Reviving my Kombucha


So I decided to revive my kombucha. I hadn’t made any since before our last move. Somehow between packing and morning sickness at the time, I couldn’t keep up. So, I put it in a jar with some of the kombucha liquid, stuck it in the fridge and it has sat there ever since. Two years later I’m finally ready to try again.

Tea and sugar water cooling.

I took my jar out and let it sit on the counter overnight so that it could warm up to room temperature. The next day I made up my sugar and tea mixture. For more specific directions on how to brew kombucha see my other posts – (Cranberry Ginger Kombucha).

I brewed three batches before I started drinking it again to be sure that it would revive. I’m pouring up a new batch today.

Ferments amaze me. The fact that all those little bacteria do what they do fascinates me. I think I need to start another ferment. Maybe I’ll go back to one of my favorites – Garlic, Onion, Jalepeno Relish. Or maybe I’ll try beets. Fermented beets are delicious. Until I get around to that, I think I’ll go enjoy my kombucha.

Double time it on the Waffles please

Waffles for my hungry kid this morning are brought to you by my favorite cast iron waffle maker.


See my post on Cast Iron Waffles for the many reasons why I love them. But what I’m loving most lately is that I have two of them. My mom gave me another one for my birthday. Two waffle irons for this family of six makes up a weeks worth of waffles in no time which is good for me. The other good thing is that because these are much less bulky than their electric counterparts, they both slide right in beside my pans and take up hardly any cabinet space at all. Who wants waffles now?

Quick and Easy Apple Cobbler

 

apple  cobbler cast ironI’m making this tonight for our family visiting for the weekend.

 

Sugar-Free Apple Cobbler: 

This recipe is free of sugar, eggs, wheat, corn and nuts.

Ingredient List: apples, butter, white spelt flour, cinnamon, cloves, salt, heavy cream, baking powder.

First, grease a casserole dish, cake pan or pie plate with butter.

Peel, slice and chop 4 large apples. Choose a sweet, red variety like Fuji or Braeburn. No Granny Smith’s here please.

Sprinkle 2 tsp. cinnamon, a dash of cloves and 1/2 tsp. of salt over the apples and stir to coat.

Next, melt half a stick of butter in a large (cast-iron if you have it) skillet. Toss in the apple and begin to saute them over medium heat in the butter.

Sprinkle 2 tbls. of white spelt flour over the apples and stir until all the flour is combined with the butter and apple juices. This will make a roux which will thicken your cobber base.

After a few minutes of cooking pour 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream over the apples stirring and simmering until thickened. Remove from heat. The sweetness of the cream combined with the apple juices adds just enough sweet to make this naturally sweet and delicious without needing sugar. (Note: if you wanted it a little sweeter you could substitute 1/2 of apple juice for 1/2 cup of the cream.)

Now, for the topping. This is basically like making homemade biscuits.

In a large mixing bowl add 3 cups white spelt flour (you could use any flour of your choice here, but I think baked goods come out particularly well with this spelt flour), 2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt. Stir to combine and then cut in 1/2 stick of butter using a pastry blender. Pour in 1 cup of heavy cream and stir quickly until it all just starts to come together adding a dash more cream if the mixture is too dry. Try to avoid overmixing. The cream here too adds a touch of sweetness so that you don’t need to add sugar to the pastry.

140128_0000Spoon your apple mixture into your greased casserole dish. Now, using a large spoon or cookie scoop add dollops of the dough. Don’t worry about filling in every space with dough as it will rise as it cooks and all the nooks and crannies will get filled in.

Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes or until your biscuit topping is golden. Serve with whipped cream if desired. It’s delicious! Enjoy!

Note: If you are diabetic and trying to avoid sugar, the fat (cream and butter) in this recipe will help you metabolize the carbs from the apples and dough.

All Done.

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Making Wild Sourdough Starter

My sourdough pot

My sourdough pot

Sourdough pancakes anyone? Try your hand at making your own wild starter. Sourdough was once a staple in every American kitchen. Visit the Pantry to learn how to make your own.

Missouri Maple Syrup – how to make your own at home

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I used a little maple syrup that I’ve saved for years to store my Missouri Maple Syrup.

My great-grandmother Maggie lived on a farm in Missouri. I don’t know whether or not she had maple syrup. However, I know that she was frugal and creative in a pinch. Tonight was one of those nights for me. I had decided to make breakfast for dinner – eggs, sausage and waffles. Yum! One problem. I realized that we were out of maple syrup.

What to do? Do I turn the three burners off that were currently in the middle of cooking everything ,dress the kids and walk to the store for more? Then the moment of inspiration hit! I’ll make my own. I remembered my mom doing this in a pinch when we were little.

So, here’s how to make your own maple syrup substitute. The taste and texture is actually very similar to the real thing. Everyone in my family loved it and wouldn’t have even realized that it wasn’t maple syrup if I hadn’t told them.

Over dinner (breakfast actually) we decided that such an invention should should be named after Maggie and my husband called it “Missouri Maple Syrup” in honor of her. I think the name has stuck. Here’s how you make your own maple syrup – or something pretty close.

Missouri Maple Syrup: Mix equal parts dark brown sugar and water in a saucepan. I made a small batch using about 1/4 cup brown sugar (learn how to make your own brown sugar here) and 1/4 water. Heat to a simmer. While it’s heating, mix 1 tbl. corn starch and 2 tbl. cold water. When the brown sugar mixture is simmering, gradually pour in the cornstarch mixture and stir until slightly thickened to the consistency of real maple syrup. If you find the syrup too thick add a touch more water. If you can’t use cornstarch, then mix 1 tbl. of flour with a mild tasting oil. Blend well to make a thick paste and add to the mixture on the stove, stirring until thickened.

Everyone loved this so much I may start making big batches of it and storing it in the fridge. When money is tight it’s certainly cheaper than buying real maple syrup. That’s a luxury – an expensive one!

Yum! Waffles - made with my favorite cast iron waffle maker.

Yum! Waffles – made with my favorite cast iron waffle maker.

 

Missouri Maple Syrup on these waffles.

Missouri Maple Syrup on these waffles.

 

 

 

 

Kitchen DIY: Lard

IMG_0438I got 10 pounds of pork fat from the farm we buy meat from last month with the intent of rendering my own lard. When I ordered I had an idea of what I would need to do, but knew I would need to look up the directions again before I proceeded. It was surprisingly easy. It took me three days to do all 10 lbs. as my crock pot is small, but I now have 1 gallon of lard (pictured) on my counter. I’d say it was well worth the $7 I paid for the fat. All I did was cube the fat, toss it in the crock pot with about a cup of water. Cover. Turn on low. Cook either overnight or all day stirring occasionally if possible. Strain out the leftover fat pieces with a cheesecloth and collander, pour in a heat safe container (mason jar, casserole dish, crock, etc.), cool and chill in the fridge. All done and not much to it.

The rendered lard should keep in the fridge for quite some time. I find that fat stores better in the fridge if it’s not tightly covered. I’d suggest covering with a tea towel and rubberband. If covered tightly with a lid moisture can accumulates in the jar and it can get moldy. If this happens, scrape off the mold from the top and use what is underneath. You can also store lard at room temperature. But, I would suggest that if you make a big batch like I did, to store one jar at a time on the counter top and to store the remainder in a cool place.

Pork fat in crock pot - ready to cook.

Pork fat in crock pot – ready to cook.

 

 

Make your own oil sprayer – DIY Kitchen

IMG_0210Replace those aresol oil sprayers with your own homemade version. All you need is a spray bottle (glass or stainless steel is best) and your favorite oil. I use olive oil. You need an oil that is liquid at room temperature. If you want to use coconut oil I would try heating it and mixing in half and half with another oil that is liquid. Fill your spray bottle 3/4 full with oil and 1/4 with distilled water. Shake well before each use and spray liberally. I rarely need spray oil but use it when my cast iron waffle makerIMG_0213