I had planned to make a curried egg salad (shredded carrots, diced onions, diced hard boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, and Penzey’s sweet curry powder) so we could use up the Easter eggs. Got the flatbread cooked. Everything was diced up & ready to go in a bowl. Got another bowl for the yogurt (when you use curry POWDER, mixing it into the yogurt first to make sure it’s all smooth & hydrated makes a really nice sauce. For some reason stirring in yogurt and then adding curry powder makes a mess. I think it’s because powder bits cling to the chunks of food & never get hydrated). Grabbed the yogurt container from the fridge … and it’s almost empty. Umm … hungry people, food ready for the curry sauce. So I decided to try making mayo again (that’s what the recipe calls for anyway). I’ve tried a few times, and never gotten anything vaguely useful.
So I searched for a never breaking mayo recipe and got something that actually worked for me:
They add some Dijon mustard to the egg/vinegar mixture & uses the whole egg instead of just the yolk. Which means you don’t end up with spare egg whites that you’ve got to use somewhere (although they do freeze just fine). There’s certainly some flavour from the Dijon (and colour – it’s not a pure white cream), but it’s tasty.
Our salad course for Easter was a sauteed hop salad. We have both cascade and centennial hops, and the ones that are in the ground have grown incredibly in the past week or so. Before the snow, we had little sprouts barely nudging through soil. Now some of our vines are two feet long!
So I missed the really tender early sprouts. I sauteed the thicker stems in a little olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Then garnished with fresh hop leaves. It was really good – and I only used about half of the trimmings.
Sometimes when I research the process to replace a manufactured something-or-other with a homemade version, it ends up being a significant effort. Other times, though, the process is shockingly simple. Bitters fall into the later category. To make bitters, you soak stuff in alcohol (vodka or whiskey) for a few weeks. What you soak changes the flavor of the bitters, so there’s a bit of an art to it. But the actual process is simple and straight forward.
I am going to make hop bitters using frozen whole hops that we grew last season. The base will be cascade hops soaked for two weeks in vodka. If that is not sufficiently bittering, I will take some centennial and boil it in water to make a hop tea. Reduce the hop tea by at least 50% and add that to the vodka/hop mixture. I thought it could be stored with some whole hops in the bottle for aesthetics.
We made the Medusa Cream Ale last night, and it seems so wasteful to throw out the steeping grains (a.k.a. ‘spent grains’). I’ve added a cup to a 4c flour pizza dough recipe before – it makes a nice whole grainy crust. Anya has taken the ‘self service’ approach to bananas, but she leaves somewhere between an empty peel and 7/8th of a banana sitting on the kitchen counter. I’ve been collecting her banana bits in the refrigerator … so I wanted to make something with bananas.
Banana Muffins With Spent Beer Grains
5 T butter, melted
1/3 c dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 t salt
2 t vanilla
1 t baking soda
2 t Penzey’s apple pie spices
2 cups spent beer grains — this batch was from a light cream ale, you’ll get a different taste using grains from a darker beer
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Melt the butter in a large bowl
- Mash the bananas into the butter
- Add the brown sugar and stir until dissolved
- Stir in the egg, salt, vanilla, baking soda, and spices
- Add the spent grains and mix well
- Add the flour, half a cup at a time, and stir until no streaks of flour are seen
- Scoop batter into muffin tin (I use a non-stick tin from Williams Sonoma and filled each one about 90%)
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a tester inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out without raw batter (a little moist is OK, uncooked batter not OK)
We’ve started to play around with our maple syrup. I’ve made maple pecan pancakes, maple lemonade, maple apple smoothies with kale and spinach (good for St Patrick’s Day), and now maple whiskey sours!
0.5 oz fresh lemon juice, 1.0 oz grade b maple syrup, 3.0 oz woodford reserve – shake with ice, decant into a glass, sprinkle with lemon zest
I’ve seen a lot of recipes for broccoli tots, but really haven’t been impressed with the end result. I created two of my own recipes that we like a lot more – although neither approach is potato-free. The first ‘recipe’ is to take your favorite latke (potato pancake) recipe and add 8 ounces of shredded broccoli. I make a lot of ‘stuff’ (soups, stir fries) that uses the broccoli crowns, but I’ve never cared for slices of the stem in dishes. Shreds of broccoli stems, however, work wonderfully in cheddar broccoli soup and broccoli tots. Grate the left-over stems and steam them for a few minutes, allow to cool, then use or freeze. I squeeze them out before using – otherwise you get a lot of water.
The second recipe:
1 lb potatoes
8 oz shredded broccoli
3 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1/4 t cayanne pepper
1 T corn starch
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Shred half of the potatoes and set aside. Chop the remaining potatoes into small chunks and cook in boiling water (~10 minutes). Mash the potato chunks.
Sauté the shredded potatoes in oil (butter, olive oil, peanut oil) until they are crispy and golden.
Combine all of the ingredients except for the shredded potatoes. Mix well. Carefully stir in the sautéed shredded potatoes.
Line a half-sheet with a silicon baking mat. Scoop small amounts (1-2 teaspoons) of the mixture into your hand and roll into a ball. Place the balls onto the baking sheet and flatten a little bit.
Bake for ten minutes at 400 degrees. Turn tots over and continue baking for ten more minutes.
I’ve been making homemade soap for almost four years now, but haven’t ventured into the other personal products that can be made at home. Anya’s lips have been getting chapped this winter, and she picks at them … so they get rather ripped up. I had a tube of lip balm that I let her use. She’s four years old, and misused lip balm in all the ways one could imagine to misuse lip balm; and I took it from her. She proceeded to crawl up on the counter when I wasn’t looking and take it back. So when I found her writing on the cabinetry with the lip balm, I took it and hid it from her. Unfortunately, the next time we needed to use it … I have no idea where I hid it. We spent about half an hour looking, and still no lip balm. Good hiding spot, but her lips were getting really raw. So I decided to research lip balm recipes.
Now we have lip balm that doesn’t contain any funky ingredients. I’ve got quite a few oils for making soap, so the project didn’t require a lot of new ‘stuff’ either. Bonus!
Lip Balm Recipe:
25 grams of yellow beeswax
20 grams of shea butter
20 grams of cocoa butter
40 grams of coconut oil
All of these were put into a metal bowl. I put a couple of inches of water in a small saucepan and set the metal bowl into the saucepan. Turned the burner to ‘4’ and heated it for a LONG time until all of the wax melted. Next time, I’ll grate the wax 🙂 The big chunks took a while to melt down. The grated slivers melted before the cocoa butter.
Once everything has melted, add any essential oils you may want (I used about half a teaspoon of peppermint oil, but the peppermint is really subtle). Then pour into containers — if you are using tubes, make sure they are twisted all the way down first! Let them sit for twenty minutes or so to cool. Voila, lip balm!
We made some pumpkin pies yesterday – one of which is for Anya’s preschool “Feast”. I wanted a lightly sweetened, creamy, pumpkin pie. The recipe makes two *deep* dish pies (the Emile Henry ruffled pie plate)
Ingredients – Pie:
58 oz tinned pumpkin puree
36 oz whole milk, simmered down to half
4 oz cream
9 T Penzey’s pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
Incredients – Crust:
16 oz gingersnap cookies (make sure they are good gingersnaps)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 T flour
2 T sugar
Ingredients – Apple Caramel:
2 cups apple cider
Method: Preheat oven to 425.
Making the pie crust – run the ginger snaps through a food processor to make a sandy powder. Mix in the flour and sugar. Melt the butter and add to the crumbs. Make sure the mixture is moist enough to compress into a crust. If it isn’t add another tablespoon of butter. Press the mixture along the bottom and sides of the pie plates. Bake crust at 425 for five minutes, then set aside to cool while you mix the pumpkin filling.
Making the pie – Combine the milk, cream, and eggs and whip together. Whip in the spices and molasses. Fold this into the pumpkin puree. Gently transfer the pumpkin mixture into the cooled pie crusts. Bake for fifteen minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 350 and bake for 50 minutes. Remove pies from oven and allow to cool for several hours (if you pierce the pie to test it, it is apt to crack … I made two pies so I was able to test one and have an un-cracked pie for the party).
Making the Apple Caramel – Put apple cider into a pan on high heat. Boil, stirring constantly, until it is almost all evaporated and very foamy. Remove from burner and let it sit a few minutes to cool. It will thicken as it cools.
I found a recipe for alkaline noodles — well, Scott had been craving ramen noodles. And I cannot say I know where to get them. The Styrofoam bowls with paper covers that you peel back and add water … it’s been a while since I’ve been to CAM (Cleveland Asia Market), but I totally know where to get those. But a cheap pack of ramen noodles — I looked around at the grocery store and didn’t find any. I thought they were fairly ubiquitous no-money/no-time/no-cooking-skill items.
So I googled how to make ramen noodles – and it turns out real ramen noodles are alkaline noodles. I found a really good sounding recipe that uses rye flour, and then found a simpler one that I went with (since I didn’t have rye flour on hand). I rolled them out too thickly, but it’s a cool way to make something like an egg noodle without needing eggs.
Sliced the potatoes & sautéed in an herb infused oil (olive oil, thyme, pepper)