Monthly Archives: February 2016

Daisy-chain recipes: Ketchup, Barbecue Sauce and Baked Beans, oh my!

bakedbeansThis is when/how making your own from scratch can be made quicker, when you use the same ingredients/pans/measuring equipment to make multiple recipes! Tonight we are smoking some ribs, pork roast and a venison roast.

For the roast, I used some leftover garlic seasoning rub. For the ribs, I used this recipe for Blackened Seasoning: 4 t salt, 3 t paprika, 1 1/2 t cayenne pepper, 1/2 t white pepper, 1/2 t chili powder, 1/2 t onion powder, 1/2 t garlic powder.

Then, I revamped my Homemade Ketchup recipe a bit. I originally posted this at my cooks4myfamily.blog.com site, but things have changed since that post. Everyone’s journey into cooking, eating better, and/or sustainability is a little different. I’m “here”, now, with the ketchup:

2 (15 ounce) cans plain tomato sauce

1 small (6 ounce) can tomato paste

1/4 cup liquid sweetener of your choice (honey, maple syrup, molasses….or a combination!)*

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 t salt

1/2 t onion powder

1/2 t garlic powder

I mixed all of this together, carefully, and heated it in a saucepan to let the flavors meld a bit. I did not make a real attempt at cooking it down. I cool this before storing it.

So, I have this yummy ketchup, but that just isn’t barbecue sauce. I poured about three cups of it off, leaving about one cup left in my pan. On to the barbecue sauce! I added:

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup molasses (again, other sweetener could be used)*

2 T butter

2 T prepared mustard

1 T + 1 t Italian seasoning

1 T Worcestershire sauce

1 T Paprika

1 T Chili powder

2 t onion powder

1 t garlic powder

1 t black pepper

1/2 t cayenne

I mixed this all together very well, cooked over low heat and DID cook this one down. I don’t like to let it go to far, but I don’t like it to be too runny. (Note: if you want to keep someone from using too much, keep it a little runny verses thick.) Again, cool this thoroughly before storing in a glass jar in the fridge (if it lasts that long!)

I have not had any problems storing the ketchup or barbecue sauce in the fridge for a fair amount of time, maybe even a month or two…but if it smells off or looks like a science experiment, please do not eat it. My mother always used to say, “When in doubt, throw it out!”

So, since I was on such a good roll, I had some leftover “beans of the week” (soaked/cooked Anasazi beans) to which I added some ketchup, barbecue sauce to taste, and about half of a chopped up onion. I might have added different spices, a hot pepper, garlic, etc. But, for today, just the sauces and onion. I put that in a greased cast iron skillet…and it will go on the smoker with the meat!

Happy Creating!

Soup of the Day: Cream of Chicken and Veggies, Cinda-Style

CreamofSoup

Soup. I just love soup. We often have it at least once a day. Even keeping in mind how much I hate “wordy” blogs that involve recipes, wherein the recipe sounds great but I have to scroll through screen after screen of ramblings and 542 photographs before I can get to want I really wanted in the first place – the ingredients list…..I have to take a few detours. Please forgive me.

For the love of soup, save yourself money and make your own broth! Meat-eaters, your chicken carcasses after serving a whole bird OR a package of pork neck bones, some chicken quarters, or any other meat still on the bones….throw it in a big old stock pot with some water, let it simmer on low for all day, overnight, then cool, debone, leave the meat in or separate it as a “meal starter”, but for goodness’ sake, keep the gelatinous fat on top! Many times you can return the bones to the pan after the first batch and make a second for “light broth”. Well, that’s great for us carniverous folk, but what about our vegan friends? Do you steam vegetables in a pan? Great! Save that water and freeze it. Instant vegetable broth! Viola! It’s free, no wasting money or good vitamins. Save it for making soup…like this one! (You can also use it to boil pasta or cook rice, make gravies or bread, etc.)

So….onto Soup of the Day!

Here’s what you’ll need:
3-4 T butter (don’t be afraid of butter, it’s better for you than margarine)
1-2 onions, chopped however your heart desires
2 cloves of garlic, chopped, or to taste
4 cups of broth of your choice
2-3 chicken breast strips
2-4 potatoes, diced
1 package frozen green peas (early peas are the best)
1-2 cups heavy sweet cream
2 T Dried or fresh mint, chopped
1 t ginger
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
pepper to taste

Add salt at the table instead of during cooking

Melt your butter in the bottom of your soup pan. I prefer my cast iron dutch oven. While that’s getting started, chop your onion(s) and garlic. Brown your onions and garlic in the butter, over low-medium heat. This may take awhile, your patience will reward you. While browning the onions and garlic, chop your potatoes.
When those onions are brown and smell wonderful, add your broth (cook frozen broth until it is liquid, if frozen broth is used) and then add your chicken breast, potatoes, and spices. Cook until the chicken is done thoroughly, and pull the chicken out to cut into small pieces before returning to the pan. While you are cutting up the chicken, add the peas to the soup. After you return the chicken to the pan, add your cream.

That’s all there is to it, you should have a very wonderful, tasty soup of the day.

Enjoy!

How’s it Hanging?

HangingCheese

So how IS it hanging? In this case, by a piece of artificial sinew and underneath my kitchen counter. Ha! Why does my kitchen look like a scientists lab? Because, cheese. That is probably the worst semblance of a sentence I have ever put on the web. The grammar nazi in me is very angry.

Cheese that is happening right now: Russian Tvorog Farmer’s Cheese, Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese, and Cottage Cheese. Also dreaming of what I could do with the whey from that farmer’s cheese. Whey, it’s a wonderful thing.

I used to think that all whey was wonderful. I’m now learning that I only really prefer the whey from soft cheeses. The whey produced from my Monterrey Jack and Cheddar cheese making does not smell the same. I don’t think that it is bad or unsafe, I just don’t like the smell of it. I do, however, have dogs and pigs and poultry (oh my) who would enjoy that whey. The no-waste factor has been happily satisfied. Soft cheese whey is for us, hard cheese way is for the birds. Ha! There I go again…

New and exciting in my cheese making adventures is using my Excalibur dehydrator. I love my dehydrator. I have had several brands/models….this is THE BEST, well worth the investment. I had come to a road block in making cheese: when heating the curd, it would burn and stick to the bottom of the pan. I lost one pan to this, as it was not worth trying to scrub it. I actually did work on it for several weeks before deciding to throw in the towel. My first brainstorm was to heat the milk/curd in a double-boiler. It worked, but not for high-temperature cheeses. Yeah, you *could* do that. It’s a HUGE hassle. The good thing that it did for me was strengthen my faith in my ability to make cheese without all the scrubbing and fuss, and wasted yucky burnt stuff.

I hope to put together some basic cheese recipes specifically for use with the Excalibur dehydrator, as well as yogurt and sour cream. For now, I’m working on different recipes and methods to make the process as simple as possible. My theory is simply this: people have been making cheese for thousands of years. Cheese and bread have been the first “processed foods” and many people in a lot of less-than-ideal situations with equipment, temperature and sanitation have successfully made cheese. I’m sure that not every batch worked out, just as my every batch does not work quite as well as I may have hoped or planned. Usually, it is edible or at least good for the animals. Although I appreciate some of the fancy, exotic cheeses (and even some basic ones that are more difficult to make), I really enjoy simplifying things to the KISS factor. That is, Keep It Sweet and Simple. I also like it make cheese with sustainability in mind. “What on earth does she mean by that?” Well, again, picture our ancestors a while back, making cheese. Did they go to Amazon to buy cheese cultures? No. They either got lucky and cultured it with a slower method, or learned to add some of a successful culture to a new batch of cheese. This is what I do! When I make cottage cheese (which happens about once or twice a week), I save out about two 1/3 cup starter cultures so that I can continue making cheese without buying more commercially prepared starter culture packets. There are other ways to make other cultures, and that is for another post….but when I can do this myself, I will. When I can do it quickly and easily and teach others to do the same, I will. As for rennet, I’d like to learn how to work on using both vegan-friendly and animal-based rennet.

My husband and I were just joking, and for anyone who’d like to start making their own cheese, think of this: Go out and buy about four extra stock pots, strainers, 5 yards of cheesecloth, two cases of quart jars and four cases of half gallon jars. Now do some spring cleaning. Take every washable dish, plate, bowl, utensil, pan, etc. from your kitchen cabinets and wash them. Now, wash every scrap of clothing, towels, curtains, bedspreads, etc. Make sure all of those items are dried, and put away appropriately. Next, go to the grocery store and buy a pound of cheese. Freeze it for six months. Wasn’t that fun?

I am being somewhat sarcastic and somewhat realistic – yes, cheesemaking is a pain in the backside. It dirties up the kitchen and clutters up your workspace. It involves extra loads of dishes and laundry. Your family will think you are nuts at times. Then, you wait to enjoy the hard work you’ve put in. But then…you go to your favorite festival with some of your favorite people and have a martini and pass around cheese, homemade bread and homemade butter…..and wow, it’s worth it.

Old Fashioned, Farm Fresh, Raw Cow’s Milk

Milk-FlyerHere is a *sample* of our milk/dairy prices. Again, prices are subject to change, and most likely those would go down. Being as we are a small farm and not a factory, and we do many things and not solely milk cows, make dairy products, and post blogs…all items are subject to availability.

This is a great place in which to ask questions, I have noticed that a lot of raw milk producers supply an overwhelming amount of information to their would-be customers, making things very confusing. So, if you want to know, ask. That can be privately or publicly, and we will always try to answer just as honestly as we can.

Wanted: Virtual Community Members

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Look for us on Facebook, our page is Cindasareyousustainable

Have you ever wished that the like-minded of the world could all go and build a treehouse community in the woods somewhere and hang out, build an old-fashioned community where everyone pitches in, takes care of each other, learns, teaches, and grows as a People? Yeah, me too.

So, let’s do that as a Virtual Community on Facebook! As I’m getting a little more settled into my blog, I can share more the life of a blogger: 90% gathering ideas, photos, recipes, etc. for future blogs, 1% checking online for comments/posts to accept and the slews of ones that are obvious spam and should be deleted, 1% actually working on posting new material, and 8% checking on the dog, who barks incessantly.

I am fairly computer literate. I have used a blog before (cooks4myfamily.blog.com), which was also WordPress based. I am a Mac user. I am an iPhone user. I am also happily accepting advice, technical support and ideas from those who are better versed at this end of technology. Although I have done all the work for two websites previously, blogging is completely new to me. I’m going to need some help there!

Aaah, asking for help. That is both the best and sometimes most frustrating part of any sustainability effort. Some of us are stubborn. It’s hard to admit that we don’t know it all. Sure, I can make corn meal from dried corn and make it into bread or other food. Yes, I can milk a cow and make yogurt, cheese and butter. I can grow a SCOBY on my kitchen counter along with the best….but technology sometimes kicks my butt.

Another important note: I love to share information. I love to share what I’m doing at the farm. My goal is to share what I am doing, when or just after we are working on a project or specific farm/sustainability concept. However….reality is this. I am a busy person. I’m NOT complaining about that! My priorities: Taking care of MYSELF so that I can continue my work, taking care of my SPOUSE, FAMILY and FARM so that we can propagate the blessings we have, improving time efficiency so that we can do more for ourselves, THEN sharing blogs. Sometimes, I may have different ideas of what to post, when and why. Maybe you aren’t seeing what you want or expect….please, let me know! Connect with the blog on Facebook! Again, you can find us at www.facebook.com/Cindasareyousustainable

If you don’t use Facebook, but use another social media, let me know where to branch out. You can also comment on my blog! I love it, nice to know that a real someone is reading this.