Lately, I’ve been coming across recipes that call for steeping items over a period of time, so savor the spirit of slow with me! I started homebrewing recently, and while I don’t know that I’d describe the brewing process with “steeping” at any point, essentially that’s what I did with the last batch to infuse some cherry flavor during the fermentation process. As long as we’re on the subject of alcohol, let’s start with a primer on extracts. Those tiny bottles in the stores aren’t the cheapest item on the shelves, so let’s see how to make our own vanilla extract:
I’ve got a batch processing in a small canning jar, and it has gone along nicely. It is handy to know that it is essentially an endless/bottomless recipe, too! I was also referred to a similar recipe by a friend and found it again in a vanilla cookbook at a resale store (it also mentioned vanilla sugar!)
For more adult beverages, we can make coffee liqueur or orangecello.
Another intriguing idea was to infuse honey using lemon verbena leaves to impart the lemon flavor (pouring the honey over the leaves in a small canning jar).
Steep it good!
March 18 is National Sloppy Joe Day. I didn’t initially realize there is quite the variety in the etymology for the names of the sandwich! It’s very regional.
I was trying to locate a map that combines region with the associated name, but no luck for now. I guess we’ll just have to make some instead!
We might have lost some Saturday morning cartoons, but one show not to miss on Saturday mornings is Recipe Rehab on CBS. Above is the promotional clip from today’s Chicken Pot Pie episode. The basic synopsis revolves around transforming an enjoyed but unhealthy family recipe (high amounts of fat, salt, using prepackaged goods, preservatives, and/or lack of fresh vegetables, etc.) The half hour show pits two chefs against each other in a friendly, yet competitive game to create an improved version of the dish utilizing the essence of the original. The new meals are prepared by the family, and rated in several categories like ease of preparation and taste. A nutritionist also provides one of the scores. Often, the chefs will re-imagine the presentation of the dish along with finding ways to impart flavor through additional ingredients, spices, and fresh vegetables. If the show is not on your station, or you can’t otherwise watch, episodes and recipes are available online. It’s difficult to not get hungry much too early in the morning, even after breakfast! I’d highly recommend checking it out as a way to think about eating healthy. Whether you are cooking for yourself or for your family, it exhibits some excellent ideas about swapping ingredients for the better and encouraging all members of the family to participate in meal making and cooking.
Here is a Homemade Laundry Soap recipe, courtesy of Ace Hardware:
1 box of super washing soda 3lb 7oz
1 box of Borax 4 lb 12oz
1 box of pure baking soda 4lb
3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap 5.5oz
(optional) 1 container of Oxy-Clean 1.3lb
Grate the Fels-Naptha bars using a cheese grater or food processor into a fine consistency. Pour each of the ingredients into a large container and mix well. (Use 1-2 tablespoons per load. It can be used in high-efficiency washing machines.)
These 5 positives really struck me; I had to share them:
5 Positive Things
1) Don’t let someone else’s opinion of you become your reality.
2) Never let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life.
3) It’s never too late to be what you might have been.
4) If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.
5) Begin each day with a grateful heart.
We saw these at Doc B’s Fresh Kitchen from a trip to Chicago a while ago. (As a side note, the food we had was excellent and recommended. I had one of the bowls- spicy Thai brown rice with tiger shimp, along with the butternut squash soup.)
Valentine’s Day Meal (from Food and Wine)
No matter your Valentine’s Day plans– with family, friends, a significant other, or yourself, there is plenty of love for delicious food to go around. There are plenty of rich main courses (duck!) or decadent (self-made!) desserts. Chocolate. Is. Essential. (Calorie-counting is not allowed.) Enjoy a February 14th full of flavor!!
Buffalo Wings (from Tasting Table)
The Super Bowl is one of the biggest venues for the home preparation (or takeout, I suppose) of chicken wings. Learn the tips to make the best wings (and you can even make them healthier, if that’s your inclination). There’s no limit to what you can do with recipes and sauces. While there is conjecture about the best approach, sometimes nothing beats a classic. Enjoy!!!