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Posts Tagged: recipes

This is my latest video from Farmhaus Prod.  It’s how to make batter bread, a simple, everyday loaf that requires no kneading.  That’s right, none.  Because kneading is pure tedium.

-rs

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!

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

Purple Sweet Potato Soup
It’s been cold recently, and I wanted something warm and stewlike, but available within the next 30 minutes.  I still have a whole lot of potatos.  Enter this soup.
2 cups stock
1 pound (purple) sweet potato
3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
1 pepper (I used a cubanelle)
bay leaf
salt/pepper to taste
1-2 cups milk
1 Tbsp vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Chinese Cancer Oil (That pepper oil that comes in a jar with the lady’s face on it)
Grated swiss cheese
Chopped green onion
Put chopped potato, onion, pepper, and bay leaf in the stock.  Heat to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes, or until potatos are soft.  Remove bay leaf (optional, but recommended depending on how good your blender is).  Hand blend it (or normal blend it) until smooth.  Add some milk and reblend until you reach a desired consistency (about 1 1/2 cups for me).  Add the vinegar and cancer oil.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Reheat as necessary.  
Spoon into a bowl, then top with onions and cheese.  
It’s great to eat as a soup, but I’ve enjoyed using it as a sauce on leftovers as well.  Granted, I love any and all condiments, and saucing leftovers with other more liquid leftovers is practically condimenting.
I should also note that I don’t think “Chinese Cancer Oil” gives you cancer anymore.  There was a brief period when they pulled it all from the shelves of many Chinese grocery stores (although not the one at which I shop).  And then, a few months later, it was back.  I assume it gave you cancer before and doesn’t now.
Another fine way to eat a potato.

Purple Sweet Potato Soup

It’s been cold recently, and I wanted something warm and stewlike, but available within the next 30 minutes.  I still have a whole lot of potatos.  Enter this soup.

  • 2 cups stock
  • 1 pound (purple) sweet potato
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 pepper (I used a cubanelle)
  • bay leaf
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1-2 cups milk
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese Cancer Oil (That pepper oil that comes in a jar with the lady’s face on it)
  • Grated swiss cheese
  • Chopped green onion

Put chopped potato, onion, pepper, and bay leaf in the stock.  Heat to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes, or until potatos are soft.  Remove bay leaf (optional, but recommended depending on how good your blender is).  Hand blend it (or normal blend it) until smooth.  Add some milk and reblend until you reach a desired consistency (about 1 1/2 cups for me).  Add the vinegar and cancer oil.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Reheat as necessary.  

Spoon into a bowl, then top with onions and cheese.  

It’s great to eat as a soup, but I’ve enjoyed using it as a sauce on leftovers as well.  Granted, I love any and all condiments, and saucing leftovers with other more liquid leftovers is practically condimenting.

I should also note that I don’t think “Chinese Cancer Oil” gives you cancer anymore.  There was a brief period when they pulled it all from the shelves of many Chinese grocery stores (although not the one at which I shop).  And then, a few months later, it was back.  I assume it gave you cancer before and doesn’t now.

Another fine way to eat a potato.

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December 2011 Project #5: Mayonnaise (in five minutes)

making mayonnaise

A little over a year ago, some company dropped by.  They were expected, but the sandwiches they brought were not.  Much to everyone’s chagrin, the sandwiches had not been condimented.  Even more to everyone’s chagrin, I had no mayo.

Luckily, however, I had an egg, a lemon, oil, salt, and five minutes.  That’s all it takes to make mayonnaise.

And that’s all it should take.  

Before we begin, I’d like to call attention to the abomination that is Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil.  It has nineteen ingredients.  If that wasn’t ridiculous enough, four of them are starred with an asterisk: The footnote reads, “Ingredient not normally found in mayonnaise.”  Seriously, people, some food feels like poison to me.

I digress.  Here’s a simpler, better mayo:

  • 1 cup oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (or vinegar)
  • 1 egg yolk

lemon and egg yolk

Beat the living daylights out of the yolk, lemon juice, and salt.  A hand blender is great if you have one, but a whisk will do the trick as well.

A few drops at a time - and I’m completely serious about that - add oil and beat thoroughly.  Once the mixture is completely homogeneous, add a few more drops and beat again.

Once you see the emulsion happening, you’re ready to speed things up. Emulsion is just a fancy word for the magic that allows oil and water to combine via lecithin in the egg yolk.  You want a completely homogeneous product.  If you can see oil, you need to mix more.  Between these two photos, you can get some idea of what the emulsion looks like.

emulsion1

emulsion2

Start adding oil in a light, steady stream while you continue to beat vigorously.

streaming oil

Your mayo will start to take shape, slowly but surely.  

mayo

If your mayonnaise looks like curd, you added the oil too fast and you need to start over.  Use another egg yolk with a little vinegar and add the curd in lieu of oil.  Maybe try to be a little more careful this time.

Once all the oil is added, you’re home free.  For a little extra flavor, you can add a dollop of mustard or some garlic/onion powder.  Experiment and enjoy!

mayonnaise

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December 2011 Project #4: Kimchi

Now that we’ve made some very generic lacto-fermented pickles, it’s probably time to break out the big guns.  Big Korean guns, that is.  It’s time for kimchi.

This is especially fitting, since kimchi was one of the recently departed Kim's favorite foods - unicorn kimchi that he personally harvested in the deepest part of the ocean 10000 years in the future.  True story.

I am not a magical demigod, however, so I will simply be preparing basic cabbage  kimchi.

To begin, acquire a giant head of cabbage.

cabbage

Remove the outer leaves, cover them with salt (non-iodized!), and place them in a large bowl.  A few people I’ve talked to don’t like to use plastic for whatever reason.  I’ve had no problems with this large, plastic bowl, but I can at least agree that it would be a lot cooler to use a huge ceramic crock or something equally austere.

Outer leaves

Once you’ve removed a good amount of the outer leaves, quarter the cabbage from the bottom core to about a third of the way up into the leaves.  Rip the cabbage apart the rest of the way with your hands.  Ripping, rather than cutting, helps to keep the upper leaves in tact which faciliatates salting and allows you to make giant chunks of kimchi if you so desire.  More on that later.

splitting cabbage

As you can see, I decided to make my life slightly more bizarre and cut my cabbage into thirds rather than quarters.  I just felt like it, ok?

Pull each layer back gently and throw/rub some salt into each leaf.  Make sure you get some down into the stem region, as those can take a little extra to soften.

Put all your salted cabbage in a vessel of some kind of let it sit for about 5 hours.  Flip it once at the halfway point.

salted cabbage

After five hours, the cabbage should look wet and wilted.  There will be a bunch of liquid at the bottom of the bowl.  

Salt pulls water out of the cabbage, weakens cell walls in the process, and also helps to free up nutrients.  This is a vital step in the pickling process, but the amount of salt it takes to do this is overkill for fermentation.  According to Harold McGee, we should be shooting for about 1-3% salt content.

As such, rinse your cabbage very thoroughly.  Set it aside to drain.

Now we will make kimchi paste.  

First, we make rice paste. mix 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of sweet rice flour into 1 1/2 cups of water.  Heat it until it just starts to boil, then turn it off and let it cool.  It should be quite sweet and gelatinous.

rice porridge

While the rice paste cools, food process 1/2 cup fish sauce, 2 Tbs kimchi base (optional), 1/2 cup garlic (1 full head), Tbs ginger, and half a medium onion.

kimchi paste

Julianne an ounce of carrot, 2 oz of daikon, and 4 green onions.

carrot daikon negi

Once the rice paste is cool, add 2-3 cups of chili flakes and mix thouroughly.  Add eveything else.

kimchi paste

Now you must make a decision.  Will you cut your cabbage or ferment it whole?  Whole quarters of kimchi are very cool looking, but are a nightmare to work with.  Especially if it’s your first time, I suggest roughly chopping the cabbage.

2 types of cabbage

You can see the chopped cabbage on the left, and the full quarter on the right.  No matter what you decide, put on some gloves.

To apply kimchi paste to a cabbage quarter, gently peel back a layer…

…smear kimchi paste all over…

…pull the next layer down…

…and repeat until all layers have been spread with paste.

Alternatively, if you chop the cabbage, simply toss it together with the kimchi paste in the bowl.  Easy.

Pack the pasted cabbage into airtight jars.  Try to pack it tightly and leave about 1 inch of headspace in the top.  If you use mason jars, I highly recommend wide-mouth.  Screw lids on tightly and set in a warmish (60-70 degrees) place for a day or two.  You can check for pressure by pushing on the lids or looking for bubbles upon opening a jar.  Once the jars are pressurized, it’s time to move them into the fridge.  They should last indefinitely.

Alternatively, you can use saran wrap and a rubber band to close the jars.  When the saran wrap starts to bubble up on top, you know that fermentation has begun, and it’s time to move into the fridge.

kimchi fermented

While I ferment for a short period of time at a warm temperature and then move to the fridge, traditional kimchi fermentation is done for several weeks in a cool environment.  By burying a large crock of kimchi most of the way underground in the fall/winter, you can keep the temperature around 41-55 degrees fairly consistantly.  With an unditurbed, large vessel, you won’t need to worry about an airtight seal, as carbon dioxide, a byproduct of fermentation, is heavier than air, and will create a protective layer on top of the kimchi.  If you have the time and materials to do this, it would be worth a try.

Another fine project is in the books, and several more are still to come.  Mayonnaise, ricotta cheese, tempeh, and so much more.  See below for a few kimchi resources and a list of ingredients.

kimchi on rice

Kimchi -

  • 1 head cabbage
  • non-iodized salt

Paste -

  • 1/4 cup flour (sweet rice flour is best)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 oz carrot
  • 2 oz daikon
  • 4 green onions
  • 2-3 cups hot pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup garlic
  • Tbs ginger
  • 1/2 onion

Gear - 

  • Mason jars (wide mouth is better)
  • rubber gloves
  • giant bowl

Resources -

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December 2011 Project #3: Lacto-Fermented Pickles (cucumber)

lacto-fermenting...

The other day we drained some yogurt.  I alluded the adventure was far from over.

Using your leftover whey (or not), you can easily ferment various vegetables into pickle format.  This is also rumored to be very good for you.  Personally, I just really like pickles.

Lacto-fermentation is great.  If we were canning pickles (with the boiling water and the tongs and the vacuum sealing), we would really need to follow a recipe.  If your acid/heat isn’t right, you could die.  

In lacto-fermentation, however, we are encouraging microbial growth.  We create conditions in which only the desirable micro-beasts will grow, which, once established, do a pretty good job of keeping everything else out.

I should also mention that it’s really easy.  No boiling or processing - we put it in a jar and shake it.  Wait a bit.  Done.

This recipe (it makes 1 pint) is adapted from the Earth Mother herself, Sally Fallon:

  • A few cucumbers
  • 2 tsp salt (non-iodized)
  • dill
  • 1 garlic clove (peeled and crushed)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp whey (with live cultures)
  • water
  • 1 pint jar with serviceable lid and ring

Chop the cucumbers as you like them.  I made discs.

sliced them cukes

Pack the cukes in a jar with the garlic.  Leave about an inch of empty space at the top.  Add everything and top off with water to cover cukes, but leave about 1 inch of head space.

Put the lid on tightly and shake the hell out of it.

Set it in a warm place (70-80 degrees) for about 3 days.  Eventually you should see some bubbling in your jar due to the fermentation.  Perhaps some air will hiss out when you open your jar.  That’s all good.  Fermentation complete.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not an expert at lacto-fermentation.  It’s just too easy not to do every time I have leftover whey.  No boiling, cooking, or recipes.  You don’t actually even need to use whey!  Adding some helps kick start the fermentation, but it isn’t necessary.

No mess, no fuss - just a quick, easy way to make delicious pickles.

Credit to the Simple Bites Blog for knowing a lot more than I do about this topic.