Shepard’s Pie

Shepard’s Pie is such a comforting winter dish and makes for great leftovers.  It’ a classic, traditional recipe, although this was my first time trying the dish with lamb and not beef.  The meat and vegetables were so satisfying and flavorful on their own that I can even recommend this dish sans potatoes.

Some of the equipment you’ll need you should already have stocked in your kitchen, and if not, consider buying the following things:

Mixing bowls            Potato masher or food mill          Large ovenproof casserole dish

Cutting board           Large pot                                          Spatula

Kinfe                           Saute pan                                         Microplane or other zester

For the filling:

-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

-1 Spanish onion, diced

-2 stalks celery, small diced

-3 cloves garlic, minced

-1 whole celery root, peeled and medium diced

-1 lb ground lamb

-2 tbsp tomato paste

-1/2 cup red wine

-2 tbsp fresh mined rosemary

-2 sprigs thyme, leaves only, minced

-1 tsp whole mustard seed

-1 tsp coriander seed

-2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

-2 tbsp chopped fresh mint

For the mashed potatoes:

-2 lbs. yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered

-3 tbsp kosher salt

-2 bay leaves

-1 dried chili pepper

-2 tbsp unsalted butter

-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

-1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese

-2 tbsp grated horseradish, preferably fresh

-zest of 1 lemon

-salt and pepper

Steps:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Peel potatoes and cut them into quarters.  In a large pot, add chilies, bay leaves, salt, and potatoes.  Add enough water to fully cover the potatoes and cover the pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer with the lid removed for about 20 minutes, or until cooked all the way through.  Strain and discard bay leaves and chilies.

sp7

Place cubed potatoes in pot with chilies, salt, and bay leaves. Add enough cold water to cover all the potatoes.

2. Prepare onion, carrots, celery, celery root, rosemary, thyme, and garlic.  Place all diced vegetables and herbs in a dish, leaving garlic on the side.

sp1

Cut both the carrots and celery into thirds first

sp2

Dice carrots

sp3

Peel the celery root

sp5

Medium dice the celery root spears

sp6

Diced carrots, diced celery, diced onion, diced celery root. Leave garlic on the side, since that’ll be the last thing to go into the pan with the meat.

3.  In a saute pan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the lamb and brown.  Add mustard seed and coriander seed.  Add onions, carrots, celery, celery root, rosemary, thyme, and combine with a spatula.

sp8

4.  When vegetables have cooked slightly, add garlic and tomato paste and mix.  Add red wine.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes until everything is cooked through, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.

5. After potatoes have cooked and drained, use a masher or food mill to mash potatoes.  Add butter, lemon zest, olive oil, and horseradish.  Add grated cheddar cheese.  Transfer lamb mixture to a deep ovenproof baking dish and spread evenly.  Adjust seasoning.  Spread a layer of potatoes over the lamb mixture and run a fork over the top, creating ridges.  Bake until potatoes are golden and the lamb is hot, about 15-20 minutes.

6.  While the dish is baking, prepare the mint and parsley to garnish.  When potatoes are done, remove and sprinkle the mint and parsley over the potatoes.  Drizzle some olive oil and serve!

sp9

Chicken Parmesan

chicken p 2I lived in New York for four years and never had chicken parmesan better than my own.  Chicken Parmesan is an Italian favorite, definitely one of my man’s favorites, and just seems to be a crowd pleaser.  This dish goes great with pasta, zoodles (zucchini noodles), vegetables, or a side salad.  I like to make extras and have it available to eat throughout the week, using the leftovers to make chicken parm sandwiches.

Personally, I prefer homemade breadcrumbs, but some people still prefer store bought seasoned or plain breadcrumbs.  If you decide to make your own breadcrumbs, it’s easy.  All you need is some day old bread or defrosted bread broken into bite-sized pieces.  Throw the pieces in a food processor or blender and blend until you have crumbs.  I season my breadcrumbs with some dried basil and dried oregano, but that’s also optional.  When using herbs, crush and rub the herbs between your hands, because this will release more flavor.chicken p 3

For the sauce, I admit, I buy this freshly made red sauce I love from the store because I’m a little particular about my sauce. Most bottled sauces, like Prego, are filled with sugar, so I recommend either buying fresh sauce or making it from scratch.

Ingredients:

6 boneless, skinless, organic chicken breasts

-1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs

-1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese + 3 tbsp for topping

-4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely diced

-Salt and pepper

-2 large eggs, well beaten

-1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra if needed

-8 ounces fresh mozzarella, 1/4 inch thick slices

-3-4 cups marinara sauce of choice

Steps:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Wash chicken and pat dry.  Place chicken breasts in large plastic ziplock bag or between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper.  Pound chicken with a mallet or hammer chicken with your fists (my own solution to not owning a mallet) on a flat surface until chicken breasts are about 1/2 inch thick.

3. On a dinner plate, add the bread crumbs, 1/2 the Romano cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper.  In a shallow bowl large enough to fit the chicken breasts, add eggs and 1 tbsp water, then beat with a fork.

4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add oil.

5. Dip each chicken breast into the eggs and then into the breadcrumb mixture, coating each side. When the oil is hot, add the chicken to the pan and cook each side for about 3 minutes, or until lightly brown and not quite cooked.  Add any remaining breadcrumbs to the pan and fry, adding more olive oil as needed and keeping the bottom of the pan filled with 1/4 inch of oil.

6. In a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, cover the bottom of the dish with a 1 inch layer of red sauce.  Remove chicken and fried breadcrumbs from the skillet and arrange in the baking dish.  Pour another layer of sauce over the top of the chicken.  Cook chicken uncovered in the oven for 10 minutes.

chicken p 5

Layer red sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Place cutlets and fried breadcrumbs in dish and layer more red sauce on top.

7. Remove chicken and top the chicken with the mozzarella and remaining Romano.  Place back in the oven uncovered for another 10-15 minutes, or until sauce bubbles and the mozzarella melts.

chicken p 1

Remove dish from oven after 10 minutes and cover with cheese. Bake for another 10-15 minutes.

chicken p 9

Nom nom, melted, cheesy goodness 🙂

Look to Your Farmacy

It’s true, the majority of my money goes toward food.  Delicious, organic, local food.  And you know what?  I’m totally ok with it. Understandably, not everyone wants to spend the money, because organic can be expensive.  Just remember, the more processed crap, toxins, and sugar we consume today, the more doctor visits and money spent on pharmaceutical drugs in the future.  That’s why I look at eating well as an long-term investment in my health, because food is medicine.Let your food be your medicine(1)

Currently, the average American eats too much and spends too little on food.  It can cost a lot to eat organic, but I have some tips on how to best spend your money when buying organic.  Organic food is more expensive because it’s a more time and labor-intensive form of farming. If you’re someone who doesn’t eat organic currently, start by switching at least one thing in your diet to organic, because baby steps are better that no steps. If you’re someone who currently doesn’t eat vegetables or fruits, then maybe starting with canned or frozen vegetables or fruit is the place for you to start.  You don’t need to eat organic all the time to reduce chemical exposure.  Starting a garden, if you have the space, is also a cost-effective way to eat right.

What does it mean to eat organic anyway?  Organic refers to the procedure in which foods are grown, raised, or produced based on government-defined standards.  Originally, all our food was “organic.”  There were no herbicides, pesticides, irradiation, or chemical fertilizers. Rather, all our food was naturally raised, unrefined, unprocessed, and whole. Processing food and chemical farming has only been around since World War II, and since then, our soil has been depleted of important minerals and nutrients that we need.
Because not all of us can or want to buy everything organic, I’ve supplied a list prioritizing which fruits and vegetables to buy organic.  Please refer to the list below for most and least contaminated foods, provided by The Environmental Working Group.image

12 Most Contaminated Fruits and Vegetables:

Apples

Celery

Cherry tomatoes

Cucumbers

Grapes

Hot peppers

Nectarines (Imported)

Peaches

Potatoes

Spinach

Strawberries

Sweet bell peppers

Kale / Collard Greens

Snap peas

15 Least Contaminated Fruits and Vegetables

Asparagus

Avocados

Cabbage

Cantaloupe

Sweet corn

Eggplant

Grapefruit

Kiwi

Mangos

Cauliflower

Onions

Papayas

Pineapples

Sweet peas (frozen)

Sweet potatoes

The two foods that I highly recommend buying organic are strawberries and chicken.  The U.S. uses 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides a year, and only .01% of those pesticides actually reach bugs.  Strawberries, even after washing, retain the most of amount of pesticides.  Pesticides cause issues like skin, eye, and lung irritation, hormone disruption, cancer, brain and nervous system toxicity, blood disorders, nerve disorders, birth defects, and reproduction effects.  If you have children, just remember that kids are four times more sensitive to cancer-causing pesticides in foods than adults (Source: US Environmental Protection Agency).

Vintage arsenic poison bottle on antique shelfThe reason I disapprove so strongly of commercial chicken is that commercial chickens contain arsenic, which is actually approved and regulated by the government.  Arsenic is known to cause cancer, as well as a number of other health issues.

Trust me, you’ll be able to tell the difference in color and taste between organic and commercially-grown produce. Washington State University actually proved through lab taste tests that organic tastes better.  There are more reasons to shop organic though.  By purchasing organic foods, you’re reducing your carbon footprint and helping out local farmers. Our health starts not with food but with our soil and water. Organic farming respects our ecosystem, while conventional farming leaks pesticides into our soil and our water, which in turn makes people sick. Additionally, organic farms are often smaller and independently owned and operated, so it’s great to help out the little guys.  Buying organic saves energy too, since more energy is used to produce synthetic fertilizers for commercially-grown crops.

organic_food

If you’re interested in going organic, but don’t know how or where to start, find your nearest Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) so your can get your food straight from your local farmer.  If you have questions, feel free to ask.  Drop me a line.

Health Benefits of Honey

To some, honey may seem like a “naughty” sugary treat, grouped in with white sugar or sweeteners.  Really though, honey is a fantastic superfood to incorporate into your diet, as long as you know the right honey to buy.

honeyDue to diet, our environment, and stressful, crazy lives, lots of us rely on coffee or caffeine to get through the day. Sometimes, often around 3PM, I know I find myself nibbling on chocolate for the energy boost, but some hot tea with honey or toast with honey are much better ways to get that energy I’m hoping for.  In the mornings I like to add honey to my breakfast smoothies before or after a workout, because honey boosts performance and endurance and reduces muscle fatigue.

Honey is a powerful immune system booster.  It’s antioxidant properties help the digestive system and aid in cancer prevention. I like to put some honey in my tea or hot water with lemon, especially if I’m sick or have a sore throat. So soothing.  For centuries people have used honey to repair cuts and burns also.  Other health issues honey can help with are allergies, arthritis, yeast infections, athlete foot, and trouble sleeping.  Honey reportedly helps hangovers too!

unnamed

My morning smoothie. Organic strawberries, banana, a couple handfuls of spinach, 2% Greek yogurt, almond milk, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, and organic, locally-harvested bee pollen.

In India, Ayurvedic medicine has used honey for thousands of years for healing and balancing the body.  Ayurvedic medicine reports that honey improves eyesight, weight loss, cures impotence and premature ejaculation, urinary tract disorders, bronchial asthma, diarrhea, and nausea (Source: care2.com).

unnamed-2There’s some debate about the practices used to harvest bee pollen.  Bee pollen is loved by health enthusiasts for its superfood qualities and high levels of protein.  My photo above is actually of my bee pollen, but I bought it straight from the bee keeper at my local farmers market and was aware of his practices.  I have read that collecting the pollen can involve the death of large numbers of bees, but that’s something I need to research more.

So now that I have you convinced as to why you should eat honey, it’s important to know what honey to buy.  Go organic or locally-made and treat it as a medicine.  Stay clear of commercially-made honey.

Don’t:

-Don’t buy honey made outside of the U.S. Honey made in places like China is often mixed with other syrups.

-Don’t buy the commercialized, pasteurized honey.

-Don’t use honey as a sugar substitute.

Do:

-Buy locally grown honey.

-Buy organic or wild, non-pasteurized honey.

-Use honey in small amounts as a superfood.

-Use as a medicine topically for cuts and burns.

(Source: Renegade)

Probiotics for Beginners

You may have been wondering what the kombucha hype is all about, and seriously, what the heck is tempeh anyway? Maybe you’ve heard of or seen probiotics before, but you don’t know why they’re important.  It’s also possible you’ve consumed probiotics, maybe most of your life, and didn’t realize.

Bandit wondering, what is this kombucha?

Bandit thinking, what is this kombucha stuff mom drinks?

TN_Lede_Probiotics_0911Our bodies contain around 100 trillion microbes, most of them bacteria, and some beneficial bacteria.  Probiotics are the good bacteria.  These living organisms reside in our colons and small intestine.  They keep our guts clean, aid in digestion and add bulk to solid wastes.  Probiotics also fight disease-causing microbes, and can help with health problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), infectious diarrhea, and antibiotic-related diarrhea (webmd). Probiotics are important to take while on antibiotics, since antibiotics cause a loss of healthy bacteria. home-care-options-abound-for-people-suffering-from-depression-in-home-care-support-services

Stress or poor diet might reduce the numbers of healthy bacteria in the small intestine as well, and vice versa, a lack of healthy bacteria has shown to trigger feelings of depression and anxiety when there’s an imbalance within the gut (beginwithnutrition).

There are different types of probiotics and various ways to consume them, either through supplements or through various foods.  Skip the supplements and experiment with eating some of the following foods:

Yogurt- Yogurt is made from fermented milk using certain bacteria, but only types labeled as containing live bacteria (“active cultures”) are actually probiotic.

Kefir- Similar to yogurt and contains sometimes up to ten diverse strains of good bacteria.  It’s fermented using a combination of bacteria and yeast with milk proteins and complex sugars.  Made from cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, coconut milk, soy milk, or rice milk.  Kefir is a good choice if you’re lactose intolerant, because the lactose it once contained is broken down through fermentation.

Buttermilk– Made with strains of lactic acid-making bacteria added to regular pasteurized milk.

url

Raw Milk- Maybe only five states in the U.S. actually allow the sale of raw milk and there are debated health risks, but raw milk drinkers swear by the stuff because of all the good bacteria.

Soy Milk- Must say “contains active cultures” on the label.

darkchocolateDark Chocolate- Certain types of high-quality chocolate contain probiotics.  Dark chocolate is also a source of antioxidants!

Miso- A staple of Japanese cuisine, miso is made with fermented soy, barley, wheat, or rice with a fungus that produces a red, white, or dark brown salty paste.  When cooking with miso, add it to hot foods at the end of cooking to preserve the probiotic cultures as much as possible.

Tempeh- High in proteins and minerals, tempeh also promotes intestinal health.  Tempeh originates in Indonesia and is made with cooked soybeans and an added fungus culture. It’s then fermented into a thick, meaty block.

natto-kinoko-8-of-8

Natto- typical Japanese breakfast dish


N
atto- Made from fermented soybeans with a distinctive flavor, smell, and sticky texture.  Also a stap

le of the Japanese diet.

Kimchi- A pickled Chinese dish of cabbage, eggplant, or other vegetables fermented with red chili and other spices for at least a month.  Kimchi is full of fiber, vitamins, iron, and various types of probiotic bacteria.

Sauerkraut- German for “sour cabbage,” sauerkraut is made from fermented, finely shredded, salty cabbage and contains a variety of heathy bacteria.  Buy fresh sauerkraut that contains lives cultures, versus some commercial brands of sauerkraut.

Pickles- These crunchy treats contain lots of probiotics.

brew_dr_kombucha_smKombucha Tea- This Asian drink restores energy and aids digestion.

Olives- Olives in brine are probiotics, because the brine allows probiotics to survive and thrive.

Back to Basics

Words to live by, literally…
26002f90d9b6a8f2defb2ea8d8584292

Today I wanted to take a look at the difference between our modern diet and the way we ate as hunter-gatherers.  Our modern diet looks nothing like what our ancestors ate.  Americans consume way more sugar, salt, unnatural flavors, and chemicals.  In fact, even if you handed your great-great grandmother a brightly packaged box of Oreos, she probably wouldn’t even know what to make of it, let alone it eat it.

Below is some information on how our diet has changed.  Most of us need to curb our sugar and salt intake and the consumption of processed foods.  To do this, add in lots of whole foods (like vegetables and fruits), which will crowd out the quantity of foods we shouldn’t be eating.

Hunter-Gatherer Diet:                                       Contemporary Diet:

Carbohydrates:
>100 species veggies & fruit                               < 10 species veggies & fruit
>100 grams of fiber daily                                    < 20 grams of fiber daily
>Roots, legumes, berries                                    Sugars, sweeteners, grains

Protein and Fat:
 Game meats –deer, bison                               Feedlot cattle & poultry
 High Protein/high cholesterol                           Half the % of protein/high cholesterol
 More omega-3 fatty acids                                More omega-6 fatty acids

Vitamins and Minerals:
 Much less sodium                                            Much more sodium
Much more potassium                                      Much less potassium
1.5-5 x levels of vitamins                                  Lost in processing & storage

2002 Fred Peshkow MD, FACC

What’s For Breakfast?

Here are two breakfast ideas to fit your busy schedule:

unnamed-1

1. Steel cut oats topped with fresh fruit, chopped nuts, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, cacao nibs, and organic maple syrup.

-3/4 cup water
-1/4 cup steel cut oats

-fruit of choice (bananas, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries)

-handful of chopped nuts (almond, walnut)

-1tsp each of hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, cacao nibs

-organic maple syrup to taste

For those of you with sugar cravings, like myself, I find that adding a bit of healthy cacao nibs to my oatmeal early in the day reduces my cravings later in the evening.  Give it a shot.

Easy Steps:

-Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan.  Add steel cut oats and cook on low heat for 5-7 minutes.  Remove from heat and mix in other toppings.  BOOM, done!

unnamed

2. The Perfect Fried Egg

My recommendation for the best ever fried egg is to cook it in a cast iron skillet.  If you don’t own a cast iron skillet, get one. Not only will it add iron to your diet, but it doesn’t contain the chemicals found in nonstick pans, and it transfers easy from stove top to oven.  Even if you don’t have a cast iron skillet, my recommendation for the perfect fried egg is to add about 2tbs extra virgin olive oil and heat on the skillet over medium heat.  Once hot, crack the eggs and salt and pepper them.  Add about 1tbp of water to the pan with the eggs and cover the skillet.  After a few minutes (5 minutes if you’re not using a cast iron skillet) your fried eggs are done.

I personally love to lay my fried eggs over a bed of vegetables or on avocado toast.  Sometimes I add bacon or toasted prosciutto 🙂 I cook my eggs in extra virgin olive oil because it’s important to have those healthy fats, like the fats found in vegetable oils and avocados!

Get Inspired

Last year my new years resolution was to paint more. I admit, even after buying all the paints and tools I needed to make the art happen, my supplies somehow ended up buried away on the shelf collecting dust.  So, this year I’m attempting to get back in the game and create more art!

I was thrilled when my boyfriend bought us both tickets to a screen printing class at a studio called Workshop in San Francisco’s Western Addition.  We got to screen print paper, shirts, sweatshirts, bags, and anything else individuals brought to the class.  If you live in the Bay Area, I recommend checking out the classes, because they offer all sorts of cool craft classes, like sewing, beer brewing, pizza making, etc…

IMG_4115Anyway, Ed and I took this class and we got to make some dope shit!  I love trying new things and getting inspired.  Humans hunger for art and music, along with play, fun, touch, romance, intimacy, love, success, adventure, and spirit, so creativity is actually a significant form of nourishment for our bodies.

IMG_4109

My masterpiece. #SFnative

The point here is be open to trying new, inspiring things.  Look for fun events and gatherings going on in your own area and give them a shot!  You never know who you’ll meet or if you’ll find your new passion.

unnamed

The back of Ed’s shirt- isn’t it rad?

Lo·ca·vore

Locavore:  one who eats foods grown locally whenever possible.  (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

This new year I recommend trying to eat and buy foods grown locally.  Since my boyfriend and I dubbed ourselves locavores in 2014, it quickly became apparent that the quality of food was far superior to any commercial food products.  Not only is locally grown food more fresh, but there’s less fuel and chemicals involved in the transportation of the food.  Additionally, by supporting local businesses you’re giving less business to big corporations, which is a great thing because it stimulates jobs for local people and promotes whole foods and better eating.

The locavore movement was influenced by a Canadian couple, Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon, who spearheaded the 100-mile diet in 2005.  For a whole year the couple ate only foods produced within a 100-mile radius.  This may not be easy for everyone, so start off with just a single family meal made of all locally sourced products. Taste the difference and put some love in that cooking!

I admit living in San Francisco I’m totally spoiled by the food options and local farms surrounding my area.  Every week I either visit my neighborhood farmers market (Clement Street represent!) or have my food delivered directly to my door by Good Eggs, a company that brings farm foods and locally-sourced products straight to my door.  It’s the bomb.  There are also other companies out there that deliver fresh foods and not just in San Francisco.  My advice is to look into farms or CSAs (community supported agriculture) near your own area and see where the farmers sell their products or see if there’s someone who’d deliver the food fresh for you.  CSAs are a great way to get to know your local farmers!

Check out some of my favorite, must-have products in San Francisco:

I love the spatchcock chickens by Roli Roti.  The company gets their chickens in the Bay Area and I order mine fresh from Good Eggs.

I love the spatchcock chickens by Roli Roti. The company gets their chickens in the Bay Area and I order mine fresh from Good Eggs.

oo_white_larger3

Thank you to the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation in Capay Valley, CA for producing this incredible olive oil. This product has taught me the importance of cooking with quality olive oil.

22_1_salad_greens

Happy Boy Farms, near Watsonville, CA, keeps my belly very happy with their amazingly fresh and bright lettuces.

Omnivore_6oz_website_1024x1024

It’s a secret what’s inside Omnivore Salt, but the flavoring has never let me down! I use it on nearly everything I cook.

eggs

Given the amount of eggs I eat, I don’t mind paying a little extra for quality, pasteurized eggs. These multi-colored beauties come from Red Hill Farms in Marin County, CA.

Baked Eggs and Asparagus

Need a new, healthy breakfast idea?  If you’re like me and are a lover of eggs, then this recipe is a good way to switch up your morning meal while also getting in a serving of vegetables.   60becc443498900bf0927e22732465a1

This recipe, in my opinion, is super easy to make. Even if I have other stuff to do to get ready for my day, the timing of this meal works perfectly with my morning routine .  When I make this meal my routine is I generally get up and turn the oven on, crack the eggs in a bowl to get to room temperature, let my dog out or crawl back into bed for about 15 minutes, then start cooking once the oven is ready.

This meal is a fantastic meatless option, however, I sprinkled bacon bits on top of mine.  Toasted prosciutto is also delicious.

Ingredients:

-2 eggs, room temperature

-8 pieces of asparagus, snapped into pieces

-salt

-pepper

-oil

-parmesan cheese, freshly grated

-optional: onions, bacon.

Directions:

1. Turn oven to 400 degrees F.  Take out eggs and crack them in a small bowl.

*Note: If you’re cooking bacon, lay bacon out on a foil-lined cookie sheet.  Cook for 15 minutes starting with the oven cool and set for 400 degrees F.

2. Coat gratin dish with olive oil and fill dish with asparagus pieces and chopped onion (optional).  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Bake asparagus for 10 minutes and remove from oven.  Slide eggs from the bowl on top of the asparagus in the gratin dish.  Bake another 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes the white of the egg should barely look set.

4. Sprinkle cheese over eggs and asparagus.  Cook another 3-4 minutes.

unnamed

Here’s how mine turned out!

ENJOY!

Original Recipe: Baked Eggs with Asparagus and Parmesan, Kalyn’s Kitchen