the mushrooms are sufficiently cooked, add the yogurt cheese & broth mix to the mushroom pan.

Cook until the sauce is hot (just a few minutes) and reduced to the thickness you want. Try not to boil the sauce for too long or the yogurt cheese will curdle.

Check the seasonings and serve over brown rice.

Tofu Marinade**
Also adapted to our tastes from The Tassajara Recipe Book

2 blocks of firm tofu (the stroganoff recipe only calls for one block of tufo but you can marinade the second one and save it for another meal)
½ ounce Crimini or Shiitake mushrooms
1 cup vegetable broth
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 gloves garlic, pressed or finely grated.
½ cup avocado (or sunflower seed) oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup sherry
½ cup Bragg’s liquid aminos (or tamari soy sauce)
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
pinch ground cloves
black pepper to taste

Drain & press the tofu to remove excess water.
Simmer the mushrooms in vegetable broth for 15 minutes
Toast the oregano in a small frying pan over a medium flame until it becomes aromatic (without burning).

Combine the remaining ingredients, including the oregano, to the simmering mushrooms.

Bring to a slow boil and simmer a couple of minutes longer.

Cut the tofu into four slabs.

Pour the hot marinade over the tofu slabs & marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

The tofu can marinate several days.
If the tofu was reasonably fresh and fairly dry when it was marinated, the marinade can be boiled, strained, and kept refrigerated for reuse.
I'm sorry I didn't get a picture of this delicious meal, which included steamed brussel's sprouts, and a green salad with avocado & tomato, but the wonderful aromas permeating the house all afternoon had me so distracted that the only thing on my mind was, is it time to eat yet?
Peggy said she'd been wanting to try out this recipe for quite some time, and as far as I'm concerned, this one is a keeper!

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Blogger Vickie LeBlanc said...

Beautiful pictures Jim. The picture of the fluffy snow in the trees is picture perfect... a winter wonderland postcard.

3:45 AM  
Blogger clairesgarden said...

brr, sounds chilly, Dallas is such a happy dog.
I'm getting fonder of tofu so hope to try your recipies, i'm not much of a cook.

2:00 PM  

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