Archive for the ‘how-to’ Category

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how to get crispy tofu

June 13, 2014

the minimalist baker says you should drain your tofu 1.5 hours before the meal is ready.

then, roll it in a kitchen towel and press it with something heavy, like a pot, for 15 minutes.

then, cube and pre-bake for 25 mins at 400 degrees to dry it out a little more.

then, stir-fry as usual.

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lazy leftover fried rice with broccoli

September 8, 2013

Tempted to call for take-out because you don’t have any food in the house? Here’s some Americanized Chinese food for a lazy day!

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Steam broccoli.

In a (separate) frying pan, heat canola oil. fry raw unseasoned meat or meat substitute or mushrooms in it (optional, of course) and set aside.

In same frying pan (no need to rinse it,) fry onions on medium-high, stirring frequently. When translucent, add fresh minced ginger or garlic. When aromatic, add leftover rice. Cook a few minutes.

Re-add the meat or mushrooms, and, if you like, a handful of frozen peas. Remember to stir frequently.

In a bowl, whisk together a fair amount of either tamari, soy sauce, or hoisin if you like it super-sweet. Add peanut or sesame oil, sesame seeds, a little rice wine vinegar, little Sriracha (to taste,) cooking sherry, two drops of fish sauce, and a little miso.

When the broccoli is done steaming, cut it into pieces and throw it into the pan. Crack a few eggs over it and stir immediately. Cook a few minutes.

Pour the liquid evenly over the food while stirring. Cook a few minutes. Eat.

This tastes exactly like Americanized Chinese take-out fried rice. It’s easy to customize – eggplant fried rice, steak fried rice, fish fried rice, whatever you have in the house! A great dinner for those times there’s nothing in the house and you’re tempted to spend money on takeout. This costs almost nothing to make and has big flavor. You can’t go wrong with it – snap peas, carrots, leftover baked potatoes – you can stick any food into fried rice.

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FRIED RICE QUESTIONS

“How come my fried rice doesn’t taste like take-out?”
You won’t like my answer. Restaurants use WAY more oil and sugar than most home cooks would ever dream of.

“Why is it mushy or sticking together?”
Don’t use fresh rice! If you cooked the rice the same day you tried to fry it, that’s your problem. It needs to lose moisture. Make rice, stick it in your fridge, and fry it tomorrow or the next day.
If your rice is leftover, you’re not using enough heat! Kick it up to medium-high, or higher if you have someone to stir it constantly for you while you dump in ingredients. Don’t add anything to the pan until it’s super hot!

“What if I’m totally broke?”
Just go for soy sauce with ginger. Rice wine vinegar is cheap and a great investment, but if limes are cheaper in your area, go for those instead.

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perfect poached eggs

April 21, 2013

really into poached eggs lately. looked up how to get the whites to stay together. seems easy enough, and i hate wasting all those bits of egg white!

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Heat the water: Add enough water to come 1 inch up the side of a narrow, deep 2-quart saucier. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 2 teaspoons white vinegar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, crack 1 very fresh cold large egg into a cup. Use the handle of a spatula or spoon to quickly stir the water in one direction until it’s all smoothly spinning around.

TIP: Use this whirlpool method when poaching a single serving (one or two eggs). For bigger batches, heat the water, salt and vinegar in a 12-inch nonstick skillet and do not stir.

Add the egg: Carefully drop the egg into the center of the whirlpool. The swirling water will help prevent the white from “feathering,” or spreading out in the pan.

Let it poach: Turn off the heat, cover the pan and set your timer for 5 minutes. Don’t peek, poke, stir or accost the egg in any way.

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from tv

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perfectly roasted brussels sprouts

November 7, 2012

this comes out perfectly every time.

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slice in half. save the single leaves that fall off when you do this.

coat in a a generous amount of oil and add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime (or zest if you don’t have fresh – make it yourself next time you get limes or lemons!).

(optional) throw in cloves of garlic and onion chunks, or whatever you like roasted.

season well. seasoned salt, garlic salt, lemon salt, or whatever seasonings you can come up – it’s literally all good. you can’t go wrong here.

bake.
400F, by our oven and at our altitude, is perfect. oven temperatures vary. play with yours and see what works.

add the single leaves when the brussels sprouts are soft but not yet browned, and roast for an extra few minutes until the leaves become crunchy brussels sprouts chips and the sprouts themselves become brown, sticky-sweet, and caramelized.

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TROUBLESHOOTING:

they’re always crunchy in the middle and burnt outside!
turn down the temperature!

they’re soft and pale and mushy, but not caramelized and brown on the outside!
turn up the temperature!

they always stick to the baking sheet!
use more oil!

they have that “cruciferous” fart taste!
add an acid, like lime or lemon juice, or a little splash of cooking wine or apple cider vinegar!

my picky friends don’t eat vegetables!
get new friends! just kidding. bake as normal. five minutes before they’re done, add a maple syrup glaze (don’t get too much on the baking sheet itself, or it’ll burn).

i’m bored of regular roasted brussels sprouts
how about adding a seasoning to them that you’re not used to? make jerk brussels sprouts with jerk seasoning. or add mixed dried herbs. or bacon grease if you eat meat. or add chunks of other veggies, like carrots, sweet potatoes, or beets? or cook them au gratin with a parmesan and breadcrumbs crunchy top? or kick them into leftovers or the next meal you eat? they are wonderful in other recipes, like chili and cabbage kofta.

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how to fry an egg

October 7, 2012

really?

according to this very compelling photoseries, a very gross-sounding cooking method – immersion frying an egg – is the best method.

i’m disgusted and intrigued like the original poster, and i’ll definitely try it.

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brown sugar casted chocolates

August 19, 2012

great idea from rise and shine – just press anything into brown sugar to make an impression instead of buying molds to cast chocolates! i’m thinking doll parts. it seems like it’d be satisfying to eat a tiny chocolate hand.

someone commented on the entry saying, “classically confectioners used cornstarch for this, finer texture”

and, unlike plastic molds that get thrown away later, brown sugar can be reused!

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answers to your questions about lacto-fermentation!

August 1, 2012

if you used google to get here, i can see your search queries.
creepy, right?
but i don’t want to rant.
i’ll just say that one benefit to a total and complete end to all privacy is…

i can help total strangers with their fermentation issues!

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Q:
someone found my page by googling:
“can you ferment mint”

A:
yes!
fresh mint – whole sprigs of any herb, actually – do ferment. use the open-crock method and they can last all through the winter. find a plate or rock that fits well in your vessel to eliminate problems with floating.

prepared lacto-fermented mint condiments are also delicious. here’s a lacto-fermented mint chutney recipe.

dried mint is a good flavor in lacto-ferments, but i’ve found that adding dried herbs can make them spoil more quickly because they tend to leave floaty bits at the surface. not recommended. but it’s your call!

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Q:
someone found my page by googling:
“fermented lime juice”

A:
ferment juice the way you would other juices – as a wine. make sure to use or make an airlock to prevent making fermented lime vinegar – unless that’s your goal. if so, just squeeze limes into a jar and leave it out for a day (covered in cheesecloth or a tshirt to prevent bugs) in the summer heat! don’t use bottled lime juice; it has preservatives that prevent what you’re trying to encourage. i’ve never done this. i have used fresh lime juice as a brine in lacto-ferments a TON, and it’s incredible with indian lime pickle or hot pepper pickle.

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Q:
someone found my page by googling:
“lacto-fermented ravioli”

A:
what?

haha.

i guess you could ferment some flour for a few days and make a sourdough pasta. then you could fill it with lacto-fermented ingredients.

also, whoever googled “lacto-fermented ravioli” please be my friend.

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Q:
“lacto-fermented pancakes”

A:
definitely!
dosai are ground rice and lentils fermented for a day. the flavor is unique and really delicious.

if finely textured pancakes are more your thing, you can’t go wrong with crepes or american-style sourdough pancakes.

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Q:
“lactoferment tomatos sweet pepper botulism”

A:
if you’re worried about botulism, use sandy’s open-crock fermentation method. guides exist – like the master sandy katz‘s elegant write-up, and my quick version.

he outlines an “open-crock” method of fermentation that eliminates the problem of anarobic bacteria (the kind that live in closed containers – ie. botulism). basically, that means you can’t get botulism with the open-crock method. and it’s easy!

as for tomatoes and peppers, i think any jarred food from minced garlic to pre-packaged tomato sauce is at risk for botulism. but think of how often you eat jarred food without a problem!

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Q:
“why lime juice pickle fermented”

A:
because it tastes delicious, it’s good for you, and it preserves.

why NOT lime juice pickle fermented?

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Q:
“is lime juice good for a slow fermentation”

A:
the refrigerator – or a root cellar – is your best bet for a slow fermentation.

but yes, in my experience lime-juice fermented lime pickles are very slow to ferment. my year-old pickles are intoxicating.

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Q:
“if ferment is too close to top”

A:
eat a few bites off the top!

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Q:
“nasty fermented german potatoes”

A:
it’s only appropriate that someone would find me by googling this. believe it or not, i have a recipe for fermented potatoes. i have never tried it, so if you do, please comment and let me know.

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got a question i didn’t answer?

leave a comment, or try the trusty folks at the wild fermentation forum! (edit 2014: the wild fermentation fb group is surprisingly active and supportive these days.)

or just continue using google!

(there are alternative search engines out there that don’t track your search terms!)

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how to mess up a hamburger

May 5, 2012

i learned 70% of ground beef contains ammoniated pink slime.
then i learned the neighborhood grocery store will ground chunks of meat for its customers!

it doesn’t affect me much; i eat burgers four times a year, if that.

even though i don’t eat burgers regularly, i still thought i knew how to cook them.

but today i learned that i’ve been doing hamburgers WRONG my whole life.

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what to do with food that’s going bad

April 28, 2012

stale bread, soured milk, mushy vegetables…

just started a tag called “waste not” that will call for foods that are on their last legs, leftover bits and pieces of other recipes, or other things that don’t have to be wasted.

let’s help each other keep good food out of the garbage!!

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any ideas?

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modanyaki (modern okonomiyaki)

March 9, 2012

let me get this straight -

a beautiful rava-dosai-type pancake
filled with
cabbage
ginger
fermented fish powder
buckwheat-egg noodles
raw shrimp
raw scallops
raw squid
two eggs
seaweed
bacon
with batter drizzled on top and fried on both sides?

i found the recipe here and a link is posted to a video of their creation.

after watching the video of modanyaki being made, i couldn’t resist posting the recipe.

not sure what i’d put in mine – but wow, what a cool video!

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