Category Archives: Cooking

Bone Broth Attempt #2

IMG_0241Looking to improve on my interrupted Bone Broth Attempt #1, I cooked another batch recently. This time I did two things differently. First, I made sure that nobody would be around to steal ladles full of it to make their own soup! and Second, I pulled the meat away from the bones to let the boiling water hit the bones directly. By exposing the bones more directly to the hot water, I was able to get more of the bone gelatin into the broth. This increased gelatin makes the product, once refrigerated, blumpy and odd to pour out. It takes a little getting used to and is not for the faint-of-heart. However, that is where the goods are, and if your broth becomes gelatinous in the fridge then you did something right. I am not talking about the fat on the top, that is different. You can scrape that off or mix it in. I like a little fat in there but not too much.IMG_0238

I drink a cup of broth in the morning as the first part of my breakfast, and it really warms my belly and feels great to my body. I am always on the lookout for store-bought broths/stocks that are a quick substitute for the home-made kind. Recently I found this one, Kitchen Basics brand Original Chicken stock. It tastes pretty good and has much more protein than the other products available in my local grocery stores. The price was similar in price to the other stocks on the shelf. IMG_0261

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Bone Broth Attempt #1

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There’s been a lot of talk about bone broth lately, so I decided to make some. I’ve been making chicken broth forever, so this is just basically chicken broth cooked for a really long time, so that the bones give up their goods.

For this experiment I bought the cheapest chicken cuts with bones that I could find, which were chicken thighs. They cost $0.99/lb at my very convenient nearby grocery store, so my total investment was about $3.50 for 2 packs of thighs. I added veggies that I had around the house – celery, parsley, carrots, some garlic, plus some seasoning – sage, thyme, bay leaf, and rosemary. I also added juice from half a lemon, salt, and pepper. Then I covered it all with filtered water and cooked it for many many hours. IMG_0226

Here is the delicious result. The house smelled so good! After about 6 hours my son came in and immediately wanted to make chicken soup, so we did. I strained out some broth, we just simply shredded up some of the chicken from the thighs in the broth and put the bones back in, then added some carrots and noodles.

Now, I know that kids like the food that they cook better than if the mom had cooked it, but this is what my 11yo said, “This soup is so good that I want to cry.” I’d say it was worth breaking from the experiment for that quote.

After the soup break, to imbue that new water with the essence of the bones, I added more water and kept cooking for 2 hours on high and overnight on low. In the morning I strained out the solids and put the “liquid gold” into glass containers. It is good, but a little watery. I don’t think the bones had the strength to power two batches, so I’ll just make it for 8-10 hours next time without the soup-making hiatus in the middle.

Still, absolutely delicious and pretty much my favorite breakfast drink! I will put it in the fridge and then heat up a glass at a time to drink.

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Winter slow cooking

This morning my daughter and I put together a few slow cooking recipes- a chuck roast and a beef chili.
Cooking lunches for the week, plus some more for the freezer!

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First hard cider attempt

We have an avid hard cider drinker in the house, so of course I’ve been thinking it is time to make some cider. Long ago I made beer, and even had some hops growing on the house. And I’ve been fermenting a lot of kombucha recently so I’ve refamiliarized myself with the process.

I found so much information online that it started getting confusing, so I decided to just throw myself into it. A quick visit to Beer and Wine Hobby got me champagne yeast and some new airlocks and stoppers. I started with 3 gallons of local pasteurized cider and put half a gallon in a small glass container with a little yeast, and I put the rest in 5 gallon food-grade pail with the rest of the yeast. I am hoping for a dry cider, so I didn’t add any honey or sugar.

Everything seemed to be going well until I read the fine print on the cider ingredients where it states:

Ingredients: Freshly squeezed apple cider, potassium sorbate (as a preservative).

I’m pretty sure this will blow the whole fermentation this first time around, but since it was already all poured in I will see what happens. I think I’ve got a source for un-preserved cider but if not I will wait until next Fall’s apple season

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Mid-winter update

Just plugging away up here in the New England cold. As usual, it has been an unusual winter. We have had warm weather, lots of rain, and then absolutely freezing cold with wind-chills, no snow at all, and just last week a blizzard worthy of two snow days. We are supposed to get hit with snow tonight again, so we may have another snow day tomorrow.

I’ve been up to a few things here and there, including on-going brewing of kombucha, fixing the dishwasher (remember which screws go where), making lots of roasted veggies (I am loving roasted cauliflower and brussel sprouts),  maintaining my cast-iron pots (coat with oil and leave upside-down in the oven for an hour at 200 degrees. Put a paper towel underneath to catch the drips).

With all the warm and rainy days earlier this winter I had been watching my mushroom logs for progress (none so far). Now they are deep under the snow.

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A walk on a clear and cold day just after the new year prompted some thinking about family, passions, and the meaning of life. My son and I came up with three guiding principles in our lives and we have them posted on the family cork board.  It is centering to look at these words when life gets a little crazy and frustrating. Mine are Love, Explore, Contribute. My 9yo’s, with explanatory commentary, are Food (“like yummy food”), Love (“like hugs and stuff”), Skill (“like video games”).

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Filed under Cooking, Family, Health, Home Repairs, kombucha, Making Stuff, mushrooms

Kombucha and Kimchi Success!

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I canned the kimchi about 2 months ago, and it is great. If I were to make changes to this process, I would make a bigger batch (canning is so easy) and I would reduce the amount of garlic. This one is really spicy, and a lot of the spice is garlic.


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Amazingly, the kombucha is also great. I expected it to taste like rot my first time around, but what a surprise that it is delicious! I put the mother and baby into their little scoby hotel over the refrigerator, and I’m going to give one of tthe scobies as a Christmas present to a like-minded person. That should start some conversation around the tree!

Happy Holidays!

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Do your tomato plants look this sad?

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Oh so droopy! Although I know that this is the natural course of events, I just don’t want our bountiful season to end! I planted some baby spinach not long ago and it has sprouted for a late season crop. And I shouldn’t complain because I made what is probably my last kale salad this morning. I also put some beef chili in the crock pot!

At least I’m still getting some tomatoes!

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