Food has magical powers.

Have you ever tried an heirloom cherry tomato? First off, be warned not to put them in the fridge, really any tomato for that matter. It kills their flavor. They go from: Exciting! Sweet! Delicious! To blah, in about 4 hours. Strawberries, too. I didn’t learn the strawberry rule till after I put some of my mom’s absolutely perfect summer berries, fresh from the market, in the fridge. Several hours later, hungry for a mid-morning snack, she found them and almost cried. The raw sting of a lesson that sticks…

Read More»

I could feel it.

My husband can take a picture. God love him. Organic Spark is one lucky little blog when John’s around during the perfect storm of a finished recipe and “magic hour” (5pm-ish – dusk, the hours of beautiful natural light). I actually took the photo below. I do my best, but it was John who captured the soft beauty in the granola parfait above. If I haven’t mentioned it before, his film Rock Prophecies is going to be airing on PBS nationally in September. And these days, he’s sifting through the world to choose his next subject. Lucky subject that will be. John captures raw, gritty and touching humanity through his lens. He shares the flaws, the heart and perhaps most importantly, the personal struggle. He uses a balance that manages to capture the heroic in the ordinary, which in turn allows us each to recognize our own heroism. John generously shares his soul and a beautiful soul it is.
Read More»

A wonder I have since often loved.

Our rented Uhaul truck pulled into the alley behind our new California home in the welcome embrace of late November, over 3 years ago. No words can describe the crisp beauty that is Southern California in early winter. Nature goes to the eye doctor that time of year, and she wears her newly prescribed spectacles for all of us to see. It was soon after our arrival, on one of those crystal clear mornings, that John and I were first introduced to The Sourdough Bread Man.

A sharp contrast to the playful energy of periwinkle skies, The Bread Man stands stern under a very faded & worn red canopy in front of an off-white van with a vintage navy racing stripe and behind his industrial carts of bagged bread, which provide a wall for him to rest his rather threatening and abundant signage. Mr. Jack Bezian of Bezian Bakery occupies a stall at the legendary Wednesday Santa Monica Farmers’ Market, and he uses his plot to inform the world about the dangers of ill-prepared bread. His signs discuss dead food and how gluten will kill. Rather somber for a early morning stroll, he’s not subtle.

John wouldn’t eat it or even go near the Bezian stand this day. The whole thing screamed offensive propaganda to him, and if anything, my John is consistently leery of a scam. I on the other hand, with a touch of optimistic naivete and a consistent interest in a little lively food banter, walked up, read the signs, asked a few questions and duly appeased… bought a loaf. I didn’t understand my Bread Man, yet, but to be frank, once within range, I smelled the bread and pretty much caved.

Obviously oblivious, I waited to take my first bite until after the bike ride home, which honestly, hasn’t happened since. Back in my not-yet-worn-in, sunny little kitchen, I casually toasted and buttered a slice. I then experienced the first pleasing and dense crunch of a wonder I have since loved often. I’m sure it was one my favorite flavors like, Zucchini Onion, Eleven Grain, or Kalamata Olive, but it wasn’t just the intense flavor, there was a slow & sour tang that simply can’t be described as anything less than deeply addictive. Your mouth sings after a slice of this authentic sourdough bread, and you are left with a feeling of deep satisfaction, like eating one of Mom’s best meals. (John, by the way, caved quickly.)

After a few years of education, I now understand that the root of the Bezian Bakery signage is a deeply personal passion and commitment to the traditional ways of bread-making. Mr. Bezian is not kidding around that ill-prepared bread can do serious harm to a body; there are an increasing number of Celiac challenged people in our world who have a story to tell. I’m not saying that all Celiac patients could eat properly prepared bread. It’s an extremely complicated disease, and much like dairy, many cannot tolerate even the purest form.

But, some can. Like this personal testimony from the Weston A. Price Foundation website of a Celiac sufferer, who learned he could eat his son-in-law’s authentic sourdough: http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/496-our-daily-bread.html To find a source for your own authentically prepared bread, I suggest purchasing the $1.00 Shopping Guide from the Weston Price Foundation – here. And, if you still can’t find a source, try here for an authentic sourdough recipe.

One of my favorite qualities of true sourdough bread is the incredible shelf-life. This bread can sit on the counter for 2 weeks before molding. The resiliency enables this bread to become a household fixture, purchased with an abundance that fears no waste. Because upon closing in on the two week mark, the leftover bread transforms easily into delicious & versatile Sourdough Breadcrumbs, far superior to the store-bought variety and can be kept in the freezer for an additional two months of enjoyment.

Click HERE for the Homemade Sourdough Breadcrumb recipe…

xo – Organic Spark

A clear white cone of nothing.

I set off in the direction of Carrot Popsicles for the Carrot Episode of Farm to Table. Carrots, raw cream and a simple popsicle mold is all I thought I needed. The texture was going to be smooth, with the raw cream taking the carrot into the flavor palate of a Creamsicle. Soft, subtly sweet and addictive. Convinced I’d nail it on the first go…

Nope.

Read More»