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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

Butter

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.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Real Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats

Craving chocolate I kicked myself for not buying cocoa krispies to make the treats.  I was so focused on holiday rice krispies that when I didn't find them, I didn't think about anything but plain.

Then a thought occurred to me to try using actual chocolate, who knows what they put in cocoa krispies to make them taste chocolaty.  So I searched on-line for a recipe and discovered a few things.  Most people who tried adding chocolate chips mistakenly use the whole bag (12 oz./2 cups) instead of just using enough, 1/2 cup.  Secondly, hardly anyone thought about how adding chocolate would mean a need to increase liquid to make it work/easier to mix.

So I came up with this recipe and I think it's a winner, if not a little more labor intensive.  Next time I may use the microwave and mini-marshmallows.  Because it took so long for the big marshmallows to dissolve, it slightly turned the mixture into candy, allowing the treats to get stiff enough to cut only an hour or so after I made them.  Great if you need them in a hurry.

4 Tablespoons of Butter
1/2 cup (120 grams) of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 10-oz. bag of marshmallows
6 cups of plain rice krispees

On the stove, over a very low heat, stirring constantly, melt the butter and chocolate chips, then add in the marshmallows.  Stir constantly until marshmallows dissolve.  Stir in rice krispees until well coated, spread out into a greased glass dish.  Let cool and cover.

Calories: 2,494    Per 1/24: 104

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Frozen Cranberry Salad


This "salad" has been a mainstay in our family during the Holidays for as long as I can remember. I've seen other recipes that include cream cheese and nuts but this is the recipe handed down to me from my grandmother.

1 bag (12 oz.) fresh, raw cranberries rinsed and sorted
2 cups white sugar
16 oz. of mini-marshmallows*
1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple
2 cups whipping cream (evaporated milk for lighter, heavy whipping cream for heavier, but I think regular whipping cream produces the  best results)

In a food processor pulse the cranberries and in a bowl combine with the sugar. In a separate bowl stir the crushed pineapple into the marshmallows. Cover and let rest in the fridge overnight. In a much larger bowl combine the cranberry mixture with the pineapple marshmallows. Whip the cream and fold into the lot of it. Spread out into a container with a lid, cover and freeze. It should be ready to eat in 8 hours.

*If you are gluten free make sure your marshmallows are as well.

Calorie counting:   Pineapple: 315, Cranberries: 150, Sugar: 1440, Marshmallows: 1350, Whipping Cream, Regular: 1440, Total: 4695 / 24 Servings = 195 Calories

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Wild Rice Stuffing

This is a great gluten free alternative to traditional stuffing.  It was incredibly easy and delicious.  It could easily be made vegan if you substitute oil for the butter.

2 cups of Lundberg dry Wild Rice Blend
1 quart of chicken broth
1 Tablespoon of minced fresh sage, or 1 teaspoon dried
1/4 cup of minced fresh parsley, or 1 rounded Tablespoon dried

Cook the rice according to the package using the broth, herbs, and 1 teaspoon of salt if broth is not salted.

4 Tablespoons butter, divided
1 onion, diced
5 large ribs of celery, diced
1/2 lb of mushrooms, halved and sliced

Saute the onion in the butter till translucent, add the celery, then the mushrooms, waiting a few minutes in between.  Stir every minute or so, cooking till all the liquid has steamed off and the veggies are starting to brown.  Add in to the cooked rice and serve.