Friday, February 7, 2014

The Day my Scoby Died

Okay, it wasn't as dramatic as that but after brewing Kombucha for 3 years losing not only 90% of
My homebrew Kombucha set up
all your scobies plus having to dump 11 gallons of kombucha hurts. It was upsetting and it hurt my pocket book. In those 11 gallons I used almost 4 pounds of sugar and the last of several varieties of tea. Added to that was the time it took to brew and ferment. And, perhaps the worst of it all from anemotional standpoint, having to toss 8 scobies. I was horrified. Even though they might be frightening to other folks-- I love my scobies. They are living creatures that might be more at home in an Ed Wood horror flick, but in the last few weeks waiting for my new scobies to grow, I realize even more completely that without my scobies, my life is made much more uncomfortable.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Chopped, Cheese, Preparedness and “Wasted” Veggie Soup Part 2

I meant to get this up the other day, but have been in bed with a cold. Wonderful. Here are the recipes. ;p

So, while completely monopolizing the kitchen—which was fine since hubby was sleeping after his night shift—I began the steps way below for making my Wasted Broth and Wasted Veggie Soup, and I grabbed one of the most used books from my kitchen bookshelf, Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz. (Yes I have a bookshelf in the kitchen stacked with dry goods, teas, and recipe books. I am a foodie nerd after all.) I had made Katz’s recipe for farmer’s cheese in the past, using some slightly off soy milk and it was delicious. So, I thought why not see if lightening will strike twice. His recipe is simple and calls for 3 ingredients: milk, vinegar, and salt, with the option of adding herbs, spices, or additions at a certain point in making the cheese.

My recipe is his recipe and it took about 2 hours to drip. The byproduct, the whey, went into my Wasted Veggie Soup, as well as my freezer for future soup endeavors. My herbal additions were based on what I had on hand, some lemon zest from one of the lemons I was using in my soup and some chopped parsley, again from a soup and broth ingredients.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Chopped, Cheese, Preparedness and “Wasted” Veggie Soup: Part 1

Let me just say that Food Network’s show Chopped changed my life. No, I don’t have the fortitude to be a contestant. I’m a home cook, not a professional chef. I hate having my photo taken, so appearing on national television more than freaks me out. I confess, I only just began watching the long-running show in the last year. As a result, I find that not only am I cooking differently, but I’m a better prepper. Watching the show, I have more inspiration to incorporate concepts from the show into my own kitchen.

What does prepping have to do with a mass-market television show?

You might understand it if you’ve watched Chopped and you might understand if you know the real idea of prepping: use what you have when you have it and prepare yourself for what to do when you don’t have what you wish you had. That’s a bit convoluted, I admit. But, I’m talking about prepping in relation to food and the kitchen. And, I’m talking about what Chopped teaches you: to cook the best meal, to cook creatively with what you have, and to take pride in the ingredients you do have regardless of what they are. The judges often remark on “letting the ingredients shine” and I take that to mean having inspiration and pride in your ingredients, and appreciate what you have because there are so many who don’t.

Being someone who likes to be prepared, I feel that I’m not really being all that rebellious or trendy. I’m simply following in the footsteps of my grandmother’s grandmother and all the women who came before. In order to get your family to survive through yet another winter, yet another year, you had to be prepared. In preparing the home—and keeping a well stocked kitchen—women were the first preppers. I first learned this art of being prepared from my mother in her kitchen and from seeing what you can do with very little.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Amped Up Fire Cider

I'm dumbfounded that there are places where folks are selling premade fire cider. It's INSANE that an 8 ounce bottle of one of the easiest herbal remedies to make sells for more $$ than it would cost for you to make a gallon at home.  Is making fire cider intimidating? I'd say sure; the name alone is a bit off putting.  But, if you can chop an onion and make tea, you can make fire cider.

Straight-away, my recipe isn't for beginners or anyone not too adventurous.  If you've never made fire cider, you can certainly start with my recipe-- but this is a LARGE batch.  If you're unsure, first I'd suggest checking out Rosemary Gladstar's basic Fire Cider, in her
Herbal Recipes or her Medicinal Herbs. Most immediately, you can get one of her adapted recipes via the Mountain Rose Herb's blog. Trying that first will get your feet wet.  Like I said, It's not that making fire cider is difficult. It isn't. The only difficulty is gathering the ingredients. Next to making a cup of tea, making fire cider is one of the easiest home remedies that you can make-- and one that shows almost immediate results.