This one is easy. And surprising.
These pickle pastrami bites are made with just three ingredients: pickles, pastrami, and cream cheese. Umm, kind of the simplest thing ever. But you know me. Even if it’s simple, I have to complicate things.
This one is easy. And surprising.
When I was growing up, my mom would make a molasses rye bread that we called “Dorothy’s Bread.” As far back as I can remember, it was the only type of bread that we ever made in the house. If we made bread, it was Dorothy’s Bread. Round loaves, soft and brown with a coating of butter fresh out of the oven. And we would never wait. We’d dig in and eat half a loaf of bread in one sitting, covering it with butter and filling up on pillowy soft bread goodness.
I have been reading a book about the history of wine, which suggests that ancient wine-makers produced primarily soured wine. Without modern methods of sanitation or airlocks, our first vinters produced wine tinged with vinegar. (Not exactly the quality that our modern wine aficionados would appreciate. . .)
These days, it would seem like a defect to drink a wine that has soured. Yet today, that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m taking soured wine (also known as wine vinegar) and making it drinkable. Why? Well, because it’s surprisingly good.
Smoothies are important in our house: a regular lunch-time staple. To be honest, I don’t usually adhere to smoothie recipes. I throw in some fruit and some yogurt, and that’s about it. But every once in a while, it’s fun to come up with a real recipe and present something a little more put-together, like this winter smoothie.
Winter isn’t exactly the peak of smoothie season. There’s not a lot of fresh fruit options out there, and a lot of times we may feel like cuddling up with a mug of warm eggnog rather than a smoothie (And yeah, I know what you’re thinking, but eggnog isn’t just for Christmas, people. I refuse to be past eggnog season!) But even if we may feel like cuddling up with a warm drink, there are still some winter-worthy fruits and spices out there that I’m capitalizing on in this smoothie recipe.
James and I were waiting to pounce. Waiting, waiting all summer long for the weather in Arizona to get cooler. I know: it’s been winter for some time now. Even here in Arizona, we’ve gotten more chilliness and more snow than usual. But I can assure you that at the first hint of cooler weather, we pounced on making bacon.
Milk is just so boring.
Well, let me take that back. It’s not that it’s boring. It’s just that it has the possibility to become something so much better. Something like cheese. Or yogurt. Or kefir. (Or ice cream.) So when I read a recipe that calls for milk, I almost always think about what else I could use. Plus there’s the fact that I’m far more likely to have yogurt in my fridge than milk.
Okay, enough philosophizing on this blog! Let’s get down to the foods. Specifically, let’s talk about the cheese. Let’s talk about the cheese you could be making right now, shaped with love, and delivered off to your honey come Valentine ’s Day. Anyone can go out and buy flowers. But you? You could do so much more! You could make a cheese.
I kind of love Indian food. It doesn’t have good looks, but it has amazing taste. Every concoction of Indian food that I have made is gloppy-looking (including this recipe), but who cares when it’s so delicious. I love the use of sauces and creams and coconut milk and spices. I just love it.
Not too long ago, I shared how James and I dry cured two pork jowls to make guanciale (pronounced gwan-chee-ahhhhh-la). Dry curing whole cuts of meat is stupid easy. Besides time, it just requires a space with a specific temperature and humidity range. That space, of course, is what we’re working on designing for you all: The Cave, a place to ferment just about anything (from lagering beer to fermenting yogurt to dry curing guanciale). It’s not ready for production yet, but you can be sure that when it is, we’ll be enthusiastically promoting it from the digital rooftops. (By the way, you can sign up to our email list over on the right to be the first to be notified when it does become available for pre-orders.)
Well anyway, guanciale takes at least a month to make. And now we’re ready to tell you about how it tastes and what our favorite use for cooking up guanciale is.
I didn’t grow up drinking eggnog, but a few years back James and I made our own, and we’ve been hooked ever since. To be honest, we keep failing at making it. There was the one time that James added valerian root extract instead of vanilla (why yes, that’s something else we’ve made). It tasted a little “off.” And then there are plenty of times that we’ve curdled the eggs in our haste to bring it up to temperature. (I think we both like to multitask in the kitchen, which isn’t all that great when you’re supposed to be stirring constantly.) But you know what? Even our failures were pretty delicious. Homemade eggnog is the best, even with the occasional curdled bits of egg in it.
So of course, because we love our homemade eggnog so, I began to wonder if there was a way to ferment it. Because, as you should know by now, everything tastes better fermented. I wanted to know if I could make eggnog yogurt.
A couple months ago I made some gochujang, and I had just a small amount leftover that wouldn’t fit into my half gallon mason jar. I was concerned about this small amount, because I hate food waste, but yet I didn’t know what to do about it. Was it worth it to save it and put it in its own little smaller jar to ferment? So I asked James about it in all earnest. This is what he told me.
“How much did you make already?”
“A half gallon jar.”
“I think you know my answer. (another long pause) What are you going to do with all of it?”
Well, James, this. This is what I’m going to do with it. I’m going to make a MILLION potstickers and eat them all, using one tablespoon of gochujang at a time, because this is the most amazing food that ever was. (But seriously, if anyone local to us would like some, we have way more than we’re going to use up).
I don’t usually spend too much time or thought on snacks. But this is one that I’ve been thinking of making for a while, ever since I saw this post over at Nourishing Gourmet. These snacks are conveniently portable and easy to munch on, plus they have the added benefit of being full of healthy probiotics.
I love caramel apples. They’re sweet and seasonal and festive and the perfect dessert for Halloween. This year, we took our caramel apples up a notch with homemade caramel made with crème fraiche, and it made the process extra-special. This is our version of crème fraiche caramel apples.
I have been making yogurt for years, long before I started making cheese. It’s tangy and sour and makes the best breakfast food. And, like many cheeses, yogurt cheese can pair surprisingly well with both sweet and savory flavors.
Who doesn’t love soft, warm, pillowy, sweet bread? I don’t make it very often (I have this thing, where I find it almost impossible to make a bread product without adulterating it with whole wheat flour), but it is oh-so-very-good. These are sweet little sourdough surprise buns filled with gooey insides. And if you make them like me (haphazardly and without a map) they really will be a surprise, because you won’t know what’s inside each one.
Do you see all those exclamation points? This post isn’t just about ramen. It’s about Ramen!!! Real, nourishing, homemade ramen. A dish that is simple at heart, but utterly delicious.
This last Sunday was the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. I’m not Chinese, and I don’t have a history of celebrating this festival. I only even learned about it, because I brought home a children’s book from the library to read to my littles. That was a few months back, and I’ve since been unable to find the book, but I liked the idea of sharing this ethnic and cultural tradition with my girls.
I make a lot of things by scratch. You . . . may have noticed that, I guess. A lot of it is because I enjoy doing so, and because it tastes a million times better. But I think I also have a distrust of ready-made food products in the store. I think if it wasn’t for James, I would probably take things too far: he is a spontaneous thinker, and this soaking/fermenting grains thing doesn’t always jive with his spur-of-the-moment ideas. Me? I’m perfectly fine planning my menu a week out: feeding my sourdough for a few days before making bread, soaking grains the night before I make pancakes, or boiling corn in lime three days in advance of making tortillas. I’m a planner. That’s the type of person I am.
But even if you’re not a planner, I think you may very well enjoy this recipe. Because it is rather (I have to say) delicious. I have eaten the store-bought corn tortillas. And I have made some with store-bought masa flour (which, I think, was actually a little on the rancid side unfortunately—that may have tainted my opinion of the whole thing). But to do it all from scratch? Well, quite tasty. And rather fun, too.
I don’t make a lot of desserts, but this is one I’ve been meaning to make for over twelve years. It’s full of my favorite things: tart fruit, creamy custard sauce, and now, with a little recipe tweaking, gut-friendly probiotics.
My summer after high school, I visited Germany for a couple of weeks with a school group and stayed with a host family. Among other culinary adventures I had, I ate Rote Grütze with my host family for the first time. It’s a summery combination of berry sauce and a sweet vanilla custard.
This is a big favorite for me. I love just about any meal that involves spiced, flavorful broth. And the best part about this Moroccan chicken recipe (as even James would attest to) are the bits of preserved lemon floating around, giving it a citrus zing.
Summer is cheesemaking season. During the summer, the grass is green, and milk is plentiful. This makes for truly delicious cheese. If you’re using grocery store milk, there won’t be much seasonal difference in flavor, but nonetheless, I still prefer to think of summer as cheesemaking season.
Truth be told, I haven’t been doing as much cheesemaking as I would like this year, but it’s easy to fit in mozzarella.
Never made cheese before? Well, this is one that is approachable. I like to think of mozzarella as a gateway cheese to cheesemaking. It doesn’t take a ton of time (or equipment) to make, and it’s also a wonderful way to familiarize yourself with some cheesemaking techniques. Conveniently, it is also a fresh cheese, which means that it doesn’t need to be aged (no Cave required).
The first time I heard about the wonderful probiotic benefit of pickles, I ran out to the grocery store and bought a jar of vinegar-preserved pickles. I hadn’t gotten the full story, because grocery store pickles aren’t the fermentation or probiotic kind. They’re made in an entirely different process.
I once accidentally made butter. A friend and I were making a birthday cake, and the recipe for frosting called for whipped cream. Limited as we were at the time in a dorm kitchen, we decided to try to make the whipped cream in the blender. It wasn’t looking quite right, so we blended it some more, and then some more, and then we finally realized that the over-churned chunks we had been seeing were actually butter.
My 3-year-old always prefers to go grocery shopping with her dad. Granted, she prefers James over me for plenty of activities (I’m just not as exciting since she sees me all day). But I suspect the grocery shopping in particular has a lot to do with the fact that whenever they go shopping together, he buys her cereal. He likes to buy her treats that he remembers eating from his childhood: all sorts of things that curmudgeonly Mom won’t spend the money on.
I could never be a “real” food blogger. Sure, I like to try making lots of new things, but usually with an eye for what is already familiar. For example, homemade vinegar was a new project for me this year, but it’s always been a staple in my home. I already knew that I liked it and would have multiple uses for it and that it wouldn’t go to waste.
When I was curating a list of recipes to put on our website, I had to include pepperoni. It’s a quintessential American take on dry cured meats, and it had to be there. It’s the most favorite of pizza toppings. It’s spicy, yet has an overwhelmingly wide appeal. I know there are varying levels of qualities of pepperoni, but I love them all (well, maybe not the turkey pepperoni. . .). The very, very of bestest of pepperonis though? That’s the kind that is homemade.
Do you know how on special holidays, specific foods are a necessity? Take, for example, the fact that I recently celebrated my birthday. I had to have a rhubarb custard pie for dessert (it was required). Or think about the foods you “have” to include for Thanksgiving. For most people, that list would probably include turkey and stuffing and gravy and mashed potatoes. And for me, if it didn’t include that congealed mass of cranberry sauce you can ooze out of a can, I would feel like something was missing.
Well, I have another “have to include” food that I’ve always eaten on Thanksgiving, for as long as I can remember. And maybe it’s not “traditional” for anyone besides my family. But my Aunt always brought a cabbage salad to our family Thanksgiving, and I have faithfully kept the tradition even after moving away from home.
The other day, I noticed that my bath towels were starting to smell like vinegar. You see, three months ago, I began a few batches of vinegar, and with so many different ferments going on in our house, I finally decided on storing them in the bathroom cupboard. It was helpful, in a way, because when I smelled my vinegary towels, I knew it was probably time to check on the vinegar.
The word “parfait” in French means perfect. And this recipe for cultured parfait is pretty darn close. Now when I say “parfait” you’re probably thinking layers of yogurt and fruit and maybe some granola. Nope. This recipe is more like a creamy, fluffy version of ice cream. And because it’s made with crème fraiche instead of regular whipping cream, it’s got a touch of tart to it. And the best part? You don’t even need an ice cream maker to make this.
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