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Pickling with whey???

Just checking back in to say that for the record, it worked!
I had to split the recipe I was making between 2 jars, and directions called for topping off pressed cabbage w/ water if liquid was not enough to cover. As an experiment(within an experiment) I topped one jar off with the water, and one off with additional whey. The one that got the additional whey was notably more matured and sour tasting after the initial 3 days ripening, causing me to believe that my whey did, in fact, have some useful bacteria in it...
Although I'm sure less than it would have had had it been raw, etc.

Jan 07, 2014
Gracemama in Home Cooking

Is molasses a source of iron?

If so, how much does it pack per tablespoon? I'm talking about normal, unsulphured molasses here. I can't seem to hunt this info down on the net. All I can find is people talking about blackstrap, which, of course, I know is superior. But I'd like to know about the molasses I have sitting here on my shelf. For whatever reason I haven't been able to locate even one side by side comparison of blackstrap and regular molasses... Thanks for helping me clear this up, if you know!

Jan 07, 2014
Gracemama in General Topics

Pickling with whey???

Ok, thanks everyone. I made my cheese+whey from UHT whole milk at a gently rolling boil, using vinegar. Doesn't sound too promising then for the sauerkraut ...but I also did add salt (about 1 1/2 Tbsp for 1 head cabbage.) so there may still be hope...
Thanks for the Sandor Katz reference, just read his tips about
making kraut and will try that method next time, I think.
Most of what I was reading about
lacto-fermentation online seems to have been inspired by a book called "Nurturing Traditions" which I have never read. The recipe I used called for packing down the cabbage in a mason jar until the juices come up to the top and cover it, leaving at least an inch of room, and sealing it tightly with absolutely no opening allowed during the initial few days of ripening. Not weighting it and sealing it tightly seemed a little counter-intuitive to me...? But whatever, I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt, waiting my few days w/o peeking and then we'll see whether or not the salt, um, won the battle with the bad bacterias or not....

Dec 18, 2013
Gracemama in Home Cooking

Pickling with whey???

After reading a couple websites and recipes about the wonders of lacto-fermentation, talking about making saurkraut w/ whey and soaking whole grains in whey to render their iron more absorbable, I felt inspired.
So I used a recipe I'd found for lacto-fermented saurkraut and whipped it up using some whey I had leftover after making a batch of fresh cheese. But I was puzzled after reading about obtaining whey by straining yoghurt....my whey was nowhere near as sour and funky as that. Which had me trying to find out: is whey, whey? Or are there types? None of the lacto fermentation websites I'd looked over distinguished between types. But I guess there are 2 types: sweet, like I used, and acid, which obviously makes more sense for pickling, fermenting, etc.
Is my saurkraut screwed?

Dec 18, 2013
Gracemama in Home Cooking

Another canning question

If it were me, I'd probably opt for eating it or freezing it at this point, because it is almost a week since it was made and
because I've sometimes had issues with sauces containing sugar crystallizing when re-boiled although I don't claim any expertise on that subject. Depending on how much sugar and booze it has in it it may remain semi liquid in the freezer, though.

Dec 15, 2013
Gracemama in Home Cooking

Roll Out Cookies

What about mint chocolate pinwheels? They won't do if you have a special cookie cutter you want to use, since they are sliced off a roll, but they do involve rolling out.
Chocolate Mint Pinwheels

10-oz bag of mint choco-chips
3/4 c soft butter
1/3 c sugar
1 egg (or alternative, in which case you may want to skip chilling the dough)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp salt

Melt over hot not boiling water 1/2 c of the chips. If microwaving do in 15 second increments and check and stir. In either case you are trying to avoid overheating the chips which could then burn and get scabby (gross!) Let cool.
Cream butter & sugar, add egg or alt, vanilla extract, beat well; it may look curdled but that's okay. Gradually add flour and salt. Put 1 c of dough into bowl with melted chips, blend, make a ball and flatten it. Put in a plastic bag in fridge for 1 1/2 hrs or so. Chill non-chocolate dough same way.
Then preheat oven to 375'. Roll each ball of dough into about a 13" x 9" rectangle between sheets of waxed paper. Remove papers and set chocolate dough sheet on top of plain dough sheet. Roll up lengthwise jelly-roll style. Cut into 1/4" slices. They get deformed sometimes so you'll have to re-round them. Bake 7-8 minutes or until very lightly browned. Cool on rack. Melt rest of chips, stir smooth, and spread each cookie with 1/2 slightly rounded tsp of chips.

Dec 15, 2013
Gracemama in Home Cooking

Napa Stir-frying Tips?

Great, I will try this!

Dec 15, 2013
Gracemama in Home Cooking

Napa Stir-frying Tips?

Thanks for the recipe link, foodslut. With a couple of substitutions, I was able to make it yesterday. Yum.

Dec 15, 2013
Gracemama in Home Cooking

Napa Stir-frying Tips?

Huh!
I'd seen both spellings (way less of the nappa variation, though) and I assumed they were just alternate, but equally acceptable, transcriptions of the same word. Wouldn't have guessed that one was a perversion of the other!
How interesting, thanks for sharing.

Dec 13, 2013
Gracemama in Home Cooking

Napa Stir-frying Tips?

Thanks! I guess I was wondering about ipsedixit's pan-fry method as he/she mentioned pan frying as being a better option for Nappa than stir frying, sorry I was a bit vague. I guess I'm not really clear on the difference in technique between pan-frying and stir-frying. Can you (or can someone) break it down for me in an easy to understand way? Because I guess I'm still not clear on it after reading your advice, which sounds almost exactly like what I've been doing with cabbage-cabbage and savoy cabbage, and all along I thought I was stir-frying. ...hmm. So good, though. I learned it from a sage foodie-friend, and was astonished that such a simple, easy unseasoned dish can be sooo good. I'll have to try with your choice of garnishes now! When you say shred, you don't mean shred with a shredder, do you? We're talking thin-slicing-off-of-the-head-with-a-sharp-implement, right?

Dec 13, 2013
Gracemama in Home Cooking

Napa Stir-frying Tips?

And how would I go about pan-frying cabbage? Can you give me a quick 2 sentence tutorial on it, maybe? That would be great!

Dec 13, 2013
Gracemama in Home Cooking

Napa Stir-frying Tips?

Thanks ricepad & sheetz... Taking the idea of trying to get out some of the excess water before stir-frying, but worried about overcooking, I decided to see if salting would pull some water out. Got about 3/4 cup out of 1 head, chopped.
Then I did the stir frying in batches. Turned out great, actually fried this time!
Other posters, I'm getting on to your advice tomorrow!

Dec 13, 2013
Gracemama in Home Cooking

Napa Stir-frying Tips?

Thanks, I'll try this.

Dec 12, 2013
Gracemama in Home Cooking

Napa Stir-frying Tips?

Last time I tried to stir fry napa cabbage, I failed. Gave it the treatment I'd give any other veggie I'd want to stir-fry(oil, my strongest flame) BUT,
it immediately let out so much water, that instead of frying, it cooked in its own juice, resulting in something with a flavor and texture far less wonderful than I was aiming for....
Now I have another head of napa cabbage. I'd like to succeed in my efforts at a great napa stir-fry this time, so can someone please enlighten me? What is the secret?
The only thing I can think of is that my western stove is too weak for the job? Can this only be accomplished over a crazy-hot fire? Thanks for your tips!

Dec 12, 2013
Gracemama in Home Cooking

Uses of non-fat dry milk powder?

Fun fact for those of you who, like me, are inclined to think of milk powder as being one of those slightly icky food products spawned by modern industrial food production:
I read that Genghis Khan's army knew about, and carried with it, powdered milk or something very much like it. Who'd have guessed?

Aug 06, 2013
Gracemama in General Topics

Uses of non-fat dry milk powder?

Hmmm! I'm going to try this.
I was surprised to find out what a sweet taste the milk powder has on its own, so I understand now why you only need a little honey. I'm still not quite envisioning how they're going to become bars... I guess I'll figure that out when I get there. Is the idea to get a kind of roll-out-cookie-dough consistency, then roll out, cut into bars, and wrap individually, no-bake?

Aug 06, 2013
Gracemama in General Topics

Uses of non-fat dry milk powder?

Thanks BootC for the tea tip...nonfat though it may be, it is handy to be able to add some milk to tea or coffee without making it all watered down. The only thing I haven't figured out yet is how to ensure it mixes in lump-free when adding in powdered form...is the secret that the liquid has to be piping hot?

Aug 06, 2013
Gracemama in General Topics

Uses of non-fat dry milk powder?

Thanks, Chefpaulo! I made 2 batches of ice cream(walnut and mint w/ shaved chocolate) using the ratio you suggested. Both turned out delish...and disappeared rapidly;)

Aug 06, 2013
Gracemama in General Topics

Uses of non-fat dry milk powder?

I've been given a whopping bag of it and haven't got a clue what to do with it. I mean, I know it's like, * mix with water! * but a tall glass of reconstituted non-fat milk doesn't really appeal. I was hoping for some more creative ideas.
I know they use it in the food industry all the time, but I'm not sure that means it's good....

One idea I had was this: I'm planning on whipping up a batch of ice cream. Would adding the nonfat milk powder actually improve texture and taste? Or would it more likely lessen quality/detract from the homemade-ice-cream-goodness?

Thanks for your tips and insights!

Jul 24, 2013
Gracemama in General Topics

How to keep homemade sweet dessert sauces from crystallizing?

I know corn syrup can be used in place of sugar, but I'm wondering if there's a more technique-based secret. Because when I've made chocolate sauces with sugar(no corn syrup) at home, sometimes they've stayed liquid and smooth even when refrigerated, other times they've crystalized as soon as they've cooled. I just can't figure out why! I know there must be a reason, and I'd like to know what it is so I can cook a little more intelligently in the future;)
Thanks for your insights.

the salad spinner: kitchen essential or waste of space?

Just wondering what your opinions are...
Do you love them or hate them?
And if you're a fan, do they do anything else to earn their place in your kitchen besides drying lettuce?

Jun 12, 2013
Gracemama in Cookware
1

Foods from your childhood that you still love and/or prepare

Mmm....jealous of the Honduran food!

May 17, 2013
Gracemama in General Topics

Botched Peanut Brittle...Please Help!

So...I, new to candy making, thought I'd whip up some peanut brittle for Christmas.
I used a recipe that called for combining sugar, salt, corn syrup and water in a pot, cooking till sugar melted, adding peanuts; then (stirring frequently)bringing the mixture to 300/hard crack, and finally removing from heat before adding butter and baking soda, mixing in, and pouring onto prepared baking sheets.
I changed 2 things:
-Didn't have corn syrup so I substituted 1 c. sugar + 1/4 c. water for the missing cup of corn syrup( as advised on a substitutions site).
-Added peanuts at the end with the butter and baking soda.

The first thing that surprised me was that my sugar mixture didn't color up at all while it was bubbling away- I guess I was expecting it to get a little tan or something, but it stayed clear. Is that normal with brittle?
But the main thing that went wrong was that in the end after removing from the heat and stirring in the peanuts, butter, and baking soda, the whole lot turned grainy and fluffy on me; it took on a texture like crystallized honey, or butter creamed together with sugar!
What could have went wrong? Don't think I stirred it any more that needed. Maybe just too many lukewarm ingredients all at once prematurely cooled it down?

Here's what I did: I realized it was ruined, panicked, and in a last mad effort to save it, I threw a little water in the pot and popped it back on the flame, stirring till re-heated and re-liquified, then poured it out to cool.
Result: light, crunchy candied peanuts in something resembling A very thick, gooey, silky caramel sauce, but much blonder, and not caramelly tasting.
If you're thinking: hey, that sounds like it would be good folded into some quality vanilla ice cream...so am I!
But my question is really: is there any way to save it, I mean at least to make it hard and candy like?
It's still on the baking sheets...could I harden it up in the oven somehow? Or could I put it back in a pot and bring it to the hard crack stage and pour out again?
And of course my other question is what went wrong in the first place?

Thanks so much!!!

Dec 21, 2012
Gracemama in Home Cooking

Freezing foods with cream content?

Mmm- looks delish. I can't think of any reason it wouldn't freeze well; lasagna is famous for being freezable, and I myself have done it (post cooking) with no issues.
But I know there is some debate on whether to freeze assembled but uncooked, or to freeze fully baked. If you do try the cook-first method, I think the trick is to let it cool before freezing, and let it defrost (ie in the fridge overnight) before reheating...
Good luck! Let us know what you end up trying and how it goes if you have time!

Nov 18, 2012
Gracemama in General Topics

Freezing foods with cream content?

Do you have a link for the recipe?

Nov 17, 2012
Gracemama in General Topics

Freezing foods with cream content?

If it does take on a weird seperated look, does that remain after defrosting and adding to sauces? Or does it go away upon defrosting.
I've never tried freezing cream directly myself, only heard it's not a good idea. But sometimes, it would really be handy-ie when I open a large package to make a recipe that only calls for a bit... It does keep well in the fridge for quite some time, but then if I don't get around to using it all up, I hate to toss out pricey, yummy cream!

Nov 14, 2012
Gracemama in General Topics

Freezing foods with cream content?

Great! I will try freezing caramel and chocolate sauces! Homemade caramel-swirl ice cream sounds amazing...
Thanks for the helpful links!

Nov 14, 2012
Gracemama in General Topics

Textural difficulties with toffee?

You know, I probably wouldn't have described it that way, but now that I'm thinking about it, there was something kind of shrieking about my teeth dragging through a hard, sugary, gritty mass of toffee. I think that's why I developed my weird little method of eating Skor bars.

Nov 14, 2012
Gracemama in General Topics

Textural difficulties with toffee?

Haha, the gritty, brittle scratchiness has always kind of been what I liked about it. (Had no idea about the cracker content, though...that's a little off-putting. )
I loved Skor bars when I was little, but not heath bars; It wasn't just the taste of Skor I preferred, but also its thinness, which I guess made the intensity of something like toffee more manageable to me. I'd suck on a little chunk until it was really thin, and then nibble the gritty remainder.
Whatever...I think it's kind of fun that everyone has their little food quirks!
And if toffee reminding you of nails scratching on a chalkboard is one of yours, that's cool.(when it's not ruining an ice cream experience for you, that is.)
(As a small side-note, isn't it kind of surreal to think that generations of kids are now growing up who would hardly understand that analogy, because their only experience with boards in school is with dry-erase whiteboards?)

Nov 14, 2012
Gracemama in General Topics

Freezing foods with cream content?

Hi, thanks a lot for your reply; Good to know about the sour cream sauces.
If, by chance, you recall, have the chocolate and caramel sauces you've frozen been prepared with cream?(I know some recipes call for sweetened condensed milk, or evaporated milk, instead)
I was thinking recently: ice cream certainly has cream content, and does admirably well with being frozen, so frozen cream can't be an absolute "thou shalt not" of the kitchen...if you know what you're doing, and in which contexts it works, I guess.
Well, thanks again! Can't believe no one else has responded...I really thought chowhounds would be able to help me out more on this one.

Nov 14, 2012
Gracemama in General Topics