Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

I recently had a bit of extra money.

Okay, so it wasn’t “extra” I wanted to spend it on food storage but I didnt decide until I was thinking about pressure canning a little over a week ago. My father in law gave me a couple of pressure canners about a year ago. I have been putting off using them because they are old, and the guages are daunting. I was afraid that they would be off, and they way that my pressure canner gauges is different than my smaller new one (or any of the others I see online, except the ones that are antiques like mine.)

For several months my father-in-law, then my guy told me that they would get me pressure gauges but they never seemed to get around to it. Recently one of my prepper friends told me that I should just test my All American Pressure Canner, because they are very reliable and accurate. I also found out that they sell everything to replace all the parts on their website.

So I test it, although I have to adjust the temp often and tap the gauge occasionally to ensure its accurately telling me the pressure it seemed to be working very well.

After I tested it, when I made the chili, I didn’t have to adjust the temp on the stove as often, I think it may be a matter of getting used to it, finding what works with your stove, and with your gear.

I digress.

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I haven’t liked ground beef in a really long time, as long as I can remember actually, maybe 15 years atleast.

I will eat it though, I will eat a burger from time to time, especially if they are made at home. I will make tatter tot casserole and even meat loaf.

Recently in the last 6 months or so (I got a meat grinder (actually I got 2, a manual and an electric one, YAY!) I stopped buying ground beef at costco and started buying bulk meat (they sell 3 packs of eye of round roasts and rump roasts and such) so I get the eye of round roasts. Then I get them home and grind them before I freeze it.

In the last year there has been a scare over pink slime. Even when I make something like meat loaf or burgers if I post pictures on facebook (which I do a lot, and D makes fun of me for doing it) I almost always get comments like, I can’t believe you would eat that, don’t know know what pink slime is, how gross how could you even consider eatting anything made out of ground beef.

First of all, after watching a bunch of Penn and Teller Bullshit about hippies who want to inflict their idea of organic and fresh food on the world has skewed my views. America as a whole is VERY spoiled and can afford to be because there are grocery stores everywhere, there are so many safety standards and before these things were made public MANY of these same people at the very things they are crying out about now, probably because they liked them so much.

In the end. I know what pink slime is, it is beef (or another type of meat but in this instance we will say beef) thecuts of beef that are not wanted or the left over bits and they are run through a centrifuge and then the meat bits are seperated from the fat and the meat it then cleaned with ammonia and water (I don’t know they recipe of that mix or how long they are mixed or soaked for and then they are ground either into what looks like ground beef or ground into finer bits and then ground into regular hamburger, in this country up to 70% of the ground beef in our country contains up to 15% of pink slime. They don’t have to tell you or even mention that there is ammonia in the beef that your purchasing.

Honestly, I don’t think it will kill anyone, if anything it makes it more affordable and doesnt really taste very different.

The thing is, for me, I don’t like the texture of ground beef and I believe that this was before they even started adding pink slime to regular grocery store ground beef. When I order from fast food, I always get fish or chicken. Yes I have see the videos about cod and about chicken nuggets, I am an adult. I don’t need the lecture.

In the end I prefer to grind my own beef because the texture is very different to me and I like it a lot better. I cut it into manageable chunks and then I grind it, fat and all, I grind the fat because I think its important to have fat content in ground meat, it holds up better and tastes better, but since I use eye of round roast, there isnt a lot of fat to begin with.

I will post a bunch of pictures, after the jump.

I am also going to post a picture of a baby shaped meat loaf. I am going to do this because it was freaking funny, and I got a lot of jokes that will really offend a lot of people but my friend posted a picture similar several months before and he messaged me and asked me to make it for him for his b-day as his present and instead of a cake, so I did it. I figure it will be the only one I will ever make and I think it is the only one I will ever make. I am an alternative type person and I thought it was funny. I did grind the meat for that as well.

By the way, grinding your own meat (good, lean meat) is not much more expensive that buying it and the cost of a grinder is under $100 and if you don’t have the money for that, find the cut of beef you like (even at Wally World) and ask the butcher (unless its super late at night, pretty much any normal sized grocery store has a butcher)  to grind if for you, it doesnt cost any more to have it ground, it will still be the same price as it was in the roast shape. Only small groceries or specialty butchers will charge you to grind meat, and even then, not often. I have even asked the butcher at the chinese food grocer to grind pork or chicken and they do it for no more than the cost of the meats weight.

Sorry if your offended by the meat loaf shaped like a baby…. It really was hilarious, men do love their meat.

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So this is a question I posed to myself about 6 months ago. I don’t like regular prepackaged salsa and the salsa you buy in the store always tastes… not so fresh.

I’m known for my salsa. Well its not mine. I will explain where I got my amazing recipe, even though I will not share it here (I’ll give it to you if you email me) My friend Inez made it for me, all the time, Whenever we had a get together. One year for my birthday, she brought a grocery bag with the ingredients in it, rather than the salsa and she proceeded to show me how to make it, for my present. :)

Inez learned how to make it from her ex-husbands mother (from central Mexico) her son loved it so much that she wanted  to make sure her son could have it all the time, so she taught Inez. Yay for me… right?

I’ve since tweaked the recipe – made it my own.  Not that I didn’t love Inez’s salsa, I just like more garlic,  and a little more cilantro is all.

So now, whenever we have a game night, or a BBQ, or any get together I make salsa. When I don’t I am asked why I didn’t. I normally make a big batch and keep it in the fridge.

Sometimes I am busy though. tomatoes are better late spring/early summer. What if I didn’t have all the fresh ingredients I needed. And now, I worry about the shit hitting the fan….I refuse to store prepackaged salsa, like I said before, its gross and over cooked to me.

I spent sometime online researching my question. I found a few recipes, but the salsa was so heavily cooked it almost ended up being pasta sauce instead of salsa, and to me, that’s just not what I think of when I think of good salsa. I like the fresh taste.

So D recommended that I speak to one of is friends about it and he said that with the amount of acid from the tomatoes and the lemon juice you can just heat the salsa just to the point of boiling, pack it, and place in the water bath for 12-15 minutes and there ya go.

So I tried it out. It IS a little different from my fresh salsa – but FAR superior to any prepackaged salsa I’ve ever had. You should consider canning your own salsa…. If you haven’t made your own salsa, its not as hard as you might think and fresh is fabulous!!!

Alright so I know that this blog isn’t about my cooking adventures. Who cares, its mine and I’ll write what I want. Haha.

This morning I got up and was rather  motivated.  So I didnt really want to do any heavy baking because its still pretty close to 100 degrees during the day here, but its been nice enough that we’ve turned the AC off and turned the swamp cooler on.

So I made Irish Soda Bread. I baked it to. It is pretty good, tastes kind of like rye bread, only with raisins and oatmeal here and there. Also its a little more like a beefy giant biscuit than a loaf of bread. Still I like it, and I bet it would be super duper awesome with Shepard’s Pie or something like that. Warm and hearty.

I also made 6 different kinds of cookies. I didn’t bake any of them though.

I made:

  • almond poppy seed
  • oatmeal raisin
  • chocolate chip
  • Brownie cookies
  • sugar
  • chamomile/lavender with almond slivers (from a base of sugar cookie dough.)

I made them. I moved each btch into mixing bowls covered them and put them in the fridge. Once they were totally cooled, I spooned them out (I’m not done with the process) onto wax paper on a cookie sheet and put the cookie sheet in the freezer. I have a deep freezer so I just set it on top. I am sure that you could find trays of varying sizes to fit in whatever type frezer you have.

Then once they are frozen solid, I take them out, put them in a vacuum seal bag with a layer of wax paper between the stacks and then I vacuum seal them and place back in the freezer. I recommend marking the bags with the date and type of cookies before taking them out of the freezer, the reason I recommend this is because, your probably much better off having  the cookies stay as chilled as possible during the vacuum and trip back to the freezer. Its okay to take a day or three on this step to let them all freeze fully so there aren’t any squishy messes.

Once I was wrapping the cookie dough adventure, I made tuna salad with boiled eggs, I actually made 2 dozen boiled eggs but I only put about 7 or  in the tuna salad.  (which yeah is about 1/3 of the salad) We’ve been having a lot of salad lately, trying to be more healthy while we can be, and D likes boiled eggs a lot. Well, I do to, probably not as much as him though, but I like making things that he enjoys.

So the tuna salad with mixed greens was lunch and I made brats, zucchini and onions saute’d, and I made friend potatoes I bought the potatoes like 2 weeks ago and I was afraid with how humid its been that they would go bad soon if I didn’t use them. Also, I got a new deep fat fryer, and it was about time I tried it out.

I want to point out here, that I am not much of a deep fried foods kind of person, I don’t do it often but when I do, (tempura battered veggies, or chicken wings) Its pretty cool to have a decent fryer around. Its not something that I NEED but it is something that makes life easier.

That’s pretty much my day of cooking. This kept me in the kitchen almost the entire day, either making, cooking, freezing, or cleaning, I finally finished cleaning the fryer out and putting it back in the box and on the shelf above the cabinets about 30 minutes ago.

since I decided to start taking pictures, I thought I would photograph some of the things I make a bunch but never take pictures of.

I’ve started making bread pretty regularly. I only buy bread now occasionally out of convenience or from the bakery, pastries and such that I don’t want to bake or hotdog/hamburger buns which never taste right when I bake them. (always to heavy)

The recipe that I am using today:

(Sorry the picture isnt perfect) Its on page 75 in “The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook”

I did adjust the recipe slightly and I will talk about the small changes I made and why…

Hopefully you can read the recipe above or have the book, the recipe I used was:

1 1/8 cup water

2 eggs

5tbs butter

4 cups flour

1 tbs wheat gluten

1tbs dough enhancer

1tbs sugar

2 1/4 tsp yeast

2 tsp salt

This is for the 2 pound loaf.

This is my bread maker.

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