FoodWise Wednesday's Wisdom Instill the connection that food always comes from nature Food always begins in the biological. We eat life, and life sustains us. We give back to the systems that feed us, and we sustain them.
It’s that simple, and yet even if we think it, we might not know it. I’ve witnessed the most profound ignorance of basic ecology in adults, and they were highly educated adults. Basics, such as they may know that seeds from packages make plants, but not understand that flowers become seeds and how that happens.
With my Grandparents I hunted for mushrooms, learned the wildflowers names, identified birds, grew gardens, saved seed, grafted, and took cuttings, cooked from garden bounty, made jam and pies, made pickles. Not only that but we sat at table together and we listened to their stories of growing up on the farm, the depression, and tornados.
Poppy Seed Lemon Baby cakes
Honey, Poppy seed & Lemon Butter
Makes 12 babycakes Prep time after soaking poppy seeds 5 minutes
3 cups all-purpose gluten free flour ½ cup fresh poppy seeds (or store bought) 1 tablespoon baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon sea salt ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg ½ cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butter melted and cooled ½ cup brown sugar ( I use Rapunzal Brand) grated lemon zest from one whole lemon 2 large eggs 1 cup milk kefir, or buttermilk, or yogurt ½ cup fresh lemon juice
Honey/Lemon Poppy Seed Butter
½ cup unsalted softened butter ½ cup raw local honey ¼ cup fresh poppy seeds zest and juice of one lemon Whip together in food processor and let meld several hours or until poppy seeds are soft
More frequently I meet many, many people who have not had basic childhood experiences that connect them to the planet. Never shucked a pea, planted a seed, watched something grow; picked berries, picked fruit from a tree, had their hands in the soil, eaten a flower, eaten straight from a garden, a carrot or tomato, gone barefoot in a garden, watched something ripen, made soup from the garden, eaten a wild plant, picked up a worm….
Everything I’ve taken for granted having grown up in the midst of gardens, preserving, wildcrafting. Having had, now I know, the incredible opportunity to be mentored by both sets of grandparents who’d all been farm children.
The last few years I’ve held summer culinary camps for youth. Last year it was a Historical Baking Camp, where we cooked and baked from a different traditional food culture each day. We made everything from tamales, knackerbrod, to baby poppyseed cakes.
The poppy seed cakes weren’t planned, they sprang out the children’s desire, as they excitedly collected poppy seeds from the garden each day. Taking the dried seed heads and shaking them like a pepper shaker into a small bowl. They gathered a couple of cups worth, and I showed them how to soak them in buttermilk, and make babycakes, with lemon.
Oh they were delicious! If you’ve never eaten a fresh poppy seed cake! Fresh seed, and fresh from the oven. Poppies are easy to grow, and self seed year to year. They have exquisite flowers, have mesmerizing seedpods and make a cake worth waiting every year for.
Soak poppy seeds in kefir for several hours or overnight Make honey/lemon/poppy seed butter and set aside Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 425F Butter muffin tins or babycake tins, or line tins with papers Mix all dry ingredients together in one bowl Beat eggs, lemon juice and melted butter to kefir/ poppy seed mix in another bowl Gently mix dry and wet ingredients together until thoroughly combined Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, an ice cream scoop or measuring cup works great. Bake for 5 minutes at 425F lower oven temperature to 375F. Bake another 15 to 18 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Your oven may be different, so a delicious heightened smell will tell you more about doneness than a recipe time!