Tag Archive | fruit

Recipe: Beinarian Slatkos with Kara, Kelan, or Nanla Filling

Created for The Great Succession Crisis and appearing in the 2nd Edition  (recipe was deleted for the Third Edition; both editions are available in paperback), slatkos are a fusion of breakfast pastry with Italian cannolis and filled with approximations of Beinarian kara, kelan, or nanli fruits.

slatkos

Beinarian Slatkos with Kara, Kelan, or Nanla Filling

Created by Laurel A. Rockefeller; Kristeen Shuga and Alayna Hoglund of “What’s the Occasion” bakery.

 

Beinarian slatkos are buttery baked pastry filled with fruit fillings popular across Beinan at formal events and sometimes for breakfast.  Slatkos made be filled with any number of fruits and/or nuts from across the planet.  While kara, kelan, nanla, and other Beinarian trees cannot grow here, their flavors can be closely replicated as demonstrated in this easy recipe.  It works best when stainless steel cannoli forms are put in the middle while baking; without the forms, each slatko bakes completely flat, greatly reducing the amount of filling and requiring the scooping out of some of the bread in the middle.

 

Pastry Puff Shells

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup cold butter, divided

¼ cup ice water

1 ½ teaspoons water

2 tablespoons beaten egg

 

  1. In a small bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in ¼ cup butter until crumbly. Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until a ball forms. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12 inch x 6 inch rectangle.

 

  1. Cut remaining butter into thin slices. Starting at a short side of dough, arrange half of the thin butter slices over two-thirds of rectangle to within ½ inch of edges. Fold unbuttered third of dough over middle third. Fold remaining third over the middle, forming a 6 inch x 4 inch rectangle. Roll dough into a 12 inch x 6 inch rectangle.

 

  1. Repeat steps of butter layering and dough folding until all the butter is incorporated into the dough, ending with a 6 inch x 4 inch rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate for 15 minutes. Roll dough into a 12 inch x 6 inch rectangle once more. Fold in half lengthwise and then width-wise. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate for 1 hour.

 

  1. In a small bowl, combine egg and water. Roll dough into a 12 inch square; cut into four squares. Brush with half of the egg mixture. Place squares onto cookie sheet and grab the two opposite corners and connect them over a stainless steel cannoli form.

 

  1. Bake at 450° for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool until warm but not burning hot. Gently slide cannoli form out.  Cool completely.  Fill as directed below.

Substitution: baked shell dough may be substituted with crescent roll or turnover dough located in your local grocery store. Of the “crescent” dough options available in the supermarket, we prefer the new Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations Seamless Dough Sheet which is uncut crescent bread dough. To use pre-purchased dough, simply unroll, separate (or cut to size if using the dough sheet), bring the corners together over each cannoli form, seal, bake, and fill.  For the flakiest shells, use turnover dough or Grands biscuit dough rolled/pressed out to size.

 

Fillings:

1 ½ cups berries or chopped fruit

¼ cup sugar (if the fruit is tart or slightly unripe)

3 tablespoons cornstarch diluted in enough COLD water to dissolve it.

 

  1. Puree with blender or mash thoroughly to a smooth to slightly lumpy consistency. Push through a sieve if you want to remove the seeds. Put puree in a pot on medium heat on the stovetop; add sugar and starch liquid; stir constantly. Bring to a boil until well thickened. Cool completely. This will become very thick and tastes very fresh.

 

  1. Once cooled, place some filling into either pastry bag or a sandwich bag. Cut hole into bag and squeeze slightly into pastry to pipe in the filling. Alternatively, a small spoon can be used to carefully fill each slatko shell. It is easier if you fill half on one side and half on the other as well.

 

Beinarian fillings:

 

Kara fruit filling

¾ cup blackberries (approximately 1 6 oz. container)

¾ cup blueberries (just under ½ of a standard pint container)

 

Kelan fruit filling

¾ cup blackberries (approximately 1 6 oz. container)

¾ cup lingonberries (approximately ¼ to ⅓ pound)

 

Nanla fruit filling

1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and chopped into small but not fine chunks

¾ cup kiwi fruit (about 1 to 2 fruit, depending on size), peeled and chopped

 

Nanla fruit filling should be coarser than most slatko fillings; do not puree completely smooth.

 

Toppings:

 

After baking and filling, the tubes may be doused with powdered sugar, sprinkles, iced at the ends, or just left plain.

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UK Holiday: UK rules for personal foodstuffs less strict than USA rules

The count down is on for my flight and the excitement is building.  I am making my food shopping list, checking it twice, and going to find out who is naughty and nice! (Couldn’t help the pun).

jerky

You can’t bring the beef jerky into the UK nor bring UK origin beef jerky into the USA. The trail mix is fine going into the UK, but must be declared at customs returning to the USA.

Time to really look at government websites and see what is and is not allowed.  Fortunately my post from yesterday seems to be spot-on with regards to what you can bring into the United Kingdom from outside of Europe.  As specified on gov.uk, the main restrictions relate to meat and dairy.  If you go through the page, HM government is very detailed and very explicit on the matter — which is good because no one wants problems at customs.  You can consume meat and dairy to your heart’s content on your flight from USA to UK — at long as you throw away the leftovers before you land.

The USA is apparently much more strict about food coming home from another country.  Looking at the US Customs and Border Protection site and their FAQ for travelers you cannot bring ANY fresh food of any type into the United States.  Anything you do bring with you (aka you didn’t throw away before you disembark from your plane into the USA) must be declared OR YOU FACE a $10,000 FINE.

$10,000 for not saying “I have some crackers in my bag.”

apricots

These apricots are allowed into the UK without any issues. But if I don’t eat them while on holiday and try to bring them back into the USA, I must declare them at customs — or face a $10,000 fine!

Absolutely NO fresh food is allowed into the USA at all.  According to the FAQ, most dried fruits and nuts ARE allowed — as long as you declare them.  Likewise, as long as you tell them, it’s not an issue if you save your pretzels from your flight to eat while you are waiting to change planes.

But it is a bit telling.  I really never expected the flight back to the USA to be more risky than the flight to the United Kingdom.

Well, maybe this is just the universe’s way of telling me something I already know about myself — and where I am happiest!

Frugal Parrot Food: How to Buy Bird Seed for Less

Originally posted January 25, 2012

I love my bird. Like most dedicated aviculturists and pet owners, I care a great deal about helping my birds live long, healthy, and happy lives. A well-balanced diet for most companion birds consists of fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and commercially available pellets. Most people feed pre-mixed diets from pet stores. But as with many cat and dog foods, these pre-mixed diets tend to be filled with low-nutrition fillers that add to the price, but not the health of your bird.

So what is the answer and how can you save money on bird food? Make your own healthy, well-balanced food mix. In this article, I will cover my best tips/tricks for buying the seed and nut portion of your bird’s diet.

1) Whole, natural format seeds and grains cost less and work better than their more expensive, bagged, counter-parts.

Find these at your local feed mill for a savings of 50-90%. Often what you want will not be marked as for birds, so instead look for these seeds/nuts fed to companion birds at your area feed mill:

Seeds:
oats
safflower seeds
wheat
white millet
spray millet (aka finger and/or foxtail millet)
cracked corn (select species)
sunflower seeds (bagged and sunflower heads)

Nuts (buy whole for larger species; chopped, sliced, and/or slivered for smaller species:
almonds
walnuts
pecans
brazil nuts (larger species)
peanuts

2) Shop the baking section of your area grocery store/fruit-nut store for nuts

Nuts are easily found at your local grocery store. Look for chopped and slivered choices for small to medium birds and whole versions for larger species. Large cockatoos and macaws should be fed nuts in the shell.
3) Utilize the “wild bird” sections of stores.

Foods fed to wild birds are often the same as those fed to companion birds. The wild bird section of discount department stores like Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and Target often sell bagged single seeds at the same or lower prices than pet stores. This does not mean you will automatically save money at these stores–but it helps to include discount department store wild bird sections when comparison shopping!
4) Buy from farms whenever possible.

Farms charge less than any other retailer for their products. As a rule, the more steps between the farm and you, the higher the price. Farmers markets, road-side stands, feed mills, and local markets help you buy direct. Farms offer everything from sunflower heads (my birds prefer sunflower heads over loose sunflower seeds) to nutritious spray millet and beyond. Many farmers have their own websites and eBay stores, so it pays to search these sources.

By using these four tips, you will save somewhere between 50% and 90% every time you buy seeds and nuts. That leaves you more money for pellets, fruits, and vegetables for a healthier bird and heavier wallet.

Bon appétit!

Eating Kosher: Why You Don’t Need to Be Jewish to Eat a (Largely) Kosher Diet

This April 10th, 2012 article explains exactly what kosher means for those of us not raised eating it.

 

Eating Kosher: Why You Don’t Need to Be Jewish to Eat a (Largely) Kosher Diet

You have been eating kosher all your life. You probably never realized it when your mom served you cookies, pickles, or even apple juice, but whether you are a Jew or a gentile, kosher has been part of your meals from the beginning. It’s everywhere in the supermarket, even if you were not paying attention to those little symbols like the capital “U” in a circle that is the trademark of the “Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations” certifying that a given food is kosher (see more on rabbinical kosher foods and the marks used to certify foods as such see,http://everything2.com/title/kosher+symbols). But if you really look for these symbols you will notice just how prolific kosher foods are at ordinary supermarkets throughout the U.S.

Then there are the Jewish grocery stores and specialty stores found in major cities featuring specific kosher brands many gentiles have never seen in stores before, much less tried. Whether it’s a Jewish bakery featuring every day breads and desserts, Jewish butchers, or even restaurants, you’ll find a dazzling array of kosher foods in major cities.

But, major supermarket brands aside, aren’t kosher foods just for Jews? Originally, perhaps-before pink slime, by-product laden convenience foods, and heavily processed boxed dinners full of ingredients even chemists have a hard time pronouncing! But as we strive to eat healthier and better control what we eat, I’ve discovered the kosher foods I ate by default in Midwood, Brooklyn have qualities that fit very well with my goals for a healthier, less processed diet:

Kosher foods are not made of by-products and garbage meats. By definition, skin, tendons, bones, and other garbage meats are not ground up and put in beef and chicken foods (even hotdogs) certified kosher. While these by-products often make their way into commercial pet foods, humans are specifically not allowed to eat these scrap, “pink-slime” components under rabbinical law.

To be certified kosher EVERY ingredient must comply with rabbinical rules. This limits the number of trace ingredients that are included as part of the processing and what sort of trace ingredients can be included. Kosher is therefore important for those with food allergies as it requires stricter labeling than currently required by the FDA, limiting allergen exposure risks.

Most fresh, whole fruits and vegetables are kosher. There is a reason you don’t buy apples or cranberries with a sticker on it certifying them as kosher. That is because fresh, whole fruits and vegetables are typically kosher. In fact, eating whole fruits and vegetables prepared at home in recipes is one of the easiest ways to keep kosher-but watch any non-fruit or vegetable ingredients like milk, butter, oils, or meats that you might add. Salad dressings can affect whether or not your otherwise veggies remain kosher. While absolute compliance is a non-issue for gentiles (and in fact many veggies a gentile expects to be kosher are not) and less of an issue for many reform Jews, it is helpful for everyone to think about what and how much we add to our fruits and vegetables as it is very easy to destroy many of the health benefits of eating whole fruits/vegetables.

Kosher foods taste good unto themselves. Most non-Jews have not considered eating hamatachen, charoset, challah, kosher sushi, or other distinctly kosher/Jewish foods, but like any other style of cuisine, there are delicious goodies to be found among kosher/Jewish cuisine. Walk into any Jewish bakery in Brooklyn and you will find breads, pastries, and desserts that no one can refuse. Don’t feel you need to be Jewish to indulge; most people who eat Mexican or Italian foods are neither Mexican nor Italian in heritage! Expand your palate!

Consider kosher foods for your pets. This may sound odd, but yes, there is such a thing as kosher pet food. As with human kosher foods, these foods avoid the by-products and junk foods we seen in many traditional brands. The need for strictly kosher pet foods is highly debated across rabbinical literature, but the consensus seems to be kosher pet food is mostly a non-issue except for observant Jews during Passover. At Passover, kosher food for pets is preferred.

Eating kosher is only mandatory for Jews, but with an open mind and a taste for enjoying a broad range of foods, gentiles can discover the healthy benefits and tasty delights of eating Kosher-Jewish cuisine–for you and your pet.

For more information, please see http://everything2.com/title/kosher+symbolshttp://star-k.org/kashrus/kk-issues-pets.htmhttp://www.evangersdogfood.com/kosher.php,http://www.star-k.org/kashrus/kk-passover-petfood.htm,http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/holidays/passover/charosetrecipes,http://www.oukosher.org/index.php/,http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Traditional-Hamantaschen-13706,http://www.epicurious.com/tools/searchresults?search=challah&x=24&y=13.

Beneath the Nara Tree: Global Warming, Food Forests, and the Beinarian Nara tree

Forest lake in summer

Forest lake in summer (Photo credit: Axel-D)

Food forests are the latest urban trend designed to combat global warming while offering free, fresh food to the food insecure.  The concept is simple:  provide an urban oasis of fruit and nut trees, fruit-bearing bushes, herbs, and other edibles which are free to harvest and eat to any and all visitors.  In 2013, Seattle became the first municipality to offer its residents food forest, starting a new trend which promises to provide quality food to those who need it most, combating obesity among the poor in the process.

Planting food forests also make sense when it comes to global warming and the extreme weather that comes with it.  Trees reduce CO2 emissions, offer habit to birds and other animals, and restore oxygen to our atmosphere.

Caring for the environment as much as I do, it only made sense then to include trees into my world building for the Peers of Beinan series and to make trees the ultimate solution to brown eye syndrome.  In brown eye syndrome (so named because the iris of suffers turns brown), two of the five photo receptors in Beinarian eyes are destroyed by exposure to high concentrations of argene. Argene (thorium 232) is highly radioactive.  But one tree on Beinan, the nara tree, reduces argene toxicity — when planted in large enough numbers.

This emulates the impact of trees on our own planet.  A single tree by itself will not stop global warming.  But dozens, hundreds, and thousands of trees altogether will.   Replanting our forests and filling up abandoned urban spaces with food forests is critical to any effort to counter-act the effects of global warming.

On Beinan, nara trees offer not just the ability to neutralize argene toxicity.  Nara trees are prolific fruiting trees that are at the core of Beinarian food forests, an aspect I added to them after researching food forests across the United States.  Wood from nara trees is especially light and strong, making it perfect for building heritage sailing vessels like the “Nenel” in Ghosts of the Past.  Its flexibility makes it ideal for heritage bows.  Beinarians plant it in large numbers because in every way, nara trees benefit their society.

We can make our world better through trees too.  Across public parks, botanical gardens, and yes, our own yards, we can plant fruit and nut bearing trees to nourish our bodies, clean the air, and make our world a nicer place to live.

As the commercial says, “a world without trees is not a world for me.”

Do your part.  Support community gardens and food forests in your area. And of course, support the Arbor Day Foundation in replanting trees destroyed by fire, flood, and logging.