Time-sucks

I have been ‘wasting’ a lot of time on Pinterest and Food52 lately! It isn’t really wasting time, of course. I’ve been googling food blogs of all different kinds of cuisine, and have added quite a few yummy sounding and looking indian and colombian dishes on my Pinterest.

I also just re-discovered Food52. I had heard of it before but never really spent too much time on it. Yesterday I signed up and starting saving away recipes and articles. The Dinner vs. Child column is pretty funny to read, and this one on kid’s lunches is pretty interesting, although I’m pretty sure my kid would never give up her ham sandwiches and eat like that. It all inspires me to make our meals a little more interesting and to get more variety in, try new things. Even if the rest of the people in the house aren’t adventurous I will do it for me 😀

I’m excited to try these 4 hour baguettes!  And celery soup with almost a whole stick of butter :lol

Some more finds that I really want to make:

Colombian roasted chicken legs

Crispy beef

Swiss chard cobbler with cornmeal biscuits

Buffalo ranch popcorn

I even saved a recipe for Chicken Liver Pate. It was late 😉

If I end up making any of these I’ll be sure to share the results!

 

 

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Cranberry sauce muffins

Yesterday’s eats were all about using stuff up in the fridge.  We still had leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving, don’t worry, it had lots of booze and sugar in it so it was still good!  I decided to make some muffins for breakfast.  I used this recipe from Kitchen Treaty with a couple of tweaks, so I’ll share what my recipe ended up being.

Leftover Cranberry Sauce Muffins (adapted from Kitchentreaty.com)

  • 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups leftover cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 egg

Mix all the dry ingredients together, then mix the wet ingredients together, then mix the wet into the dry.  I have a small muffin tin so I filled that up and still had more so I put it in a small loaf pan.  My muffins baked at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, and the loaf took probably 10 minutes longer.

We had these for breakfast with a little butter and they were so good!  I was only planning on having one, but they were so good I had to have another.  I also had a glass of homemade V8 and some yogurt with my canned pears.

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I was able to go shopping before work and hit up 3 stores, filling my entire trunk with groceries.  We were all out of salad ingredients and I’ve really been enjoying my salads, so I had to get more!  I also ended up with quite a few things I didn’t really need, but oh well.  Lunch was another salad 😆  This time I added some chicken breast that I cooked the night before, some cheddar cheese, and olive oil and balsamic.  It was really good.

My workout of the day was an hour on the elliptical at an easy pace, varying the levels here and there while watching Arrested Development.  I am on season 3 and I love it, too funny.  I hopped on the treadmill for about a half hour after that and walked at an incline.  I was able to hit my 500 calorie goal!

Dinner was chicken teriyaki meatballs, sauteed kale, peppers, and onion, and steamed broccoli.  Pretty simple, but good.  I also had 2 cocktails based off of the Rusty Nail that Michael Ruhlman posted yesterday.  I couldn’t find the Drambuie so I just grabbed some whiskey that had honey added.  I think I will try to make my own Drambuie if I have this again.  I snacked on a square of chocolate and had some ginger cookies while watching a movie and winding down for the night.

My calories were 1946, Fitbit burn was 2504, and I managed 20,636 steps.

I guess my workout on Thursday was effective, because man, my back and shoulders are feeling very worked!  I was stiff and sore and uncomfortable last night so I ended up in bed around 8:00 😆  I’m feeling a lot better today though, so I’m going to do another strength workout and just take tomorrow off.  We are having friends over tonight for pizza, drinks, and cards.  It will be fun!  Just need to balance out the rest of my day so I don’t overdo it 🙂

Good and easy chicken stock

Usually when we buy chicken we get the Coleman organic brand from Costco.  They come in twos, and are normally around $25, so I want to get all I can out of them!  It is super easy to break down your own chicken, if you aren’t already, you should google it and find a good tutorial that makes sense for you.  Buying chicken this way makes it so much cheaper, and once you get the hang of cutting it up, it is so worth it.  On to the chicken stock!

I’ve read a bunch of recipes online and the way I do it is pretty much based off of Ruhlman’s, except I do mine with raw chicken.  I buy the chicken in twos and usually cut them up in twos.  We end up making oven chicken with loads of onion and garlic with all of the legs and thighs.  I package the breasts and wings up and freeze them.  We wait until we have a good amount of wings to cook those, and usually the breasts get marinated and grilled or used for stir-fries and such.  Anyway!  I end up with two carcasses and the wing tips for my stock.  Here’s how I make it.  It might not be the ‘right’ way, but I like how it turns out, and, its’ easy.

Good and Easy Chicken Stock

  • 2 raw chicken carcasses with wing tips
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • About 5 1/5 quarts water

Heat the oil in your stock pot, add the chicken carcasses and wing tips and sear on all sides.  Remove the chicken and add the vegetables.  You should have quite a bit of good brown bits in the pan, the veggies will cook and soak them all up!  When you have gotten all of the brown bits up, add the garlic and cook for a minute.  Then add the chicken parts back in and cover it all up with water.  Add the peppercorns and bay leaves and cook at a low simmer without the bubbles breaking the surface for 4-6 hours.

At this point I fill the sink with ice and water and stick the pan in there so I can get it to cool down faster, stirring occasionally.  I pull out what I can of the carcass, it will be hard to get at it since it will have softened up.  I pick all of the meat off and use that for chicken and noodles or whatever.  It won’t be super flavorful but it is still good, and I don’t want to waste it!  Then I line my colander with a flour sack towel (you can reuse these, just rinse out well and wash with your dish towels) and strain the stock.  You can squeeze a good amount of goodness out of that, so do it!!

I won’t use all that this makes up at once, so I fill up my freezer containers and save it for another day.  This last batch made almost 5 quarts of stock!

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Not pretty chicken

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Veggies picking up the brown bits

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All the goodies in the pot

If you haven’t made your own chicken stock yet, you should do it!  It’s super easy and delicious.  Plus it’s just cool 🙂

Good chicken stock!

Good chicken stock!

 

Chocolate Cherry Cream Scones

The other day I bought a big container of heavy cream with no plan really to use it up.  I guess that’s a lie, I was secretly thinking ice cream!  I ended up opening it to make some potato leek soup.  It sat in the fridge for a few days, I ran out of milk and had to use the cream, which reminded me I needed to make a plan.  I still might make ice cream but who knows?  Scones sounded good, but something more than basic had to be done.  Enter the chocolate cherry scone!

This recipe is adapted from America’s Test Kitchen.  Any time I’ve made it before the dough seems to dry and I have to add a bit more liquid.  Today I just planned on adding more and it worked out great!

(I know this is not a pretty picture!  Hard to make a dark brown rectangle look pretty :lol:)

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Chocolate Cherry Scones

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. instant espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder*
  • 2/3 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 5 T butter cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

*I used black cocoa powder but any kind will work.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Add all of the dry ingredients and the sugar to a food processor and pulse until combined.  Add the butter and pulse 10-12 times to mix well.  Add the cherries and pulse a few times.  Transfer the mix to a large bowl and add in the cream and almond extract.  You will probably need to work it with your hands a little bit, but don’t overdo it.  The dough will be sticky and seem like it has too much liquid.  It’s okay!  Drop the dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and pat out into your desired shape, I did a square.  Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and separate them on the cookie sheet.  Mine cooked for 15 minutes and I cooled them on a wire rack.

I really like these scones!  They definitely gave me a good chocolate fix.  I had one with a smoothie after a run and it really filled me up.  Plus, chocolately.  What else do you need?!

Perfect Crock Pot Pinto Beans

I love beans 🙂  I didn’t used to care that much about them, but a past boyfriend turned me on to them years ago.  He was also the one who taught me how to cook.  We would make just a little pan of pinto beans, with plenty of butter, salt and pepper and let it boil all day, continuing to add water (it was just a little pan).  While they were cooking  we’d quickly walk to the store and pick up some hard rolls and sour cream.  The beans were always so perfect sandwiched in the roll with a good dose of sour cream.  Carb-loading at it’s best!

Nowadays I do them my own way, and they are still pretty darn perfect.  And a lot easier when you just put it all in the crock pot and leave it!  I don’t really use a recipe, so the seasonings will be to taste for you and your liking.  My amounts are ish-es 😉  We think they are great this way.  The trick is to make sure you put A LOT of flavor into them, otherwise they will be kind of boring.

PERFECT CROCK POT PINTO BEANS

  • 2 cups dry pinto beans
  • 1 chopped onion (I use yellow)
  • 1 T bacon grease or oil
  • 5-6 garlic cloves minced
  • about 4 cups total liquid – I usually do half and half chicken stock and water
  • 4 T butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 3 T good chili powder*
  • 1 tsp. epazote**
  • salt to taste***

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Saute the onion on medium heat in oil for 7-8 minutes until soft.  Let them get a little brown in the pan.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds or so.  Add this to the beans in the crock pot.  Deglaze the pan with some of the liquid and add that to the pot.  Add all of the other ingredients.  The liquid should cover the beans by about 2 inches.  There are a couple of options for cooking.  You can do it on high the entire time, about 5 hours.  You can also cook on high for 2 hours, and then turn it to low for the remaining time, about 4-5 hours more.  I usually just do it all on high, but if you need them to cook longer for whatever reason you could do the latter.  I like mine a little on the soupy side so I try not to let the water get cooked out too much.   The ones pictured went a little too far!

* I grind my own chili powder from various dried chiles.  If you use store bought try to use some different kinds, like regular chili powder and ancho, or whatever you like.  Something like that 😆

** Epazote is for flavor but also to combat the gas effect of beans.  Although I’ve heard Alton Brown say that if you have that issue, you just need to eat beans more often and it will go away.

***Do NOT add salt in the beginning, only add it after the beans have cooked!!  Otherwise your beans will take a lot longer to get done.  I don’t know why, it just is.

No Nonsense Blender Juice

I have been experimenting with juice lately.  I even thought about getting an actual juicer.  I started watching some YouTube videos with people using masticating juicers, and it just seemed like there was so much waste!  We have had a centrifugal juicer and got rid of it because of the waste factor, plus it was annoying to clean.  So I bagged that idea and just turned to blender.  I have a Blendtec which is great, but you could do this with any blender.  It just might not get as blended, but that doesn’t matter since you are draining the pulp anyway.

Here is what I do.  I use my Blendtec, a quart measuring cup, and these oversized floursack towels, each cut into 4 smaller squares.  The floursack will get stained.  All I do is rinse it out and set it outside to dry in the sun, which might help the staining.  They get washed with all of the other kitchen towels.

Chop the veggies and fruit on the small side.

Off to the blender, with water added to the 20 ounce line, or more if you like.

Blend one time on the whole juice setting, or until it looks like this 😉

Floursack ready to strain.

Pour the juice in.

Gather it up and strain it out. You’ll have to squeeze and twist and it might get messy. Get as much juice out as you can.

This is how much I got out.

The pulp bag.

Maybe a cup? Not bad!

For this juice I used:

  • 3 carrots
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup jicama
  • 1 beet
It was pretty good!  I like to add greens too, spinach and kale or whatever you have.  The possibilities are endless.  I decided to do this one today since we are not big fans of jicama straight up, and ended up with one from our Bountiful Basket last weekend.  Much easier to take this way 😆

How to make the best yogurt

This is really subjective of course, to my preferences 😆  And yes, I know that there are a meeelion internet pages that tell you how to make yogurt.  Here is #one meeelion and one.

I love yogurt, especially in smoothies.  I like it on the thick side, not runny and clumpy.  I am too lazy though lately to strain it out and make it like greek yogurt!  I’ve seen websites that get all technical and tell you to sanitize and spell every little thing out for you, but I don’t think it needs to be that complicated.  Just use clean stuff and good milk.  So here is what I do.  It is super simple, BUT it is because I use my dehydrator!  I have one of these and I love it, even if all I do is make yogurt in it.  Of course you can do many other things with the dehydrator, so, totally worth the expenditure 🙂

The downside to this recipe is that if you don’t have a dehydrator, you’ll have to go somewhere else for more difficult instructions 😆

Homemade Yogurt

You will need:

Dehydrator, 3 wide-mouth quart canning jars, 9-10 cups of good quality whole milk*, 3-4 heaping tablespoons of store-bought or homemade yogurt as starter**, thermometer.

Heat the milk in a large saucepan over medium heat until it reaches 160 degrees Farenheit, whisking occasionally.  Remove from heat and let cool to 110 or lower, whisking occasionally.  This usually takes me at least 45 minutes.  Once the milk is cooled, whisk in the yogurt starter mixing thoroughly.  Then pour the milk into the glass jars.  With 10 cups of milk I get the quart jars filled almost all of the way.  Cover the jars with a small towel or napkin and secure with a rubber band.  Put them in the dehydrator set for about 104 degrees and leave them overnight or 24 hours.  I leave mine for about 24 hours.  When they are set to your liking, put them in the fridge until set.  Then enjoy your easy-peasy yogurt!

* I use the Winder (local) brand.

** I tend to buy a small container of Fage total, full fat, every 3 or 4 times I make the yogurt.  I think you can probably continue to use your homemade yogurt as a starter, but I don’t.  Sometimes the texture starts to get too runny for me after a few cycles and that is why.

 

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Cake Doughnuts

Today is our 60th day of the Unprocessed Challenge!  I guess we celebrated by making doughnuts 😆  Were we the only ones on the planet without doughnut pans?  We just bought ours today, I don’t know how we lived without them!  Doughnuts are so cute 🙂

So these turned out really good.  I used this recipe and this recipe for guidance, which are almost the same except for a few differences.  I had never heard of the idea of mixing cornstarch with regular flour to mimic cake flour so I decided to do it.  I only used sugar (no honey), but also added cinnamon to my batter.  I meant to use butter but forgot to put it in!  I can only assume they would be even better with butter.  So here is what I used:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup kamut flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup evaporated cane juice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T melted butter (ok no I didn’t use it but you should :lol:)
  • 1 T vanilla

I put the batter in a ziploc and cut off the end to pipe it into the pans.  Mine baked at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, and then I glazed them while they were still warm.  For the chocolate glaze I used about 1/4 cup ground sugar, 1 tablespoon coca powder, and heavy cream to the desired texture.  I left mine more like frosting.  We made an orange glaze with 1/4 cup ground sugar, juice of 1/2 an orange, and the zest of an orange.  The chocolate was the best!!

So there ya’ go.  You can eat unprocessed and have your doughnuts too!

 

Unprocessed Day 56: Choco-Carob Balls

I have been making these treats when the cookies run out before it’s time to bake more.  They are so good!!  I usually just toss handfuls of stuff in the food processor but this time I measured as I went and they turned out really good, so I’ll share the recipe.

Choco-Carob Balls

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cup pitted medjool dates
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts
  • 2-3 T maple syrup
  • 2 T cocoa powder
  • 2 T carob powder

Process the oats, coconut, dates, and walnuts until they are well mixed and chopped fine.  Add the syrup, cocoa, and carob. Process until the mixture starts to form a ball.  Wrap in plastic and chill until firm.  Roll into balls and roll them in cocoa powder or coconut, or leave as is.

Eat one right away, and then wait for the rest to refrigerate until nice and firm, they are better that way 🙂

Unprocessed Day 55: The craziest dinner I have ever made

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Ready for it? Kimchi fried rice! I never would have sought this out because it just sounded good, it just kind of all fell into place somehow. I got a big head of napa cabbage from the co-op last week along with a daikon radish, and I had green onions on hand. I don’t know why but I just thought “I should make kimchi!” I have never even had kimchi but I’ve seen it around on the internets, and I love all things fermented (so far), so I figured why not?

It was pretty easy. I used this recipe from David Lebovitz, but I didn’t have any chili paste or korean chili. I did have some chinese chili that I got from World Spice and I used that instead. The one bottle of fish sauce I have was the most safe-looking one from the oriental market, i.e. no actual fish in it 😆 I made it, put it in glass jars on the counter, and let it sit to ferment. Mine were out maybe 2 1/2 days before I stuck them in the fridge. Full disclosure: the jars smelled awful when I first mixed everything together! After the ferment time it smelled like something I would probably want to eat. When I got it out of the fridge to make the fried rice, it smelled a little wahoo. I thought if it tasted like it smelled maybe I wouldn’t eat it, but it tasted pretty good. Crazy, but good.

Now that I had made the kimchi, I had to figure out how to eat it.  I think lots of people enjoy it as is but I knew we needed to incorporate into something on our first try.  Fried rice sounded better to me than kimchi stew or soup, but I might try that next time.

I loosely used this recipe from Serious Eats for the fried rice. I used:

  • About 2 cups of cooked brown rice
  • 1 small carrot cut in matchsticks
  • 1/2 medium red onion chopped
  • 1/2 each yellow and orange bell pepper chopped
  • About 1 1/2 cups of kimchi
  • 1/2 sheet toasted nori
  • sesame and olive oil
I sauteed the carrot, onion, and pepper for about 5 minutes and then added the kimchi, heating through. I added the rice and let it cook until it was all heated, a few minutes, then served the rice. I added some oil to the pan and scrambled a couple of eggs, and when they were done they topped the rice, along with the nori, some sesame oil, and we also added some roasted asparagus (random!). Cooking the kimchi took a lot of the strong flavor away, but it was still quite sour. I was thinking next time I might try some avocado on it, or just make a runny egg instead of scrambled.
Like I said, not something I would go seek out to eat, but having tried it, I think it was really good! I didn’t even try to feed this one to The Kid, but The Boyfriend said he liked it too. I would be curious to find or make the chili paste and try it with that. I will have to come up with something else to cook the other half of the kimchi.
Have you eaten kimchi? Any recipe I must try?!