Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Drying Garlic and Making Your Own Garlic Powder





Drying garlic wasn't something I thought of doing until I read an article on making your own garlic powder. The article said how easy it was and that the dried garlic produced a superior product to what is available in the stores. Since we have been putting more emphasis on drying foods I decided to give it a try.

Easy is right.

Actually, the hardest (and most time consuming) part is peeling all the garlic cloves. The nice thing, though is it doesn't all have to be done at once.

After peeling the garlic I cut the larger pieces to somewhat the size of the smaller pieces so that the drying time would be fairly consistent.

We have a large screen with stainless screening on it that I use for drying fruits and vegetables. I simply placed the garlic on the screen, being sure the pieces didn't touch each other, set the screen on top of our ladder pot/herb rack and waited. A REALLY long time; months. Nothing molded and the garlic dried beautifully.


I also dried some by stringing it. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures, but if you look at the photos on our food drying post you can see the garlic. Basically I used a kitchen string and embroidery needle and strung the pieces of garlic, spacing them out on the string so they were not touching each other as well. You want to have good air flow. I hung the strings off the pot rack and they dried in about the same time as the garlic on the screen. The hanging garlic looks like teeth hanging.....very interesting when company comes over.

You will know when the garlic is dry because it becomes very hard.



It can then be stored in an airtight jar and used in soups as you would use fresh garlic, or it can be ground into powder.



We use a coffee grinder and grind only small amounts at a time. That way we can have the powder very fresh. It has a much stronger flavor than store bought, and a little goes a long way.

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Homemade Mayonnaise



Please Note: This recipe contains raw eggs. We use our own, organic, free range eggs and do not worry about consuming them raw. If you are concerned about raw eggs, PLEASE do not make this recipe.


Homemade Mayonnaise


Ingredients:

3/4 cups egg; raw

1 teaspoon mustard powder

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 cups safflower oil

Directions:

Add first four ingredients to blender (we use a VitaMix, but any blender should work fine).

With blender on low begin to slowly pour oil into blender, as you pour
gradually increase the speed to medium high to high. This process should
take 20 to 30 seconds.



Continue running blender for another 20 to 30 seconds after all the oil is
in, you may need to stop the blender so as to push the mayo down, because as
it thickens it will create a bubble around the blades. Decrease the speed
before you turn it back on and again gradually turn back to high.





Note: This recipe uses raw eggs and the finished product is not cooked. Our
eggs are fresh daily and we have never had any problems.

You may need to adjust the amount of oil. If mayo seems to be
too thin you may want to add a little (2 to 3 tbs) more oil the next time,
do not try to add more oil once you have finished. By the same token if the
mayo seems to thick use less oil.

No this is not a misprint more oil make it thicker, less oil makes it
thinner.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Silence of Snow





We had snow last night, a lot of snow. My goodness, it's almost the end of March and there is more snow now than we've had all winter.

There is a profound silence early in the morning after a heavy snow, as though nature doesn't quite want to get up yet. There are no birds chirping, no vehicles, no wind; everything is enjoying the silence.

I linger for a few extra minutes on mornings like this before tackling chores. The chickens don't seem to mind that I am a few minutes behind schedule. I can't help myself. I am hoping I can capture an extra helping of silence to carry me through the day, to keep this peaceful feeling a few moments longer.




Friday, March 15, 2013

Easy Soup Making



This winter I have been having fun cooking soups in my bean pot. I a not sure why, but it seems even easier than simmering on top of the stove. I think part of it is the heat from the oven helps to keep the house warm and the smell, I believe, is even more heavenly than a stove top soup.

It's quite simple. Basically I decide what I want in the soup (good time to clean out the refrigerator), put it all in the bean pot, add water or stock and put in the oven.



If I do it in the wood stove I have to pay more attention to the oven temp and check it more often than the gas stove. In the gas stove I just set the temp at 350oF and let it cook for 3 or 4 hours, depending upon my ingredients (a tough cut of beef takes longer than just vegetables or chicken).

We have had some amazing results!



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