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  • "The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Perfect Dried Beans: Tips and Techniques"

    The Easiest and quickest way to cook dried beans Pro Tip: Use a stainless-steel strainer to catch the foam from the beans. Dried Beans These directions are for dried beans, except for lentils and split peas. They don't need to soak, but they do need to defoam. Wash the beans in a bowl, use your hand to smooth around them, pour off, start over with fresh water in the bowl, then carefully lift out the beans little by little, checking for any stones, gravel, sand, etc. When you get to the bottom, be careful only to lift out the beans, but not any water. Soak the beans in the new bowl, cover them with at least one inch of water, and protect against dust with a cover. You can soak overnight or anytime, usually around 8 hours or until they expand. Some people use soaking water; I prefer to give it to my plants, compost, or worm farm. Start again with fresh water. Transfer the beans to the cooking pot, where you do not want ANY sand, etc., to be added to the pot. Lift the beans carefully, watching as they go into the pot; use your hand. According to the recipe, add the Kombu and freshwater after they are all in the pot. Be on the side of more because beans get very starchy and thicken towards the end. Bring the pot to a boil with no lid. Once boiling, watch for the foam to rise, use a small flat stainless-steel strainer to lift off the foam, and discard. I may need to do it twice. Lower the flame and use a heat diffuser to prevent sticking. Cook for about 45 minutes in a pressure cooker; without pressure, it may take a couple of hours, depending on the bean. Once soft, add salt and simmer for at least 40 minutes. Then, add soy sauce for seasoning. I only add soy sauce at the end and never boil it again. Do not stir beans until done, it releases the starch causing the bottom to stick or burn. Perfect beans will have a clean bottom of the pan at the end of cooking. PRO TIP: Miso and soy sauce are live foods, they contain active enzymes, waiting to be awakened as a probiotic and join your micro biome family. If they are boiled, they die. So always be conscious of not boiling once added. It is so easy to make mistakes. MARY'S TIP: If you want to use the beans for future dishes to keep longer, separate some first, then add vegetables to the ones you will be using right away. Beans by themselves can keep for a good week in the fridge. 11. Add the sea salt after the beans are soft. If added initially, they do not cook properly; adding Kombu adds minerals to the beans and makes them more digestible, meaning no gas if you get my meaning. Remember the old saying: Beans, Beans are good for the heart; the more you eat, the more you fart, the more you fart, the better you feel, so, eat beans at every meal."

  • "Unlocking the Potential of Polenta: From Ordinary to Premier Performer"

    How to Make Polenta in an Array of Presentations, starting with one simple recipe. I use Freshly Ground Organic Dried Whole Corn to makes this creamy warming dish that can be used in so many ways. Recipe for Basic Polenta 4 cups water, 1 1/2 cups fresh ground (optional) polenta, 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. salt Bring water to a boil, turn to low, use a whisk, slowly in batches, continuously stir in the polenta with the whisk. After all the polenta is in the pot, keep stirring until the polenta thickens. Put a flame tamer under the pot cover, and cook for 35 to 40 minutes. Periodically, give another soft stir, keep the bottom from sticking. Pour into a glass dish to mold if you want to use it for future ways. Cover with a plasic wrap, try not to touch the polenta with it, just cover over the edges of the dish. Allow to cool, maybe keeping one edge opened so it cools faster. Pro-Tip: Apply a tiny smear of olive oil (or your oil choice) around the dish to help for ease in taking it out. Once the polenta forms a mould, you can use it in various ways, cutting in fun shapes, using cookie cutters. Suggestions: pan sautéed with olive or sesame oil, broiled with a sauce, roll in toasted seeds, make a tomato or red pepper coulis, serve with seasoned portabella mushrooms, and boundless creativity is in your imagination to come up with the variety of polenta accompaniments. If you want to make soft creamy polenta for let's say cereal, then add another 1/2 cup or more water for desired consistency.

  • "5 Reasons to Book Mary's Warm Residential Retreat for a Healthy Cooking Experience"

    Would you like to join Mary and her adorable dogs for a relaxing retreat by the shore? We're just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the stunning Jersey beach and the calming ocean shores of Ocean City to Cape May. Enjoy the local area where you will find antique shops and the best of seashore restaurants from Asian, Italian and of course numerous seafood and outdoor choices. Come unwind in the tranquil atmosphere of this serene farming area, surrounded by lush trees, singing birds, and warm sunshine. Calm yourself on our front porch with its morning sunshine, and if you're looking for some shade, the umbrellas on our inviting back deck will protect you throughout the afternoon. Our garden is a magical oasis that's constantly changing, providing the perfect escape to breathe in the fresh ocean air and immerse yourself in the soothing sounds of nature. Wake up to a delightful breakfast with organic choices such as pancakes made with freshly ground whole corn, sweet rice mochi waffles, homemade breads, warm cereals, homemade granola, fresh fruit, sauces and much more. Our cozy retreat offers comfy private rooms, complete with organic bedding, shared indoor bathrooms, and an invigorating outdoor shower. Vegetarian/vegan cooking classes and meal options available. For more information and details: Contact us today!

  • Delicious and Healthy Stuffed Cucumber Rolls - A Perfect Appetizer for Any Occasion

    Stuffed Cucumber Rolls In the summer and warmer weather it is so refreshing to have cucumbers in our lives. They are so cooling, full of life's moisture, amd the cool crispness we crave during the heat of constant soft warmth. All you need to do is peel a cucumber cut in one inch to two inch lengths, use a cucmber corer or scoop out the center, (use for stock) and wrap it in anything that will stay wrapped. Suggestions: Use Nori sea vegetable to wrap the inner portions, such as cooked rice, tasty crushed cooked seasoned beans, a tofu mixture, fresh micro greens, red or white raddishes, slivered carrots, the list is endless and fun to create. Remember to put a bit of a yummy taste inside to make the whole dish pop with flavor: such as, hints of wasabi, ginger, mint, cilantro, toasted sesame oil, miso, lemon, lime, crushed toasted sesame seeds, tahini, pickles, ginger pickles. You want to enhance the cooling refreshment, nothing heavy, very light.

  • "Exploring the Nutritional Benefits and Delicious Recipes of Natto: A Japanese Superfood"

    Natto is made from cooked whole soybeans that have been fermented with koji spores. Once it is prepared, there is no need for further cooking. It is usually served as a side dish as an accompaniment with grains and noodles. It can be prepared by stirring it to bring out the stickiness, then adding different flavors, such as soy sauce, grated fresh ginger, daikon raddish, jinenjo mountain potato, mustard, horse raddish, chives, scallions, nori slivers, and other seasonings. It can be made at home with a bit of preparation and can be purchased in Asian markets or online. I find it is difficult to find Natto made with organic soybeans, so I am going to attempt to make it at home. I ordered the Kawashimayo Natto Starter Powder through Amazon, will update when I do it. I made it years ago with Sensei Muramoto, and remember that it was very different and more delicious than the frozen packages available. Natto has a distinctive smell and flavor that people either love it or hate it. I have heard that people who eat alot of dairy do not like it, I am not sure how true that is. The benefits to enjoying Natto are enormous. It is a super nutritious food. It is originated in Japan, where the cooked soybeans were wrapped in rice straw which naturally had the bacillus subtillis bacteria on its surface. This allowed the sugar in the beans to ferment creating Natto. Soybeans are a very hard bean. It takes a long time to cook them. Soybeans are a very important part of the vegetarian diet because they are a one of the highest quality sources of plant based protein, vitamins, minerals and isoflanones. They do contain anti-nutrients such as lectins, however, it has been studied that fermentation reduces the content by 95%. Ingredients One container of natto Two scallions chopped Grated ginger about one Tbsp. use the squeezed juice Soy sauce to taste. Stir the natto until the sticky sauce comes out. Add all the ingredients and mix well. Serve immediately. Goes well noodles dishes such as udon or soba, also with cooked grain, especially brown rice. Grated daikon raddish, grated raw apple, toasted sesame seeds and nori slivers are all great accompaniments.

  • "How to Make Delicious Stuffed Tofu with Veggies for a Healthy, Flavorful Meal"

    Ingredients One block firm tofu One small onion diced One carrot diced One-half each red, green, yellow peppers One cup fresh or frozen peas One-half cup corn Fresh parsley chopped as a garnish cooked and added raw. Three cups water One to two tablespoons soy sauce to taste Toasted organic sesame oil or any good quality oil about 2 cups One quarter cup of starch such as Kuzu root powder or organic flour mix with one half water Chopped scallions for garnish Drain the tofu to let out excess liquid. This can be done just by putting a weight on top of the tofu block, allowing it drain on to a towel or sink for at least 2 hours. Slice tofu in 1/2 inches. Then cut across on the diagonal making a triangle. Deep fry in good quality oil until golden brown, drain, rinse. Slice into the center of the tofu to create a triangle pouch. Put in a saucepan with about 3 cups water, bring to boil, add tofu, allow to cook until tofu floats. Lower flame, add soy sauce (choice) simmer. DO NOT BOIL ONCE SOY SAUCE IS IN - ALWAYS. This is a bit of a fancy dish, it can have a pretty presentation and can be very tasty. It is not a beginners recipe because it has many steps.

  • "Preserving the Harvest: A Guide to Making Dried Persimmons at Home"

    When I lived in Southern California, studying with Sensei Muramoto, we made dried persimmons. We would get cases of them. It was early winter and he had a wood burning stove, since it would get chilly. He built what appeared to be a make shift fort to dry the peeled persimmons. He used grass mats and built them all around the wood burning stove. We would sit for hours peeling them. He took great pride in being able to peel the whole fruit with one long peel. I never could do it. Every day, he would turn them. When they began to be more dry, he would press them slightly in the middle. It took several weeks before they were ready. In the morning, we would slice them in slivers and serve them with green tea. It was the most delightful combination. He said it created a seventh taste. After I moved back to Philadelphia, we remained good friends. Every year, he would send me a big box of dried persimmons for Christmas. And every year, I would send him a wool vest with leather buttons from Lord & Taylor. My children and I loved them. His persimmons were the most beautiful, they would have a natural sugary coating and beautiful texture and sweetness. His hands had golden microbes. Every food he touched blossomed into it's most highest potential. There is no real recipe to creating dried persimmons. Buy fresh persimmons not too ripe. Wash and then carefully peel the skin off, leaving as much fruit as possible. Set them out on a clean straw mat or something that would be makeshift. The area should be warm, near a wood burning stove. Make sure they don't touch each other. With clean dry hands, turn them each day. When they begin to crystalize on the outside, press the center slightly. When they are completely dried yet tender, store them in a dry air paper box, like card board, with wax or parchment paper to store. I would slice them and best serve with green tea.

  • "Delicious and Easy Recipe for Homemade Fresh Cranberry Sauce"

    Every year before Thanksgiving, I look for fresh organic cranberries, they are not always easy to find. More recently, I no longer have to hike to the distant only "health food store", for many organic items that once were scarce, are now available in our local super markets. Happily, my two daughters always want me to make enough of my cranberry sauce for them to serve during the holidays. This recipe can be adapted by just cutting the amounts in half. Cranberry sauce keeps very well in the refrigerator in a glass tight fitting container, for two weeks. It also can be frozen, however, the quality is not the same, still good though. Ingredients 4 cups fresh cranberries - one lb. 2 cups apple juice or unsweetened cranberry juice 1 Tbsp. agar / kanten flakes or one tsp. agar powder 1/2 to 3/4 cup maple syrup 2 Tbsp. kuzu root starch or arrowroot starch mixed with 2 Tbsp. juice 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cloves to your taste (start with 1/4) Pinch seasalt Orange zest and orange juice to taste(optional) Directions Place cranberries in a pot of fresh cold water, discard any berries that float to the top, use you hands and take out the cranberries to place in a strainer. Use your fingers to check and discard any more soft or damaged berries. Rinse the good berries once more under water. Set aside. Bring juice and agar to a boil, lower the flame and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes. Do not stir, strain the juice mixture to another pot. There will be a bit of sediment from the agar, thus the reason for straining it out. If you stir the liquid then it never separates. That's how I was taught and I'm sticking to it. You can stir if you want. Add the berries to the cooked liquid, allow them to cook until they begin to pop and swell up, lower the flame. Mix starch with juice until completely dissolved, slowly add to the sauce, stirring until thickened. Add the spices, be careful with cloves, make sure it is in powder form. I like to grind my own whole cloves, so I have to be sure to sift them. Turn the flame off. Add a little fresh squeezed orange juice and a little organic orange rind for extra zest. Hope your enjoy this recipe, please let me know.

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