I mentioned in my Azure post the hemp oil I bought last month. There is a recipe for an italian-style salad dressing on the back, and it makes me laugh every time I open the fridge.
Well, the Green Death is all et up, as is the pecan pie (that went fast), pumpkin pie, peach pie, peach cobbler, stuffing (we ate that for 3 meals/day for quite some time…)… and I’m sorry to say the mashed potatoes served the birds. That is, they were all calorie-infused what with butter (a lot) and cream cheese (a lot). They were intended for a potluck that wasn’t, and while reheating them in the crock pot worked grandly, keeping them warm in said crock pot for … a day or two… probably wasn’t the best idea. I tossed them when they began to turn a toasty brown shade.
But the turkey! It continues to bless us.
On Sunday I took to it with a knife, dicing up a gallon ziploc full of bits, and mostly filling another with larger chunks. These went into the freezer to make pot pie and other yummy things later. I removed the skin (and attached quills, ahem) and fed it to the cats and dog, and broke the remainder up and put it in my roaster thing. Does anybody know the name for that? My mom used to call it “the Nesco”, but this one isn’t a Nesco brand. It’s like a giant, rectangular, steel, thermostatically-controlled crockpot. Great for roasting, and making big bunches of whatever. Anyways, into this contraption went the skinless bird – lots of meat, and all the bones. I turned it to just over boiling (212 degrees or so) and let it simmer that day. And night. And yesterday. Wait, did it really cook that long? Hm. Well, as long as it’s kept at least 140 (the magic bacteria-inhibiting temperature) it’s fine. I didn’t boil it all that time, but kept it hot. This morning I turned it off for a few hours, and then did the tedious task of separating everything within it. I get out several bowls of varying sizes, and sort accordingly: Bones Which Might Kill The Dog (Hubby requests I not feed her such, otherwise I would), Nice Meat Which We Will Eat, and Weird Creepy Stuff For The Dog. What’s left is a murky, bit-infused broth, which is remedied by pouring through strainers/sieves/filters until it’s fairly nice. This is a step my mom didn’t (doesn’t?) do, and it’s made all the difference in the world to me in the palatability of homemade soups. I’m also much pickier between Meat and Weird Creepies. (Sorry Mom)
At this point I looked at the clock and freaked out because we were making an unusual Tuesday trip to town – consisting of grocery shopping at Costco, portrait-taking at Sears, and a dentist appointment. And if that’s not a perfect schedule for a masochist, I don’t know what is. But don’t worry: we survived, if barely. Organique only screamed and cried when it was her turn to have her picture taken. And ran around. And left the studio. And tripped and banged her head, which of course, resulted in more screaming and crying, only this time with a nice mark upon her forehead.
But we were talking about soup. Tomorrow I will dice some carrots, de-insecticide some celery, then dice it, cut up an onion, toss in some (more) bay leaves, thyme, maybe savory or sage, and eventually some peas, and have tastey soup. Oh, and probably some barley, and a pound of salt. Hubby doesn’t think it’s food if a spoon can’t stand straight up in a bowl of it. I don’t think it’s food if it isn’t nicely salted.
Once upon a time I let my turkey carcasses end up in the trash. Now I never do (perhaps because so much effort and expense goes into raising and readying the buggers), and I encourage you to try it, if you haven’t. It’s wonderfully nutritious, perfect for the season, and makes several meals with the addition of a few cheap veggies and a grain.
So – here’s to good-eatin’, and good-livin’ — all at the same time. 🙂
Well, it’s 10:30 at night. What do you think is cooking?
Beef stock, for one. I’m following the prescribed rules of my Food Bible (Nourishing Traditions, and I’m worse at following it than I am the Real Live Bible), and making some hearty, tasty broth. Everyone does this overnight, do they not? My favorite way is to use a crockpot or big roaster thingy. Since I’m using a big bunch of soup bones, I’m using the roaster thingy. You know what I’m talking about, right? Like a crockpot, only metal, rectangular, and with a thermostat instead of misspelled relative temperature options? Sorry, it’s late, and I get a little crazy when it’s late.
Anyway, I put the bones in water and a bit of vinegar (helps draw calcium and minerals from the bones into the soup – not sure what it does to me when I use it in salads) and let them sit an hour before heating it. Then I turned it up “high” (not ‘hi’ – 450′ to be exact) until it boiled. I skimmed off the impurities, but there weren’t many. These might not be beef ‘knuckles’, perhaps. Then I turned it to simmer, where it stayed for the day, and will stay for the night, and maybe some of tomorrow as well. I’ll remove the bones (and MAYBE give them to our naughty dog), tear up the meat, and strain the broth. Maybe I’ll let it cool and remove the fat somewhere in that process. Then I’ll put in more of all the lovely garden abundance and try not to eat it all in one day, like the last time I made it. Perhaps I’ll have enough to freeze for later. Wouldn’t that be fantastic?
I ALSO (because I am so amazing tonight) have chicken broth in the makings. And haven’t even tripped a circuit yet. I roasted a chicken in the crockpot, and the uneaten parts (minus the feathery skin – gotta love home-processed poultry) are simmering with an onion and some garlic. I’ll treat it like the beef stock tomorrow – remove bones (and likely give them to the naughty dog)*, separate meat, strain broth – then add veggies and some sort of starch. I’m undecided if it’ll be barley, rice, or homemade noodles. The noodles are grand, but Organique hasn’t eaten wheat yet (that I know of – her under-the-table expeditions might have introduced her to it by now), so I might forego those. I’ll use potatoes with the beef, so not the chicken.
I even washed and dried diapers tonight, too.
But before I start floating away with all this inflation-of-ego, I better go make sure I set the dishwasher to ACTUALLY wash, because I’m pretty sure I forgot that.
*okay, I wouldn’t really give the dangerous, splintery, cooked-chicken bones to our dog. Probably.
I did it! I made sourdough starter. Inasmuch as you make it, of course. It kindof makes itself, which is handy.
Sourdough is ‘wild’ yeast, caught and kept in a flour-batter mix. Used in place of yeast to leaven things. Pancakes can be tastey too.
I followed some directions which said to put 1 c. of whole wheat flour and 1 c. of water (filtered) into a glass container, cover with a dishtowel, and set in a dark corner. The instructions also called for the addition of 1 c. flour and 1 c. water each day for a week before it would be useable.
After five days I wasn’t impressed. A neighbor showed me her starter, and how she made it, so I changed things up a bit.
I ignored it for 2 or 3 days.
Lo and behold! the nice bubbles and beer-ish smell were finally there! After that third day, I ‘fed’ it again (the flour and water) and also added a teeny bit of honey. Yeast loves sweets, after all.
I used it to make some bread, again following a recipe, but am going to have to change it. It rose wonderfully (but FAR slower than with yeast), but the rising time was too much. By the time I checked it, it had risen (the second time) and fallen. I baked it anyway, but again, bake time was too much, and I have some DARN CRISPY sourdough bread. The flavor is good though! To me, anyway. The girls aren’t too thrilled about it.
Now, to make some big sourdough bread-bowls for soup or chili! mmMMMmm!
Also, my pet SCOBY is just starting… after a week.
I’m so very thrilled.
Kombucha is NOT made from a mushroom. Mushrooms do not make it, nor do they live in it, nor do they contribute to it’s retirement.
What IS Kombucha? Hmm… very good question. Wiki says:
Kombucha is the Western name for sweetened tea or tisane that has been fermented using a macroscopic solid mass of microorganisms called a “kombucha colony,” usually consisting principally of Acetobacter-species and yeast cultures.
That is, it’s the result of the Kombucha SCOBY’s ‘work’ on sugar and tea. SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. Isn’t that cute? MUCH better terminology than “mushroom”. Ick.
Kombucha is supposed to be wildly healthy. Of course, there are no ‘proven’ studies done by university research departments, which is why I’m inclined to believe it’s true.
So now, since mushrooms aren’t involved, I want to make some. To make it, however, you need it. One of those paradoxes again. The SCOBY is what makes it happen, and you need to get a SCOBY before you can get Kombucha. I know no SCOBYS (scobies?). BUT – I found out how to find one! A cheaper, if slower, alternative to ebay.
I got one of these from the store. The plain version. And swimming in the bottom was a little translucent jelly-fish looking thing.
Others have nursed this little baby SCOBY into a hard-working mother SCOBY, and I am trying to do the same. I put the li’l critter in my 4 c. pyrex glass measuring cup, covered it with a flour-sack dishtowel, and made some room in a cupboard. The girls now ask about our “pet.”
And I will be sure to post about how Kombucha made me lose weight, feel better, sleep better, made me happy and taught me to fly.
It ain’t here, sadly.
We’re almost down to the last of the 3/4 beef we bought, oh, about a year-and-a-half ago. I’m looking to buy one on the hoof here sometime, but s/he won’t probably be edible for another couple years. We’ve got a handful of fine steaks (well, fine is relative, and when you thought round steak was shmancy as a kid, what’s in the freezer may not be “fine” at all…) and I think that’s it.
Considering my already-suspicious attitudes towards grocery store meat, the latest slaughterhouse expose’ hasn’t made it any easier to buy at the market. Look, I’m sure it’s probably fine, but … do you know what the incubation period is for Mad Cow disease? That is, the time between when you ingest some nasty little prions and then show symptoms? Forty years. No, I’m not kidding. And it’s not pretty. My (step) grandmother “felt funny” on June 1, 1996, and by July was acting very strangely (somewhat alzheimer-ish). Before August was over, she was gone. What happened? Eventually they diagnosed her with CJD (human form of mad cow) that she must’ve picked up in England when her husband was stationed there in 1956!!
Sorry, that’s not what this post is about. But while I’m at it, I’ll just state that I really don’t think grocery-store hamburger has this stuff going on at all. I am saying that I prefer the distance between the ‘moo’ and my mouth to be as short (and visible) as possible.
No one local has any beeves for sale, but my favorite organic grass-fed dairyman a few hours from here has some available. A $40 lb box of mixed cuts was a mere $260. Which, if you do the math, comes down to $6.50/lb….*gasp*.. *choke*.. *sputter*. Don’t get me wrong, it’s SO worth it… if you have it.
So what to do? This is Day 1 on Hubby’s Crazy Diet, and Day 1 is traditionally Beef Day. It’s also Haddock Day and Whitefish Day and Other Crazy Fish Day that we don’t recognize, but here in the desert those things are hard to come by. I had some organic baby spinach in the fridge (don’t worry, I always wait a few days before we eat it to see if an e. coli outbreak happens*) and thought taco salad would be tastey. Not tastey enough, however, to grind up T-bone steaks. So I used beans! Yes, yes, I know, you use beans anyway in taco salad (personally, we use garbanzos more often than kidney beans). I used some black turtle beans in place of the beef, and you know what? It was great.
Earlier today I put the beans (they were the dry kind) in water with a bit of vinegar (if you have 3 hours, read about why here). While I should’ve started them soaking yesterday, it was better than nothing. At about 3:45 or so, I poured off the water, put fresh water in them, and simmered them 2 hours or so. I removed enough beans to replace ‘the beef’ (I cooked a bunch so I could freeze them for later, of course), added taco seasoning, garbanzos, salt – then served it over baby spinach with some sliced olives, taco sauce, ranch dressing, cheese, sour cream – whatever. Affordable, healthy and good.
*Ok, I’m just kidding. Usually it takes several weeks for health officials to put the pieces together enough to pin an outbreak on any one thing.
This is one of those that’s a little hard to post, for several reasons. First, it’s almost impossible to explain the exact technique we use without watching. And no, I don’t have serial pictures to illustrate each step, either. Secondly, it’s one of those holiday traditions that I know dates back to at least the MacMillans, who were my great-great-great-grandparents. So consider this my sacrifice for Peace on earth, goodwill toward men, ok? The recipe (and technique) have evolved over the ages, obviously, and I have yet to try it with my raw, home-churned butter, which I’m sure the MacMillan’s used.
Here is the recipe:
3 lbs flour
2 lbs butter
1 lb sugar
1 tsp. salt
Mix well and bake.
Ok, maybe that’s a bit over-simplified. Get ready for the difficult-to-describe details. Use all-purpose flour and baker’s (very fine) sugar if you can find it. Sift these dry ingredients A LOT. My grandma has been known to substitute about 1/2 cup of powdered sugar for a bit of it. Once that’s all sifted together WELL, cut up your two pounds (yes, pounds) of butter into chunks. Gi-gi also swears by adding about 1/6 pound of lard to the mix. I make it either way. Gently “toss” the cut chunks with the flour mixture. Now you need to warm it. Gi-gi uses the microwave, generations previous used the wood stove. DO NOT let the butter melt (easy to do if you don’t have years of balancing this relationship in your own personal microwave). If you do, I recommend sitting down with about 50 of your closest friends and eating the dough with spoons (or fingers). Melted butter makes for… tough.. shortbread. You want butter that is warm to the touch and soft. When it is like that, roll up your sleeves (if you haven’t already) and mash it all up. To do this we use a very sophisticated technique. I don’t know if there’s a name for it, but we thrust our hands into it and mix it around and squeeze the dough through our fingers and make a big mess. Once it’s mixed WELL, I take out a handful and form it into a squarish log, maybe 1.5″ square. This I take and slice about 1/4 – 3/8″ thick and lay the slices on cookie sheets. I use a fork to ‘prick’ them about 4 times or so. They are baked at 350 until done. I have no idea when that will be for you. True traditional shortbread is not allowed to brown, though I like the taste better when just the edges start to turn. In my frigidaire convection oven, it takes about 17 minutes. My grandma’s identical oven takes 16. If you forget about the last oven-full, it looks like these on the right. I believe the pigs ate these last year. This kind of ‘brown’ is definitely beyond the allowable limits.
I wish I could say exactly how much this recipe will make for you. Because it is a large recipe, a lot depends on how large you form the logs and how thickly you slice them. A triple batch we did one day made 35 dozen, I think Gi-gi got 42 dozen out of a triple shortly thereafter.
facts opinions bits of info:
Kids can help ‘mash’ the mixture and/or prick the shortbread slices after they’re on the pan (if your kids are older than mine, perhaps they can also form, slice, and arrange them on the sheet).
Shortbread are NOT cookies. Scotsmen find that offensive. I will try to be gracious, but consider yourself warned.
Gi-gi counts her shortbread made by the pounds of butter she uses. Last I heard it was in the neighborhood of fifty pounds so far this year. This is the only thing she ever uses her oven for, and it is the only thing she gives as gifts.
Once, Gi-gi located an old nun who had moved to some far-away convent. She had lost track of her many years prior. After hearing where she was, she sent some shortbread, and the caretakers put a plate of it out. Though this (former?) nun was blind and no one had informed her of the shipment, it only took one taste for her to exclaim, “I’ll be! That’s [Gi-gi]’s shortbread!”
I hope you get a chance to try this out. I also hope it turns out well. Please let me know of your attempts!
This is a very poor picture indeed, but one of another favorite. We’ve called these “Chocolate Butterscotch Scotcheroos” and they ARE a mouthful. A little goes a long way with these; they’re rich and delicious, and hard to chew.
First, grease a 9×13 pan. Any pan will do, but I prefer glass. I used to use those el-cheapo Baker’s Secret things, until I learned Teflon will kill me, and since they shed said teflon like dandruff, I decided glass is better. Grease it with something worthwhile, like butter.
In a large pot, mix a cup of sugar and a cup of corn syrup. I know, it doesn’t really get any worse, does it? Corn syrup is GM, almost always, and sugar is just not good for you. But this is not a health-food post or recipe, is it? Ok, cook it (I really don’t care what kind of heat) until it JUST comes to a boil, then remove from the heat and add a cup of peanut butter and stir it in well. From the time it boils you don’t want to waste any time, as in cooling it hardens considerably. Stir in 6 cups of Cheap Generic Crispy Rice. Or the expensive kind, your choice. Stir gently to coat the rice with the goo. These recipes all have goo, don’t they? Again, not wasting any time, scrape the stuff into your greased pan, and press it level, more or less. You might need to butter your fingers or use a utensil that won’t have everything sticking to it. Then mix 1/2 a package of milk chocolate chips and 1/2 a package of butterscotch chips in a small saucepan, and melt them on low heat. Whey the chips are melted and smooth, pour them over the peanut butter/rice cereal mixture and spread evenly. You can cut these any time, but the best utensil is a dough cutter or scraper. It looks like a metal rectangle with a wooden or plastic handle along a long edge. If they’re completely cooled and the chocolate is hardened, you will need a lot of muscle to do the job. I cut them about 1.5″ square, wrap 8 or 12 in plastic wrap, and add them to a gift for Christmas!
bring to boil:
1 c. sugar
1 c. corn syrup
Remove from heat and add:
1 c. peanut butter, stir
6 c. rice cereal, stir
press into greased pan,
melt 1/2 pkg. milk chocolate, 1/2 pkg. butterscotch
Spread over rice mixture, cool, cut, enjoy!
I don’t mean to brag (well, maybe), but there are those who claim I’ve cornered the market on holiday treats. Again, they probably had ulterior motives, but I’ll receive the compliment anyway.
One of my favorite goodies is Cracker Candy.
WOW, it’s so delicious.
I don’t think you can buy anything like it in the store, but really I wouldn’t know. Not to say that this stuff is organic or even remotely healthy, mind you. But the taste… Here’s a picture of some I made last year. It was already bagged up for the freezer, but maybe the beauty will convey anyway.
You want the recipe, don’t you.
No, I couldn’t.
Oh, please don’t beg. Really.
Ok, I suppose, if it means that much to you. But if you live near me and frequent any of the same gatherings as I, or give gifts to the same people as I, please use this recipe with discretion. Alone, at night, in the privacy of your own home is fine.
Here we go.
Get some crackers. Those little white, toasty lookin’ things. Saltines, or whatever. Also get butter (the original recipe called for margerine, but…yuck!), brown sugar, milk chocolate chips (or whatever darkness you prefer) and mashed walnuts. Oh, you don’t know what that is? Chopped walnuts will work fine also. Probably will work better. I buy walnuts in ‘halves and pieces’ and put them in a ziplock and beat the heck out of them with a rolling pin. Hmm… maybe the counter had been under stress? Aluminum foil is also called for (see, toxic stuff, I tell ya!) though I recently used parchment paper instead. The jury is still out on that. Anyways, a kitchen is also handy, with it’s appropriate appliances and tools-of-the-trade.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick pan spray (since aluminum and spray-propellants will kill you, I either brush the foil with oil or use parchment paper. I can’t totally recommend the parchment paper yet, because the last [triple] batch had some issues that *might* be attributed to this). Carefully line the foil with saltine crackers. If they don’t fit to the edge (and they never do), trimming crackers to fit along the edge can be helpful. Set aside.
Bring to boil over medium heat: 1 c. brown sugar and 1 c. butter (margerine?). Boil 3 minutes (more won’t hurt, but don’t do it TOO long). Pour/spread this over your crackers, making sure each cracker is well-saturated with the goo. Put in oven for 5 minutes.
While this ‘bakes’, melt a package of milk chocolate chips over low heat (I rinse and DRY the same pan I used for the butter/sugar mixture).
When the crackers are done, remove them from the oven and ‘replace’ them. That is, use a fork or something to get them back in order. They like to swim and float about in the oven (which is why leaving too much space along the edges is a bad thing), and we need a nice grid here.
Spread the melted chocolate over the cracker mixture, trying not to stir the carmelized stuff into the chocolate too badly.
Sprinkle mashed walnuts over the chocolate.
Cut while still warm.
Did you get that last part? If they’re warm enough, it’s hardly even ‘cutting.’ Draw a butter knife between each cracker. If you don’t do this while they’re warm, you will have one giant goodie that is hard to wrap. You can use a chisel to try to cut it, but they won’t come out in squares if you do.
Cool, and remove from pan/foil. If you did it right, this shouldn’t be too hard.
Now, my last batch had a problem usually associated with removing the butter/sugar from the stove (or oven, after it’s on the crackers) too quickly. After they cooled, the sugar/butter wasn’t carmelized, but still like… buttery sugar. Kind of. Some of it was inclined to stay on the parchment paper as opposed to hardening to itself and staying in one piece. Don’t get me wrong; they’re still quite edible, but they don’t package, travel, or present quite as nicely. I’m not sure if I took them off the heat too quickly, or if the parchment paper lends a different quality to the stuff.
I will test it again next week. For the past few years I’ve taken a huge tray of this and two more goodies (yet to be posted!) to Hubby’s company Christmas party and they’re always a hit. This year no one will expect it, what with the baby and homeschooling and all, so it will be fun to
make everyone think I’m superwoman surprise everyone. I might even make an assortment of dark chocolate ones, so they look all cute alternating on the tray.