Friday, February 17, 2017

An Extremely Tiny Tip...

You see that?  It's a stoneware paper napkin holder.  I don't use it in my kitchen anymore because I have a basket where my cloth napkins live on the counter.

I imagine nearly everyone has "junk" mail and papers that have an unused side or part of a paper.  I cut them into little pieces, rather than throw them away, put them in my napkin holder, and then when I need to write a list or a note or a recipe, these are just right, free and frugal.

Post-It's cost money.  These don't.  :)

Monday, February 13, 2017

(Almost) Perpetual "green onions" (a.k.a. "scallions")

If you like to use green onions in your cooking and as a garnish, here is an easy and inexpensive way to grow your own.  I set an onion in a mug with some water in the bottom, and you can see what is growing there. When I need some, I just snip off a leaf or two and cut them up.  The onion will last for quite a while and when it gets looking pathetic, I will replace it with another one.

Where I live, this time of year, the onions I have grown or purchased are sprouting enthusiastically, so that makes them grow in a mug even faster.

 Here is what the roots look like:

I change the water every other day.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Pressure cooking in the 21st Century....

I had been reading for quite a while how much cooks love their electric pressure cookers.  I was particularly drawn to the Instant Pot, since it has a stainless steel cooking kettle in it, as opposed to the non-stick variety.  Non-stick is lovely, but inevitably, it will get damaged or worn out.  The Instant Pots were rather expensive, though, so I always told myself that I was fine, just fine, using the stove-top pressure cooker - and I was!  However, I had an opportunity to buy an Instant Pot for a very low price, so I got one, fell in love and waited for another sale and got another one.  Now I'm "wired for sound!"

These things are amazing!  I've been pressure cooking since the 1970's and so am no stranger to the method.  The main difference is that you Don't Have to WATCH the thing.  You can quickly program it and walk away with no worries.  It will even keep your food warm for you for up to 10 hours after the cooking cycle is done, if that is what you want. You can also set a time for it to start.

The one I purchased will even make yogurt very easily.  I will not get rid of the stove-top cooker, as I think some day I may need it, or if the power goes out, I could figure out something....

Today, I made up a recipe for the IP (Instant Pot) that turned out very well and is delicious!

Instant Pot Corn Pudding

1 pint of home - canned corn (you of course could use 2 cups of fresh, frozen, or store-bought canned)

2 eggs

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

A few "cranks" of black pepper

1 green onion, finely minced

Drain the corn and then pulse it in a food processor to kind of mush it up.  Then combine all the ingredients.  Divide it into 4 buttered custard cups.  Cover each one with foil.  Place the wire trivet in the bottom of the IP, add 1 cup of water and stack the custard cups, 3 on the bottom one on the top.

Secure the lid, seal the lid, push "Manual" and set the time to 16 minutes.  Walk away.  When it is done cooking, it will beep at you.  Let the pressure release naturally.  When the pressure float valve goes down, open the pot and remove the custard cups.  Voila!

It really is very yummy.  You could do the same thing in a stove top model.  You'd just have to hang around and adjust the burner when it comes up to pressure and I would reduce the time by 2 minutes.  Natural pressure release with that too.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Donna - This is for you!

I promised my cousin that I would teach her how to make milk kefir, and even though I've posted information about milk kefir before (see what is listed on the right on this page) I want to try to simplify it for her.

Above, from left to right, you can see what I use.  First is the jar with the kefir grains and milk that has been fermenting for 24 hours.  There are a LOT of grains in there because I'm letting them propagate so I have plenty to give away.

Then you see a glass bowl with a stainless steel strainer, a jug of Vitamin D milk (whole milk) and last is the container I use to keep the liquid kefir in the refrigerator.

So, to reiterate, you need the following:

Milk kefir grains
Fresh milk
Glass jar with a lid for fermenting
Glass or plastic bowl
Stainless steel strainer (or plastic colander with small holes)
A glass jar or container with a lid for storing the liquid kefir

Here is the jar with the kefir grains that has been fermenting since yesterday:

Pour the contents into the strainer over a bowl:

Bounce the strainer up and down until most of the liquid kefir has drained into the bowl.  Here is what they will look like then: 

Return the grains to the fermenting jar and pour enough milk over them to cover the grains well.  

Replace the lid.  Do not tighten it.  It needs to be a little loose so the gases can escape.  Set the jar out of the way somewhere in your kitchen:

Pour the liquid kefir from the bowl into your refrigerator container and put it back in the fridge:

After 24 hours, repeat!  The grains will multiply and you can either eat the extra or discard them or share them with someone else.  Other than milk, you never have to buy another thing.  I've had mine for a long time and bought them originally on eBay.

Once a week, I wash my fermenting and storage jars.  This takes a lot more time to talk about than to do.

Donna, I am going to send you the grains.  Just put them in a jar immediately and cover them with milk.  Then, the next day, proceed.

Easy peasy!

Love you!

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