I bought some kefir, a fermented milk, from a health food store and since then have been making my own. I don’t strain and rinse the kefir grains; I just spoon some lumps from the fermented milk to a new jar and fill it up with milk. It ferments while protected from dust but exposed to air, as I lay a paper towel over the jar. The resulting mixture tastes something like buttermilk or watered down yogourt. I let it ferment for about two days at room temperature as I like it sour.

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Homemade light whipped butter

I’m stealing this from a friend’s FB page so it doesn’t get lost. Homemade light whipped butter:

This has less saturated fat and cholesterol than butter, fewer calories, it spreads, and it’s cheaper than comparable prepared spreads. It’s also delicious.

1/4 cup (four tablespoons) butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
1/4 cup neutral-tasting oil, such as canola, grapeseed, etc.
1/4 cup Greek yogurt at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
drops of warm water as necessary

Make sure everything’s at room temp. A stand mixer works best, but you need at least an electric hand mixer. Whip butter on high for two minutes. Scrape bowl. Whip on high while slowly pouring in oil. Add salt. Continue to let whip for five minutes (really, all the way on high). Add yogurt while whipping a bit at a time. Use drops of warm water to soften if the mixture is clumping.

Let whip on KitchenAid mixer high setting for at least 10 minutes. Just walk away from it.

When thoroughly whipped until the barest soft peaks form, scrape into a bowl and refrigerate. For best taste serve in a mid-century pressed-glass refrigerator butter dish.

Homemade chai mix

This sounds absolutely delicious: home-made chai mix. It contains black tea, cardamom, cloves, fennel, and ginger.

Recipes: Texas red chili

Ripe jalapeño pepper, cooking onion, chili poblano pepper, & red bell pepper

I’m going to have to try this recipe for Texas red chili. It’s all (organically raised) meat, herbs, and condiments, and uses bales of cumin. Could be interesting! Well, that one’s disappeared: here’s another: Martha Stewart’s Texas Red Chili.

r more about chili peppers, see The Learning Channel Cooking: How to cook chili peppers.

Happiness is…

Happiness is learning new ways to cook. When I was growing up, my mum’s dinner plan was a chunk of meat fried into dry leather, boiled peeled potatoes, and two canned veg or, once a week, spaghetti & meatballs with home-canned sauce. Marrow, a watery summer squash, was cooked an hour in true British style. Gradually she added Hungarian goulash; pork chops on scalloped potatoes; beef cooked in tomatoes; Swedish-style pork balls and cooked celery; home-made chicken soup; Chinese-style beef, beans, and rice; and many more fresh veg as the stores began to carry them. Around the time I left for university, she began making stir-fries with a small amount of meat and a lot of fresh vegetables. I’m so proud of her!

Update: I went looking for the Chinese-style recipe on the internet. It’s called Ow Yuk Sung. I found out that Yuk Sung is minced cooked pork on lettuce leaves. I also found a Korean version using oyster sauce & hoisin sauce and served over rice. Here’s a similar recipe using both mushrooms and pork, called Chow Yook Sung. Ours is quite juicy so we line a bowl with rice and serve it in that.

Recipes: Ow Yuk Sung

This is a kind of faux Chinese food. We got it out of a magazine in the 1960s and have been serving it ever since.

Ow Yuk Sung

  • 1 – 1.5 c. rice
  • 3/4 lb (400 g) raw hamburger or other minced meat
  • 1 cooking onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 lb. of green beans
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2.5 tablespoons corn starch
  • water as needed
  1. Clean the green beans. Wash, remove stem end, cut into short lengths, e.g. 1 inch (3 cm).
  2. While you make the rest of this, cook 1 – 1.5 cups of dry rice by your preferred method. I microwave it, 5 minutes to heat the water and 14 minutes on lower power to cook the rice, using a rice:water ratio of 1:2.5. If you use salt, 1 teaspoon of salt.
  3. To speed this up, boil two cups of water separately. While it’s heating….
  4. Cut onion into slivers. Oil a heavy saucepan and start frying the onion.
  5. Peel and chop garlic and add it; continue heating until the onion is translucent and turning golden.
  6. Add the hamburger and cook for three minutes, stirring to break it up into small chunks.
  7. Add 2 cups of boiling water and the soy sauce. When the mixture starts to bubble, add the green beans. Cook until the beans are bright green and tender, 5 – 7 minutes.
  8. Mix the cornstarch with a little cold water. Add it to the beans & meat gradually while stirring until well mixed. Cook gently until the sauce turns thicker and shiny (a few more minutes).
  9. While the sauce is thickening, pour the finished rice into a large serving bowl. Use the back of a big spoon to form the rice into a smooth lining for the bowl.
  10. When the sauce is ready, pour the mixture into the bowl of rice and serve to your delighted guests.

This serves four and reheats really well.

Stove vs. fire alarm

I am cooking meat. I bought chops and roasts on sale Now cooking them to slice, freeze, eat. As soon as I had them in the oven, the fire alarm went off. There’s something wrong with a loud, annoying alarm that is so sensitive it goes off whenever you cook something.

I cancelled the alarm and opened the doors, so the furnace started. I turned down the furnace and opened the kitchen window. I hope that provides the right balance of fresh air and cooking vapours for our sensitive alarm and my delicate hot-house skin.

I am also trying something new: putting a bed of sliced potatoes under the meat to catch drippings, prevent boiling fats from splashing around and, I hope, producing a few servings of delicious potato. AND I’m cooking the pork bones into soup stock.

Finished: three pairs of pork chops with potatoes, labelled and in the freezer; enough roast beef for seven sandwiches sliced, weighed, packaged, labelled and six of them frozen plus four servings of potatoes in beef gravy, three of them frozen. I had pork chops and potatoes for supper and I just turned off the stock to let it cool. I usually go from one week to the next without red meat or much meat at all so this will be a treat.