January 2923 cooking recap
I thought I’d do a roundup of the food I made in January! Please enjoy this exploration of one of my passions! I tried some new recipes, and enjoyed some favorites too!
For our new years feast, we usually do black eyed peas for health humility and luck, collards for wealth, cornbread for joy. This year we added some roast veggies for wisdom!
I have done kombucha and sourdough in the past, and im really enchanted by fermentation. However, im still a beginner at making it work, and it always seems to mold on me. However, I have it a go again, rescuing an old mini mother from my fridge. Kombucha, a living, fermented, probiotic tea, has what’s called a “mother”, a probiotic “pancake” that starts the fermentation, much like a sourdough starter. You need one to start off the kombucha (or some strong starter liquid.) so I had one, which had formed in an old bottle of kombucha, and it looked beautiful and promising, and I chose to use that.
I also started a sourdough with some dehydrated starter flakes from my friend Lizzie Gorbandt, at Pickle Creek Farm.
Unfortunately, something happened and they all molded, all three ferments (two kombuchas and the sourdough) so now I’ll have to regroup and try again this month. Oh well! (I’m going to make a separate post on each ferment in detail later!)
I love making stir fry’s, and do them usually with just whatever I have on hand. This time I sautéed some onions and mushrooms in sesame oil, salt and pepper, and as they get going, add a little rice wine vinegar and soy sauce. After they’re looking browned I throw in the other veggies. For this meal I did snap peas, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, and spinach. I threw in some chicken I had pan seared, served it all over a bed of Somen noodles, and drizzled some hoisin sauce on top. I think next time, for an extra special finish, I’d sprinkle some sesame seeds and chives, and maybe start with some garlic in the onions and mushrooms. Very hearty, very fresh!
I tried another Asian-inspired dish, shrimp wraps, inspired by summer rolls, which I tried a few versions of. They are made by wetting a rice paper and rolling it burrito style around a mixture of fillings. For the first ones, I used somen noodles, shrimp, lettuce, cucumber, avocado, and the star of the show, fresh basil. The next ones, I added mango, and in others I also added blood orange. Note, even if you only add a little of each ingredient, it makes a fat wrap, and on mine, several were so big they tore open and went everywhere. They were messy. Messy but delicious. I ended up using lots of hoisin for dipping, ha ha, but they were so good, and relatively healthy. The noodles were relatively a lot of points on WW if you count those, but come on, it’s a little big of rice. The hoisin is probably most of the other calories.
We tried another WW recipe, and with the way I do that, I often use WW for inspiration, and go find recipes elsewhere. Anyhow, this recipe, Jerk Chicken with star fruit, called for jerk seasoning, and I made my own rather than buying it. I had all the ingredients in my spice cabinet and counter stash, so it was convenient for me (granted, I have an extensive spice collection). I used this recipe:
Homemade Jamaican Jerk Seasoning Blend | The Modern Proper
It made a really good marinade for my chicken, and was definitely a repeat. My WW recipe only called for a little of what all I made from the seasoning in the marinade, so I saved it in a little jar for future uses. I didn’t like the starfruit, and am hoping I just cooked it wrong. How do you like starfruit?
(Making jerk marinade with jerk seasoning)
I made a “healthy” chex mix with a bunch of last year’s roasted squash seeds and things I had in the pantry.
Corn Chex, wheat Chex, pretzels, cashews, sunflower seeds, hulled pumpkin seeds, hulled butternut squash seeds, and pecan bits. Just done with butter and Chex mix powder. Last time, I didn’t dry it, and we ate wet Chex mix (which, it’s frickin Chex mix, it was good anyway) but yeah, it’s better dried and that only took like an hour so, remember to dry your Chex mix…
I finally got my courage pulled together and said, Aug, you can handle handling a raw whole chicken on your own. I had done a turkey two christmases ago—wait, three??? Oh my… but that wasn’t terrible, so a whole young chicken couldn’t be too bad? Yep! It went well! Just making sure the sink was empty of dirty dishes, and rinsed clean; sacrifice the scissors to the dirty dish pile for opening; and have everything ready and waiting and in place, with the roasting pan of dish ready by the sink to minimize raw meat drippage. I also have all my roasting veggies cut and in the bed of my Dutch oven, and their ends in the stock pot. That way I can go ahead and throw the giblets right in the stock pot when I open the bird. I have my twine on hand for tying the drumsticks together, pre cut! It’s all in the prep. I’ll also slice up a stick of butter put pats under the skin, under the drumsticks and wings, and in the cavity. Maybe in the roasting pan too. Put a little white wine in the pan, and season the bird with salt, pepper, rosemary, sage, and thyme, and my favorite, cumin! If I had lemons, I’d slice those up and throw them in too, oh dang! I should’ve just used lemon juice! I’ll remember next time ha ha ha. Bake for around an hour at 420 F to reach 165 F internal temperature. I hadn’t used a thermometer like that but once for the turkey, but it was easy, just make sure yours works! The first one I pulled out, maybe a 30 year old one, said it was 150 F in the house. Uh huh… broken! Second said it was 60F, which is still not right, but okay fine.
The chicken came out amazing and it wasn’t too hard to carve, granted, I didn’t look it up and just kind of did what I thought might be right, and after last night doing it for the third time, I feel like I’ve made significant progress, so I think I started out pretty bad. But I got most of the meat off, and with all the rest, I made stock!
For the stock, I added everything I didn’t save from carving. The whole carcass, the giblets, the juices, and the veggies. Throw it in the pot! Bad ends of veggies? Throw em in! Peels? Throw em in! Tho I keep my onion peels for dyeing! Fill up to the brim with water and set to boil for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, and simmer for up to 4 more. When it gets the flavor you like (have a bit every now and again, dip some bread, try it out!) strain it, let it cool, and pack it away! Or can it, you know, what ya feel! The fats rise to the top and solidify with chilling. Easy to scoop off and dispose of if you don’t want them. Bone broth!
I used it almost immediately in this great northern bean, collards, and pancetta soup I love. I start with pancetta, sizzling in its own fat in a pan, seasoned. I adapted this recipe for a white chili from a wonderful magazine I got—it called for white beans, kale, and bacon. I think a goal for this year will be to grow some beans for this recipe myself. I’ll have to look at the varieties I have and see what sounds good, and really make that a focus. Maybe try a few??? That could be fun, see what I like best. Will it even be better than great northern beans? I don’t have any collards, but by fall when the beans are ready, we’ll have to see if I get some collards seeds. After the pancetta gets oily and darker pink, throw in onions and celery, and bunches of collards. Cook it down, and mix in flower to thicken, after, thin slowly with alternating soaked and rinsed beans and chicken stock. After that’s combined, swirl in the heavy cream and take pretty pictures as you do. Season, and taste often. Feast when it’s ready! Maybe I’ll add a recipe section to my site!
I made some cakes this month, a dessert cake and a breakfast cake. The first was a recipe for a walnut olive oil cinnamon cardamom cake. I sprinkled cocoa powder on the top and soaked it in a drunken cherry sorghum syrup of my own recipe.
But I didn’t get a picture!
I did get a picture of the green tea banana cake, with a toasted coconut and pecan base, and topped with coconut chips, pepitas, chia seeds, hemp hearts, and chocolate chips. The green tea I used in the batter was infused with turmeric, which added an interesting flavor, I just ripped open the tea bags and threw in the contents to my cake batter.
I also made a comfort recipe, just ground bison, mushrooms and onions with red wine and Worcestershire sauce. Yum! I had to use up this big value pack of mushrooms I had gotten earlier. I didn’t use too many and the pack was big, and they were starting to look slimy, so I chopped them up and dehydrated them to use later.
With my second roast chicken and the stock it made, I made a WW salsa verde chicken soup served with cotija cheese!
I also made a chocolate mousse pie for a cousin, and tried a new recipe. I have tried a ton of mousse recipes, and this one ended up lumpy. However, it was still very good, and everything is better with homemade whipped cream with homemade vanilla. Not a good picture, but still!
And finally, I tried my hand at two beer breads this month! I used two hearted ale, an IPA, in this recipe, which, if you get the 2 for $5 at Kroger, you can make 3 loaves ha ha ha. Or use one for each of two loaves and drink the rest! Anyhow, I loved this recipe, ending up using 6 tbsp of butter. The first loaf I sprinkled with chives. The second loaf I threw in a bag of shredded cheese and a cup of caramel used onions, topped with rosemary.
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A sustainability major at U of L, beginning farmer, crafter, and writer.