Posted in Kitchen Tips, Recipes

Garlic Bread-The Easiest and Best

This just needs your toaster, so it is really quick.

Ingredients – Bread, Oil, Minced Garlic, Lemon Pepper (highly recommended but can sub with Massel stock powder or salt)

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Persian Garlic bread hanging out with friends with benefits

Step 1: Put chosen bread in toaster.  Fold if it is flat bread, slice thinner if it is Turkish bread.  Western sliced bread works fine.  Persian/Iranian bread, similar to naan, about $3-$4 for 5 rounds from Arabic grocers is my favourite- cut a round into half then fold the half into thirds and gently stuff into toaster.

Step 2: When lightly toasted, remove from toaster and spread with oil.  You can just use a spoon or a knife.  My favourite way is to keep a 50/50 blend of olive oil (cheap)/macadamia oil (tasty) in an aluminium hairdressing spray bottle (bought from ‘variety/junk’ shops $2-$3).  We spray this on toast in place of butter/marg.  I tried to buy an expensive fancy culinary stainless steel one. More fool me, it was hopeless.  The aluminium ones won’t so much ‘spray’ as ‘stream’ after one use, but it is a really useful, cheap and efficient tool to have in the kitchen.  Better than buying aerosol oil sprays for sure!!!

Step 3: Spread on minced garlic.  Use the bought stuff IF YOU MUST! Or prepare some especially… or even better, next time you are in front of telly, peel bulk home grown stuff or the best quality bought stuff you can afford.  Freeze the peeled cloves, or blend with olive oil, salt and some citric/tartaric or ascorbic acid and keep in a jar in the fridge (sorry, I don’t know the official quantities, the idea is to hold anaerobic salmonella at bay while not turning the puree inedible through its acidity, so far I am not dead with adding about half a teaspoon of acid, a similar amount of salt + 25 % olive oil to 75% garlic and blending and keeping in the fridge in a 300g Dorito salsa dip style jar and using over weeks.***   (Aussies, if you prefer to get a similarly dimensioned jar with much more dimensional ingredients, I heartily recommend this amazing cashew sensation.)

.***ALL GUESSTIMATES****

Step 4: Sprinkle on Lemon Pepper.  Seriously, do it.  The capitalisation isn’t an accident.  I’m just not sure how to add haloes to lemons.نتيجة بحث الصور عن ‪halo lemon emoji‬‏ نتيجة بحث الصور عن ‪halo lemon emoji‬‏This stuff adds glorious pizazz to so many things. Like pizza.  Look for it in bulk in Indian or Arabic grocers, or in the supermarket for smaller, way over-priced doses of this love drug! Sub with salt or Massel stock powder and any other jazzing up you choose.

Step 5 : Eat… while everyone else is still waiting for their oven to heat up.

Posted in Kitchen Tips

What to do with excess broad beans

While I am on a roll…!

Save the best ones for next year, (plant in March, you need cold winters for them to set fruit) allow them to dry in a cool, dry place in their pod.

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De-pod the victims who are going to be eaten.  I never peel the beans themselves.  Who has time?  Pick them when they aren’t too big and they will be fine as is.

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Broad bean falafels (On top of seitan and zucchini burgers.)
Use them to make the best falafels you’ve ever made.  Process into fine pieces in a food processor bowl along with onion, parsley, garlic, chilli, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper and then add flour or vital wheat gluten to glue together. I cook mine on the sandwich press (which is why they are flat) and freeze extras for later.

Use for soup, (blend, or use whole in miso or pho) or dips.

Broad Bean “Crumble”: Roughly process then fry with herbs (sage, rosemary,oregano thyme etc) and garlic and stock powder.  Serve with flat bread or pasta…you can make creamy sauce by adding white wine and coconut cream.

Eat as a snack with beer (like eda mame but pods already removed).  Cook whole (de-podded) beans on sandwich press when nearly done add some soy/garlic/chilli/pepper/sesame seeds.

IMG20170228113238.jpgGyoza dumplings: process raw beans to a rough crumb.  Stir fry or cook on sandwich press with a sauce of your choosing (we used rendang for something different).  Wrap in round gyoza wrappers, pinching closed at top with fingers and using a flour-water ‘glue’ to seal shut.  Cook in fry pan with lid or on sanga press, splashing over a bit of water towards the end of cooking to steam them through.  Serve with a soy sauce and vegenaise blend.

For those you won’t use imminently:

Freezing them is the best option.  They come out just like new ones when defrosted, in fact better, as they need less cooking time.

Drying them is great if freezer space is limited but then they end up a bit ‘mah’…the skins toughen and they aren’t that exciting imho.  They take a long time to soak and cook.  If you have one, use a pressure cooker.

Broad beans are also known as fava beans.

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(As always, these are ideas only, please ensure that you are happy with the safety of preserved food before you consume it.)

Posted in Kitchen Tips

What to do with excess zucchinis

Q. Why do country people lock their cars?

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A. So their neighbours won’t leave zucchinis in them.

If you don’t have an excess of zucchinis, but would like one, I find Black Jack variety to be the best.  I grow from seeds, because it is cheaper and you do not want to grow more than two plants unless you are feeding an army!  Honestly, from two plants so far we have had about 15kgs of produce.  And that is with us cutting them off to prevent even more…

Plant seeds as the weather starts to warm up.  Protect the young seedlings from being eaten with either a ‘mini greenhouse’ (aka a plastic bottle with the top cut off and turned upside down over the area) in cooler weather, or in hotter weather, cut the top and bottom off to create a ‘cuff’ that goes around it. Remove the bottle once the plant is out of the danger zone as it will rapidly outgrow it.

The zucchinis (or courgettes) for sale in fruit shops are just tiny specimens of the giant triffid-like marrows they will become if left unwatched for a couple of days.  I think they are just as yummy big as small.

There are lots of recipes out there, here are a couple of my ideas to add to the fray…it’s amazing where you can stick zucchinis with nobody noticing…*ahem*…!

Fettucchini

Most people don’t own a spiraliser with which to make ‘zoodles’…zucchini noodles. Quicker and easier, instead grab a big zuc and run your $2 vegetable peeler fast up and down its length… you can have ‘fettucchini’ instead! Serve chilled with a chilled raw tomato and herb sauce on those hot days.

You can also use this fettucchini in place of papaya in ‘som tum’ -thai green papIMG20170228132316[1].jpgaya salad.  To make vegan som tum just leave out the fish sauce and use soy sauce instead.  If you want to be really fancy buy some vegan anchovies to sprinkle over the top from Vincent Vegetarian in Footscray.

It is also perfect in fresh Vietnamese spring rolls.  The best wrappers I have found are the ones with the rose on the or the horse.  I didn’t like the Erawan ones from the supermarket at all, though that was a while ago and they may have changed the formula.  Dip in super hot water until just soft then use immediately.  I put my frying pan full of hot water on the stove and use that.

And of course, just add it to any salad you like.

Zwater

Don’t add water to your cooking, add zwater!!

Liquefy zucchini then add it in place of liquid in cooking…even in cakes…just say it is green tea flavour if anyone asks and you will sound really cool.  You can even add some green tea ‘matcha’ powder if you believe in truth in advertising…

I made green lasagne…mozzarella recipe from here, but using zwater instead.(Mozzuchrella is cooking in pan in pic above). The tomato sauce was made from zwater and tomato paste blended with herbs and garlic.  Finally the lasagne sheets were replaced with microwaved zucchini slices.  In between i layers red caps, eggplant and sweet potato all done on the sandwich press.  There was no need to bake in oven, I just heated up individual serves when ready to eat.

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seitan loves zucchini

I also made seitan, very loosely following this recipe, but of course using magic zwater blended with stock powder in place of the broth and water.  Seitan is a 2000 year old concept which result in ‘wheat meat’.

Sun dry them

Slice thinly, sprinkle with salt and put out in the sun, preferably under glass.  Grease-proof paper will prove to be your friend here.  I am using racks from the oven under our coffee table and gutter guard under the drying table.

Ensure they are COMPLETELY dry then store in airtight containers for use later in winter soups.

 

…and last, but not least…

Give them away

If you can!  Hopefully these tips will help make re-homing easier!

 

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(As always, these are ideas only, please ensure that you are happy with the safety of preserved food before you consume it.)

 

Posted in Kitchen Tips

What to do with excess cherry plums

Cherry plums are small plums that look like cherries (fancy that!) which grow all over the place in Victoria.  I think the ones on trees with red leaves are nicest.

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Unfortunately they all ripen around the same time (early-mid January), leaving you with a small window of incredible abundance.

Not owning a cherry pitter, in previous years I have tried pushing out the seed with an arrow shaft to separate it from the fruit, but it was time consuming, messy and not that great.  If you have access to a pitter, you could try that, then halve and sun dry them,   make jam, or bottle them.

Also time consuming, I have cut the ‘cheeks’ off them and sundried.  If you cut downwards, parallel to the indent you will get the biggest pieces cos the seed is slimmer that way.  Again, jam, dry or bottle.

This year, I found an alternative technique, using the microwave*.  This will give you juice and pulp.

  1. Put your plums in bowl and nuke for a couple of minutes until hot and splitting.
  2. Put into a strainer and strain them as much or as little as you like. (I did it to the max to get out the amazing red syrup which we then used in cooking and as a drink.  It is just like cranberry juice except not sprayed, packaged in plastic and shipped from the U.S.A.   It is great mixed with soda (and vodka?).  Can be used in cakes, in soups, jam, sorbet etc.  It holds it colour and lasts in fridge for ages.  You could freeze or bottle this juice if you can’t use it all now.
  3. Spread the remaining skin/pulp out onto greaseproof paper.  Pick out and discard the pits and put out in the sun to dry, preferably covered with glass, which greatly magnifies the heat.
  4. When it it totally dry, cut it up with scissors and keep in a sealed bag.  Add into homemade muesli or baking.

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*(We were late on the uptake of a nuker. I would never go back to not having one now, it introduces great new scope to cooking technique.  And its bloody convenient.)

(As always, these are ideas only, please ensure that you are happy with the safety of preserved food before you consume it.)

Posted in Kitchen Tips

Pressure cookers-like slow cookers, but fast

Pressure cookers can be designed either for regular stove top use, or as a plug in appliance.

How does a pressure cooker work?
A pressure cooker is a sealed pot with a valve that controls the steam pressure inside. As the pot heats up, the liquid inside forms steam, which raises the pressure in the pot. This high pressure steam has two major effects:

  1. Raises the boiling point of the water in the pot. When cooking something wet, like a stew or steamed vegetables, the heat of your cooking is limited to the boiling point of water (212°F). But with the steam’s pressure now the boiling point can get as high as 250°F. This higher heat helps the food to cook faster.
  2. Raises the pressure, forcing liquid into the food. The high pressure also helps force liquid and moisture into the food quickly, which helps it cook faster and also helps certain foods, like tough meat, get very tender very quickly.

The extra-high heat of the pressure cooker also promotes caramelization and browning in a surprising way — we’re not used to food caramelizing when it is cooking in liquid. But the flavors created in a pressure cooker can be really deep and complex — unlike regular steamed foods.

http://www.thekitchn.com/a-primer-on-pressure-cooking-193715

Considerations, depending on what type of cook you are:

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Tefal  neo 5 – includes steam basket

Stove top – need to monitor it just like regular saucepan cooking.

Made from stainless steel.  Should last a lifetime (rubber seals may need replacing in the distant future).

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Electric – can be controlled run by timer and preset temperature settings.

Most have non stick inner pots, though you might find stainless if prefer.  Unlikely to last as long as a stove top model.

Takes up bench space which may, or may not be limited in your kitchen.

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I have a regular stovetop one as mentioned in Legumes, Starch and Farts 101 but I can definitely see why people might be drawn to electric.

I can’t imagine cooking without one now.

Add what you are cooking, bring to point where pressure is indicated, then turn stove down low, just enough to keep the pressure up, while not enough to burn the pot or its yummies within.

You can’t just take the lid on and off a pc like a normal saucepan. You first will need to remove it from the heat source, then release the pressure valve.  If you are in a rush, you can run a bit of cold water over the side of it.

If you open it while there is still a bit of pressure, your lentils will be on the floor, man.

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Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • If you start with well-soaked chickpeas or beans, tip off soak water then cover with boiling water, they should be cooked to perfection in about 15 minutes (instead of imperfection after 40 minutes.  Brown rice and buckwheat, same time and technique, but no soaking required.
  • Turn the temperature down low and you can do ‘slow cooked’ dishes…fast.
  • Great for making winter soups with soup mix in them.  Also pumpkin/potato soup.  Cube the vegies and add some boiling water with flavouring of your choice.  Seal up and check after 15 mins, should be well done.  Add green stuff at the end or it will go yellow.  Partially blend with a stick mixer (if you have one).to create a variety of textures, otherwise just use your normal blender…be bloody chqdefaultareful the lid doesn’t come off though, when blending hot stuff like this.
  • Learn ‘the curry secret’…basically make curry sauce by blending a few old things out of the bottom of your fridge (carrots/capsicums-seeds and all, mushrooms/zucchini/tomato/apple/pumpkin/ginger) etc) together with water, tomato paste, spices and coconut cream or cashews (optional) and cook this gently in your pc as the curry sauce, along with whatever is to make the ‘bits’ in the curry…cooked chickpeas, potato, vegies etc (Before adding the sauce to your pc you might like to fry a few whole spices coriander,cumin, fennel, cardamon seeds, curry leaves etc( in oil first and leave them in there when you add the sauce.) Improve the final taste with the judicious addition of salt and coconut oil.hqdefault_001.jpg
  • Use the steam basket to cook vegies while your rice is cooking, or just cook them over a couple of centimetres of water.  Use this water to make gravy or in soup or something.
  • Make cauliflower mash…steam a cauliflower until it is nursing home texture, then blend with seasoning of you choice, great for potato dodgers.
  • Pasta (and gnocchi) cook much quicker in a pc.  Because we all know that vegetarian food = pasta, right kids?!

 

 

So be nice to your pressure cooker,

learn what it is capable of

and

hopefully, it will be very nice to you in return!

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