"But the harm done by eating the wrong kind of food fats has repercussions in all realms of life, including healthy mental and spiritual functioning. In our world, however, the choice of healthy food is one of the elementary aspects of our lives which we should organize as such. It is far more important than many people in the Western world are willing to admit." — Dr. Johanna Budwig
|Dr. Johanna Budwig's Flax Oil and Cottage Cheese/Quark Muesli breakfast.
We sisters are tinkerers in the kitchen. My sister and I love to ferment vegetables and infuse alcohols and syrups with assorted ingredients including fruits and spices. Emulating our sister Juliette, we've worked extensively with sourdough over the years, learning the artisinal craft of naturally leavening and baking bread with a live culture. We have also applied that knowledge to making stellar homemade pizza. We've had forays into simple cheese-making. Juliette's pulled her own mozzarella cheese for a restaurant venture. And, we continue to experiment in the kitchen based upon our current interests. Still on my "culinary bucket list" is to try my hand at making vinegar, kombucha and kefir.
Many years ago, Linda was the first person to share with me the health benefits of flaxseed oil. Much to my chagrin, I'm not good at taking daily vitamins, and it is a chore to figure out an acceptable way to down a couple tablespoons of flax oil. It's one of those things—I know I should do it, but it's really difficult for me to maintain, with any consistency, a specific vitamin and flax oil regimen. That is, until now.
In mid October, I visited Linda over a long weekend so that we could jointly photograph our first wedding in Mill Valley, California. Regardless of our photography gig, I always do my best to visit Linda in October. Wine country in autumn is gorgeous and the weather is mild. Sonoma and Napa counties are beautiful any time of year, but particularly in October, when the countryside is really something to behold. The grape leaves are beginning to turn from green to molten hues of gold and red. Cows and sheep graze on the matted hay. The sky seems almost luminous. Pumpkins and pomegranates are stacked up at the farm stands. The oak trees stand majestic in the fields and are also clustered together across the rolling, golden hills.
If you dig into the benefits of flax, you will quickly learn from various internet searches that flax seeds, and the pressed oil, is high in Omega-3, Omega-6 and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Flax helps to treat hypertension, melanoma tumors, depression, liver disease, cholesterol, all types of cancer and inflammatory diseases. The more I have read about the benefits of flax, the more I am convinced I need to add the oil and ground seeds to my daily routine, either as a breakfast or an afternoon snack. And, believe me, this smooth, creamy concoction is no chore to eat. It's a nutritional powerhouse meal that you'll surely crave—just like I do.
|Linda's scribbled notes to Mark providing the measurements to make Muesli for three servings.
The originator of this recipe is Dr. Johanna Budwig (1908-2003), a German biochemist, pharmacist and author. According to Wikipedia, "She developed the Budwig protocol, a purported anti-cancer diet, in 1952." One of the cornerstones of the diet is this recipe. The technique of high-speed blending cottage cheese, or quark, or the combination of the two, with fresh flax oil enables the body to easily assimilate the mixture.
Flax seeds and flax oil are highly perishable. Flax seeds must be consumed within 20 minutes after being ground. Flax oil must be purchased refrigerated and be kept under refrigeration. Only buy as much flax oil as you plan to consume in one week.
To make homemade quark, Linda and I like to strain goat milk yogurt through a nut milk bag until all the whey is drained and yogurt condenses into a fresh goat cheese consistency. Linda wrote previously about the benefits of goat's milk in a post about Redwood Hill Farm and a related recipe for Goat's Milk Infant Formula. My husband and I bottle fed my daughter with homemade Goat's Milk Infant Formula after I could no longer breast feed her when I returned to work full-time and my milk dried up unexpectedly.
The basic muesli formula is 2 parts cottage cheese/quark mixture to 1 part flax oil to 1 part flax seeds. It's easy to scale the recipe, as needed, to serve family and friends.
32-oz (908g) container Redwood Hill Farm Plain Goat Milk Yogurt (to make a quark-type cheese)
organic cottage cheese, such as Nancy's
fresh, organic flax oil such as Barlean's (not high-lignan)
fresh flax seeds (we like the taste of Golden flax seeds the best)
a little goat's milk (preferred) or cow's milk to thin
vanilla or almond extract
ground cinnamon or nutmeg
in season berries and fresh fruit such as apples, peaches, and pomegranate seeds
sugar-free fruit purees such as applesauce, pear butter, pumpkin, butternut squash
nuts, such as walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds (avoid legumes such as peanuts and cashews)
locally sourced honey or manuka honey from New Zealand
Nut milk bag or cheesecloth and a sieve, if you plan on making quark
|Prepare quark (goat yogurt cheese) by straining yogurt—what remains in the bowl is whey.
1. To make the quark, nest a sieve in a bowl with room in between for the whey to drain and collect. Line the strainer with cheesecloth, pour in the whole container of yogurt, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. After 24 hours, transfer the quark to container with a lid and store in the refrigerator.
2. Prep fruits, by coring, peeling, and chopping, as needed.
3. In a prep bowl with high sides, add (per serving):
3 tablespoons cottage cheese (or 1/4 cup cottage cheese if not using quark)
1 tablespoon quark or goat yogurt cheese
2 tablespoons flax oil
With a stick blender, mix the three ingredients until completely emulsified. If the mixture is too thick, thin with a little milk (not water) until the mixture is the consistency of whipped cream. You should see no traces of oil. Keep blending until the oil is fully incorporated— this is key, so no shortcuts!
|Stir in the ground flax seeds. Thin with milk, if needed.
5. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl or bowls, drizzle each serving with 1 teaspoon raw honey or manuka honey. Top with berries, prepped fruit, and sprinkle with nuts and ground spices, if desired.
|Beautiful Sonoma County, California as seen from the car window traveling down the road.