Jump to content

Cool Stuff You Make


zoramargolis
 Share

Recommended Posts

Reading about fruitcake and posting about what I do with Meyer lemons (preserved lemons, lemon olive oil, lemon vodka) got me thinking about this.

This past weekend, I made chevre for the first time, using goat milk from the P Street Whole Foods, and a culture I got from a mail-order cheesemaking supplier. It's a lot like making yogurt, with the extra step of draining the curd. From a half-gallon of milk, I got the equivalent of a typical log of goat cheese. It was amazingly delicious--creamy, smooth and fresh tasting. I added lavender flowers to half of it, and left the rest plain. It was a huge hit at the school Arts Committee meeting last night. My dried Glover Park figs got snarfed up, too.

I'm getting ready to make my semi-annual batch of membrillo, when the price of quinces comes down a little bit. It's basically quince puree with sugar and lemon peel, cooked down and thickened, and then dried in a very slow convection oven for many hours. It has a delicate sweetness with a complex floral note that is unlike any commercially available quince paste I've tasted.

My fanatic devotion to good Mexican food led me to make masa from scratch, using dried corn I brought back to DC from CA in my suitcase. Cooking it with calcium oxide (lime) and grinding it in my Cuisinart and then making tamales with lard I render in my oven. Now I get fresh pork belly from the Korean market in Fairfax. But before I knew I could get it there, I looked in vain for weeks, and ended up buying a five pound piece of frozen pork belly from a sausage maker in NYC when I was there, and bringing it home on Amtrak, in my overnight bag.

Summer before last we picked 15 pounds of sour cherries to make jam and I pitted them one at a time. It took me several hours in each of two days--you have no idea how many cherries there are in 15 pounds. But the preserves were fabulous. It was so much work that I didn't do it this year. I just couldn't face it. But I might make more next year--I recently bought a European cherry pitter that goes quite a bit faster--I used it to make a big lattice-crust cherry pie for Jonathan's birthday in July.

I haven't done it since I moved to DC, but I made olives a couple of times from a tree in my brother's yard. Layered with kosher salt in a crock for six weeks, and then packed in olive oil with some fresh herbs. The first time I made them, I wasn't even expecting them to be edible, but they were so good...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like a well-stocked freezer. I like to make at least a dozen batches of pesto every summer (up to the point of adding cheese and butter; from Marcella Hazan's recipe). There's nothing like having a dinner party in February with pesto-tossed roasted potatoes or a pasta to impress friends.

In January there's the previously mentioned Meyer lemon curd, again at least a dozen batches.

A few times a year I get 10 lbs of chicken backs and necks from WF, and make stock. Some of the stock gets reduced by half and stored in 20-oz jars as soup base; the rest gets all the way reduced to syrup consistency, frozen in ice cube trays, and stored in plastic bags for whenever a dish needs a savory hit.

Same with beef stock. And sometimes vegetable stock.

And there are always bags of meat trimmings for stock making, too.

Sometimes a few whole pies (cherry, peach...chicken) go in, before being baked.

There are always many jars of tomato sauce.

Last January I made a batch of chili for a party - 20 pounds of sirloin tip - and a snowstorm kept most of my guests away. Individual portions of frozen chili went to work with me for months after.

You get the idea. A well-stocked freezer is a thing of joy.

PS I've done the lemon vodka thing, too. Though currently there are four different commercial vodkas taking up space in there, two of them lemon-flavored. :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This past weekend, I made chevre for the first time
Zora, do you by any chance have a background in science? I have met so many scientists who dabble in cheese and yogurt making. Sugar-work and candy-making also seem to be particularly attractive to such folks.

I'm with Porcupine on the well-stocked freezer: containers of various stocks, tomato sauces, breads, pastas, cakes, buttercream, puff paste, fruit coulis, more bread, and pie & tart crusts.

The thing I make that I can never decide if they are worth the effort are crackers. I know they are healthier and better tasting than anything store-bought, but they're so tedious to make and my hubbie can demolish a whole batch in one sitting.

(Hey laniloa -- you need to spill what you make all the time! :lol: )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since the adults in my family don't exchange "store bought" gifts, we all make something to eat and exchange the goodies. I make Limoncello every year and give it away. I get bottles from Specialty Bottles and labels from My Own Labels (www.myownlabels.com). This year's supply of both just arrived this week.

If you make preserves, relishes, or anything else which can be canned or bottled, do check out these two sites. They should have everything you could need and the possibilities for labels are practically limitless.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since the adults in my family don't exchange "store bought" gifts, we all make something to eat and exchange the goodies.  I make Limoncello every year and give it away.  I get bottles from Specialty Bottles and labels from My Own Labels (www.myownlabels.com).  This year's supply of both just arrived this week.

If you make preserves, relishes, or anything else which can be canned or bottled, do check out these two sites.  They should have everything you could need and the possibilities for labels are practically limitless.

Limoncello and aranciacello are what I typically make, but clearly not as labor intensive as some other items up thread. I was going to make an attempt at a lemon/lime mix, but have not gotten around to it....yet. :lol:

Speaking of labor (or at least time) intensive projects, I am out of veal stock, but luckily have some bones in the deep freeze. I guess I will be making a new batch soon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Who me? I don't think I make any one thing regularly besides stock like others upthread. I do a lot of things that are new to me and sound interesting and that tend to get a reaction by my coworkers -- the principal recipients of my baking experiments. They don't understand the concept of trying something completely new just because you find the process enjoyable. This can range from super simple (marshmallows, caramels -- thanks to inspiration from sampling mktye's) to more complex and time consuming (most recently chocolate babka). The other thing that tends to get a reaction is making quantity. For various office celebrations, I'll offer to make an assortment of cookies -- usually 2-3 dozen of 3-4 types. They are amazed that I can produce this midweek without having to take a day off to bake. I make batter, scoop or roll, and freeze ahead of time so I can easily bake the day or 2 days before with ease. They just don't understand that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

A well-stocked freezer is a thing of joy. 

One of my greatest wishes, aside from a second bathroom, is space for a large freezer. We don't have a basement, and the garage was converted into an art studio. All I have is the freezer space at the bottom of my Kenmore refrig, alas. I, too am a stock maker. I make veal stock and reduce it down to demi-glace for pan sauces. I also make chicken stock and freeze it flat in zip-loc bags so it takes up less space. I also have quite a bit of duck stock from my various recent adventures with duck confit. Then there are containers of mole verde, roasted tomato-chile adobo, and zip-lock bags of tamales. Packs of banana leaves for barbacoa de chivo. Frozen goat shoulder for same. And veal bones for my next batch of veal stock. It's hell, trying to jam some Ben and Jerry's in there. Oh, what I could do with more freezer space.

Edited by zoramargolis
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then there are containers of mole verde, roasted tomato-chile adobo, and zip-lock bags of tamales.

Likewise, if I'm going to go through the effort of cleaning, frying, rehydrating and grinding chiles anchos/pasilla/negro/whatever, I do a lot, and freeze the puree.

Oh, and I like to grow and dry my own poblanos/anchos and habaneros. They're easy to dry in a warm convection oven. But this year f***ing dear got into the garden. :lol: No fresh peppers for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sure do wish I could legally discharge a firearm in my neighborhood; then I'd stock the freezer with venison.  :lol:

My neighbor-across-the-street brought over a yearling venison rump roast for me to cook last night. He knows a hunter who relies on venison as her source of meat for the year, and only hunts young deer, which are the best eating. He's gotten a deer from her in the fall for the last few years, and stores the meat in his freezer. I marinated the meat for a few hours in a cooked wine marinade with juniper berries and black pepper, pan seared it and finished it in a hot oven. Served it medium rare with a fresh corn polenta and haricot vert. The meat was superb. Can't say as much for the wild mallard he gave me, which I brined and roasted for a first course. It was tough, too lean--no fat at all on that duck. I should have wrapped it in bacon or something. And it had a strong, liverish taste. Interesting, but not what I would consider really delicious. The sides with it were, though. Roasted fennel, figs and turnips. 2004 Castle Rock Carneros Pinot Noir was a worthy accompaniment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting, reading Don Rocks' ode to choucroute garnie this morning. I'd been thinking about it myself, this past weekend, after having some delicious sauerkraut at Leopold's. And I decided that if I want to make choucroute this fall, the first step is to make sauerkraut. I had an antique 3 gallon crock outside, just gathering rainwater--brought it in, scrubbbed and sterilized it. I shredded three cabbages, and layered them in the crock with kosher salt, put a glass plate and a brick in a ziplock bag on top of the cabbage, covered the crock and set it on my back porch to start working its magic. It should start to ferment in a few days, and in about ten days to two weeks, I should have some kickin' sauerkraut. I've got the duck fat to make confit, got the stovetop smoker to smoke the pork. Am I going to go all the way and make the sausage, too? Hmm... gotta think on that one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting, reading Don Rocks' ode to choucroute garnie this morning. I'd been thinking about it myself, this past weekend, after having some delicious sauerkraut at Leopold's. And I decided that if I want to make choucroute this fall, the first step is to make sauerkraut. I had an antique 3 gallon crock outside, just gathering rainwater--brought it in, scrubbbed and sterilized it. I shredded three cabbages, and layered them in the crock with kosher salt, put a glass plate and a brick in a ziplock bag on top of the cabbage, covered the crock and set it on my back porch to start working its magic. It should start to ferment in a few days, and in about ten days to two weeks, I should have some kickin' sauerkraut. I've got the duck fat to make confit, got the stovetop smoker to smoke the pork. Am I going to go all the way and make the sausage, too? Hmm... gotta think on that one.

Just let me know where to be when to taste this masterpiece. I'll report back to the group, I swear!

ScotteeM

(Grouper, swimming steadily toward Ventworm)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bravo! Homemade sauerkraut is on my list to try making - along with real pickles.

One of my strong interests is preserving old ways and traditions. Home canning is my latest self-taught project, and so far I've attempted jam, chutney, pickled veggies, and relish.

Holiday baking is another big project - usually turn out a dozen kinds of Christmas cookies as well as fruitcake.

A friend of mine roasts his own coffee. That's on my list too.

Non-food related "old-fashioned" hobbies: embroidery, crewel, crocheting, and tatting. :lol:

Edited by Heather
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting, reading Don Rocks' ode to choucroute garnie this morning. I'd been thinking about it myself, this past weekend, after having some delicious sauerkraut at Leopold's. And I decided that if I want to make choucroute this fall, the first step is to make sauerkraut. I had an antique 3 gallon crock outside, just gathering rainwater--brought it in, scrubbbed and sterilized it. I shredded three cabbages, and layered them in the crock with kosher salt, put a glass plate and a brick in a ziplock bag on top of the cabbage, covered the crock and set it on my back porch to start working its magic. It should start to ferment in a few days, and in about ten days to two weeks, I should have some kickin' sauerkraut. I've got the duck fat to make confit, got the stovetop smoker to smoke the pork. Am I going to go all the way and make the sausage, too? Hmm... gotta think on that one.

Did you get the duck fat locally? My plans for the fall include duck confit and I need the fat. I was thinking maybe an asian grocery store for the legs, but wasn't sure about the fat. I'm hesitant to pay for the shipping on the duck fat and am hoping to procure it locally.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Home canning is my latest self-taught project, and so far  I've attempted jam, chutney, pickled veggies, and relish.
This reminded me... last year I made my own crystallized ginger. It was very, very time consuming to peel and slice all the ginger. The resulting ginger was good, but not any better than what you can buy at Trader Joe's.

However, the leftover syrup was wonderful -- I used it in various desserts and dishes for almost a year. I think next time, I'll simply chop up the ginger in a food processor, strain it out and toss it after cooking, and just keep the syrup.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did you get the duck fat locally? My plans for the fall include duck confit and I need the fat. I was thinking maybe an asian grocery store for the legs, but wasn't sure about the fat. I'm hesitant to pay for the shipping on the duck fat and am hoping to procure it locally.

I have been collecting/saving duck fat since the beginning of the summer. First, I bought a couple of ducks and skinned them out completely, including the breasts. By cutting up the skin into small pieces and roasting the skin in the oven on moderate-low heat, I rendered out the fat and got insanely delicious cracklings. I brined the legs and breasts, and made stock with the bones. I then used the fat (there was a lot of it--these were obese ducks) to confit the skinless legs, and I smoked the breast meat in my stovetop smoker. After making confit with the legs, you strain and save the fat. It keeps for many months in the fridge. Next time you make it, skin the legs, render and add the new fat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bravo!  Homemade sauerkraut is on my list to try making - along with real pickles. 

One of my strong interests is preserving old ways and traditions.  Home canning is my latest self-taught project, and so far  I've attempted jam, chutney, pickled veggies, and relish. 

I've done a fair amount of canning and preserve making--compared to that, sauerkraut and pickles (kosher-style, that is) are simple and downright primitive. Sauerkraut is just cabbage and salt in a crock. For kosher pickles, sterilize some quart-size Ball jars, put a tablespoon of kosher or pickling salt, a few peeled, sliced garlic cloves, some (optional) pickling spice mix (dill seed, allspice berries, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, mustard seed, dried red pepper) in the bottom of the jar. Pack whole clean pickling cukes in the jar as tightly as you can cram them in, add some fresh dill weed to the top of the jar and fill the jar with filtered water, leaving about 1" of head space. Put the lids and rings on--tighten at first, and shake the jar to distribute and dissolve the salt, then untighten the lids and leave them on very loosely, this is important, because the byproduct of the fermentation that you want to happen is co2 that needs to be able to escape. If the lid is on too tight, the jar could explode. Put the jars in a dark, fairly cool place on layers of newspaper to absorb any overflow of brine from the jars. Fermentation starts with bubbling in a few days, then subsides after a few more. The brine will look kind of cloudy and when the bubbling has completely stopped, tighten the lids down and store in the refrigerator. They can be water-bath processed at that point, but if you can keep the jars refrigerated, they will last for months and the pickles will stay crisper. They start out their life, post-fermentation, as "half-sours" (malassol) and proceed to full-sour in time. In the event that for whatever reason, the fermentation turns to spoilage (bacterial contamination, too-warm temperature) you will know it by the smell. And the pickles are slimy. My mother used to make kosher-style dill pickles every year and I've done it lots of times. I've also made sweet "bread and butter" pickles for my Pennsylvania Dutch husband. They are a major chore, by comparison--slicing and blanching the cukes, making the syrup, sterilizing and water-bath processing the jars. I'm not convinced it's worth the trouble to make sweet pickles, but wait'll you try your homemade kosher pickles--they leave the ones at the deli in the dust!

Edited by zoramargolis
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nothing much to report, except maybe a few batches of infused vodka of varying drinkability. I have a lot of stuff in planning or at least 'good intentions' stages, though! Bought a box of canning jars with the idea of canning some tomatoes while they were at their zenith of deliciousness, but that never happened. Now the plan is pickles, preserved lemons, and maybe some confit. And more flavoured alcohol!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For a couple years I was churning out my own liqueurs at a liver-withering rate. After moving I haven't unpacked all my gear, but this thread will make me do that this weekend. I want to put some limoncello and raspberry/lime up for holiday gifts as well as a high test cinnamon concoction that has drawn some rave reviews and created some wicked hangovers; it's basically Goldschlager, but amber brown (and no gold flakes. Yet). That one takes a few more weeks to mellow out. I also want to test out some lower sugar varieties. Sometimes they just turn out too syrupy.

Some other simple homemade items in the freezer that seem to impress people: shrimp stock (for risotto) and various compound butters. The last one never ceases to amaze me. I could probably train my cat to make compound butter, but when folks see little flecks of parsley/sundried tomato/lemon rind their eyes light up like it was a freakin' miracle.

Edited by TedE
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I found fresh-picked green olives at Grand Mart last Friday. The only other olives I've cured have been ripe and black, so I can't be certain how these will turn out. But I scored them and buried them in layers of kosher salt in a large jar. The other way to cure olives is to brine them, and I think that's the usual way that green olives are cured, but I didn't have the inclination to do the necessary research, and salting them was easier to do. I was talking to the owner of Cornucopia about it--he is Egyptian, I think. A really nice guy, who loves to talk food. Anyway, he told me that after the salt cure is complete, I should briefly cook them and then pack them in olive oil with garlic, herbs and lemon peel. I had never heard that bit about the partial cooking, so I am going to try that.

I just made my third batch of fresh chevre, using some goat's milk I got at a farm stand north of Poolesville. Cool place--they had dozens of different winter squashes and pumpkins, and I got a Blue Hubbard, which is a squash I used to love when I lived in Vermont. They also had Trickling Springs butter, which is so good. Of course, now I can't recall the name of the place or exactly where it was-- we came upon it on a drive up to Harper's Ferry, along smaller back roads.

I've got my first batch of membrillo drying in the convection oven--it's almost ready to go. I promised Katie, the cheese lady at Arrowine that I would bring her some to taste. Maybe she'll give me some good Spanish sheepmilk cheese in exchange.

Edited by zoramargolis
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ice cream sauces (caramel, butterscotch, chocolate) -- not difficult and lots better tasting that store-bought. (I keep threatening to can them for Christmas gifts but never remember come December.) And of course ice cream to go along with them.

Garlic chutney, peach preserves (recipes posted in another thread on canning and preserving, as I recall).

Various curds (lemon, lime, passionfruit). Mostly for cakes, but sometimes just to have around. Another thing I should think about canning for gifts.

Sometimes if I've got a quart or two of cream that's been around too long I'll make butter (use the resulting buttermilk for bread or biscuits). That really gets my friends' eyes rolling. :P

Candied ginger (mktye -- peeling ginger is really quick if you use a spoon). Candied citrus peel -- often dipped in chocolate. And yes, the syrups are fabulous.

Various brittles (almond, hazelnut, macadamia, pecan -- who needs peanuts?). Also dipped in chocolate.

I make stock fairly often, but at least half the batches get stuck into the fridge for a few days before I can get back to them to degrease/clarify/etc. Those generally get added to the dogs' food. :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ice cream sauces (caramel, butterscotch, chocolate) -- not difficult and lots better tasting that store-bought.  (I keep threatening to can them for Christmas gifts but never remember come December.)  And of course ice cream to go along with them.

Garlic chutney, peach preserves (recipes posted in another thread on canning and preserving, as I recall).

Various curds (lemon, lime, passionfruit).  Mostly for cakes, but sometimes just to have around.  Another thing I should think about canning for gifts.

Sometimes if I've got a quart or two of cream that's been around too long I'll make butter (use the resulting buttermilk for bread or biscuits).  That really gets my friends' eyes rolling.  :P

Candied ginger (mktye -- peeling ginger is really quick if you use a spoon).  Candied citrus peel -- often dipped in chocolate.  And yes, the syrups are fabulous.

Various brittles (almond, hazelnut, macadamia, pecan -- who needs peanuts?).  Also dipped in chocolate.

I make stock fairly often, but at least half the batches get stuck into the fridge for a few days before I can get back to them to degrease/clarify/etc.  Those generally get added to the dogs' food.  :lol:

I don't see ventworm nut cake on this list.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I found fresh-picked green olives at Grand Mart last Friday.

I bought some green olives from the GM 2 weeks ago and am curing them now, using the brine method. We'll have to compare notes.

I also have about 4 gallons of apple wine in process - made from apples picked at Stribling Orchards a few weeks ago.

I bought a quince at the GM last weekend & I need to figure out what to do with it. Membrillo / quince paste might be the way to go.

I'm going to start making cheese soon, too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Built a smoker out of a drawer file cabinet. Took the bottom out from the top drawer, replaced it with a stainless steel rack and put a hot plate in the bottom drawer.

Brined a pork shoulder in a 4% brine for 72 hours, 24hr rest in fridge for pellicle and smoked for 3 hours with apple chips. Then roasted for 12 hours at 180F. Basted the pork thing every hour or so with its own juices, and myself with shots of my very own bloody mary infused vodka. Pleasantly salty, hints of cinnamon and clove and a whisper of smoke, much like the rest of my apartment and my clothes.

Future projects/improvements include pastrami, smoked peppers, smoked salt, hot plate with a variable temperature knob, thermometer draft chimney for cold smoking, longer extension cord (or disabling smoke detector). If I can use a single heating element for both a hot/cold smoker and reflux column still, my BBQ's and I would be unstoppable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This morning, I unwrapped and started slicing and eating the second of two filets of gravlax I made, week before last, from wild Alaskan salmon I bought at Costco for only $8.99 a pound.

I made a cure blend of brown sugar, kosher salt, pepper, coriander and allspice. Salted all of the surfaces and laid the filets meat side to meat side with fresh dill and extra black pepper sandwiched between them, wrapped it in heavy foil and put it in the refrig with a weighted platter on top. This stayed for about five days, then I opened the package, rinsed off the filets, dried them well and wrapped them in plastic wrap. I've been eating and serving thin slices of the gravlax, on toast or bagels, with cream cheese or moscarpone, with slices of cucumber or tomato. The texture is slightly chewy--most lox is made from farmed salmon, which is fattier and softer. I love the salty sweet-peppery-dill notes and the assertive flavor of the salmon. My husband doesn't like it--says it is "too fishy" for him. But then, he tends to shy away from strong flavors. Everyone else who has tasted it, including my pesca-vegetarian daughter and several of her friends, loves it.

It would be even better if I'd had the ability to cold smoke the salmon. I used to make gravlax with hickory smoked salt, but I don't have any more of it...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, and I like to grow and dry my own poblanos/anchos and habaneros. They're easy to dry in a warm convection oven. But this year f***ing dear got into the garden. :) No fresh peppers for me.

How do you do that? And how do you store the dried peppers?

I guess my most labor intensive dish in shrimp and okra gumbo. You have to cook down the okra a couple of hours, maybe 3. It's like slow cooking a roux. You can't just leave it alone for long. But it is worth it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How do you do that? And how do you store the dried peppers?

Um, I just wipe 'em clean and place directly on the oven racks, 150 F convection for a few hours. I take them out while they're still a bit pliable and not crispy dry. Once completely cool I store them in ziploc bags. They keep for up to a year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How do you do that? And how do you store the dried peppers?

I guess my most labor intensive dish in shrimp and okra gumbo. You have to cook down the okra a couple of hours, maybe 3. It's like slow cooking a roux. You can't just leave it alone for long. But it is worth it!

With the weather the way it is, you can letting nature do the work. We lay them out on racks in the sun to dry. Takes some patience, though, because we take them in each night and when rain is imminent. When pretty dry and almost leathery, we just put them into coffee or candy tins. Came across a can of cayennes the other day that were probably a few years old, and they were still hot and tasty.

Another thing we do after the drying is load the dried peppers into a food processor, put it on a 50-foot extension cord and carry it out to the back yard, turn it on, and let it grind away for a few minutes (you DO NOT want to do this indoors, especially with habaneros; I learned the hard way!). Then simply pack the processed peppers into jars or tins.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, Elizabeth and Dave. Are you the kind Dave with whom we shared a table at Ray's the Classics? That was a nice evening!

I can imagine that you'd do that thing with the food processor outside or else get a psychedelic, hallucinatory hot flash! Knock you to your knees, I am sure!

That pictorial for the okra gumbo is at eGullet. http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=37077&st=210 Scroll down to post 240.

Am I ok with linking to another board here? :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

of two filets of gravlax I made...

5 days seems to be a bit long for curing and might be the cause of the chew. My Swedish stepmother insists that gravlax should cure for 24 hours. It is a matter of preference, but less cured has shorter shelflife and salt/sugar proportions will affect the final product -sugar will counter the hardening effects of salt. Cure for my "gravad laks" (about 1/3 weight of wild sockeye salmon) was 150gm coarse sea salt, 250 gm sugar, 30 gm toasted coriander, 20 mg black pepper, zest of lemon/lime/orange and their juice. Placed them skin down in a non-reactive pan, covered with cure and let them sit in their brine for 36 hours. Washed, dried, sliced and wrapped around a Washington Monument template, a few inches southwest of a black forest ham White House with cornbread roof for a party coinciding with president’s day. Supreme Court chowder and Prawn cocktail Capitol not pictured.

post-1231-1154413047_thumb.jpg

As for storing dried peppers, run a needle and thread through the stems and hang them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 days seems to be a bit long for curing and might be the cause of the chew. My Swedish stepmother insists that gravlax should cure for 24 hours. It is a matter of preference, but less cured has shorter shelflife and salt/sugar proportions will affect the final product -sugar will counter the hardening effects of salt. Cure for my "gravad laks" (about 1/3 weight of wild sockeye salmon) was 150gm coarse sea salt, 250 gm sugar, 30 gm toasted coriander, 20 mg black pepper, zest of lemon/lime/orange and their juice. Placed them skin down in a non-reactive pan, covered with cure and let them sit in their brine for 36 hours.

I tried it after three days, and the flesh was still raw and the salt had not yet penetrated to the interior. Perhaps I did not layer sufficient cure mix between the filets that were face to face, or weight it enough. I'll try your method next time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My neighbor-across-the-street brought over a yearling venison rump roast for me to cook last night. He knows Can't say as much for the wild mallard he gave me, which I brined and roasted for a first course.

Down in Louisiana, we braise wild ducks. Some prefer a red wine sauce but for me, duck and sausage gumbo with a very dark roux.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You want funny reactions?

Mention to anyone not participating on any food board that you make your own chicken stock. Mention that your freezer has at least one bird carcass in it at all times.

Every now and then I'll bring a bone-in piece of roast chicken into work for lunch. And re-pack the bone to take home with me to add to the stash in the freezer. Fabulous reactions.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just found this thread, so i'll weigh in. Roughly in order of least cool to most cool:

-Bake bread with spent grains from brewing beer. Also been making rye...still struggling with both recipes and procedure since I just started last fall and it takes me a while to get through two loaves of bread.

-Pickles: quick process (not fermented). easy and fun to tweak.

-Orange Marmalade: only tried once, and it was a colossal failure (didn't gel) and a huge batch (of then unusable orange syrup/sauce/meh).

-Mustard: got a few pounds of mustard seeds from Penzey's spices and started making small test batches. Good stuff so far, but my blender is weak so they're still pretty grainy. Need mortar/pestle. Aiming for this to be part of a ridiculous Oktoberfest party.

-Sauerkraut: as mentioned before on this thread, except the two times I tried it, I don't think I shredded the cabbage finely enough, as it didn't quite leech out enough moisture to submerge the cabbage in its own juices, and the smell of the rotting/fermenting cabbage made my kitchen reek to high heaven. Will be trying again soon, again for Oktoberfest party.

-Sausage: a few successful goes at bratwurst. Planning on preserved/fermented sausages once I have a larger place (and some place to age them aside from my living room). For now, they are fresh and the grill is their destination. I'm gonna see if I can make some more of these, and maybe some hot-dog style buns for them. Anybody tried that before? (hot-dog buns)

-Cheese: in the past, everything from brined cheeses, cheddar infused with oak barrel stout, and simple fresh cheeses. lately, been working on Gouda, trying to get the moisture level right since I recently got a cheese press. Once I work out the moisture level kinks, I'd like to mostly just make Gouda and age for 1yr+. I brought a block of 2mo old gouda to the spring picnic.

-Beer: mostly high-gravity specialty ales. Imperial Honey Kolsch (making up your own style is fun!), Imperial Red, Double IPA, Imperial Stout, Belgian Dubbel with sour cherries, etc etc. The 3-tap keg fridge in my living room = awesome. Next on the brew schedule is a 7% oktoberfest ale for the party (I don't have a lagering fridge....yet).

I'm sure i've forgotten something, but for now that covers it. Most of these came about from situations like "I wonder how you make ____" or simply an episode of Good Eats.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

boudin blanc: a hybrid of Frank Ruta and Yannick Cams recipe(more of a mousse shaped in a sausage casing)

paluni roast chicken: another hybrid of Frank Ruta and Judy Rodgers chicken. First I brine the the chicken ala Palena, then I roast using the Zuni method.

Pimms cup deconstructed: Gin, lots of bitters, a little quinine powder, ginger ale, a little lemon juice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

-Orange Marmalade: only tried once, and it was a colossal failure (didn't gel) and a huge batch (of then unusable orange syrup/sauce/meh).

-Sauerkraut: as mentioned before on this thread, except the two times I tried it, I don't think I shredded the cabbage finely enough, as it didn't quite leech out enough moisture to submerge the cabbage in its own juices, and the smell of the rotting/fermenting cabbage made my kitchen reek to high heaven. Will be trying again soon, again for Oktoberfest party.

-Cheese: in the past, everything from brined cheeses, cheddar infused with oak barrel stout, and simple fresh cheeses. lately, been working on Gouda, trying to get the moisture level right since I recently got a cheese press. Once I work out the moisture level kinks, I'd like to mostly just make Gouda and age for 1yr+. I brought a block of 2mo old gouda to the spring picnic.

Did you use a candy thermometer when you made the marmalade? Generally small batches work best, because you have to get the whole volume to a pretty high temperature and sustain it to get it to thicken. I think the sugar syrup needs to get to soft ball stage, at least. I generally use pectin when I make preserves, because I think the fruit tastes better when it is cooked less. I've only made marmalade a time or two. Try again with a smaller volume and use pectin. Better luck next time.

On the sauerkraut, it sounds like you may not have used enough salt. And you have to weight it down with a plate, with a brick or two on top. Also, the kitchen may have been too warm a place to make it. It's a cool weather project to do "down cellar" in a cool space, if you can find one. It may not be appropriate for an apartment.

I liked your gouda. I'd love to make aged cheeses, but I don't have appropriate refrigeration to do it, and no space for another fridge at my house.

You seem like my kinda guy... Except you're probably not too much older than my daughter. How about if I just adopt you?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

-Mustard: got a few pounds of mustard seeds from Penzey's spices and started making small test batches. Good stuff so far, but my blender is weak so they're still pretty grainy. Need mortar/pestle. Aiming for this to be part of a ridiculous Oktoberfest party.

I suppose this may sound like cheating, but I've gotten ground mustard from Penzey's and mixed up some pretty good prepared mustard from it. The "Oriental Canadian Mustard Powder (hot)" produces an almost life-threateningly hot preparation (it really takes your breath away) until you let it sit without refrigeration for a couple of days. Still wicked hot after that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You want funny reactions?

Mention to anyone not participating on any food board that you make your own chicken stock. Mention that your freezer has at least one bird carcass in it at all times.

Amen. Also, homemade yogurt and mayonaise generally elicit a reaction of "you've got wayyyy too much free time, Q."
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Moving is going to suck, but there's an upshot: I'm going to have a basement. It's going to be ON! :lol:

Watch this space!

As long as it doesn't flood in the next deluge--that's the downside of having a basement. I comfort myself with that thought when my neighbors are frantically trying to get rid of water and mold in their basements during and after bad storms. It helps me deal with the frustration of having so little storage space in my kitchen cupboards and no place to put a wine storage unit or an extra refrigerator. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...