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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Roasted Green Beans

I hate "babysitting" food.  If I can get away with one pot, or one oven dish I will.  Hence why I love this recipe.

2 lbs fresh green beans
2 large cloves of garlic
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425.

Snap the ends off of your beans.  Rinse.  Pat dry, or spin in a salad spinner.  Toss with the Olive oil and garlic.  Shake out onto a cookie sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes, stir, shake, bake for 5 more.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Done.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Buttermilk Dressing for Slaw

I've been making coleslaw nearly every week since our CSA, Community Supported Agriculture, began.  It's the greatest thing to take to a summer cookout.

Here's what I've been doing:

1 small head of cabbage, finely sliced, 
1 small onion, finely sliced
4-5 medium to large carrots, shredded1/4 cup of fresh parsley, chopped (I do hand chop)

Sometimes I put in a few shredded radishes

I yoinked this dressing recipe from the Smitten Kitchen Broccoli slaw recipe:

1/3 cup Mayo1/3 cup Buttermilk2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar1 Tablespoon Sugar1 teaspoon SaltBlack pepper to taste

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

2 Tbs. butter  melted
2 Tbs. of vegetable oil
1/3 cup of Buttermilk
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup of flour
3 Tbs. of Cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup of sugar

1 cup grated zucchini (I use my food processor)
1/3 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Melt butter in a microwave safe dish, mix in the rest of the wet ingredients.  Dump all the dry ingredients into the bowl and lightly mix dry ingredients before stirring in with wet.  Lastly add the zucchini and chocolate chips.  Drop into greased or lined muffin tins by the 1/4 cup, makes 8.   Bake for 30 minutes.  Let cool in the pan for another 10 before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an air-tight container.  They are better the second day, and great as-is, no frosting necessary.

1 Muffin has 205 calories.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Making Yogurt With Probiotic Capsules

Not entirely a failure.  The successful yogurt required the contents of 2 probiotic capsules per pint of milk, stirred into cold milk before heating.  Each capsule contains 3 billion live active cultures, at least 1 billion of each L. Acidophilus, B. Bifidum, and L Bulgaricus.  Other [inactive] ingredients in contents of capsule:  Cellulose, Stearic Acid, Magnesium Stearate, and Maltodextrin.

I did not attempt a second or further generation batch.

Here's what I did, see below for action and results.

2 quarts of whole milk
6 Capsules of Solaray Brand MultiDophilus Triple Strain Formula
4 Pint glass canning jars, lids and rings
1 spoon

Typically I heat the milk-filled jars, one at a time, in the microwave long enough for the milk to get to the right temperature, between 100 and 110, even as high as 115 is alright.  Then I stir in 2 Tablespoons of Seven Stars Farm Yogurt, and then my homemade yogurt for future generations, per each pint.  But this time I'll be using probiotics.  I have found no direction in how much to use, or how to do it, so I hope the above knowledge is helpful for whatever brand you have in your fridge.  The point of this experiment is to find out if this will even work.

Once the jars are ready to go, put on the lids and rings, and set on a clean dish towel in your crock pot.  Make sure the the water temperature to 110-115 (I heat water in the kettle to expedite this), turn off the heat, put on the lid, and set the timer for 2 hours.  Turn the heat back to high, and bring the temperature back up to 110, then turn off the heat.  Repeat every 2 hours until your yogurt has been in the water bath for 8 hours.  Set jars on a towel in the fridge and wait 24 hours before enjoying.

Make sure not to let your water temp get lower than 90, or to reach 120.  If this happens, just exchange some water with either hot kettle or cool tap respectively to correct.

Jar 1:  I stirred in the contents of one capsule into the pint of cold milk before heating it up in the microwave to 110.  Upon removal after 8 hours it was still practically the consistency of milk.  The texture was only slightly thickened, almost undetectable, but the flavor was almost like buttermilk, sour but not spoiled.  I ended up using it for baking.

Jar 2:  I stirred in the contents of two capsules into the pint of cold milk before heating it up in the microwave to 110.  Upon removal it was noticeably thicker, after 2 days in the fridge it was solid.  The texture was creamy and the flavor was only slightly tart, there was no noticeable whey.  Good results.

Jar 3:  I stirred in the contents of one capsule into the pint of milk already heated to 110.  After 8 hours at 110, it was still practically the consistency of milk, and even still after 1, day in the fridge.  We don't do a lot of baking in my house, but I'll be using the cultured milk for that purpose when I get to it.
Jar 4:  I stirred in the contents of two capsules into the pint of milk already heated to 110.  After 8 hours at 110, it was noticeably thickened.  After days in the fridge, it was thicker than Kefir, but not as thick as yogurt, it worked just fine in a fruit smoothie.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Cornmeal Pancakes Using Leftover Grits

Grits, or Polenta, is one of those things that is incredibly delicious and satisfying, but you can only eat it so often.  Yet, I always have leftovers.  Here is one thing you can do with the leftovers.  The other is to make Baked Cheddar Garlic Grits (recipe coming soon).

1 cup of leftover grits
1/2 cup of flour (I used gluten free baking mix)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 Eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract


In a medium sized bowl, mix the measured ingredients together until smooth.

Heat a skillet over medium-low heat, grease with butter.  I just hold the stick and rub it all around the skillet, very easy and it uses less butter overall.  Pour enough batter till it's 4" wide (at least 1/3 cup), using a fork, pat them out to 6".  Wait till the cake begins to bubble and flip, cook 2-3 more minutes on the other side.

Let them cool before eating.  When hot they are like fried mush, warm-they settle into a more firm pancake.  I must say this was way easier, and with better results, than trying to fry sliced polenta.

Makes 6 - 6" pancakes, serves 3.

At first I only used 1 egg, but adding the second egg helped them stick together better, and not to the pan.

I was a little skeptical of the vanilla, but it was a delicious add-in.  Although in the future I may leave it and the sugar out so that leftover pancakes can be eaten with savory items.

A local restaurant serves Green chili cheddar corn cakes, topped with chorizo, two poached eggs, queso fundido, pico de gallo, sour cream, green onions and avocado, and it is amazing.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Hot and Sour Soup

  • 2-4 Tbs. Chicken fat (for best results), butter, or any oil
  • 1 Leek, washed thoroughly, split, and thinly sliced
  • 4 medium Carrots washed, split, and sliced
  • 8 oz. white button Mushrooms, washed, split, and sliced

Stir-fry vegetables in chicken fat, then add:

  • 1 quart of chicken stock
  • 8 oz. can of each, or a cup fresh: Bean Sprouts, Baby corn, Water chestnuts, Bamboo shoots, drained and rinsed (watch out for MSG and preservatives like Sodium Benzoate or Potassium Sorbate)
  • 1/4 cup of white wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbs. Soy sauce
  • 1/2-1 Tbs. Chili-Garlic oil
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt (depends on how salty your stock is, mine had little to none)
Let the whole pot boil for about 20 minutes, or until the largest carrot pieces are tender.

And if you like it thick, stir in:
  • 2 Tbs. of Corn starch dissolved in 2 Tbs. cold water
Once it comes to a boil gently stir in a steady stream of:
  • 2 eggs, beaten
And/Or add:
  • 1 block of extra firm tofu cut into strips (optional)

Bring back to a boil, then serve.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Crock Pot Brown Rice On High Heat

I had cooked some heritage chicken legs in the crock pot the other day and was left with some very aromatic drippings and broth.  Since I didn't feel like getting another pot dirty I decided to use the crock.  I heated the leftovers and broth on high until simmering.  I took out the leg and added the rice.  I estimated the broth at about 2 cups and so I used 1 cup of brown rice.

Typically brown rice takes 50 minutes to cook once simmering.  Adding extra time to allow the broth to come back to a simmer, I was banking on somewhere between 1.5-2 hours.  Not the 3.5 most recipes on low heat suggested.  I chose high heat because I want a simmer.  I did not add any additional liquid because I have not known my crock to evaporate liquid very fast.

But then...I decided to add the meat from the leftover leg, and an extra cup of broth from my reserves. I ended up with tender but not mushy rice that had an amazing flavor, and just slightly too much broth, sloppy but not soupy.

The best part is that I didn't worry about it burning, simmering too rapidly, or boiling over.  And it wasn't under-done like it often turns out when I cook it (according to the directions) on the stove.  Plus since I have a gas stove/range, I don't like to leave it unattended.

1 cup of brown rice
2 cups + 1 cup of broth

Starting the broth on high till simmering, add the rice, plan on 2 hours.