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Kitchen The kitchen is the heart of the home. This is where we prepare the food that sustains us and our families.

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Old 08-31-2017, 11:56 PM   #1
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Smile Getting to Be Cooking Season

It's been inexplicably cool these last few days & nights - not cold, more like... fresh with decent breezes out of the northwest. Lovely to properly air out the apartment & the cooler temperatures certainly whet the appetite for heavier meals.

It's also beginning to be the time when miserly food shoppers like me can score some pretty good deals. The next few months are going to be pretty fiscally tight for us so a good deal has the added bonus of making food dollars stretch further. 'Deals' are relative this year - harvests for most produce have been indifferent at best & it's been a cool-ish, wet summer. A lot of produce has not had the benefit of sun & warmth to amp up flavour.

SO & I did our major monthly shop this morning, desperately wanting to avoid the long weekend rush. Adding to the long weekend, school resumes Tuesday, so moms are in, (with whiny kids), stocking up on school lunch foods. We went early, thank goodness because it was starting to get crowded by the time we got to the cash.

I love our local discount grocery store. The gentleman who owns it spends much of his time on the floor - not walking around looking important but stocking shelves, tidying up displays, helping customers & taking notes of items people would like to see stocked. He keeps our small minority enclaves & ethnic communities in the neighbourhood happy with a surprisingly wide variety of food they want.

He also 'hides' unannounced sales items throughout the store. It'd fun when you find them. There are never many of these items at such a huge discount, so when you find them... bonus! I scored 2 nice little roasting chickens & some ground beef at half price. The beef was the only beef worth buying today - it's too early for farmers to be unloading extra cattle & with only 1 cut of hay this year & poor cattle grain crops... beef is spendy. I'm hoping farmers will drastically reduce herds later in the fall, not wanting pay the steep price of feed this winter.

Poultry is a fast 'crop' so you have to grab sales when you find them. It's also a bit early for pork but I scored a nice little loin roast at a good price & a cottage roll that's destined for the slow cooker. Surprisingly, packaged sandwich meats were 40% off today so I stocked up on those - always good to have in the freezer.

We don't eat a ton of bread - I wish they sold 'half loaves' & I don't like it coming out of the freezer - it just doesn't freeze all that well. SO loves cheese buns though & they were clearing some out today even though the expiry date was days away.

Some staples are coming down in price. A lot of cereals - shredded wheat, oats; PLAIN cereals, are back in the affordable range as are crackers. I'm good for flour, sugar & most seasonings but am watching for a few to hit sale prices. If I could just score 5-6 lbs. of butter...

It's going to be a cool 64 degrees tomorrow for a high, dipping to 39 at night. My roasting pan is in the fridge, rented out to one of the roasting birds I bought today, the dressing ingredients are all prepped - just need mixing & cooking & it will be a perfect day to simmer down a new batch of broth.

I'll be baking some cinnamon/raisin rolls & over the weekend, an apple crisp & several loaves of banana bread as soon as the bananas are ripe enough.

Going to do a rice pudding too - don't remember ever making one & I'm wondering - what's the best rice to use for that? I have a feeling 5 minute rice may not be the way to go...LOL
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Old 09-01-2017, 04:30 AM   #2
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I wish they had small loaves of bread too. I don't eat much but I do want toast once in a while. I sometimes buy buns for burgers or hot dogs when they are a good price. I use them for buns but I also will sometimes butter the cut side and fry it like a grilled cheese but I put a little bit of honey on the fried side and it's a nice desert. I also will bake some frozen biscuits and then freeze them so that I can thaw one or two out when I want to and it's so easy. All of my meat is packaged one piece per package. I think this winter I may start cooking more and inviting my friend that is also a widow to come by after work and either eat with me or pick up a meal. I really want to use up some of the stuff in the freezer.
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Old 09-01-2017, 06:20 AM   #3
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I like a medium length type of rice for rice pudding. Popular rice brands in the supermarket, like Uncle Ben's, Minute Rice, Goya, Carolina, Riceland, etc are often medium length. It should say on the bag. Rice is a long keeper, so buy on sale, freeze for 3 days to destroy any bug larvae, repack, and use before the universe expands and the stars disappear.

Sometimes cream is cheaper than butter, or you may just have leftover cream you don't want to go to waste. Make your own butter. The type of cream determines the amount of butter to buttermilk after churning. One quart of whipping cream will give you one pound of butter and two cups of buttermilk. Heavy cream will give you more butter and less buttermilk, while thickened or double cream will give you the most butter. Just pour it into your mixer and let her whip up until it breaks down and clump. Rinse, paddle, season, store. (If I have a cup of cream left over after a recipe I toss it in a Magic Bullet, and after straining toss in a little roasted garlic, parm, and seasoning... or cinnamon and honey... I love flavored butters.)

Bread freezes well for me... in fact I always bake two or three loaves and only keep one in the kitchen while the rest lounge in the freezer. What don't you like about frozen bread?
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Old 09-01-2017, 07:06 AM   #4
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This is the time of year when I start really cooking with a purpose. Hubby went out and picked more chanterelles and last night after supper I prepped them and some other veggies, found some homemade chicken stock in the freezer and made a big batch of mushroom and barley soup. I cooled it after it was cooked and put it in the fridge overnight and this morning I'll portion it out into smaller containers and put it in the freezer. Today I'm making a massive pot of chicken stock and also a batch of French onion soup - both for the freezer.

There are still more mushrooms to be picked and there's a lot of stuff in the garden that needs to get harvested and then most of it needs some kind of processing (cooking, blanching, dehydrating etc) so it can get tucked away for the winter (frozen, canned etc). It's always a busy time of year, but it's also my favourite time of year!!
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Old 09-01-2017, 09:26 AM   #5
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fb, I'd never thought of buying cream & using my mixer to make butter - especially flavoured butters... duh! LOL Really have to try that. Thanx for the rice advice. Bread - it's loaves I buy that just don't come out of the freezer well; maybe if I do a better job rewrapping them to exclude every last molecule of air. Or yeah, just make my own & freeze it. Bread prices have really shot up the last few years, especially this summer. It would be cheaper now to make my own & I can get smaller loaves.

French onion soup! SO has never had that & being a lover of cheese, I think he'd love it.

I've gone through my fridge & freezers, (fridge freezer & small stand alone) & they're ready for judicious refilling. That started yesterday.

We've had a busy few days with lots of walking to/from errands, so today is a "sit on butt & rest" day. Everything is ready to cook my little roast chicken later - I simply have to assemble the dressing, prep & put on some carrots & make a gravy. Early meal between proper lunch & supper, (lupper?) & build a nice stock after.

I was going to do some baking but SO has some turnovers to finish first & I have the makings for strawberry shortcakes I'd like to get through first. One bright spot this cool, wet summer - strawberries have done very well & plants are still producing - makes for good prices. I may buy & freeze some.

I may check my carrots in the garden. They're a good size now - just waiting for them to sweeten up & that may be happening. If so, I'll spend time this afternoon prepping & freezing as many as I can before my hand stiffens up & I begin finding it too tedious.

It's so nice to have the sort of weather that keeps cooking/baking from heating up the apartment.
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Old 09-01-2017, 10:06 AM   #6
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Rambling on.... (I got up about a dozen times when typing this out... Jason is working from home, haha, he is setting up mining computers and can't find his mouse and needs a better power supply and where is his flat head screwdriver... )

I rarely buy bread. It is cheaper to make your own, you get to control your ingredients, and you aren't stuck with the limited selection you find in supermarkets. Plus, most recipes result in 2-3 loaves so you have one to eat now and one or two for the freezer. I normally have about 6 different types in the freezer, plus a bunch of pizza dough, and make more when I use the last one of a species.

Jan/Feb is strawberry season down here. I can get the big flats almost wholesale (less if they are past their prime). I puree the fruit and pour it into ice cube trays. Mike is the primary consumer - he'll take a couple of strawberry cubes and a fresh banana and blend it with yogurt. I also freeze lemon juice, and will take a strawberry and a lemon cube and blend it with ice water and agave for a flavored lemonade. The cubes get used up a lot faster than the sliced or whole fruit and berries just because they are so easy to grab and toss into a blender.

Do you have a crockpot? I make apple and pumpkin butters in the autumn when I can get autumn fruits and veggies for a good price. You can usually find apple pie and pumpkin pie seasonings on clearance too, to spice them up. Want to win friends and influence people? Make pumpkin spice pancakes with maple syrup and whipped cinnamon butter.

I always have a couple of containers of sprouts and microgreens. They're a really nice way to add fresh produce to your diet, and very cheap. A pound of alfalfa seed is around $13 and will make scores of the same little tubs you buy in the supermarket for $3 each. Hit up your ethnic stores for mung, lentil, mustard and methi (fenugreek) seeds. Other varieties are found for good prices online. Perfect fix for your winter gardening bug.

....and now I am being called again...
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Old 09-01-2017, 10:39 AM   #7
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I spent a bit of time this morning costing out making my own bread 7 yup... WAY cheaper so that's what I'll do from now on. I just finished reloading my small spice containers from my spice stash - I always love how that makes the kitchen smell.

Crockpot - yup; have that, a bread maker, a small & basic food processer, (cut, chop, slice, dice type), a hand mixer... next one I buy is going to have more oomph, a very basic set of pots, pans & cooking tools but really, I can probably do just about anything I would want to using that stuff. Heck, our foremothers managed just fine!

Lord, I'm getting cravings for mousses, (mocha!) & I'd like to try a panna cotta. I looked at a few recipes & it doesn't look too difficult. I was drooling over a mixed berry cobbler recipe last night as well. Definitely closing in on autumn if I'm starting to crave heavy foods, especially desserts.

I'm a little embarrassed though. I can't for the life of me remember what a pork cottage roll tastes like...LOL And I have a nice, fat specimen of one in my freezer.

SO has had me up & looking for things this morning - his glasses, set of Allen keys, glass of lemonade. I think he's finally settled for a bit.

Back to straightening out some kitchen drawers.
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Old 09-02-2017, 08:20 AM   #8
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Sue I like Lidia Bastianich. http://lidiasitaly.com I watch her cooking show on PBS called Lidias Kitchen. On her show she prepares dishes using basic ingredients, in season fruits and without fancy gadgets.
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Old 09-02-2017, 09:53 AM   #9
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Thanx Lv... I've heard she's worth watching.
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Old 09-02-2017, 01:35 PM   #10
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I must try this bread. http://www.food.com/recipe/almost-no...ead-2-0-290761 I have two smallish pots and could make bread bowls for chili.
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Old 09-06-2017, 06:48 PM   #11
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Summer won't go away but I'm simmering beef stew regardless.
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Old 09-12-2017, 03:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flourbug View Post
Sometimes cream is cheaper than butter, or you may just have leftover cream you don't want to go to waste. Make your own butter. The type of cream determines the amount of butter to buttermilk after churning. One quart of whipping cream will give you one pound of butter and two cups of buttermilk. Heavy cream will give you more butter and less buttermilk, while thickened or double cream will give you the most butter. Just pour it into your mixer and let her whip up until it breaks down and clump. Rinse, paddle, season, store. (If I have a cup of cream left over after a recipe I toss it in a Magic Bullet, and after straining toss in a little roasted garlic, parm, and seasoning... or cinnamon and honey... I love flavored butters.)
HMM, I inherited my grandmother's old cranked paddle butter churn.

Looks something like this.

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Old 09-12-2017, 03:51 PM   #13
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Lehman's sells a more recent version of the Dazey churn - good for working those muscles.

https://www.lehmans.com/product/lehm...-butter-churn/
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Old 09-12-2017, 04:09 PM   #14
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I'll have to compare the cost of creams to cost of 1 lb. of butter.
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Old 09-12-2017, 09:10 PM   #15
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Lehman's sells a more recent version of the Dazey churn - good for working those muscles.

https://www.lehmans.com/product/lehm...-butter-churn/
Nylon gears would make it easier to turn.

---------- Post added at 08:10 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:07 PM ----------

Quote:
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I'll have to compare the cost of creams to cost of 1 lb. of butter.
Since hand churned butter would be higher quality compare to Kerry Gold or Falfurrias butter.
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Old 09-12-2017, 09:13 PM   #16
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Good point - I'll price the premium butters.
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Old 09-13-2017, 04:00 PM   #17
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https://www.thespruce.com/fall-cooking-4128153
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Old 09-13-2017, 04:24 PM   #18
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drum - you're mean...LOL

I had a nice supper planned; cottage roll with veggies in the slow cooker but SO woke me early, (WAY too early), with symptoms of a tummy bug. He's still at the 'small sips of fluids' phase so I thawed & cooked up a quick chicken stew with dumplings for myself.
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Old 09-13-2017, 05:05 PM   #19
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Ok, I'll bite. What the heck is a cottage roll?
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Old 09-13-2017, 05:38 PM   #20
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A cured pork shoulder. I'll confess, I've never had one. Looks like the meat is held together with string netting. That & it being fairly inexpensive suggested to me it might be a god idea to slow cook it.
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Old 09-13-2017, 07:06 PM   #21
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My mother used to make cottage ham all the time, usually with cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. It can be very salty so be sure to rinse well before cooking.

I'd just toss it in a crockpot and let it cook all day. Add your veggies later so they're not overcooked.
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Old 09-13-2017, 07:14 PM   #22
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Thanx - I'd read it's pretty salty so I've been rinsing it & have it soaking in clean water in the fridge right now.

That's my plan - shove it into my Crockpot tomorrow, adding veggies later in the cook, then taking it out, glazing it with some pan drippings, brown sugar & dry mustard... then chowing down.
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Old 09-13-2017, 07:30 PM   #23
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You can save the broth once the ham is cooked and make soup. Good use for ham and veggie leftovers.
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Old 09-13-2017, 07:33 PM   #24
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I've learned the habit of saving broth & am cursing myself for not having started doing that YEARS ago. Told yas - I'm an indifferent, pedantic 'cook'... trying to improve & that's easy enough as there is LOTS of room for improvement.

Stupid cooking question... I skim a lot of fat off the top of cooked broths - pork, chicken, beef. Is anyone looking or can I get away with saying this....? I've been throwing it out. That seems like a ridiculous waste but I'm not sure how to best use them. If someone could point me out to a guide of sorts on use of such fats, I promise to mend my ways.
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Old 09-13-2017, 09:46 PM   #25
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I don't skim all the fat off, it adds flavor. But I do throw away what I remove.
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