Huckleberry Thinn | Food Will Get You Far – Wildly Nutritious Recipes

A food blog with nourishingly hearty, wildly nutritious & irresistibly delicious food craft inspired by my adventures and designed to motivate yours.


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maple wheat berry salad

It’s November. Breweries are unleashing fall favorites and my fiber intake is failing for it. Here’s a heaping plate of fiber, fall colors and fall flavors as complementary as pumpkin and beer.

steamboat2013

Huckleberry Thinn’s Autumn Maple Wheat Berry Salad

1 cup dried wheat berries

2 cups water

1 cup chopped butternut squash

1 cup chopped beets (sub carrots, parsnips, sweet potato, whatever)

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

~ 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Add 1 cup wheat berries and 2 cups water to a stock pot > bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook covered for ~45 minutes or until soft > meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees > chop fall favorites into small cubes and fill 2 cups > roll vegetables in 2 tablespoons of liquid coconut oil and lay out on baking sheet > bake ~ 1 hour or until soft in the middle and crispy on the edges > combine roasted vegetables and wheat berries and add ~2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Composition Tip:

Lay a lightly dressed bed of lettuce on a plate > top with a scoop of wheat berry wonder > for extra fiber, topple a handful of garbanzo beans over the pile > if it’s Friday, add feta!

maple wheat berry salad

Why wheat berries?

Wheat berries are the wholer whole wheat. They are the wholesome mother grain to whole wheat flour. That means wheat berries have an intact, unprocessed bran, germ and endosperm, which house most of the grain’s nutrition, including fiber.

Whole grains are rich with insoluble fiber that your body can’t digest.  Well, your digestive enzymes can’t, but the trillions of microbes naturally camping in your gut–your microflora–go crazy for this stuff. And that’s a good thing!

Fiber is a prebiotic; a nondigestable food ingredient that supports the growth and activity of health-promoting bacteria species.

You carry a complex ecosystem of about 500 bacteria species in your intestines. For the most part, these are good bacteria (probiotics… literally “for life”). Like an ocean, your gut ecosystem must be balanced to function in harmony.

Your friendly flora feed on fiber to maintain a good-to-bad-bacteria balance. These bacteria ferment fiber to make short-chain fatty acids (butyric, propionic and acetic acids) that create a favorable acidic environment for good gut flora to flourish.

This is extremely important because your overall health is rooted in your gut health. In fact, your belly’s bacteria account for the bulk (~70%!) of your immune system. They create a physical barrier to keep bad guys out and communicate with the cells of your immune system to storm toward unwanted invaders. They create an acidic environment that inhibits pathogenic bacteria and stimulates immune cell production. What’s more, a well-fed gut microbiota helps you digest your food and make B vitamins and vitamin K.

Embrace your bacteria ecology. Eat fiber. Enjoy fall.

Dr. Mark Hyman makes bacteria sound beautiful: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/is-your-digestive-system_b_313247.html

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roasted winter squash seeds

Without magnesium, you wouldn’t have bones. Without bones, we wouldn’t have skeletons. No skeletons, no Halloween. No wonder pumpkins–through all that brainy pulp–hold seeds with the answer for Halloweens forever. Magnesium!

Save your squash seeds.

delicata

Huckleberry Thinn’s Roasted Winter Squash Seeds

preheat oven to 300 degrees > collect seeds from your winter squash– pumpkin, acorn, butternut, delicata, spaghetti, kabocha > rinse seeds in colander to help separate from squash meat > lay seeds out to dry > mix seeds with a little bit of your favorite roasting oil > coat seeds in your favorite spice ensemble: pumpkin pie spice, chile powder and lime, cinnamon maple, curry, or good ole salt and pepper > spread seeds out on cookie sheet and roast for 15 minutes > shuffle seeds around and continue to roast until they become toasty brown > add to Huckleberry Thinn’s GORP Gone Wild

roasted pumpkin seeds

Nutrition Facts Thinn Style

How every tiny seed holds the genetic material for an entire plant is a wondrous way of wild nature. Perhaps even more wonderful is how a plant can squeeze heaps of macro and micronutrients into these little powerful plant foodstuffs.

Squash seeds, specifically pumpkin seeds, are full of magnesium, phosphorous, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, essential fatty acids, phytosterols and proteins that all contribute to whole body health.

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body and the most abundant mineral in pumpkin seeds. It is an electrolyte that can conduct electricity and create batteries in your cells that drive your physiology.

Magnesium does more that electrify your cells; it is a key for many biochemical pathways. Magnesium is a cofactor–an activator–for more than 300 enzymes that regulate biochemical reactions in your body. That’s a big deal. These are reactions that lead to protein, ATP (energy), DNA (genetic material) and bone synthesis.

By shuttling ions across cell membranes, magnesium is essential for nerve impulses and muscle contraction, even your heart beat. On a large scale, magnesium maintains blood glucose levels, controls blood pressure and contributes to bone health.

Long live Halloween!

pumpkin seeds


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hatch chile verde

While most families huddled around Cardiff campfires to cook beans and weenies, Dad insisted on firing up the Coleman at 11 a.m. and sacrificing surf to fill our bellies with chile verde. We ran around the sand until the pelicans came out for feeding, all while my dad cared for a pot of all-day-cooked pork green chile in the campsite. Now, I understand chile verde; it’s a gesture of unconditional love.

So when August rolls in, I begin my hatch hunt and hoard handfuls of the heavenly chiles so I can stew for you, just like dad stewed for me.

I’ve been working on this recipe since 2009. It came to life last month when I found Scott from Ole Dern Farm in Northern Colorado who promised me a happy pig. I had hatch chile hallucinations after my first batch, so I double checked the chile with a second batch. Holy hatch chile, this shit is that good. Recipe serves 8… warm everyone’s heart!

Thinn’s Hatch Chile Verde

2.5 lbs pork shoulder

1 cup whole wheat flour for dredging

2 russet potatoes

4 lbs fire roasted chiles (hatch if you can get em)

18 tomatillos

1 lb your favorite red tomatoes

1 onion

8 garlic cloves

1 tbs. better than bouillon chicken

2 tbs. cumin

1 tbs. mexican oregano

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. paprika

salt & pepper

—–

pepitas

cabbage

avocado

* make it animal-free by omitting pork and substituting vegetable Better Than Bouillon for chicken.

First, preheat oven on broil > husk and rinse 18 tomatillos and arrange in cast iron or casserole dish > broil until blistered

tomatillos for chile verde

Meanwhile, begin heating a well-oiled cast-iron pan > cut 2.5 pork shoulder into small cubes and dredge in whole wheat flour > salt and pepper the pork > add coated pork to the pan (should sizzle upon entry) > BROWN THE PORK ON ALL SIDES DON’T COOK THROUGH! > set pork aside.

In a large stock pot, saute 1 chopped onion in a lug of your best saute oil > once sweaty (onions, not you), add 8 cloves of chopped garlic > add 1 pound of chopped red tomatoes > add 4 pounds of rinsed and peeled fire roasted green chiles (run chiles under warm water to easily slip plasticky skin off) > add roasted tomatillos > cook on low-medium (about 20 minutes) and allow the stew to get juicy > add 3 pint glasses of water to cover the stew > add 2 tbs. chicken flavored Better Than Bouillon > add 2 tbs. cumin, 1 tbs. mexican oregano, 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1 tsp. paprika and salt and pepper > add a fresh jalapeno or serano now if you desire more heat > stir well, cover and reduce heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes

hatch chiles for chile verde

Using an immersion blender, blend green chile into a soup-like finish and check the taste for spices > add pork and 2 peeled/cubed russet potatoes > cover and simmer until pork is done and potatoes are tender ~1 hour or more for deeper flavor.

Top with roasted pepitas (pepita + frying pan), finely shredded cabbage and creamy  avocado.

huckleberry thinn chile verde

Nutrition Facts Thinn Style

It’s hatch chile holiday. From August to October, Hatch-cult Coloradoans instinctively flock to the farmer’s market to get their happy hands on the season’s limited-supply of the no-match hatch chiles. I could use hundreds of words to describe to you the desire for these chiles, but instead I will direct you to your farmer’s market so you can experience them for yourself.

I will, however, try to open your eyes to the celestial phenomenon that hatch chiles symbolize. If you cook with the calendar, you know that spring is for asparagus and August for peaches.

As citizens of Earth, we are designed to eat the seasons for several reasons. Mainly, seasonal food is tastier, fresher and more nutritious. A little deeper, eating seasonally offers a way to connect with nature’s cycles and the passing of time. The seasons are a source of natural diversity. Natural News explains this beautifully: “By eating freshly harvested produce, you will be rotating your foods, thereby keeping your body from developing intolerances to certain foods and reaping the health benefits of a diet that is diverse and naturally detoxifying.”

The same goes for beer. Drink seasonally. Hatch chile verde pairs well with Odell’s Mountain Standard double black IPA. Cheers to a season of hot chiles and cold beers!

Vitamin C is for Chile

Mother Nature knows best, which is why she gives us hatch chiles at the brink of cold season. Chiles contain more Vitamin C per ounce than any other food.

Vitamin C is a nutrient that fits into many of your body’s chemical reactions to make them go—to keep you alive.

Vitamin C is for Versatility

Vitamin C is vicious. It deploys your body’s troops. It stimulates the production of interferons, your first line of defense that can inactivate viruses. When you’re at war with a foreign molecule, your body uses Vitamin C to multiply your white blood cells, which slash, burn and eat the creep before it gets too creepy.

Because Vitamin C is water soluble, the antioxidant can swim around your body and quickly and effectively mobilize to bully free radicals that damage your cells and make them/you old.

The primary function of Vitamin C is to manufacture collagen; your framework. Vitamin C makes the most prominent proteins in your body: cartilage, connective tissue, ligaments and tendons. It holds you together. The stronger your tissue, the more resilient you are to cancer’s collagenases (collagen-eaters).

Cancer cells release an enzyme called collagenase, which destroys collagen and allows the fast spread of cancer to other areas. – See more at: http://smartypantsvitamins.com/7-ways-vitamin-c-boosts-the-immune-system/#sthash.fIBzOXpX.dpuf

Your body can’t make Vitamin C, so it’s essential you eat green chile.

encinitas 06 003To health, surf and dads.


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pineapple pico de gallo

If I had my way, it’d be the way of the West. The real West… where the sun really sets.

The Pacific has always had power over my palette. Early on I took on taquerias and tequilas and hunted down horchata-serving hole-in-the-walls where I drank salsas (you’ve seen me do this) and only ordered things with double ll’s because I liked the way the waiter sounded back: rellenos, tomatillo, pico de gallo.

Now, I’m landlocked, yet seeking the soulful, belly-full spirits of California-Mexican culture. Nothing  feeds my fresh-mex mood like a heaping bowl of hand-made pico de gallo (pee ko day guy yo).

Pico de gallo (translation: rooster’s beak) was so named because it was–and still is in my home–eaten by pinching garden pieces between the thumb and forefinger, a nonchalant eating style true to my feeding-frenzy family I so dearly miss.

The too-easy tomato ensemble plays the star sauce in kick-back taco night and makes cameo appearances to sophisticate more complex dishes by modeling chunky kaleidoscope flavor. When wrestled with cooling cilantro, tomatoes take on a peaceful persona, and when paired with pineapple, pico de gallo is a Pacific poem full of palm tree palapas. And with a finish of lime’s bite, pico de gallo can cut through and enliven fatty dishes like carnitas, arrachera or a simple cheese enchilada.

Quickly made and devoured even quicker, pico de gallo is a too-good-to-be-true topping that truly is good for you. Dig in.

Huckleberry Thinn’s Pineapple Pico De Gallo
1 pound tomatoes (cherry, roma, green zebra, whatever)
1 onion (yellow, sweet, red, whatever)
1/3 cup chopped pineapple
1 handful chopped cilantro
1 chile of choice
juice from 2 limes
some salt
some pepper
* taste and modify
pico de gallo
Nutrition Facts Thinn Style
Never thought Mexican food could be medicinal? Margarita Monday aside, fresh-mex can offer medicinal properties with its heavy use of cilantro. Cilantro is the leaf of coriander, which belongs to the Umbelliferae family. For more than 7,000 years, coriander has been used across the world as a carminative and digestive aid. But cilantro can do more than just soothe guts and butts. Some parts of the world use its essential oil to treat diabetes. Other cultures harness the herb for inflammation. It has also proven to hold antimicrobial properties and cholesterol-lowering effects. Most notably (I’m actually trying this), cilantro can work as a heavy-metal detoxifier by extracting harmful agents like mercury and aluminum from fat so the body can flush it out.
West Side.


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kale basil pesto

If you tell me you don’t have time to cook, you’re a liar. I’m not huckleberrying with you.

I was harshed for ‘having too much time on my hands’ for creating my own pesto from someone who suggested it was easier to trade cash for a can. They missed the point. A point that is missed all too often by all of us, including me. But pesto reminds me to be present.

We all have enough time; especially to take care of ourselves. But for some reason, we’ve dirtied our brains with delusions of finite time. Our days progress and our binding schedules consume our hours to a point where we become a victim of the day. Suddenly, it’s dinner time; another time we’re tied to. And for some, the easiest way to buy more time. In minutes jars and boxes can release their contents with little effort, but then we just overlooked the most important opportunity of the day; an opportunity to use our hands.

For once, I’m not talking about nutrients. I’m talking about the act of cooking and the practice of being present.

Meet my friend cortical homunculus.

cortico homunculus

He’s grotesquely disconfigured, and so are you. He is a model that proportionately illustrates how much of your brain is devoted to specific body parts. Homunculus has huge hands because a human’s hands are richly innervated and require a lot of brain to function.

cortico homunculus 2

Why is this important? The act of cooking is hand work. Cooking offers our hands a way to express themselves and therefore, provide deep brain stimulation and fulfillment. Homunculus proves humans are handy and designed to use digits. If we don’t, we dismiss human nature and bore our brain cells. Overtime, this dullness can lead to darkness.

Cooking is a hand-to-brain dance that awakens the mind to here and now. Manual labor is meditative. It’s an all-senses-in artwork that trains the brain to be calm and mindful. And to think this all rooted from an afternoon of blowing off biochemistry to blend basil with garlic; something I didn’t think I had time for. Homemade pesto takes minutes and it’s worth everyone of them.

Happy Heart Farm Kale-Basil Pesto

* try with raw kale and omit parmesan for your first batch (my preference) and modify if needed.

July Taste Recipe Card_Kale Basil Pesto

kale basil pesto

Make time, people. Or the world will take it away from you.

~ Ideas inspired by a conversation with Dennis Stenson of Happy Heart Farm. The happiest man on Earth.


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spring lettuce spring rolls via Happy Heart Farm

We’ve evolved from animals that once instinctively knew how to eat—hunt, gather, grow—to animals that rely on others to eat. As our brains grew more complex, so did our foods. We’re growing older, yet sicker than ever. How have we become smarter, yet dumber at feeding ourselves?  The issue: the ever-expanding gap between man and his food source.

The man-to-food gap isn’t the only thing that’s bigger today: waistlines and genetically modified tomatoes are blowing up to scary, unprecedented sizes. There’s correlation in this messy matter, but there’s an easy answer.

The closer you are to your food, the better:

1. economically (put your buck in your backyard).

2. nutritionally (picked-this-morning organic foods contain the highest level of nutrition).

3. proximity (eating lengths from your plate has dirty repercussions).

You are the one responsible for closing this gap. Know where your food comes from. Eat home and neighbor-grown food. Know your community farmer. Here’s a story about mine, and I hope it inspires you to find yours.

Happy Heart Farm, a Fort Collins CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is my Neverland; a place I never want to leave. Happy Heart grows love as deep as its beet roots. It’s a place you go to find prized produce and the most sincere hug in Fort Collins (if you’ve hugged Dennis, you know what I’m talking about). When asked what Happy Heart grows best, Dennis the farmer smiled “community”.

When you harvest at Happy Heart Farm, food is not an errand. Weekly pick-up replaces congested, fluorescent grocery stores. Eating becomes entertainment. And your dollars are invested in dirt.

Your vegetables were gifted from the Earth hours before pickup (and maybe still a tad dirty), and the same loving hands that raised them are helping you fill your bags with a week’s worth of the best nutrition you can put in your body. Every charm of basil is blessed with a heavenly happiness that imparts optimal nutrition and divine ground-grown goodness. A difference you can truly taste.

When you support Happy Heart Farm, you’re not just signing up for a weekly bucket of bounty; you are supporting biodynamic farming—a practice that takes organic farming one step further. Biodynamic farming nourishes the planet with love and nutrients—thus the food it gifts—for human healing power beyond conventionally-grown plants. So it’s cost-effective-check- more nutritious-check and better for the planet-check. Oh! and biodynamic farming results in healthier plants that have maximal ability to photosynthesize, which means floods of flavor for you.

Read more about Happy Heart and biodynamic farming.

Happy Heart is my produce playground and I’m the luckiest girl in the world to get to cook for farm members using the best ingredients found in Fort Collins: beautiful basil, garlic scapes galore, sugary peas, colossal chard leaves and so much more.

Stay tuned for Happy Heart Taste recipes via Huckleberry Thinn

happy heart prep

June Taste Menu: Happy Heart Farm Spring Lettuce Spring Rolls

inspired by 101cookbooks.com

Image

spring roll 1

step 1: finely chop your favorite fillings: avocado, mango, cucumber, carrot, chard, cilantro, mint, basil, shrimp, you name it. 
spring roll 2

step 2: dip the rice paper in warm water and wait three seconds to remove. It might still be a little stiff, but DON’T DIP LONGER!
spring roll 3

step 3: fold the rice paper in half.

spring roll 4

step 4: stack your toppings at one end of the crescent and tuck and roll. 
happy heart spring rollhappy heart spring roll 2

Spring rolls make for an awesome backpacking meal, picnic or lunchbox snack.

Photos courtesy of Susan Kelly.


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grilled beet zucchini manchego apple stacks & kale beet green salad with pluot balsamic

I want to feed you endless summer recipes. My hands are tied with full-moon harvest. But I miss you. So here’s two for the meantime.

kale beet green salad with cucumber, sunflower seeds and pluot balsamic vinegar

finely chop 1 bunch of dino kale and 4 beets worth of beet greens > blend together dressing: 1 pluot, 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar and 1 shallot clove > top with cucumber and sunflower seeds

beet greens

grilled beet zucchini manchego apple stacks

thinly slice 4 beets and 1 zucchini into even medallions > grill and layer with sliced apple, manchego cheese and if you’re really bold, some black forest bacon

beet stack

beets and bacon

Beets are hard to beat. Nutritionally, beets have long been used for liver healing. They stimulate the liver’s detoxifying process. They also provide favorable bowel function (check out your crimson movements!).

When you buy a bunch of beets, don’t toss the handle. Beet greens are even more nutrient dense than beetroots! They are richer in calcium, iron and vitamins A and C. The green sails are also full of folic acid and minerals. If you’re not into raw beet greens, steam them to make them tender like chard.

Beet up from the feet up, yo.