Category Archives: food

Time to Make the Donuts

Last night I dragged the fryer out to make french fries. The oil has to cool before it can be drained from the fryer and returned to its “used fryer oil” receptacle, so I left the whole contraption out until this morning. When I got up I saw the fryer sitting there and thought, “Donuts would be good.”  So, I found a recipe and got to work.

Donuts

2 C. flour
1/2 C. sugar
1 t. salt
1 T. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
2 T. melted butter
1/2 cup milk
1 egg

Extra sugar and cinnamon for coating. I don’t measure. Just dump some sugar in a bowl and add cinnamon until you get the flavor you want.

Combine dry ingredients.
Stir in melted butter.
Add milk and egg; mix well.
Transfer dough to a well-floured counter.
Knead until smooth.
Roll dough out to 1/4″ thickness.

Using a donut hole cutter or, the cap from your last growler, cut out donuts.

Fry a few at a time in 375° oil until golden, flipping half way through.

Let drain momentarily before dumping into a bowl of cinnamon sugar.

Toss until coated.

Let cool long enough so that you don’t melt the inside of your mouth and eat.

I’m actually saving a couple dozen cut-out donuts in a container in the freezer. I’ll let you know if it works but I’m hoping to be able to have freezer-to-fryer donuts for quick treats whenever we want them without having to drag out the mixer AND the fryer.

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#61 (25 Pounds in 101 Days: The Final Chapter)

Cover of "8 Minutes in the Morning: A Sim...

Cover via Amazon

I started this post last year shortly after I started  my 101 in 1001.  Recently I wrote about how my 101 was going.  I briefly discussed my weight loss, but here are the deets:In December 2010 I wrote a post about the start of this weight-loss journey.  This post is the record of my progress and my diet/exercise plan for anybody that cares.  It’s not my usual fodder so I’ll keep it brief.  My diet plan is based on Jorge Cruise’s 8 Minutes in the Morning.  I don’t follow his plan exactly but I recommend the book if you need some help getting motivated on your own weight-loss journey.  It’s been my go-to diet for years.  It helps me stay on track and provides self-control which I have little of on my own.   Remember Richard Simmons’ Deal a Meal?  It’s similar.  Basically I print up little slips of paper with boxes on them.  When the boxes are full, I’m done eating.  I started using my boxes religously on December 28th, 2010, the same morning I weighed in and saw this:

Starting weight

The camera weighs .2 lbs. but this is where I'm starting.

I’m sure a points system or something similar would work just as well but I really think Jorge’s plan makes me eat better.  The hardest part of being on a diet is not gorging myself on things like homemade pasta or the baked good of the week.  Jorge’s eating plan helps me remember that moderation is the key to weight loss.  He allocates space for a treat every day and even though pasta isn’t on the “preferred” grains box, I can make it fit into my box system.  Even if I eat sugar cookies for breakfast (and I did, more than once), I still have to eat six servings of vegetables.

Aside from changing my atrocious eating habits, I started exercising consistently.  I ran or skated at least three times a week every week.   I also started doing push-ups and sit-ups regularly.  Drinking lots of water helps too, but I’ve never been a big water drinker.  In the summer, I drink lots but now, when it is cold out I really don’t like drinking it so I drank a lot of coffee (with milk, which I count) or unsweetened hot tea.  If I drink them with my food I feel full longer and sipping hot beverages all day gives me something to do besides eat.  I know caffeinated beverages are usually frowned upon for dieters, but it works for me.

Now that I have reached my more-or-less goal weight and am skating “competetively”, I have modified my boxes but I sttill use them most of the time. After a lot of online research I discovered that even though protein is necessary for muscle growth, Jorge’s plan includes more than I need even though I am very active so I include more fruit than Jorge does, less protein, and more fat.

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Goodbye, 2011

2011 was a difficult year both for my family and for this blog.  If you are/were a regular reader, you noticed I wasn’t around much. I hope to change that this year.  Because I didn’t write many posts last year, I wasn’t surprised that most of the top posts last year were older posts.

As a farewell to the year gone by I present:

The Top Five Posts of 2011

  1. Brined Pork Roast
  2. Homemade Fabric Softener
  3. Homemade Laundry Detergent
  4. Building A Rabbit Hutch
  5. Crusty Round Loaves of Homemade Bread

I am surprised that the Brined Pork Roast recipe was number one. Especially because in my opinion, this recipe is much tastier.

I get lots of searches for green cleaning recipes. Pinterest has been especially helpful in promoting them. I’m glad people are being greener and I’ll try to post some more green cleaning recipes this year.

I am excited to see the rabbit hutch plans make the list.  I wonder if that is because more people are interested in rabbits for meat, or if pet owners just need plans? Regardless, I hope to post more rabbit updates soon. Until then, if you’re looking for rabbit information, check out On Breeding Like Rabbits.

Happy New Year,

Angela

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May Spice Rack Challenge ~ Coriander

Oh, she may be pretty, but you can't trust her.

I’ll be the first to admit that cilantro is my nemesis.  Not in the good way either.  Not in the way that you want to use it but you’re not sure how and you experiment with it but can’t seem to conquer it and bend it to your will.  A challenge is always a good thing.  Flexibility makes you broaden your horizons and think about things in new ways.  Stretching yourself is good.  Cilantro, however is not good. 

Cilantro is my nemesis in the full sense of the word.  According to Merriam-Webster, a nemesis is one who inflicts retribution or vengeance.  Cilantro was put on this earth to punish me.  For what, I do not know, but that it does I am sure.  I hate cilantro.  It tastes like soap.  And not good, homemade, bacon-soap either.  Something horrid and chemical-riddled like Irish Spring or Dial.  Cilantro has ruined more salsas and chutneys for me than I care to count.  Apparently I’m not the only one that hates cilantro; this blog: http://ihatecilantro.wordpress.com/ is devoted entirely to the loathing of the icky stuff.  So, when I saw that coriander was the spice of the month for the Spice Rack Challenge (Hm.  Maybe there is a marketing niche here: Spice of the Month Club, anyone?) I was distraught.  Coriander is unfortunately, the offspring of a cilantro plant.  Anyone Any food with genes as bad as cilantro’s can’t possibly turn out well. 

I’ve purposely avoided coriander for years because I’m afraid of its fiendish lineage.   So, I put this challenge off as long as possible and then decided that something sweet might help mask the flavor that I assumed would be horrible.  Luckily for me, coriander isn’t nearly as wretched as her mother.  In fact, she’s actually quite pleasant. 

I halved the recipe because I was afraid it would be horrible and noted other changes as well.

Curry Coriander Shorties Courtesy of epicurious

Ingredients:

  •  1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/ cup sugar
  • 1/2  teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 7/8 cup all-purpose flour

 Preparation:

(The original recipe called for the spices to be toasted.  I did not toast mine so I can’t tell you if it is worth the time it takes to complete that step.) Preheat oven to 350°Fwith racks in upper and lower thirds.(I baked mine in the middle and didn’t rotate.) Blend butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt with a rubber spatula. Whisk together flour and spices, then blend into butter mixture with spatula. Form 1-inch balls of dough and arrange 2 inches apart on 2 ungreased large baking sheets. With side of a floured pencil or chopstick, press an X into top of each cookie, gently flattening to 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  I just shmeared the batter into the bottom of a glass baking dish.  Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on sheets 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to racks to cool.

While I wasn’t disgusted by the flavor, I have never understood the attraction to shortbread.  Sure, it’s easy and doesn’t taste terrible, but it’s typically dry.  And crumbly.  If I ever decide to bake cookies with coriander again I’ll probably try a nice sugar-cookie base.  Actually, a coriander-curry sugar cookie with a ginger frosting would probably be amazing.

I took pictures, but they were very un-exciting.  The golden color from the yellow curry didn’t really show and they just looked like plain shortbred squares so you’ll have to use your imagination.

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April Spice Rack Challenge: Fermented Dill Beans

Okay, I’ll admit it.  Dill is almost exclusively a pickling spice for me.  Maybe reading all the delicious recipes everyone else in the challenge came up with will help me, but I didn’t actually have dill in my spice rack.  I grow it and use it fresh but don’t really do anything with it outside of the summer months.  I did have a few sad-looking heads of dill lingering in the kitchen, so I threw them into a quart jar with a handful of cleaned green beans, some water, a chili, some garlic and 3 Tablespoons of kosher salt.  Then I filled a Ziploc bag with water, tucked it down into the jar to keep air out and ignored it all for a while.  After about two weeks I had delicious dill beans. 

Lame I know, but there it is.  Spice Rack Challenge.

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March Spice Rack Challenge: Cardamom Rolls

I’ll admit I’m a slacker procrastinator.  I’ve always been that way.  I used to pull all-nighters to get my college papers done.  I could have paced myself like a reasonable human being, but that wouldn’t have been much fun.  So, as usual, my post is going up on the last day of the window.  At least it isn’t midnight.  Yet.

Add to the procrastination the fact that I didn’t even know what I was going to make until my lunch break this afternoon and you begin to get the full picture. I didn’t even find the recipe myself.   When I walked home for lunch I was grateful to see Mr. Hippie had googled some recipe choices.  (Is googled a proper verb???)  The first was a delicious-sounding Indian recipe.  I wanted to try it out but it required me purchasing (and taking the time to shop for) several spices we are currently out of.  And yes, I know I just dangled a preposition but, “spices of which we are currently out.”  just doesn’t sound right, now does it?  I also just started yet another sentence with a conjunction; DO NOT TELL MY THIRD GRADERS!!!  Indian chicken would have been nice, one of my 101 Things to do in 1001 Days is: 40. Make an Indian meal from scratch.  However, since as I have previously mentioned, I am a procrastinator and procrastinators do not have time to go gallivanting around town procuring spices at the last-minute.

Back to the point.  When I came home at lunchtime, Hubby also shared the recipe for Grandma Georgie’s Cardamom Rolls with me.  He knew I was working on a deadline and had even taken my time constraints into account.  I printed out a copy, wolfed down half my lunch and headed back to school.

After school, my afternoon went something like this:

  1. Get dressed for spin class at Yen Yoga.
  2. Read Recipe:Grandma Georgie’s Cardamom Rolls
    (Mind you, she’s not my Grandma, but her rolls sounded delicious.) Ingredients:
    1 cup butter
    1 3/4 boiling water
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1 T. salt
    2 teaspoons ground cardamom
    7 1/2 teaspoons yeast
    2 eggs
    7 cups flour
    1 teaspoon oil
  3. Cut the butter up into the bowl of the Kitchen Aid mixer.  Add sugar and salt.  Pour boiling water over it.  Drag out the coffee bean grinder, wipe it out and coarsely grind 2 teaspoons of whole cardamom.  Dump the cardamom into the bowl and stir the mixture until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. 
  4. Put on your running shoes and wash your hands again while you wait for the liquids to cool to 105 degrees so that you don’t kill the yeast and coddle the eggs.
  5. Add the yeast, eggs and flour to the liquids in the bowl.  Mix to form a runny dough. Lightly oil the top of the dough, cover it with a damp cloth napkin and let rise in the slightly warmed oven until doubled in size.
  6. Run to spin class.
  7. Discover that, for once you are early for class. 
  8. Realize that, while you may be early, you have forgotten both your hair tie and your water bottle.
  9. Find a hair tie and get a compostable paper cup of water.
  10. Spin.
  11. Walk/ run intervals home.
  12. Clean up, punch down the dough and knead in the Kitchen Aid until soft and springy adding more flour as needed, about 12 minutes.  Grease a cookie sheet. 

    They were golf ball-sized.

    Form the dough into golf ball-sized rolls and place them 2 inches apart on the greased sheet.  Grease a muffin tin.  Fill it with golf ball-sized rolls.   Grease another cookie sheet. Repeat.  Let the rolls double in a warm place until double, about 50 minutes.

    Doubled in size and ready to bake.

  13. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Bake the rolls until the bottoms are browned and the tops are golden, 12-15 minutes.

    Finished rolls.

Mine took exactly 12 minutes and made exactly 28 rolls as the recipe stated. 

Verdict?  Excellent.  The texture of the rolls is perfect and the cardamom adds a subtle flavor.  The kids loved them.  Probably because of the 1 1/2 cups sugar.  We’ll definitely be making these again.  Next time I make them (with or without cardamom, because I think this is a great basic roll recipe) I will cut the sugar in half, but it could probably be reduced even more.  I’ve never made hot cross buns, but I think this recipe would make a great hot cross bun.

The only downside???  I used all the butter.  Don’t worry about me, Mr. Hippie already went to the store to buy another pound so that I won’t have to go without.

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March Charcutepalooza: Brining

Once again, Mr. Hippie wholeheartedly participated in this month’s challenge. It would seem that if it involves meat, he’s onboard. 

I couldn’t decide what to brine this month, so I tried a couple of different things in basically the same marinade.  I started with Ruhlman’s All-purpose brine and adjusted the seasonings.  Ever since hubby and I came back from Jamaica on our honeymoon I have been in love with jerk.  I even jerked onions and wild leeks (to rave reviews) last year.   Jerk brine seemed like a natural match for both chicken and pork so I made a gallon of brine and brined two different chickens and a pork butt from Olds Farm.

A basic brine is pretty simple. 

Water

Start with a half-gallon of water,

Salt and brown sugar

 add a cup of salt and  half a cup of (I used brown) sugar. 

Bring it to a boil and add the seasonings that you want.  I added:

Garlic, Scallion, Ginger

 a head of garlic, beaten with the rolling-pin, some onion tops (green sprouts) and a whole onion (also beaten with the rolling-pin), two minced, candied ginger medallions,

Thyme

some thyme dug from under the snow,

Dried spices

a whole dried chili, a teaspoon or so of peppercorns and a similar amount of whole allspice (again, beaten with the rolling-pin).  After that all came to a boil I let it steep for a few minutes and then added another half-gallon of water and let it cool before brining the first chicken.

Smoked, brined chicken

The first chicken was brined about 9 hours as Ruhlman recommended and smoked.  The smoke flavor overpowered the seasonings but in the words of Mr. Hippie, “I think this is the most wonderful-est chicken we’ve ever made.”  It truly was delicious.   Served with beans and rice it was a magnificent dinner.

Brined chicken

 The second chicken was left in the brine even longer, about 12 hours, but not smoked, just baked.  It was equally delicious. 

Brined pork and mashed potatoes.

After two chickens we still had enough unused brine left to do a pork butt.  It was amazing.  We ate so much of it by cutting “samples” off the edges as it roasted that I barely put any on my plate when it was time to actually eat dinner. With local mashed potatoes and homemade gravy from freezer stock and pan drippings it was excellent.

What (little) that was left of the pork was simmered in stock all day to make delicious pulled-pork sandwiches for our dinner tonight.

Everything I brined was amazing.  Moist, flavorful and delicious.  I’ve brined another chicken since but reduced the recipe by a fourth so that I only ended up with a quart of brine.  It is just about the perfect amount for a whole chicken.  Brining takes a little advanced planning, but isn’t much work and the results are worth the effort.

Next up?

Buffalo flank.  I’m going to attempt to corn it.

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March Charcutepalooza: Brining

We’re only a month in and Hubby and I are really loving Charcutepalooza.  So, we screwed up the bacon the first time.  It’s become a wonderful seasoning.  We bought a new pork belly and are curing it now.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Imagine my surprise when I stopped by Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s to see this month’s challenge and discovered that it was brining!  Stop by and read the post; it’s quite entertaining.  And drool-inducing.

Lately, Hubby and I have been brining pork roasts.  We’ve actually done two in the last month and have planned to do more so hopefully this month’s challenge will be a success.  This month we can choose to brine a whole chicken, pork chops, or corned beef.  All three are appealing.  I tried to corn a beef brisket last year and it came out way too salty.  (Hmm.  I’m beginning to see a pattern here.)  I spent probably three minutes gazing at a beef brisket contemplating a do-over while shopping this afternoon.  I left it in the store, but I may go back.  It is almost St. Patrick’s Day after all.  Plus, I had to appease myself by buying a pound of shaved corned beef to make Reubens for lunch.  So, stop back on the fifteenth to see the final results.  In the meantime, go check out all the amazing charcuterie the participating bloggers have been cooking up.

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February Spice Rack Challenge: Clementine Teriyaki

 

I have to give full credit for this recipe to my hubby, Mr. Hippie.  He has been experimenting with teriyaki sauces for a while.  One day shortly after I saw the spice featured this month was citrus he mentioned making teriyaki again.  I decided that citrus would be the perfect addition to teryiaki.  I was right. 

This recipe is so delicious and so simple that anyone can (and should) try it.

Clementine Teriyaki

  • 1 T. minced onion 1 T. minced onion
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 C. soy sauce  1 C. soy sauce
  • 1/4 – 1/2 C. Champion Hill Farm honey  Champion Hill Farm honey
  • zest of one clementine

    clementine zest

    This is actually the zest of two clementines; I dried and reserved half for later.

Caramelize onion in olive oil in small sauce pan. 
Add 1 cup soy and reduce heat. 
Stir in honey 1 tablespoon at a time tasting for sweetness after each tablespoon.  Stir until dissolved. 
Add zest of one clementine. 
Turn off heat and let steep until cool.

Marinade Steeping

Marinade Cooling

orange chicken

Clementine Teriyaki

Add about 1/3 of this marinade to chicken, pork or whatever you want to Teriyaki-ize and marinate for several hours or overnight.  Reserve remaining sauce in freezer for future use.
Remove meat from sauce and sear on all sides.  Add marinade to pan and simmer until cooked through.  Serve with rice and vegetables (or whatever else you have on hand).  I actually served it with ramen noodles and mixed vegetables.

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February Charcutepalooza: Bacon

Bacon.  Bacon is the one food I honestly believe my husband couldn’t live without.  But that’s okay by me; his pork addiction allows me to stay in soap, so we all win and everyone is happy. 

Mr. Hippie is loving and supportive.  I believe he frequently thinks I am certifiable, but he supports my insane choices despite his misgivings.  He builds me things like cheese presses, chicken coops, chicken tractors and rabbit hutches that allow me to pursue my crazy whims.

When I told him I was signing up for another blog challenge he laughed.  When I told him it was a challenge to make sausages, bacon and various other meat-products, he was onboard.

Ready for the smoker.

We smoked the bacon last weekend.  By all accounts, the finished product was a disaster. 

Shortly before it became overcooked.

Why?  You be the judge:

  1. To begin with, I used to much curing salt.  The recipe made enough for 3-4 times the amount of pork belly I cured, but I didn’t cut it back.
  2. Because the weather was foul on the day we were supposed to smoke, we put it off.  For.  Three.  Days.  Too much salt soaking for way too long?
  3. I forgot to rinse the salt off the belly before we smoked it.  Had a nice salty crust on the outside when we were done.
  4. We overcooked the bacon. 

    Salt Pork

I’m not sure which factor caused the most damage, but the bacon, as bacon, is essentially inedible.  However, as a salt pork, it makes an excellent seasoning.  In fact, Mom, if you’re reading this, I’d recommend salt pork for the spice rack challenge.

Chicken gravy seasoned with smoked salt-pork.

I still have much of the salt pork in the freezer, but I used it to season the chicken gravy I served over Westmaas Farms mashed potatoes for dinner one night. 

Gnocchi in bacon cream sauce.

Another night I made a delicious garlic, sage cream sauce with salt-pork and black pepper to toss gnocchi in.

So, we’ve already purchased another 2 lb. pork belly to give bacon another go but for now we’ll have to enjoy our salt-pork as a condiment and not as a side-dish.

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