Thursday, September 27, 2018

Simple Sauerkraut Inspired by #cookthebooksclub Selection "Sourdough"

15 comments:


The August/September Cook the Books Club reading selection was "Sourdough" by Robin Sloan, and as usual, I am squeaking in at the very end.

I actually read the book about three months ago - based on the name, I pictured this might be a cozy little novel about some wholesome baker experiencing the joys of breadbaking.  Well, it was...and wasn't and I'm not sure it can really be put into any sort of genre box.

It has strong magical realism elements, a bit of Old Country fable, a lot of Silicon Valley weirdness of both the high-tech variety and the obsessive foodie variety.  There are robots.  There's a whiff of Little Shop of Horrors. It's fun in parts, strange in others, and I'm not sure the story ever really pulled itself together in any cohesive way.

I'm not sure I'm exactly recommending it, but I'm not warning anyone away either - it was an easy read and if it was a bit frothy, it wasn't unpleasant froth.

The key character is a woman who is very good at programming robotic arms, but isn't particularly enjoying the work.  She, like many of her colleagues, subsists on some nutrient ooze that comes in squeeze packs, along with the occasional soup and sourdough from an underground food delivery service near her apartment.  When the brothers that deliver for her leave the country, they leave her with their sourdough starter, a wonderful batch that has come down to them from their ancestors for generations.

This is where it gets weird - the starter, like all starters, is alive, but this one is really, really alive.  It occasionally glows with life, it responds to music, it has moods.  The main character learns the care and feeding of it and learns to bake bread, eventually connecting with an exclusive experimental food market where high tech and fermentation come together to create innovative foodstuffs, from her sourdough bread (made by robotic arm) to cheeses to 'lembas' - a fermented mass intended to end world hunger.

Fermentation and the art and science of working with living organisms is the wider theme here. Just as humans come together in communities that have their own dynamics, micro-organisms create communities that transform themselves in living, interacting and dying into something amazing.

I knew I wouldn't be making sourdough for this - I am the Sourdough Starter Murderer, and had no interest in destroying yet another micro-galaxy in trying again.

Then I tried and failed to make some apple cider vinegar - it got away from me due to my own neglect and I created mold. Yay, me! (Fementables getting away from you and doing their own thing is definitely an aspect of the novel.)

So I fell back on the one fermentable I know I can do - homemade sauerkraut.  This is it at its simplest - cabbage and salt.  I find it pretty foolproof. I like to use purple cabbage for its color and while many variations can be had by adding spices or other vegetables, this simple version is an easy and relatively foolproof introduction to fermenting.

This is a really simple way of getting some fermented veggies on hand, and it takes so much more delicious than store-bought kraut.

I think the big key to the process is using Fido jars.  I have a couple Bormioli Rocco blue lidded jars that I just love - they have a great solid seal, and the blue glass lid is so pretty.  The thing about Fido jars is that they let excess pressure leak out, but they let no oxygen in - no oxygen means no molding.

I like not having to worry about things like that.  The other thing that ensures it, of course, is making sure your containers, utensils and work surface are all clean and sanitary.   So, with that out of the way, here's all it takes:




Purple Sauerkraut

Ingredients

  • 1 head green cabbage
  • 1 head red cabbage
  • 4 T. salt

Equipment

  • Cutting board
  • Large sharp knife
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Food processor
  • Potato masher 
  • Large serving spoon 
  • Fido jar (50oz or larger)

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry your cabbage, removing any worn outer leaves.  Cut the cabbage into chunks, removing the cores.  Feed the chunks through your food processor set to grate coarsely.  As processor gets full, turn the grated cabbage into the large mixing bowl, and sprinkle with some of the salt.  Continue to process and salt the cabbage until done.
  2. Cover the bowl loosely and let it sit about 1/2 hour - the salt will start releasing liquid from the cabbage.  Using a potato masher, pound the cabbage for a couple minutes to more completely release the liquid.
  3. Scoop cabbage into Fido jar, mashing it down as you go to fit more cabbage.  Make sure all liquid from the bowl ends up in the jar - the cabbage should be covered with liquid.

  4. Seal the jar and set it aside in a dark place with a moderate temperature (70-80F) for 4-6 weeks, then refrigerate.

Here's the full round up of Sourdough inspired posts!

The Cook the Books Club selection for October/November is Michael J. Twitty's "The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South."  If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Party in Your PJs! #127 - Spooky Halloween Crafts

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Happy Tuesday!

Welcome to the Party in Your PJs Link Party, where your posts will be seen on two different blogs each week.


Party in Your PJs is looking for two people 
to join team of co-hosts!

If you're interested, please e-mail me at rchreviewlh@yahoo.com, and title your email CO-HOST FOR PARTY IN YOUR PJS. Please include a link to your blog. Family-friendly bloggers are welcome to apply. (Please, no Etsy shops or businesses.)  We look forward to hearing from you!






 Meet the Co-Hosts


Nina @ Grandma Ideas 

Lynda @ Reviews, Chews & How-Tos 

Lynda's Features!

October is almost here!  Autumn is my favorite season, and Halloween is my favorite holiday, so I love the spooky crafts that are starting to show up, while there is still time to make some!


Easy DIY Dollar Tree Skull Candleholder ~ Rain on a Tin Roof




Halloween Lanterns ~ The Country Chic Cottage




Haunted House Cloche ~ The Scrap Shoppe Blog




Mini Cheesecloth Ghost Globes ~ Sparkle Living




 Make sure you head over to the other members of Party in Your PJs
 to see their features - we each pick our own!




All links are pinned to a Party Board...you can follow the board on Pinterest...feel free to follow the board, there is lots of inspiration to be found there.

Ok...let's party!

Rules -Link to post, not your home page
-Link to something YOU made, wrote or thought
-No Etsy or Business Pages
-Link Parties, Roundups and Giveaways welcome
- Don't Link and Run! Please visit other links, make friends, learn something new, leave a comment.



Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Party in Your PJs! #226: Instant Pot Ideas

3 comments:
Happy Tuesday!

Welcome to the Party in Your PJs Link Party, where your posts will be seen on two different blogs each week.


Party in Your PJs is looking for two people 
to join team of co-hosts!

If you're interested, please e-mail me at rchreviewlh@yahoo.com, and title your email CO-HOST FOR PARTY IN YOUR PJS. Please include a link to your blog. Family-friendly bloggers are welcome to apply. (Please, no Etsy shops or businesses.)  We look forward to hearing from you!






 Meet the Co-Hosts


Nina @ Grandma Ideas 

Lynda @ Reviews, Chews & How-Tos 

Lynda's Features!

 Make sure you head over to the other members of Party in Your PJs
 to see their features - we each pick our own!




All links are pinned to a Party Board...you can follow the board on Pinterest...feel free to follow the board, there is lots of inspiration to be found there.

Ok...let's party!

Rules -Link to post, not your home page
-Link to something YOU made, wrote or thought
-No Etsy or Business Pages
-Link Parties, Roundups and Giveaways welcome
- Don't Link and Run! Please visit other links, make friends, learn something new, leave a comment.



Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Party in Your PJs! #225: Simple Autumn Neutrals

3 comments:
Happy Tuesday!

Welcome to the Party in Your PJs Link Party, where your posts will be seen on two different blogs each week.


Party in Your PJs is looking for two people 
to join team of co-hosts!

If you're interested, please e-mail me at rchreviewlh@yahoo.com, and title your email CO-HOST FOR PARTY IN YOUR PJS. Please include a link to your blog. Family-friendly bloggers are welcome to apply. (Please, no Etsy shops or businesses.)  We look forward to hearing from you!






 Meet the Co-Hosts


Nina @ Grandma Ideas 

Lynda @ Reviews, Chews & How-Tos 

Lynda's Features!

I am so happy that the season is starting to turn toward Autumn - this is my favorite time of year, and I hope every year it will stretch out as long as possible.  One thing I enjoy is transitioning decorations bit by bit as the season gradually turns, and I find that neutral colors make for a lovely bridge between summer sunlight and the days before Autumn turns yellow and gold.

We received some wonderful inspiration this week!


How to Make a Fall Centerpiece For a Kitchen Table ~ Faeries & Fauna




Lighted Fall Pumpkin Basket ~ Clean & Scentsible




A Stenciled Thankful Sign ~ Fresh Vintage by Lisa S




DIY Dollar Store Pumpkin Topiary ~ Our Crafty Mom




 Make sure you head over to the other members of Party in Your PJs
 to see their features - we each pick our own!




All links are pinned to a Party Board...you can follow the board on Pinterest...feel free to follow the board, there is lots of inspiration to be found there.

Ok...let's party!

Rules -Link to post, not your home page
-Link to something YOU made, wrote or thought
-No Etsy or Business Pages
-Link Parties, Roundups and Giveaways welcome
- Don't Link and Run! Please visit other links, make friends, learn something new, leave a comment.



Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Chicken & Mushrooms Vegetable Medley #FoodieExtravaganza

17 comments:


The September Foodie Extravaganza, hosted by Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm, is a celebration of National Mushroom Month!  Be sure to check out everyone's entries:





Yield: 4

Chicken & Mushrooms Vegetable Medley

I am sharing a fast meal with you, full of summer vegetables, mushrooms, chicken, and rice. For this I use leftover rice to make it even faster on a busy weekday night, making this a one-skillet dish.

ingredients:

1 lb boneless chicken breasts, chopped into bite sized portions
3 T. avocado oil
1 cup chicken broth
1 package sliced button or cremini mushrooms
1/2 pint grape tomatoes
2 zucchini, sliced and quartered
1 bunch asparagus cut into 1" pieces, woody ends discarded
Salt & pepper to taste
Penzey's Mural of Flavor to taste
2 cups cooked rice

instructions:

  1. This is easiest if you chop all the vegetables before you start cooking.
  2. Saute chicken in half the avocado oil until browned and close to done.
  3. Add remaining oil and the mushrooms and cook until tender.
  4. Add asparagus, zucchini, and tomatoes, saute for a minute, season and add the broth. Simmer until the broth is reduced by half, then add the rice, and continue to cook on low until heated through.
That's all there is to it!  The vegetables can, of course, be switched up depending on the seasons or what you have on hand.  I came across the asparagus / zucchini / mushroom mixture several years ago at a restaurant who labeled it a 'low carb alternative' to the usual onions and peppers in fajitas, and I've loved it ever since.








Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Party in Your PJs! #224: Looking for CO-HOSTS!

4 comments:
Happy Tuesday!

Welcome to the Party in Your PJs Link Party, where your posts will be seen on two different blogs each week.


Party in Your PJs is looking for two people 
to join team of co-hosts!

If you're interested, please e-mail me at rchreviewlh@yahoo.com, and title your email CO-HOST FOR PARTY IN YOUR PJS. Please include a link to your blog. Family-friendly bloggers are welcome to apply. (Please, no Etsy shops or businesses.)  We look forward to hearing from you!






 Meet the Co-Hosts


Nina @ Grandma Ideas 

Lynda @ Reviews, Chews & How-Tos 

Lynda's Features!

 Make sure you head over to the other members of Party in Your PJs
 to see their features - we each pick our own!




All links are pinned to a Party Board...you can follow the board on Pinterest...feel free to follow the board, there is lots of inspiration to be found there.

Ok...let's party!

Rules -Link to post, not your home page
-Link to something YOU made, wrote or thought
-No Etsy or Business Pages
-Link Parties, Roundups and Giveaways welcome
- Don't Link and Run! Please visit other links, make friends, learn something new, leave a comment.



Review: Cave Tools BBQ Grill Pan

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Well here I am, back at it again with another Cave Tools grilling tool.

This time around, I have been given the Stainless Steel BBQ Grill Pan for review. This grill pan costs $17.99 on their website and $21.99 on Amazon, and is a two part pan: one side has drainage slots to cook meat (chicken, hamburgers, bacon), while the other side is a flat griddle side.



It shows on the packaging that this is suitable for eggs and bacon to be cooked over the grill. There are also illustrated examples of using this to grill chicken and vegetables at one time, or shrimp and mussels, or steaks on the grill side and salmon on the griddle side using a plank, making this a versatile grilling accessory.

I was very curious how one could make bacon and eggs on ONE pan ON the barbecue (how great would that be while camping??), so I tried it.

I started by warming up the grill and placing my Cave Tools BBQ Grill Pan on the heat, letting it sit for a little bit to get nice and hot before I added my bacon and eggs to it. 

I started with the bacon because, as we all know, bacon takes longer than an egg to cook!

I started with just 5 pieces - that is about all the room it has in the slotted section.

As my bacon was cooking, I noticed that it was cooking very inconsistently! Some parts were burning, some parts were still raw.

I am not sure why the pan was conducting heat so unevenly, but for me, the bacon was a complete fail.

I had to pull it off before I had a huge smoke cloud coming from my barbecue.

Burnt bacon is like a sin and I couldn't have that in my barbecue!

Lets move on to the eggs portion of this.

The griddle side was also cooking very unevenly. The outer part of the egg was cooking while the inner portion would not cook at all. I have to say that I left them on the pan for a good 10 minutes before I even attempted to flip them, which is really odd for fried eggs.



The outer whites appeared to be cooked so I tried flipping them. But no, even after 10 minutes, they were not cooked enough. I flipped and they just fell apart.

I want to stress - I am an experienced egg flipper, and no, it wasn't an error where the yolk broke.

The eggs simply just fell apart.

Neither side of the pan conducted heat evenly enough to do this job - and I'm glad I didn't ruin a good steak experimenting with it. 

Also, while you certainly want to make sure eggs don't dribble over into the grill openings, having it pull up into the corner of the pan would have made very unattractive fried eggs even if they cooked right.

If the uneven heat weren't an issue, I'd suggest egg rings for those to avoid that outcome.

My conclusion is that this pan does not work for me - however, it may work for someone who uses a charcoal grill over direct fire. 

We use a gas grill and have never had any issues getting it to a good temperature that evenly conducts the heat, but perhaps this is a situation where gas heat doesn't allow the pan to become as evenly hot as needed to handle a job like bacon and eggs.

I would have loved for this product to have worked for me, because one of my biggest pet peeves is having to clean pots and pans while I am camping! I just hate it! I would much rather be able to cook my full breakfast on one pan.. But this time around, I was disappointed.

As ever, Cave Tools is offering 15% off this products to our readers. Use Promo Code GRILLPAN15 at checkout on their website.

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