Last fall at a farm event, a woman told me she always enjoys reading my recipes. I asked her if she had a favorite. “Oh, I’ve never tried one,” she said. “I don’t know how to cook, but your recipes always sound so good.”
I was reminded of our conversation again just recently when I found an online video interview featuring Food Network star Alton Brown. Brown was asked if he thought a person could learn to cook by watching TV shows. He emphatically replied, “No.” Food shows could entertain and educate, he said, but too much about cooking requires hands on experience best learned from someone in person. Continue Reading
If you love cheese, learning to make it at home can open a whole new world of culinary adventure. While some cheese requires special ingredients and tools, many cheeses can be made with equipment you probably already have in your kitchen. Continue Reading
When I mentioned to a friend on the phone the other day that I was making beef stock, there was silence on the line for a moment. Finally she responded, “Why? Doesn’t that take a long time?”
My reasons are simple. Besides the fact it’s the only way I can get stock made with local ingredients, the flavor of homemade stock is light years better than any commercial products I’ve tried. Continue Reading
Potatoes are one of my favorite foods to substitute for commercially prepared convenience versions, especially for health reasons. For example, commercially frozen french fries typically contain all kinds of unhealthy trans-fats and preservatives. By spending just a little time in the fall, I can have delicious–and healthy–frozen french fries throughout the winter. When I take them from the freezer to fix for dinner, I cook them exactly the same way as the commercial variety. In other words, it’s just as convenient. Continue Reading
A couple of months ago when I was harvesting the last produce from my home garden, I brought in a cabbage which weighed ten pounds after I had removed the outer leaves and cleaned it up. Since this was about the third head of cabbage that size I’d had to deal with, not to mention a half dozen heads of more normal size, I decided it was time to learn to make sauerkraut. That way I could spread out eating the cabbage over several months. As it turned out, making sauerkraut is pretty simple. Continue Reading
Home canning involves a sequence of steps which may seem complicated at first. In reality, each step is simple, and once you’ve been through the process a couple of times, it will quickly become routine. If you begin with tested recipes and follow the instructions carefully, I think you’ll find the results will be worth the effort–and delicious! Continue Reading
As I began transitioning to eating as a locavore (using only locally grown food as much as possible), I naturally did more cooking at home. I rediscovered a love for cooking and preserving fresh, delicious foods. I also started looking for ways to learn more about food preparation and local farms. As always, I found an abundance of local resources. Continue Reading
I’m discovering that when I can’t find a locally produced version of a common ingredient, making it myself is sometimes easier than you’d think. For example, I’ve already posted a simple technique I learned for making butter. This week I wanted to make a dish that normally uses cream cheese. I couldn’t find a local brand in the grocery stores, but I saw several local dairy products that I suspected could be used to make it. I decided to come back after doing a little research.
When I got home, I googled “how to make cream cheese” and quickly found several alternatives. (I love Google. I tell everyone that we have to make sure it is never taken over by dark forces…) Below I describe the method I finally used. The process was incredibly easy, and the results tasted surprisingly good. The texture was rich and creamy, just as you want cream cheese to be. Continue Reading
Last week I didn’t see locally produced butter in the dairy cooler at the Community Food Co-op, which usually stocks some. Since I don’t know of any locally produced cooking oils, I’m using butter instead, and was concerned when I couldn’t find any.
I remembered a friend had told me that butter could be made from whipping cream pretty easily, but I didn’t remember the details. I saw some Twin Brook Creamery cream, so purchased a pint. When I got home, I called the Creamery to see if they made commercial butter, or if they could tell me how to make it from their whipping cream.
Debbie returned my call and said they didn’t make butter for sale to the public, but that they regularly made butter for their own use from their cream. She said the recipe below is how her mother-in-law does it. I think you’ll be astonished at how simple and quick it is–and it’s fun! Continue Reading