I will write and take pictures of things. Hopefully that is generic enough.

Posts Tagged: food

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I’ve been accepted into Round 2 of the Food Corps application process.  Ok, University of Maine Cooperative Extension - let’s dance.

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I saw mega-star farmer Joel Salatin the other day.  He gets an interesting treatment in the world of agriculture and is probably the most famous farmer in the country.   Granted, his name isn’t so well known, but if you say “that kooky farmer with glasses from Food, Inc.,” people usually know what you’re talking about.

As I watched Joel speak last weekend, I was immediately struck by the realization that he is just a farmer.  For all the hype and excitement and goodness know how much he gets paid for an engagement - he’s just a farmer.  He is innovative, hardworking, and intelligent.  He runs one hell of a farm.  But his methods and ideas are not really unique to him.  The University of Florida’s IFAS Extension (farm research and whatnot) advocates the same practices that he uses.

Joel does a real service to agriculture, however, because IFAS backs up their methods with research.  Joel backs up his methods by making a hell of a lot of money.  ”Practical Field Research,” if you will.

So on one hand we have meticulous research showing that these farming methods work.  On the other hand, we have Joel Salatin making a bunch of money.  The result, however, is only progress at a snail’s pace.  For the most part, farmers just don’t care.

Why?  Because what Joel and IFAS advocate is a massive increase in management. “Management” is a fancy word for “work.”  God forbid we have to work more.  You will have a better product, reduce your fixed costs (as these methods increase pasture and animal health thus decreasing reliance on monetary inputs), and increase your land’s carrying capacity.  But you have to do some work.  And nobody wants that.

We’d rather lazily dig our own graves than struggle mightily to survive.

How to Make a Giant Cake Ball!
At this point, everyone knows about cake balls - it’s old news.  But what do you do if you want to make a GIANT cake ball?  Perhaps you want to put it in a bundt cake?
Observe:
First, make your cake ball mixture.  It’s basically just a mashed up cake mixed with frosting.  A good ‘Sandra Lee’ can be had here.  Or do it from scratch.  My cake is a sweet potato ginger cake with a cream cheese frosting.  I like to leave slightly larger cake chunks in the mix for some texture/flavor variety.
Once you have your mash, line 2 semisphere bowls with plastic wrap.  IKEA’s Blanda Blank is ideal, and comes in various sizes for very cheap.  
Pack your cake mixture into each bowl until they are slightly more than completely full.  Smoosh them together with a little twisting to ensure a complete and perfect cohesion.  A little bit of cake should leak out the sides.  Wipe the excess cake from the seam where it might leak out.
Tape the bowls together to keep them closed.  Duct tape for the win!

Toss the mega ball in the freezer for 30-60 minutes.  Pull it out and carefully unwrap it.

Voila!  A massive cake ball!  

You can dip it, drizzle it, or frost it.  I’m not a chocolate person for the most part, so it was frosted with the remains of the cream cheese frosting.  I then stuck it in a bundt cake, as you can see:

This is a pretty bizarre-looking cake, I’ll admit, but it was a huge hit.  That’s a maple pumpkin bundt underneath.

How awesome would it be to frost this as the Death Star?!?!?!?!?
Enjoy!

How to Make a Giant Cake Ball!


At this point, everyone knows about cake balls - it’s old news.  But what do you do if you want to make a GIANT cake ball?  Perhaps you want to put it in a bundt cake?

Observe:

First, make your cake ball mixture.  It’s basically just a mashed up cake mixed with frosting.  A good ‘Sandra Lee’ can be had here.  Or do it from scratch.  My cake is a sweet potato ginger cake with a cream cheese frosting.  I like to leave slightly larger cake chunks in the mix for some texture/flavor variety.

Once you have your mash, line 2 semisphere bowls with plastic wrap.  IKEA’s Blanda Blank is ideal, and comes in various sizes for very cheap.  

Pack your cake mixture into each bowl until they are slightly more than completely full.  Smoosh them together with a little twisting to ensure a complete and perfect cohesion.  A little bit of cake should leak out the sides.  Wipe the excess cake from the seam where it might leak out.

Tape the bowls together to keep them closed.  Duct tape for the win!

wrapping up a cake ball for freezing

Toss the mega ball in the freezer for 30-60 minutes.  Pull it out and carefully unwrap it.

unwrapping the cake ball

Voila!  A massive cake ball!  

5 inch cake ball giant

You can dip it, drizzle it, or frost it.  I’m not a chocolate person for the most part, so it was frosted with the remains of the cream cheese frosting.  I then stuck it in a bundt cake, as you can see:

a giant cake ball living in a bundt

This is a pretty bizarre-looking cake, I’ll admit, but it was a huge hit.  That’s a maple pumpkin bundt underneath.

sweet potato cream cheese cake ball and maple pumpkin bundt

How awesome would it be to frost this as the Death Star?!?!?!?!?

Enjoy!

The turnip harvest is rolling in here in north central Florida.

The turnip harvest is rolling in here in north central Florida.

This might be the strangest way to eat potatos yet.  Green (purple) sweet potato pancakes.
I used a really basic pancake recipe for this:
1 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda (or 1 tsp baking powder)
Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 cup baked, mashed purple sweet potato
Sift and mix your dry ingredients.  Beat and mix your wets.  Combine.  Make as pancakes.  Add more flour or milk depending on how thick you like things.  I like my batter pretty thin.
This is when things got a little weird.  Naturally, my batter started out quite purple.  As the pancake cooked, it almost instantly turned green.  And not a dull green, but a serious, Leprechaun green.

Even with purple chunks of sweet potato present, any potato that was properly mixed into the batter turned bright green.  
This has not happened when baking sweet potato muffins, and the ingredients are more of less the same.  Perhaps a higher temperature on the skillet is what allows some chemical reaction to take place.  More research (read: eating pancakes) is clearly necessary.

This might be the strangest way to eat potatos yet.  Green (purple) sweet potato pancakes.

I used a really basic pancake recipe for this:

  • 1 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (or 1 tsp baking powder)
  • Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup baked, mashed purple sweet potato

Sift and mix your dry ingredients.  Beat and mix your wets.  Combine.  Make as pancakes.  Add more flour or milk depending on how thick you like things.  I like my batter pretty thin.

This is when things got a little weird.  Naturally, my batter started out quite purple.  As the pancake cooked, it almost instantly turned green.  And not a dull green, but a serious, Leprechaun green.

uncooked green sweet potato pancake

Even with purple chunks of sweet potato present, any potato that was properly mixed into the batter turned bright green.  

This has not happened when baking sweet potato muffins, and the ingredients are more of less the same.  Perhaps a higher temperature on the skillet is what allows some chemical reaction to take place.  More research (read: eating pancakes) is clearly necessary.

Green sweet potato pancakes

It’s been a while since my last post of substance.  I’ve been busy buying and returning new cameras.  In the end, I’m sticking with my a200, but moving to fixed lenses.
I digress.
More importantly, I bought a pasta maker on Ebay.  I love the fact that a vintage pasta maker, the Imperia, is still the gold standard for the home cook.  More on that later.
For now, please (visually) enjoy my first pasta - an oregano infused fettuccine.  Sauce is not necessary; salt and olive oil is all you need.

It’s been a while since my last post of substance.  I’ve been busy buying and returning new cameras.  In the end, I’m sticking with my a200, but moving to fixed lenses.

I digress.

More importantly, I bought a pasta maker on Ebay.  I love the fact that a vintage pasta maker, the Imperia, is still the gold standard for the home cook.  More on that later.

For now, please (visually) enjoy my first pasta - an oregano infused fettuccine.  Sauce is not necessary; salt and olive oil is all you need.

This is an interview I edited for Farmer Tyler.  Tyler talks to Dr. Bala Rathinasabapathi about the benefits and hazards of large scale GMO crop production.  It’s nice to hear an unbiased (besides the fact that he wants to keep researching them) overview of what genetically modified plants can do for/to society.