food

Jalapeno Mash

It actually is that shade of green

It actually is that shade of green

It’s not exactly any sort of secret that I love hot food, and I am the type of person that thinks that if 10 bottles of hot sauce are good, 25 will certainly ensure that I will never have to be without both variety and heat.

I’ve been slowly getting back into fermentation again. This is a simple enough project, that can be scaled to fit the amount of peppers you have-which means it’s a good project to have in your box for summer harvests.

This can be done with any peppers, but I used jalapeños because I found organic at a decent price.

Notes:

Doing a fermentation in this style requires the produce to stay under the water level at all times. The easiest way I’ve found to do this, for the amount of peppers I ferment at any given time, is to weigh the peppers under with a small (quarter or half pint) canning jar. Clean a wide mouth jar, at least pint size, place the peppers into the jar, cover with brine. I like to skim off as many seeds as I can but I’m not actually sure that it’s necessary. I then place the [cleaned] smaller jar, which will fit into the mouth of the larger, into the larger jar. It will push the peppers to the bottom of the jar and brine will displace around the jar and make sure they stay submerged. Do this in a sink in case it floods. If you pack loosely enough you can cover it with a lid.

jalepenos

Fermentation:

Make a brine-I used warm water and salt, at a ratio of 4 cups water to 3 tablespoons salt. Sea salt is best.

Cut the tops off the peppers and if fermenting whole cut a slit in each pepper. You can also chop or slice.

Cover with brine, and cover with a lid. See the notes regarding weights [you can see the smaller jar in the above photo]

Ferment for at least a week, or to your normal time frame for peppers

Mash:

Drain the peppers but don’t rinse

In a blender add 1/4 to 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, dried turmeric (about a tablespoon), 3 to 4 cloves of garlic, and the peppers. Blend until pureed. Place in the refrigerator.

 

Advertisements

Experiments [Fermenting Soda]

photo from pixabay

photo from pixabay

I’ve been driving my list on Facebook up a wall. I’ve been trying to ferment soda all week.

It’s become something of an ego challenge at this point-I can ferment stuff like pickles, hot sauces I can do in my sleep, and I have a fairly active turmeric bug that I started last week that’s foaming away.

But soda is just outside of my grasp.

Fermenting soda in theory isn’t hard-it’s water (maybe), juice or other fruit/sugar material, and a starter. You put the starter, the juice (what the starter is feeding off of and is flavoring the soda), and water to make up volume in a container, let it sit for a few days, and then bottle it which forces the CO2 into the fluid and makes it fizz.

Except my soda just sat there. I’ve come to realize that it’s the syrup that I used for the first few batches. I ended up dumping out of my first batch outright. It sort of fermented, but tasted foul and never fizzed.

The second batch just got another boost of turmeric bug, thinking my bug was too young to have a full bacterial load yet.

But then came the second phase of the experiment…

You can make mead with yeast. Normally wine yeast but you can do with bread yeast in a pinch-and bread yeast I have. So I added some runny grapefruit jam to a jar, added water, and added a teaspoon of yeast. It sat overnight and is actually bottled and in the freezer already. [The longer it sits the fizzier and drier it’ll get, so definitely use bottles designed for soda/carbonation with yeast. I’m actually using old soda bottles since they’re built for the pressure, and I have them.]

The jam batch was foamy before I went to sleep last night, about an hour after I set it up.

The syrup batch is barely foaming hours later. I think that the syrup just doesn’t have enough sugar to do much of anything.

So this is my basic structure for quasi-fermented [yeasted] soda:

about 1/4 to 1/2 pint jam, heavily sweet fruit syrup, or other canned product*

-or-

Several cups 100% fruit juice*

Roughly 1 tsp yeast

dried or fresh herbs, if desired, to taste**

mason jar with a ring and a coffee filter

Some sort of flip top jar or well cleaned soda/gatorade bottle with lid

*This is a project where you actually want a lot of sugar. The fermentation runs off of it, so the process actually eats the sugar and you don’t drink as much as it feels like you’re putting in the jar. Make your syrup sweeter than what you would if you were eating it straight. While this will never be a ‘true’ health drink like kombucha or jun may be, you can still make a soda with much, much less sugar than what’s on the market-and you can use raw or low processed sugar.

Because of the need for sugar this is actually a good project for jams that didn’t set/ended up as syrups. That’s what I’m using right now to reclaim jars without dumping out my work.

**Place into the 2f/second step jar, not in the first round of fermentation

 

Add syrup/juice and yeast to the jar. Add filtered water to make up about a quart of volume if necessary. Stir. Secure coffee filter to jar with lid. Let sit overnight or 2-3 days. The longer it sits the more sugar the yeast will eat, so taste to see if you like the sweetness. Try to pull it sweeter than you normally drink it.

Add herbs if using to the 2f bottle, add the soda to the bottle and cap it.

REMEMBER TO BURP YOUR BOTTLES REGULARLY.

The longer it sits the more carbonated it will get and the pressure will build up. Open the bottles regularly to release pressure.

After a day or so (or less time if it’s really active), put your bottles into the fridge. The cold will help hold the carbonation and slow down fermentation.

Open over a sink or bowl in case it explodes.

 

***You can upsize this accordingly, I make about 20 oz at a time.

You can play around with flavors as you like.

 

If I can get a ‘true’ fermented soda to work, I’ll post that process as well.

[This is basically the first steps in wine making. If you let this sit long enough and added an airlock you would end up with a raw wine. What I’m getting at is that if this sits long enough you will develop an alcohol content. If you’re storing for an extended period of time, test before giving to children.]

 

2016 Canning List

apple-947674_1920

I am giving March the theme of Canning Month; 2016 is a year that requires themes for me to post consistently.

I want to start canning early this year-a lot of this list I can make with frozen produce or other supplies I can get at Target with cards from S.w.agbu.cks. So March will be covering a lot of older recipes or trying new ideas (I want to try Firestarter with dried peppers).

I didn’t get through a lot of last year’s list so this may be a repeat to older readers.

-Carrot Cake Jam

Firestarter

–different fruits as well as peaches

—-pineapple has been requested

apple pear jam

-apple sauce

-cyser style apples

-banana fridge jam

-dilly beans

-whole and crushed tomatoes

-dill pickles

-spiked oranges

-plum sauce

-pickled hot peppers

-bbq sauce

-apple butter

-peach butter

-peach pie jam

-cherry jam

-mint syrup

-preserved mint

-salsa

-cider molasses

-pickled beets

-…lemons?

-sweet pickles

-blackstrap strawberry jam

-relish

-strawberry mint syrup and jam

-fruit syrups

-hot sauce

-whole peaches and nectarines

 

Rattlesnake Bites

rattlesnake-bites-hot-beef-pockets

Third memory-As it turns out, Mid really likes these rolls. I wasn’t expecting that…or I would have made them more frequently.

I would probably be an awesome pirogi maker.

I really like rhythmic kitchen tasks. Give me something with repeated movements like filling something that’s sort of dumpling-y and I’ll go to town. It’s a helpful trait to have when making these rolls.

Light and fluffy outside with soft, spicy insides these have become a favorite in our house. They’re fast, can be made ahead and assembled when needed, and quite simple they would be awesome for entertaining.

I don’t recommend brands because I’m sponsored, but because I like them and I like the Immaculate brand of crescent rolls in a can. I can actually get their can open without worrying that I’m going to take an eye out or impale myself.

I normally make my own taco seasoning, but I’ve also used Penzey’s chili spice and local hot peppers.

*I believe that I originally got this recipe from Taste of Home.

Rattlesnake Bites

*1 pound of filling will fill at least 32 rolls.

Refrigerated crescent rolls, at least 4 tubs of 8

1 lb taco meat, prepared and seasoned to taste

3-4 hot peppers, diced

1/2 block cream cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Open and unroll crescent rolls.

Cook taco meat and leave in pan. Add cream cheese and peppers, leaving on heat long enough to melt cheese. Mix well and lower heat or remove from heat.

Using a measuring spoon, fill the center of a crescent roll and pinch edges up into a ball or packet.

When all rolls are filled bake for 13 minutes (or according to package).

Rolls reheat well at 300 for 5-10 minutes.

The Case for the Vegetable Patty

fried potatoes

We upgraded our phones today. I’m never sure how I feel about upgrades when I do it. I always feel wasteful; I think I want my phone to shatter into a million pieces before I feel comfortable turning it in. But a not-scratched up phone and better speakers are starting to sway me.

These photos are still going to be dark because there’s nothing a phone’s going to do to make my already dark kitchen brighter after sun down.

I really thought that I had blogged about these before, but if I did, I called them something so archaic I can’t actually find them again.

before frying

I make these a lot in the fall as one of my repeat harvest dishes. This is the time of year where living in WNY is easy-our produce is finally in and it’s not too cold to want to go get it. I go and pick up a little of a lot of things, which is great to feel like I have a full kitchen but sometimes leaving a general sense of ‘now what?’.

I also find that vegetable patties like this are great to use up leftovers or produce that’s about to go. Use premade mashed potatoes and whatever you have lying around-including apples or applesauce. Really, use whatever you have. If you have left over roast squash, use that as a base instead of potatoes. Go wild with it.

Because it’s such a flexible dish there’s really no true recipe with quantities here.

Vegetable Patties

3-4 potatoes’ worth mashed potatoes

shredded cheese

bread crumbs (optional)

1-2 eggs (optional)

shredded or chopped (or frozen even) vegetables, assorted

applesauce (optional)

Mix everything together, and fry over medium heat with a little oil or butter. Give it a minute or two per side to let everything heat up and come to a golden brown.

I top with additional cheese and bbq sauce.

pre mixed potatoes

Roasted Applesauce (AKA The Best Applesauce Ever)

Yep. My cutting boards are actually used to cut things. I mean I guess I could buy a prop board...but I would end up chopping carrots on it.

Yep. My cutting boards are actually used to cut things. I mean I guess I could buy a prop board…but I would end up chopping carrots on it.

I can’t eat hot apples.

I can eat apples that have been cooked, I just can’t eat them hot. So I’m not sure why I got stuck this weekend on the idea of roasted applesauce-instead of my normal boiled down type.

I’m not even sure why I thought that it would be different-but different, indeed, it is.

We went on an apple hunt this weekend-I ran completely out of canned apple products last week and I had been putting off getting more apples. I decided I was never going to get them if I didn’t just make the plunge, I would keep putting it off, so I went off to my favorite vendor at the North Tonawanda farmer’s market. I came home with a Top’s paper bag full of Golden Blushes for $3.

After some basic Internet searches just to verify that this was even worth attempting, I was off. And sweet Pomona, this stuff is amazing. After blending it takes on this weird rubbery texture (look, it’s a good thing, I just don’t know how to describe it but trust me here) that you don’t get with boiled sauces. It’s more like apple pudding. Amazing, amazing apple pudding.

[I sometimes get asked this, so here’s my stance-I’m not picky when it comes to apples for saucing. If I can get my hands on it, I’ll use it. That means everything from free range wild to Aldis to heirlooms. If I can get it into a jar, I’m not a snob. The trick is trying the apple and seeing roughly how sweet it is and adjusting the sugar added to the sauce that way.]

Notes:

This, like all applesauces, is most of a structure than a firm recipe. You can adjust this as you go. I did add my sugar beforehand, and would recommend adding at least a little to help draw out moisture as it bakes. You can add a little more when it comes out of the oven if you feel like it needs more sugar.

You can roast other fruits in there with the apples at the same time for mixed fruit sauces.

I didn’t peel, I don’t peel my apples for sauce, but you can if you would like.

I froze this batch but I can’t think of a reason why this couldn’t be canned to be shelf stable. Follow the instructions for canning applesauce in the Ball Blue Book.

Roasted Applesauce

Heavy weight oven safe pan (honestly I baked it in a sauce pan)

apples, cored and chopped

about 1/2 cup sugar to start

nutmeg

 

Preheat oven to 400 or 425 (temperature isn’t terribly important as long as it’s in that range)

Core and chop your apples. I just chopped until the pan was filled (there are many apples in my kitchen)

Place in the pan, and cover with sugar.

Bake for 40-50 minutes. The apples will come out looking slightly dehydrated.

Very carefully-or let cool first-blend with an immersion blender or carefully add to a conventional blender and pulse till smooth. It might take a moment to get it going.

Add a little more sugar if desired and a couple of dashes of nutmeg, and stir into sauce.

Nutmeg Coffee Syrup

spices-834114_1280

I do have ghost material to post-I went to the Central Terminal for the Carnival of Parahorror, and want to get that post written up at least.

I love pumpkin spice, but nutmeg’s been my current love (though I admit that I’m surprised Pixabay has photos of nutmeg-the camera on my phone is getting touch and go and it’s really gray here today). We went to Spot on Elmwood on Sunday to see someone, and they had cold brew iced coffee-another love-and a shaker of nutmeg. On a whim I made myself a nutmeg coffee, and now I’m off and running.

There’s something slightly retro about nutmeg, but I can’t put my finger on exactly what that is. But I love it. Don’t be surprised if you see it here more often.

Nutmeg is a general healing herb, folklorically speaking. Nutmeg/allspice berries, like most ‘berry’ herbs, can stand in for coins in money draws.

Note:

I mix my syrups a little strong, because I don’t like terribly sweet coffee but want the spice to come through when I use it-so I use a heavy hand so I can get flavor out of a small amount of syrup. Use a lighter hand if you like a sweeter coffee.

Don’t over boil simple syrup or you’ll end up with candy.

Nutmeg Coffee Syrup

1 pint water

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 tablespoon each good quality ground nutmeg and cinnamon

1 tablespoon vanilla extract (real/alcohol based preferably)

Mix dry spices and sugar together well, add to a pot with water and vanilla.

Over medium low heat bring to a gentle simmer and let cook down slightly to make a sugar syrup.

Take off of heat, cool, and keep in the fridge. It should hold for a fair amount of time, at least a couple of weeks due to the sugar content.