DIY Yogurt–How to Make Yogurt

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I have been wanting to make my own yogurt for a long while now. I have put off making it because I rarely buy milk, unless I want to make ice cream.  The truth is that we don’t drink milk, so there is rarely a need for it in our home.  I was in Whole Food’s the other day and went to pick up a jar of my favorite Bulgarian yogurt, when I thought–now is the time to make my own.  The process is super simple.  I did it with my Sous-vide machine, but you could do this in your slow cooker on low,  in a dehydrator set to 110F, or with just the light of your oven door.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes Plus 6 hours of non cook time

Ingredients:

4 cups of full fat organic milk

4 tablespoons of full fat organic yogurt–make sure the yogurt that you choose has active live cultures.

Directions: Heat the milk in a stainless steel sauce pan,

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When the temperature reaches 110F turn off the fire and whisk in the yogurt.

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Transfer the mixture to a glass jar,

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Lightly cap it,

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If you aren’t using a slow cooker or a immersion circulator, place the jar in the oven and turn on the oven light and allow to culture over night.  If using a slow cooker, fill the cooker with water, place the jar inside and set the cooker to low–or 110F.

If using a circulator, fill a pan with enough water to cover the sides of the jar, set the circulator to 110F and add the jar–let sit for 4-6 hour’s or until the yogurt thickens to the consistency of store bought yogurt–the longer you let the yogurt sit the more tart and thick it becomes–so if you find that you like the consistency and taste at 4 hours then remove it from the heat then–if you like it more tart then let it go for longer–even over night–it’s really up to you, and your preference.

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Remove from circulator and refrigerate.  Once refrigerated, the yogurt will thicken a bit more, and the whey will separate from the yogurt, you can pour it off or mix it back into the yogurt.

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The yogurt will keep for up to 2 weeks.  If you plan on making another batch you can use this yogurt as a starter.

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imageHow easy was that?! I can’t believe I didn’t try this sooner!  The yogurt is delicious!

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How to make Bone Broth- with Chicken Feet

How to Make Bone Broth

How to Make Bone Broth

 

Now that the Holiday’s are over, I’m getting back to my normal routine.  We had such a busy holiday season that I’m not sure what my normal routine was. The last week I’ve spent both nursing a cold and searching for a new refrigerator.  Our current refrigerator is on it’s final leg, and before it gives out completely we need to replace it.  I was in Whole Foods the other day in search of some chicken backs in order to make stock to nurse my cold and my daughters and of course they were clean out.  The butcher was ready with an alternative–chicken feet! He said that they had just gotten a big shipment in, because people had been requesting them in order to make bone broth to fight off the flu and cold that is going around.  With no other options to available to make my broth, I left the store with 2 pounds of chicken feet.   I’ve actually only ever seen chicken feet on live chicken’s and occasionally in a silver tin when I go out with my girl friends to have dim sum.  I can’t say that in either instance that they’ve been an appetizing sight! This instance provided no exception!  It took me a while to even convince myself that I could handle cooking them.  However, I pushed through the ick factor and managed, to make a delicious bone broth for us to consume.  Not surprisingly making stock with chicken feet provides a nutrient rich broth.  Chicken feet have a lot of bones, and when cooked slowly or under pressure you’re able to extract most of the nutrients from those bones.  Also at $2.00/pound this is the most economical way to make broth that I’ve come across.

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Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 1.5-2 hours

 

Ingredients:

1 lb of organic chicken feet

1 cup of carrots diced

1 cup of celery diced

1 large onion diced

2 tablespoons of grape seed oil

7 cups of water

sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions: Heat the oil over medium heat. Add in chicken feet and allow to brown (7-10 minutes).  Add in carrots, celery, and onion and allow to cook an additional 4 minutes.  Add in water and seal in pressure cooker for 1.5-2 hours.

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If you’re doing this stove stop, cook for a minimum of 2 hours on medium low heat, and add additional water as stock boils down.  After stock has cooked for 2 hours remove from heat, let cool for 10-15 minutes, then strain, removing all solids before transferring to an airtight container. This makes about 4-5 cups of stock.

How to make Bone Broth

How to make Bone Broth

So tell me, have you ever cooked or eaten chicken feet?  Although I’ve seen them while having Dim Sum with my friends, I have never tried them.  I just can’t bring myself to do it–at least not so far!

 

 

 

 

Preserved Lemon Salt–How to make Sour Salts

Preserved Lemon Sour Salt

Preserved Lemon Sour Salt

This blog has been a year in the making. Sour salts and the use of sour salts first caught my attention after reading an article in Bon Appetite Magazine about  how the chef at State Bird Provisions was using sour salts to brighten up dishes, and make use of an ingredients that would otherwise not get used.  His approach was simple, dehydrate something as simple as a preserved lemon, grind it into a powder, and boom you’ve created a flavorful salt without even trying.  After reading that article, I knew that I wanted to try making a preserved lemon salt.  I put it on my list of things to blog about, but never got around to it–it has been almost a year since I read that article! Of all the sour salts I have on my list to make, the preserved lemon sour salt has always intrigued me the most–that and a lime pickle salt–I love a good lime pickle! My first thought was to make my own preserved lemons and lime pickle.  But rather than make you all–and myself wait for me to make a preserved lemon, which would further prolong me making this sour salt, I thought  I’d just skip ahead a few steps and buy some preserved lemon’s from my local Whole Foods. Christmas is just a few weeks away, and since I’m giving these salts away as gifts I cant wait to make preserved lemons from scratch.

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Makes about 4 ounces of sour salt.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Drying time: 2hrs

Ingredients:

4 preserved lemons (sliced thinly)

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 150F if using an oven.  If using a dehydrator set it to 135F. Place preserved lemon slices evenly onto your dehydrator sheets, if using a stove,  spread over a wire rack set inside of a bake sheet.

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Bake or dehydrate  until hard and brittle, it took about 1.5 hours in my dehydrator. Once slices are hard and crisp, transfer to a spice mill/ blender and grind until powdery,

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Transfer the powder to an air tight container.

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You’ve just created a gourmet salt.  You can sprinkle this on chicken, and fish.  Add it to my North African Lamb Stew, or to some grilled lamb chops, the possibilities are endless.

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D.I.Y. Taco Seasoning

Taco Seasoning

Taco Seasoning

 

I used to be the queen of packaged seasoning, if they made it I tried it.  It never really occurred to me that I could just as easily make most of these seasoning with spices that I already had in my pantry.   It wasn’t until I was in the middle of browning some ground meat to make tacos that I realized I was missing one key ingredient–the taco seasoning–and I was forced to make due with what I had. That was a fateful day indeed. Enlightening and freeing! I no longer buy pre-made seasonings.  I just make my own.  This taco seasoning is equally as good as the prepackaged mix that I used to buy, except it doesn’t have any cornstarch or any of the other fillers that packaged seasonings tend to have.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Servings: 1/4 cup or one package of taco seasoning

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon Cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika

1 teaspoon of onion powder

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon of chili powder (optional)

Directions: Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Add the entire contents to browned ground meat, or try it out in my recipe for Makeover Chicken Taco’s

 

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Like this seasoning?  Then you make like my Dry Ranch Seasoning  or my Spicy Dry rub seasoning

How to make Ketchup–D.I.Y. Ketchup

How To Make Ketchup--DIY Ketchup

How To Make Ketchup–DIY Ketchup

 

We were out for breakfast with some close friends of ours when I discovered that my daughter loved ketchup.  Not in a normal kind of, oh this tastes great on potatoes, sort of way, but a, let me dip anything I can find on my plate and eat it, sort of way.  Up to that point she had never even tried ketchup.  We had been to plenty of restaurant’s and I always shied away from allowing her to have any ketchup. Not because I don’t like it, but because the ingredient list is terrible–full of stuff I can’t pronounce, let alone identify–other than high fructose corn syrup.  The only reason I even allowed her to have it that day was because, we were out, she was getting antsy, and one of the little girls in our breakfast party was eating it and Page wanted to eat it too.  The moment she tasted it, she went from being antsy, to calm and focused on what she could find on her plate to dip into it!  She ate her entire plate of food! All because she was introduced to this condiment called ketchup!  So what’s a mom to do?  Well if you’re me you make the condiment yourself.  As with most things that I make myself, this ketchup was very easy to make–easier than I thought it would be.  You will need a few lazy hours at home in order to make this, but that’s just so you don’t burn down the house, you cook it on a low simmer for a few hours, you could even do this in a crock pot, and the result is deliciously homemade ketchup, with no refined sugars!

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Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 2 hours mostly non active

Makes 2 cups of delicious ketchup!

Ingredients:

28 ounce can of Whole peeled tomatoes (I prefer San Marzano tomatoes)

5 tablespoons of tomato paste

2  cloves of garlic (minced)

1 small onion chopped

1/4 cup of maple sugar (can sub brown)

1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons of  olive oil (can substitute grape seed or safflower oil)

20 whole cloves

1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

Ingredients for the spice packet

1/2 teaspoon rainbow pepper corns (can use just black)

1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds

1/2  of  one cinnamon stick broken into two pieces

1/4 teaspoon of all spice berries

1 bay leaf

cheese cloth

kitchen twine

Directions: Wrap all of the ingredients for the spice packet in the cheese cloth, and tie tightly with kitchen twine–make sure to leave at least 4 inches of extra twine on the end and set aside.

Add the oil and the cloves to a pot and heat just until the oil begins to bubble.  Turn off the heat, and let the cloves steep in the oil for 10 minutes.

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Strain the oil through a sieve and discard the cloves.  Add the clove oil to a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat, add onions, garlic and saute until onion is translucent.  Add in the tomato paste and cayenne and cook for 2-3 minutes. Pour the onion/tomato paste mixture into a blender/processor along with the canned tomatoes-juice and all–and blend until smooth.  Pour this mixture back into your sauce pan, submerge the spice packet into the pot, wrap the excess twine around the handle of the pot. Bring  the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, simmer until the mixture is dark red and has thickened about 1.5-2 hours.  Mixture should be reduced by half.

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Remove the spice packet,

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Strain the ketchup through a sieve, pushing solids through with a spoon:

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The ketchup should be nice and smooth:

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Let the ketchup cool to room temperature before transferring to an air tight container.

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Refrigerated, this will keep for 1 month.    As a base ketchup this is pretty amazing! It taste  just like the bottled stuff.  For a twist you could add 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder to half a cup of this ketchup for some pretty amazing curry ketchup!

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Roasted Garlic-How to Roast Garlic

How to Roast Garlic

How to Roast Garlic

Can you image cooking without garlic? I can’t! I love it! Garlic lends so much flavor to a savory dish, it’s hard to imagine not having it to use. I love garlic in every state, raw, blanched, powdered, and roasted.  Each has it’s own unique flavor. Roasted garlic is so delicious, and there are so many uses for it. I add roasted garlic to a plain tomato sauce to instantly take it from bland to fantastic! I add roasted garlic to one of my favorite roasted eggplant dishes. I spread roasted garlic on a good piece of crusty bread and dip it into a balsamic, red pepper, and olive oil vinaigrette, and of course, I add roasted garlic to mashed potatoes, or my cauliflower potato mash! There are a plethora of uses for roasted garlic, (like using it for my Roasted Garlic and Lemon Chicken recipe), once you learn how to roast garlic, you will wonder why you’ve been cooking without it!

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Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time:30-45 minutes

Ingredients:

1 large bulb of garlic

1 teaspoon of olive oil

sea salt and black pepper to taste (optional)

1 sheet of foil–must be big enough to fully enclose the garlic

Directions: Pre heat the oven to 400F. With a knife slice the top off of the garlic. Place the garlic inside of the foil, pour the oil over the top of the garlic, making sure to cover all exposed garlic. add sea salt and black pepper if using:

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Fold all sides of the foil, making sure that the garlic is fully enclosed. Place the garlic bulb in your oven:

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Cook  for 45 minutes, or until garlic is beautifully golden brown:

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Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes, then remove by squeezing, or by removing each individual clove of garlic with a pairing knife, and enjoy!

Homemade Chicken Stock -Using Leftover Roast Chicken Carcass

 

Homemade Chicken Stock

Homemade Chicken Stock

Store bought stock is great, it involves no work, other than opening a box, and pouring it into your pot. What’s not to love about that? As great as the store bought chicken stock is, it lacks the depth of flavor you get when you make a homemade stock.  Although you gain flavor from making a stock at home, it does take time, even if you use a pressure cooker. If you are going to make this chicken stock, then do it when you have a few hours to lay around the house. Although this isn’t something you need to check very often, it does require time to simmer. This particular chicken stock is one of my favorite methods of making chicken stock, mainly because I get to make use of something that would normally get thrown out–the left over carcass of a roasted chicken. You read that correctly, this chicken stock is made using the carcass of a roast chicken.  I normally add the chicken carcass, and the bones from the thigh and leg bones, I just pick the meat off of them and add them to the pot.  If you’d like a more potent chicken flavor you can add a few raw legs into the pot as well, but I find that it’s not necessary, if you simmer this stock long enough it will be full of flavor. Tomorrow I will show you another way to make chicken stock, which I learned from Modernist Cuisine, stay tuned.

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Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 3-4 hours

Ingredients: 1 Roast Chicken carcass

1 cup of organic carrots diced

1 cup of organic celery diced

1 large brown onion diced

4 sprigs of organic thyme

2 large cloves of garlic sliced

7 cups of cold water

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:  Add the oil to a stock pan or pressure cooker, add in garlic and onion, and cook until onions turn translucent about 5-7 minutes.  Add in carrots and celery, and cook for another 5 minutes. image   Add in the carcass of the chicken and any additional bones that you have saved, add in the thyme image Add in the cold water, image   Bring stock up to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 3-4 hours.  When I cook this on the stove I check it every 45 minutes. After about 3.5 hours on the stove this stock, should be nice and flavorful, but the longer you cook it, the more concentrated it becomes and thus more flavorful. After the flavor is where you want it, turn off the fire, allow to cool to room temp, you can remove the fat that has formed on top of the stock at this point, then strain the stock through a sieve.  If you are doing this in a pressure cooker, which I recommend, after adding the water to the pot, close the pot, lock the lid and bring up to pressure, lower the heat once the pot has pressurized, and cook undisturbed for 2 hours. Turn off the heat, then depressurize your pot according to the manufacturers instructions, remove lid, and allow the stock to cool to room temperature.  Strain the stock through a sieve and freeze in an airtight container. This recipe makes about 4.5 cups of stock, I split it in half and freeze it. It makes it easier when I have a recipe that requires only 2 cups of stock. The remaining half cup of stock, I freeze in ice cube trays, and once frozen, I seal those in a ziplock type bag.  One ice cube of stock is about  tablespoon of stock, great to  make sauces with. image