Archive for the ‘how-to’ Category


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.


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!


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.


from tv


perfectly roasted brussels sprouts

November 7, 2012

this comes out perfectly every time.


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.

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.



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.


how to fry an egg

October 7, 2012


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.


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!


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!



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

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!


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

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.


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



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.


“lacto-fermented pancakes”

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.


“lactoferment tomatos sweet pepper botulism”

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!


“why lime juice pickle fermented”

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

why NOT lime juice pickle fermented?


“is lime juice good for a slow fermentation”

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.


“if ferment is too close to top”

eat a few bites off the top!


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!)


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.


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!!


any ideas?


modanyaki (modern okonomiyaki)

March 9, 2012

let me get this straight -

a beautiful rava-dosai-type pancake
filled with
fermented fish powder
buckwheat-egg noodles
raw shrimp
raw scallops
raw squid
two eggs
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!


how to rock a food processor

January 26, 2012

here’s a post dedicated to kate @, whose awesome blog hooked me up with a free food processor! (go visit her and send her some love!)



broccoli soup? cauliflower soup? squash soup? carrot-maple soup? of course they’re good… but pureeing them in a food processor adds a certain quality to them. is it the memory of baby food that makes liquid food so soothing?

this tastes like it has cream in it when you make it vegan:
caramelize onions, then add white wine and reduce. add cauliflower and stock, and whatever fresh herbs you have in whatever combination you like, and whatever else you like in a soup. cook a while. puree.


process cooked chickpeas along with a little cooking liquid, lemon juice, salt, cumin, paprika, a roasted pepper or two, a splash of olive oil, and some tahini. replace the chickpeas with anything – white beans (you’ll love this!), lentils, black beans, peas from the garden, squash, eggplant (baba ghanouj!) or even any assorted roasted vegetables you have lying around.

couldn’t be easier!

all you need: fresh tomatoes, lime juice, fresh cilantro
optional: bell pepper, onions or garlic, roasted hot pepper
add avocados and tomato juice for a cold soup!

one of many, many indian breads based in fermented rice, beans, or a combination therein are dosai, pancakes that are easy to prepare, easy to ferment, and easy to leave hanging out in a bowl for a quick snack any time!

did a post some time ago with my falafel recipe. i doubt i’ve made it since then. it’s time!



i feel i should name it


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