My wife loves roses. She is growing two plants for their flowers, especially their scent, in containers on the south side of our house in an especially warm microclimate. Roses are marginal here. She’s been putting the roses in the garage on especially cold nights for the last month. Older rose varieties, like Rugosa roses and wild rose species, handle our cold spring nights at 7,000 feet better; some have large rose hips (rose fruits) that make excellent tea and can be preserved for jelly/jam.
Different toppings for different people!
The sourdough pizza crust
Adapted from Wild Bread: Handbaked sourdough artisan breads in your own kitchen.
Sourdough pizza is healthier than pizza made with baker’s yeast. The lactic acid bacteria in the sourdough culture provide myriad health benefits. Our pizza crust is also part whole wheat flour (we’re moving towards 100%). Whole grains are also much healthier than refined carbohydrates. Furthermore, I hand grind my flour, so it tastes sweet. Freshly-ground whole grain flour is healthier than store-bought whole grain flour. Store bought whole wheat flour tastes rancid to me. It doesn’t matter whether the flour comes from the bulk bin of a natural food store or is a well-known national brand. The highly polyunsaturated oil in wheat germ goes rancid as quickly as flax and hemp oils do, within weeks.
See my post on making pizza dough and rolling it out.
My pizza-making steps
- Preheat oven to 550ºF. Prepare pizza toppings. Steam broccoli.
- Half-bake crust at 525ºF for 10 minutes (at 7,000 feet).
- Spread on sauce. Add toppings except for broccoli, bake pizza another 10 minutes.
- Turn off oven, take out baked pizza, sprinkle on vegan cheese (I use Daiya Pepperjack), place back in oven a few minutes to melt cheese.
- Remove pizza from oven and place on cooling rack (I slide the pizza off a parchment paper-covered pizza pan).
- Place steamed broccoli on top.
- Allow pizza to cool at least 20 minutes before slicing to ensure that the crust finishes baking; as bread cools, the starches gelatinize, forming the final crumb (texture) of the bread.
The pea seedlings are coming up in our community garden plot, and fruit trees and shrubs are in the middle of flowering, like these bright yellow barberry flowers. It might be a great barberry year, like 2014 was in Flagstaff, AZ. I’ll have to decide if I’m going to make barberry juice or jam.
LynnAnnRose and I have a plot at our neighborhood community garden. After removing the drip irrigation tubing and raking back last year’s straw mulch, we prepared the soil and planted some pre-sprouted sugar snap peas and radishes so far. The soil is sandy, in contrast to the compacted, silty soil in Flagstaff; it required very little loosening. We had to buy some compost to spread on top since we don’t have our own compost bin yet. Compost works to improve all types of soil. We added plenty of new straw mulch on top to prevent soil water evaporation. The tomato cages on top are preventing the mulch from blowing away.
We bought the pea and radish seeds and other heirloom seeds from Native Seed/SEARCH, including one of LynnAnnRose’s favorite foods, Chimayo chiles. Chimayo is a small village not far from Santa Fe. The chiles have been grown for centuries by Hispanic farmers in the region. We also have some purchased seedlings of vegetables and herbs that will be planted mostly in out back and front yards. We plan to save the seeds from the open-pollinated varieties.
Native Seed/SEARCH is a regional seed bank for Native American and Southwest Hispanic seed varieties. Limited quantities of these seeds are available for purchase.
At this time of year, the south-facing area in front of my front door and side garage door is the best location for solar cooking. In fact, it’s quite a bit hotter than the microclimate on my south-facing balcony in Flagstaff was, so everything cooks significantly faster and I am having to adjust some of my cooking times and adding extra liquid to the cooking pot.
I cooked garbanzo/chick pea flour (besan in Hindi) polenta in the Sun Oven, and then baked the French fry-like slices in my indoor oven after it cooled; I basted the slices with olive oil before baking. After cooking the polenta, I cooked some brown rice and wild rice to go with the fries. The “fries” were a hit with my wife, LynnAnnRose, a relatively new vegan.
We’ve been doing some kitchen remodeling. My Santa Fe kitchen had no stove vent. One has finally been installed by bartering baked goods and other vegan goodies with a friend who is good at home remodeling. I put the iron stove grills on this 50 lb wheat bag from my local food cooperative to keep them out of the way. Pablo decided this would be a good place to sit, naturally.
Spring has arrived a few week early, thanks to climate change. This past weekend I’ve started gardening at my neighborhood community garden and have also been using my solar cooker. I need to work on posting up some new blog posts this week.