Friday, December 9, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011 part 1.

My roommates and I cooked a Thanksgiving meal together, a week late. Well, Shan and I actually did the cooking. B cleaned and decorated the house (since Shan's family joined us for dinner), and H dissapeared into his room all day. I was in charge of the turkey, gravy, rolls, desserts, and cranberry sauce. Shan did everything else.

The marathon cooking was actually kind of fun. Shan and B went to the store for supplies around 9:00 in the morning, and I started my stuff while they were out. First I did a couple of loads of dishes and cleaned the kitchen. It's so much easier to get things done when you have a clean kitchen!

Once the kitchen was clean, I made dough for the rolls (a riff on my standard bread recipe). While the dough was rising I threw together a couple of german apple cakes and stuck those in the oven. Then I made pumpkin pie filling and rolled out a pie crust that I had chilling in the fridge (I'd made it about a week prior, and kept it in the freezer until the night before it was needed). The pie went into the oven as soon as the cakes were out. Then it was time to shape the rolls. I just put balls of dough into greased muffin tins, to keep things fairly consistent in size and shape. Then I brushed on some extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled the rolls with a little kosher salt and let them have their second rise. The bread went into the oven as soon as the pie was out.

Shan and B arrived home right when the pie was going into the oven. Shan made us all drinks, and B started cleaning without being asked. I did give him decorating duties though. I had too much else going on to worry about that. H came down at some point and took out the trash, I was washing dishes at the time. That's one thing about Thanksgiving. One way or another, it involves dishes. My kitchen is a somewhat haphazardly thrown together space. There are a limited number of pots and pans, and a limited number of utensils. One cutting board, and two "good" knives.

I had a couple of free hours once the rolls were out of the oven. Dinner wasn't served until 6:30, so I had some time before the turkey needed to be in the oven. I spent the time reading up on cooking turkey, doing dishes, and attempting (mostly unsuccessfully) to be of some help to Shan. She was working on the side dishes (stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, 2 kinds of green beans). Then I prepped the turkey and got that into the oven.

Overall, the dinner was a success. The guests seemed to enjoy themselves, and we did too. Nothing was very stressful, and everything turned out well. No major catastrophes. Though the kitchen did fill up with blackish smoke, twice (I put too much filling in the pumpkin pie, and it dripped to the bottom of the oven and burned. And some squash fell onto one of the burners on the stove). And B had to go back to the store to get sage.

One way or another, I'm cooking for Thanksgiving from now on. How was your holiday?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Healthy, Inexpensive foods

Protein
  • Eggs
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Cheese
  • Milk
  • Plain Yogurt
  • Canned Fish (tuna, sardines, etc)
  • Frozen edamame
  • Whole roast chicken (use the leftovers wisely, boil the carcass into broth to use in soups)
  • Peanut butter (use sparingly)
Treat meat as a part of the meal, rather than the main attraction.
Grains
  • Rice
  • Pasta (I should buy the whole grain varieties, but am not so good about that)
  • Oatmeal
  • Popcorn kernels (I make my popcorn in a saucepan with a little olive oil, then just season it with salt)
  • wild rice
I don't eat bread very often anyway (generally too lazy to put together a sandwich, and I'm not hugely fond of toast), so I usually make my own. Occasionally I'll make soft pretzels too. That takes about an hour of time (and my full attention isn't even needed for all of that), and I end up with enough pretzels to last about a week (just store them in a giant ziplock bag in my cupboard)
Veg
  • Frozen veg (I like to snack on little bowlfuls of frozen peas, corn, and lima beans during the hot summer)
  • Potatoes
  • Dark Leafy Greens (good in herby stews, or just sauteed w/ garlic in a little olive oil and then seasoned w/ salt, pepper, and maybe turmeric. Add a can of black beans to that, and you have dinner)
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower (it's not boring if you season it well)
  • Garlic
  • Peppers
  • Onions
  • Broccoli (I need to find more things to do with this)
  • Radishes (good to snack on)
  • Carrots (not baby ones)
  • Turnips, Beets, etc. (I need to get better about eating these)
  • Canned tomatoes (make for a good base to soups and stews)
  • Celery
Other vegetables are inexpensive too, when bought in season.

Fruit
  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Bananas
Those are the ones that are inexpensive all year round. You can get a lot more variety by buying things in season, and paying attention to sales. I snack on fresh fruit, and occasionally bake it into desserts. Frozen berries are great snacks in the summer.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Morning Oatmeal

Boil a kettle of water. Meanwhile, pour oatmeal in a bowl. Add a little butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.
If there's time, start a pot of coffee, and maybe do some little cleaning projects around the kitchen (I always seem to have dishes).
When water boils, pour in just enough to cover oatmeal in bowl. Set a plate on top of the bowl to keep the steam from escaping. Wait about 2 minutes.
Maybe use that time to pour yourself a cup of coffee or slice up a piece of fruit to go with breakfast. Check on oatmeal. If water is absorbed, it's ready. Pour in a little milk if you're up for it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Week in Food

Pumpkin Pie
Pepernoten
Liver and Onions (with potatoes and mushrooms)



Pickled Radishes

Pear Pie

Missing: roast chicken, bread, chicken stock, and a giant pot of oatmeal.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pumpkin Pie



It's fall! Though it certainly doesn't feel like it. The last few days have had high temperatures in the 70's, and I've been walking around in skirts and tank tops. Still, it's October and the grocery stores are starting to fill up with squash, peaches, apples, and giant jugs of cider.

Right now it's early enough that all that food seems like a novelty. The deep reddish orange pie pumpkins look like rare jewels after months of summer produce. Don't get me wrong, I love summer (and summer food), but fall is my favorite season. So when I was at the grocery store and saw those gorgeous pumpkins, I had to get one and try my hand at making pumpkin pie.

When I was a kid, my mother generally only made pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. It was one of those holiday foods that we ate once a year (except one year, when my brother asked for it instead of birthday cake). She'd make the crust from scratch, rolling out dough between sheets of waxed paper, and make a filling from canned pumpkin puree.

My mother and I are very different in the kitchen. She loves to cook, but she loves to cook efficiently. At some point in the past, she devoted time to figuring out the best way to get food on the table quickly and with minimal cleanup time afterwards. For her, that's part of the fun of cooking. I understand that, because I find similar pleasure in grocery budgeting and planning my route through the store.* I cook efficiently when I have to, like on winter mornings when I put the kettle on while I get dressed and then use that hot water to make both coffee and oatmeal (pack my purse while the coffee drips and the oatmeal soaks), and I always clean my dishes while I cook. On my days off, though, I prefer to take it slow. Hence the whole pumpkin.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

New Cook Book: Betty Crocker


Look what I found for $2 at a garage sale down the street from my house. It's a first edition Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook, copyright 1950. I love the funny little illustrations, and the tips written in rhyme:

It's best to use ingredients
The recipe recommends;
But if you have to substitute,
This list solution lends.

And:

Do keep a ruler handy,
To measure pans it's dandy.
Place the rule across the top,
Right size pan prevents a flop!

It's also interesting to read the "food storage" advice, because a lot of it is so different from how things are done now. According to this book coffee and tea are supposed to be refrigerated immediately after opening, and you're only supposed to keep a week's supply on hand.

I'm also digging all of the pictures of "modern" kitchens, they're so cool! I'm finally starting to understand why my mother would watch the Dick Van Dyke show and go on and on about the furniture :)

Anyway, I love my new cook book and I've already used one of the recipes to make an awesome pumpkin pie filling. The only sad thing is that the book's really musty and starts bothering my allergies if I read it for very long.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Apple and Roasted Chile Pepper Cobbler

Once again I didn't think to take a picture until AFTER eating a slice.
I cook for two reasons: to feed myself, and to have fun.

I usually feed myself with thrown together pasta dishes, sauteed things (potatoes cooked with onion and sauerkraut, cottage fries, scrambled eggs, etc), hot cereals (oatmeal, cornmeal mush), and bread slathered with stuff (yogurt, cheese, peanut butter, jam). I also try to cook one or two "big meals" a week, and eat leftovers.

For fun I like to bake bread or make some sort of dessert. I love dessert (well, anything sweet really) much more than I ought to. I love it so much, I can eat half of a cake or pie all by myself... in a single day. I combat this love for sweets by maintaining a fairly healthy lifestyle in other areas (I walk a lot and rarely buy junk food), and generally only making desserts once every couple of weeks. Still, my roommates have seen me eat sugar right out of the bag more times than I'd care to mention.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cooking with kids: bread


I'm watching my four year-old niece today. Baking bread is a really good project to do with a little kid. I told her all about yeast, and showed her how it gets foamy when mixed with warm water. Then I had her scoop in flour while I mixed.

When it was time to knead the dough, I gave her a handful to play with. She kept saying it was gross and "made her hands look like a tree frog." But when I offered to knead her dough as well, she refused.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

More bread experiments

At this point my kitchen is still made up of somewhat random thrown together tools. I have a bread pan, but no cookie sheet. Two ladles and a plastic spatula, but no good mixing tools. You'd think that this would discourage anyone who wanted to do any real cooking, but the lack of equipment actually seems to breed innovation.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Frozen Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Cheesecake. My roommate and I were a little overzealous. A large portion was already missing by the next morning.
Last week I serendipitously encountered a recipe for peanut butter pie that just didn't sound very good. It involved chopped peanuts, cream cheese, lemon juice, a cup of sugar, vanilla, and a can of sweetened condensed milk. Too sweet for my taste.

I thought to myself, There has to be a way to make this better.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Odin, and Peanut Butter Cookies

Since it's summer and we don't have air conditioning, my roommates have been spending a lot of time sitting outside on our back porch. Almost every day, this cat comes to visit.

We're not sure if he's a stray or just someone's outdoor cat, but we call him Odin. He's really skinny, but his coat is fairly clean and shiny (for a cat who spends so much time outside). As soon as he sees us, Odin comes running. He rubs against my legs and purrs, sometimes even jumping into my lap.  If we're not careful about watching the door, he tries to run into the house (and sometimes succeeds).

He's not allowed in, of course. He doesn't seem to be neutered, and we really don't want him to mark his territory. Today he made a break for the house 3 times, and each time I caught him right before he got in. After the third attempt, he wandered away in a bit of a sulk. He'll be back.

And I'm spending so much time talking about the kitty, because the cookies I made this morning are pretty basic. So basic, in fact, that I'll be really surprised if anyone reading this hasn't tried it already. I'm talking about Three Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sauerkraut

Today I finally took my sauerkraut out of the fridge, to give it another taste. If you remember, I broke down and poured in some vinegar, to speed the flavor up a bit. That helped immensely. I used about a quarter cup of it for lunch today in a sort of saute (1/2 c sauerkraut, 1 onion cut in semicircle strips, 2 diced potatoes, and 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds cooked in olive oil until it was all soft and smelling lovely. I would have thrown in an apple too, if I had any). The sauerkraut was good, but the flavor is a bit lacking in complexity. So I decided to move it to a bigger jar (it was a little too tightly packed before), stir in a couple teaspoons of caraway seeds, and top it off with vinegar. We'll see what it does.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Brown Chicken Stock

Once or twice a month, I roast a chicken. It's a pretty economical meal, since I can eat the leftovers for 2 or 3 days without getting bored. Then I take the last of the meat off the  carcass and turn it into some other dish (enchiladas, soup, chicken pot pie, etc.) Then finally, I turn the bones into stock.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

buttermilk biscuits

Last night I realized that my leftover roast chicken and root vegetables (I'll share that recipe another day, it still needs some tweaking) would make an excellent chicken gravy over biscuits.

Then I realized that I didn't know how to make biscuits (and had no interest in making a trip to the store for the frozen pre-made variety). So I did a little research, figuring I probably had all of the necessary ingredients at home. First I looked in my Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book, but that recipe required cream of tartar and shortening... no.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Bread

Certainly not my prettiest loaf, but it's left the house smelling lovely.
I generally make a batch of bread dough (enough for about 2 loaves) every week, baking one loaf right away and keeping the extra dough in the fridge for a day or two. It's a job for a day off (you need to be around for a few hours), but homemade bread is absolutely delicious and not at all hard to make.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Spicy Cottage Fries

I shop pretty carefully, aside from a few pantry staples (flour, sugar, dried legumes, etc.) I generally only buy the amount of food I actually plan to eat during the following week. This is good because it means that food doesn't generally get wasted, but it also means that I'm almost entirely out of food on grocery/errand day.

Today was one of those days. I wanted something quick and filling for lunch before going out to run errands, and ended up throwing together these cottage fries out of leftover odds and ends. I'd hardly call it a proper recipe - it really was just thrown together- but thought I'd share it anyway.

Spicy Cottage Fries

Cooking oil of choice (I used some bacon grease that was in my large frying pan)
2 potatoes, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 jalapeƱo, chopped
1/4 t cumin
salt and pepper to taste

basically, throw everything in a pan and cook it over medium heat until the potatoes are done. You could also steam the potatoes a bit by turning the heat down low and covering it for a while.
I ate mine with ketchup. It was quite good. There would also be toast with jam, but my bread dough is still rising.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Linguine with Pea Pesto

A friend is visiting from out of town, so I've been fairly busy this week. A lot has been happening in the kitchen though. Though our approaches to cooking are different (she's precise where I'm slapdash), she's managed to show me how to go about making a cheesecake. Perhaps one will show up on this site sometime in the future :)
Anyway, I've been cooking for 2 lately (which has been something of a new experience) and last night I finally got around to making that pea pesto I've been wanting to try out. It's bright green and very cheerful-looking. Sorry, no pictures. A couple of other projects were going on at the same time and the kitchen was really busy. I had about a foot of counter space to work with, and was sharing the range with two other people.
If I made this again, I think I'd add more garlic. And slice up a tomato to go on the side. Otherwise, it's really good:

Linguine with Pea Pesto
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 pkg frozen peas
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T toasted sunflower seeds
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
1/4 t salt, plus more for pasta water
1/3 c olive oil
12 oz dried linguine

Defrost the peas and boil them for about 2 minutes. Drain and let cool to lukewarm. Reserve 1/2 cup of the peas, and put the rest in a food processor with the garlic, sunflower seeds, oil, salt, and 1/3 c of the cheese. Run the food processor until the ingredients form a smooth paste (if you don't have a food processor, you can put the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mash them with a potato masher. If you don't have a potato masher, the bottom of a glass bottle or jar works fairly well. Just be sure to wash it first).

Cook the linguine in heavily salted water until it's done ("al dente!" for some reason that phrase makes me laugh). Reserve 2 c of the pasta water, drain the pasta, and put it back in the pot over moderate heat. Toss the pasta with the pesto, adding in pasta water to smooth out the pesto and distribute it evenly over the pasta. Garnish with the rest of the cheese.


toasting nuts- you can do this in the oven, but that method's really only practical if you're needing to toast a LOT of nuts at once (or have another project going on that needs your full attention). Instead of using the oven, just put the nuts in a frying pan over medium-high heat and stir them until they're a nice golden-brown. It's so much easier and doesn't heat up the house as much.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Homemade Mac and Cheese with Caramelized Onions

I first made this dish a couple of years ago for a party at my brother's house. The theme was "comfort food" and I was still very new to cooking. I looked through my Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book for something that would taste good and be fairly easy to make.

That's when I stumbled across a recipe for macaroni and cheese with caramelized onions. It involves bacon. And onions fried in bacon grease. And cheese. Lots and lots of cheese. It sounded so good, I had to try it. It was a hit at the party, and with almost every other person I've made it for.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Chocolate Cake with cayenne and cinnamon

Today I found that the last of my milk had gone a bit off. Not enough to be worrying, still good for cooking or adding to my morning coffee, but not something you'd want to drink straight or put on your cereal. I decided to use it up by making a chocolate cake (my recipe calls for buttermilk anyway).  I also used some of the leftover coffee that was still in the pot from this morning.

Then I realized that I didn't have any brown sugar, so I poured in a tablespoon of molasses (so the flavor wouldn't use any depth). I also had some spelt flour left over from the rosemary olive oil cake last week, so I substituted some regular flour for that. I also added a bit of cayenne pepper and cinnamon, to give the cake a bit of kick.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Eggy bread?

Last night I decided what would happen if I put some bread dough in a pan, pour in a couple of beaten eggs, some vanilla, sugar, and a little cinnamon, and then bake it for a while. The result? A loaf of bread that tastes a bit like french toast. It tasted okay, but I'm not sure I'd make it again.

If I did make it again:
I'd have a higher egg to bread dough ratio
add more sugar
cook it longer at a lower temperature (so it'd be softer).
Maybe throw some butter in too.

It's a success because it sated my curiosity, and I learned something. It's also a failure, because I'm not particularly excited about having to eat this.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Vegetarian Split-Pea Soup

Split-pea soup is another one of those foods I was never very fond of. The delicate flavor of the peas was always overpowered by the seemingly-requisite ham bone (and occasionally, a few chunks of meat as well). Still, I somehow ended up with a jar of dried split peas in my cupboard. This is odd, because I have no recollection of buying the aforementioned peas (Other than a few pantry staples, I generally only buy what's necessary for foods I plan to cook during the following week).

Along with the peas, I also happened to have this cookbook by Diane Phillips checked out from the library (I've actually gotten it a few times. The book has some good recipes). That it had a recipe for a vegetarian split-pea soup that included lentils (remember how I'm trying to be comfortable cooking things with and without meat?), and everything just seemed to come together from there.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Rosemary Olive Oil Cake

Once in a while I decide to try a recipe simply because I have no idea what it will taste like. That's what happened this week. I was looking through recipes on Heidi Swanson's blog trying to find interesting vegetarian recipes (since about half my family are vegetarians, it's important for me to be comfortable cooking without meat), when this recipe caught my eye. A cake that combined chocolate, olive oil, and rosemary. I'd never encountered those flavors together, and felt instantly curious. The next grocery day, I loaded up on the necessary ingredients (a box of unsweetened bakers chocolate, spelt flour, and fresh rosemary).

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Saurkraut Update: Week 3


The cabbage is turning an appealing golden color, and developing a nice smell. It still mostly tastes like salt and cabbage though (no significant flavor development over the past week). I have 2 jars, so I decided to try topping one of the jars off with vinegar. We'll see how that goes.

Marinating vegetables in vinegar is probably the most sensible way of making "pickled" things at this time of year around here. Denver generally has unpredictable weather, but it seems like the summer is almost always hot and dry.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Strawberry Cake

I've been wanting to try making rustic deserts ever since this book showed up in my amazon recommendations a few months ago. Crumbles, pandowdies, betties, all of the deserts look so simple and so delicious (and of course the clever names significantly add to the appeal). They usually consist primarily of fruit and sugar, with some sort of cakey/biscuity/crumbly topping playing a minor role. In my book, that's just how it should be.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Rose Water


It's funny how tastes change over time. There was a time when I loved hotdogs and Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles and the smell of rain hitting asphalt (petrichor to the extreme). Then there are the things that used to seem absolutely disgusting.

I always hated rose water. My mother would put it in rice pudding, and I'd glare at her suspiciously. It smelled funny, it tasted funny. It was just... gross.

But then, a couple of years ago, I started noticing the smell of roses again. I smelled it in cleaning products, tea, lotions and shampoos. It didn't smell bad anymore. In fact, it smelled quite good.

My roommate started rolling cigarettes with dried rose petals instead of tobacco (an attempt to wean herself off smoking), and that smelled good too. Then I had a cup of tea made out of rose hips, and at last it dawned on me: my tastes had changed.

Now I have some roses growing right next to my front porch. They've been blooming for the last few days. Big, red, full blooms. I've never thought roses were particularly pretty, but can certainly appreciate their practicality (for things like rose water and tea).

So today, practically on a whim, I decided to try making my own rose water.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cucumbers in Vinegar


For several months now, I've had the urge to make pickles. I've never done this before, but from what I've
read it seems like a fairly straightforward process. All I need to do it sterilize some jars and then throw in some garlic, peppercorns, dill, and of course cucumbers. Cover that with a brine made out of salt, water, and vinegar and then leave it someplace cool for a couple of weeks.

I haven't tried that yet (but probably will sometime in the near future). Instead of a proper pickle (which involves fermentation) I've done more of a vinegar marinade, which is also delicious (and a lot less time-consuming). 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Mother's Ghormeh Sabzi

My mother learned how to cook in Iran. She lived there with her first husband and my brothers for a few years in the 80's, and fell in love with the country and its people. Years later, in Iowa, she would tell stories about Iran while preparing delicious Persian food. She still does this when she comes to visit. For my brothers and I, meals like baghali polo, chelo kabab, and ghormeh sabzi will probably always taste like home.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Everyday Chocolate Cake

About a month ago, I discovered the frame for what is now my go-to chocolate cake recipe. It's simple (you only dirty up one bowl!), delicious, and not too sweet. Perfect for dark chocolate lovers. I found it on the smitten kitchen website.
It's an amazing recipe, but once I mastered it I couldn't help tweaking things a bit. Experimenting. Making it my own. By substituting half the buttermilk in the original recipe with brewed coffee (something we always have quite a bit of around here) I ended up creating what is now my standard chocolate cake:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Saurkraut Update, 2 weeks in

When I open the jar, it still smells like cabbage. But now when I taste it, I find that the cabbage has taken on just a hint of other flavor. Last week it mostly just tasted like salt. I'm looking forward to future developments.

Some other interesting things will be happening in my kitchen later this week. But first, I need to do some grocery shopping. That will be tomorrow's project.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sauerkraut

Taken with webcam. Hence the quality issues.
When I was a little girl the town right next to mine had a summer festival called Sauerkraut Days. The sleepy little Midwestern town would take on a carnival air with parades and amusement park rides and, of course, food. The local greasy spoon restaurant would throw open it's doors to welcome people in, and food stands popped up on every corner of Main Street.

My father and I would go to these festivals and take on the biggest, fastest rides. And then we'd inevitably stop at one of those food stands and get a couple of the biggest, juiciest brats we could find. Then we'd slather them with the saltiest, sourest sauerkraut we could find.

So, I always think of sauerkraut as a summer food. With it's sharp tangy flavor, it seems perfect served cold on a hot summer day. Imagine my surprise last week when I read up on how to make my own sauerkraut in this book, and learned that traditionally it's made in a colder climate. In order for the right kind of bacteria to flourish (and give it that delicious pickled flavor), the sauerkraut needs to be kept at a temperature somewhere between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Then it should take about a month to mature, so you don't really want it colder than that. You can also keep the sauerkraut at a constant temperature of 70 degrees and let it mature for about a week or two. The main thing is to keep it well below 80 degrees (that's when all the nasty bacteria thrive).
Now I live in Colorado, and I don't have air conditioning. It's summer, and my kitchen gets up to 80 or 85 degrees during the day. My refrigerator is too cold, and my counter is too hot. It would probably be best for me to wait until winter to make sauerkraut (when the kitchen is a lot cooler). But of course I didn't listen to advice, and last week I put together a couple of jars of sauerkraut. I'm keeping them in the fridge, so we'll see how long it takes to mature.
Anyway, here's the recipe from The Lost Art of Real Cooking:
  • 1 head of cabbage, grated or finely chopped (grating is probably better, because it brings out more juices, but I ended up chopping because I really don't like my grater)
  • 2 tablespoons salt you really do need this much, to help preserve the cabbage.
Put the grated cabbage and the salt in a mixing bowl. Knead it by hand for 10 minutes or so in order to draw out the water (this will be your brine). When you've got plenty of water out of the cabbage, put it in a glass jar or some sort of crock (mainly something you don't mind having full of sauerkraut for a long time). Keep it somewhere cool (a basement if you have one, or right on the counter if your kitchen is cool) for about a month. Taste it every day until it tastes like sauerkraut. Then eat and enjoy!

I'll be sure to post updates on my little sauerkraut experiment.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Beginning

So, here's my first ever post. I never know how to start these things, so I'll just tell a little about myself. Here goes:
I'm a twenty-something year-old woman who's slowly but surely teaching herself how to cook. I grew up in a small town in Iowa, eating Tex Mex and Persian food. Now I live in Denver, and eat whatever I can find that's healthy and inexpensive. I try to feed myself well on a budget. I avoid waste of any sort.
I suppose I'm a bit old-fashioned in the kitchen. When I roast a chicken, I turn the bones into stock. I bake my own bread, and I'm reading up on pickling. I also like to take recipes and adapt them to suit my taste. Or build on them and make new things.
I have a good-sized kitchen, but I also have three roommates. So space is a factor.
Most of my recipes come from food blogs and cook books I check out from the library.
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