Tereza Okava

gardener
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since Jun 07, 2018
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I'm a transplanted New Yorker living in South America, where I have a small urban farm to grow all almost all the things I can't buy here. Proud parent of an adult daughter, dog person, undertaker of absurdly complicated projects, and owner of a 1981 Fiat.
I cook for fun, write for money, garden for food, and knit for therapy.
South of Capricorn
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Recent posts by Tereza Okava

I hear you, Susan. I've got a shepherd that will be 4 months old and I'm a bit nervous thinking about the year ahead.....

I've spent a fortune on toys and gear, but the best toy for the pup and his old man uncle have been--- fruit boxes from the supermarket. So much king-of-the-hill stuff on top of them, and complex games involving taking toys, dropping them into the kiddie pool (it's hot here), grabbing them again and tearing around the yard to drop them dripping into the fruit box. Hey, whatever gets them tired......
1 day ago
Hey Leonora! There indeed is a lot out there in terms of conflicting opinions.

Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:
1. they all use white wheat flour. I want whole rye bread.
2. they all use different (large) quantities. I only need one small loaf of rye bread a week.
3. they all throw away most of their sourdough starter every day. I don't want to waste good food ingredients.
4. they say the right temperature for the starter is between 21 and 25 degrees Celsius (most of the time they say it in Fahrenheit: 70-77). My room temperature is lower. There is no place in the house with a higher temperature. Will this work???


1. while I know people use various other flours for their starters, it seems to be more reliable with white (or rye) flour to get the starter going. Of course, you can use that starter to make any kind of bread.
2. I scaled my starter down to fit into a ~400ml jar, which I keep about half full. This gives me about a cup of starter to use in recipes and a bit to keep the starter going. There's no reason you can't do that!
3. during the starter development stage you're trying to coax the starter into existence, and you have a week or so of lots of discard, it's true. It troubles me too: flour is expensive now. save what you scoop out in the fridge: we have at least one good thread about ideas for using leftover starter. In my house it becomes waffles, cornbread, or lunchy flatbreads. But if you use it only once a week you should be able to get on a weekly schedule- you mix up your dough on Monday, so on Saturday you freshen your starter, maybe.
4. In the winter I have the same issue, cold house, but I find that is important really only in the beginning when you're growing the starter (in that case I'd keep it wherever there is warmth from electronics (near the back of my fridge) or worst case scenario, in a cooler box or oven with a hot water bottle. It can live just fine in cooler temps (my sourdough lives in the fridge for most of the year when our inside temp exceeds 18C-ish or else I have to feed it every day, and this year it was forgotten during the winter for 2 months and lived there all year round...).

There is so much variation in advice because it's very permie: lots of variables. You can totally do one small loaf a week with a small volume of starter, and you can start with rye, or shift to rye, or use white flour starter in rye.

I find the videos and instructions online are much more helpful for addressing problems (why didn't my loaf rise nicely, how to handle the loaves, etc) than for starting from zero: too much noise out there!
4 days ago
Our climate is pretty much the same as yours, L Johnson (9b), and many folks here have coffee in their yards. We don't get hard frosts, maybe max -2 and almost always only for a few hours at night.  And any frost means you need to cover the tree (there is a farmer's text message system I sign up for to make sure I cover what needs it!), but if you plant it in a lee or near a wall that retains heat it's generally fine.
buuuuuut, i think most of the coffee growing in people's yards is robusta, not arabica (which is what Dr Google tells me is what Hawaii is known for). Robusta can take a lot more abuse, but the flavor is not as refined. Here when you buy a coffee plant it's just called "coffee", and I'd have to have a botanist look at it to tell me what variety it is, but I suspect if you could find yourself a robusta you'd be able to keep it alive just fine. I've found after helping people pick, dry, grind, etc this backyard coffee that I enjoy it a lot, no matter what kind of mutt it is!
1 week ago
i'm big on kettlebells and pilates, but lately to be honest it's all about my treadmill.
there are, however, some fabulous easy at-home workouts that involve a chair and i think would be really fun to do with someone else. if you search for "standing 7 minute workout" (or permutations, later, advanced 7 minute workout, for example) you'll find pictures and videos.
1 week ago
hm, maybe i'm not being too clear about the milk. i'm not a big milk drinker myself and my kid is an adult who has never drunk cow's milk, so we're not wedded to it! I think what I mean by color i'm meaning "more milk than tea", for example. roasted pumpkin seeds probably make great tea (like roasted corn). but it's not got the fat or texture to be used in a milk-type application (pudding, pie, etc). maybe not making too much sense, it's been a long day.

Jay, I use a butternut-squash size or small melon's worth (up to the size of my head, maybe smaller). no idea cup or gram equivalent. Not sure what a jelly bag is but if it's like a chinoise or something I do not have the patience or hand strength-- I have what Amazon calls a "handled mesh strainer" (big enough to fit over a bowl) for straining pulp out of juice, not sure I've ever seen one in north america but down here every person who makes juice out of fruit uses them to strain out pits, seeds, etc. You stir the pulp, then whack the sieve around a bit, whatever's left gets composted.
1 week ago
I look forward to seeing how it goes! i am not sure if roasting will make them less "apt to milk" (?)- the flavor will probably be much more interesting and nutty for sure, but i suspect it will be less white (I've tried making milk out of various roasted/nonroasted and sprouted/soaked vs non soaked/sprouted and seen similar differences). maybe something happens with the content in the roasted seeds.
i'm thinking about previous experiments with horchata and wonder if adding a bit of oats might help make it creamier/whiter in the roasted version.
1 week ago
Pearl! No need to shell! use the seeds fresh out of the pumpkin/squash/melon, blend the patootie out of them and strain them out.

if you have dried seeds in my experience you need to soak overnight or briefly soak in boiling water (only tried this with dried raw hulled pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, not sure how appropriate it is for other seeds).

As for your other question, i've tried this with frozen melon and squash seeds (sometimes i have the melon but no desire to make milk), defrost and works just fine.
It's not necessarily a thick milk, but i enjoy drinking it, it makes a nice iced matcha latte or thai tea, probably good in most cooking applications too. The key seems to be not using too much water (i'm a repeat offender.... a whole melon's seeds takes maybe 2 or 3 c water max! and keep in mind you'll lose about half a cup in the straining, unless you've got a press or something)

I'm going to repeat what you said in your other thread that i think is really interesting and bears repeating:
store-bought alt milks are EXPENSIVE
they are easy and often quite cheap to make from normal things
they often work just great for baking/cooking applications
whipping up alt milks is a nice skill that occasionally comes in handy!
1 week ago
the first thing this reminds me of is vegan mac and cheese- the standby seems to be miso (or nutritional yeast), cooked cauliflower, and carrots blended up (sometimes with cashews, if you have money to burn, but it's good without that too) to make a fabulous cheese-type sauce, but it works just as well with squash. Many, many recipes out there.

William, pumpkin seeds and especially melon seeds make a fabulous milk alternative. Every time I open a melon or squash my kid (lactose intolerant and also a mad scientist in the kitchen) makes me save the seeds for her.
1 week ago
HI Jonie!
I have arthritis in my thumbs (which sounds like a joke but basically means I've devolved into some creature without opposable thumbs....), and one of the things I kind of can't do anymore is that pinching motion. I did buy myself a new pair of pruners this year and found that larger (and VERY MUCH SHARPER) made it easier, but my big solution now is mostly to use a saw (I use a sawzall) whenever possible, and a knife (machete, small sickle, etc) when things are smaller.
2 weeks ago
I have been on a mousecatching mission here for ages and caught a total of 0 with peanut butter (not for lack of trying, though). It's not a common food here, so maybe it's just not their palate...

then one day i happened to have the security camera open and saw a mouse grab and make off with a piece of chicken I had given my elderly dog but he apparently dropped and forgot about.
since that time i've been baiting my mousetraps (those tomcat ones, which really do live up to the hype) with liverwurst and catching mice regularly.
2 weeks ago