amazon_syren: (Crafty!)
[personal profile] amazon_syren
Hey, everybody,

Today's the deadline for Blog Carnvial #3: Food Preservation

Comment here with a link to your post, or post your piece directly to the comm.

Can't wait!


TTFN,
Amazon. :-)
amazon_syren: (Crafty!)
[personal profile] amazon_syren
Welcome to the discussion post for Round Three (Theme = Food Preservation)

This is a place to hash out ideas for your Carnival Posts, and to make suggestions (or ask for suggestions) as to what you would like to Know More About.

Some Suggestions to Get You Thinking:
Storing Dry Goods
Making Dry Goods (using a food dehydrator, making a sun-powered dehydrator, using the oven)
Keeping your fresh veggies/fruits from rotting in the fridge
Medieval Food Storage That Works (refridgerator-free meet storage for camping?)
Canning 101 (Boiling Water)
Canning 201 (Pressure Canner)
DIY Charcuterie
Favourite recipes for preserves (my grandmother's jam; the amazing chutney I made by accident; Pickles! They're not just for cucumbers anymore!; etc)
Blanching 101
Beyond Tomato Sauce / Not Another Cheese Plate: Incorporating preserved summer foods into winter recipes
How to Decide What to Preserve (What do you want to eat? No, really...)


Discussion Post for Round One (Food Security) is here.
Discussion Post for Round Two (Half Home-Made) is here.

From Round Two's Discussion Post:
Prior participants are very much encouraged to crosspost their previous posts to this community.

At the moment (I think...?) you must still join to post and your first post will be moderated. This is basically to prevent spammers: as long as your post is about food it's going to go through, and thereafter you'll be automatically approved.



Have at it! :-D
amazon_syren: (Crafty!)
[personal profile] amazon_syren
Hi folks,

So this is the Official Announcement Post for the third 2012 "Cooking for People Who Don't" Blog Carnival.


Theme: Food Preservation

Suggestions to Get You Thinking:
Storing Dry Goods
Making Dry Goods (using a food dehydrator, making a sun-powered dehydrator, using the oven)
Keeping your fresh veggies/fruits from rotting in the fridge
Medieval Food Storage That Works (refridgerator-free meet storage for camping?)
Canning 101 (Boiling Water)
Canning 201 (Pressure Canner)
DIY Charcuterie
Favourite recipes for preserves (my grandmother's jam; the amazing chutney I made by accident; Pickles! They're not just for cucumbers anymore!; etc)
Blanching 101
Beyond Tomato Sauce / Not Another Cheese Plate: Incorporating preserved summer foods into winter recipes
How to Decide What to Preserve (What do you want to eat? No, really...)

...And similar.


Deadline: Friday, September 21st, 2012


The first announcement/guidelines post is here. With the exception of the new location for posts (that location being this com), everything there still applies.


First One round-up is here.
Round Two isn't so much "round up" as available in/as the May 2012 Archive for this com.

Discussion Post - for folks who want to hash out ideas with each other or throw up suggestions for what they would like to Know More About - is here.


On September 21st (or as close to it as possible) please:
(A) Post your entry to this com - include "Cooking for People Who Don't #3" or words to that effect in the title, and tag it with "Round Three"
OR
(B) Post your entry to a blog of your choosing - include "'Cooking for People Who Don't' Blog Carnival" or words to that effect in the title - AND post a link to said entry to this com



Over the 22nd and 23rd, I'll put together a round-up post so that we've got links to everything in one place. Any entries to the carnival that are posted after my round-up post goes up: Please leave a link to your post (no matter where you've posted it) in the coments section of the round-up post.


Looking forward to this! :-D


TTFN,
Amazon. :-D
amazon_syren: (Default)
[personal profile] amazon_syren
So, it's August. Which is about the right number of months from the last carnival for us to have another one.

I was thinking that maybe we could have a theme around food preservation. Everything from storing dry goods to keeping your fresh veggies from rotting, to stuff like canning (pressure canning, boiling-water canning) and blanching (for freezing fresh veggies), to incorporating pickles, chutneys, etc into winter meals. Stuff like that.

Anyone interested? Anyone have ideas for alternative themes?

As far as I understand it, everbody writes something and either (a) posts it to this com, or (b) posts it elsewhere and then posts a link to it on this com. Do I have that right? Does August 31st work for a deadline? Thoughts? Anyone?


Cheers,
Amazon.
[personal profile] susan8020
Thawing slowly in the fridge or cold water doesn't work in our chaotic schedule. We need to thaw it quickly for immediate use. Microwave or hot water have obvious problems. Any workarounds, or other approaches?
[personal profile] susan8020
An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace, by Tamar Adler. Scribner, 2011

Sounds very interesting and appropriate for this community. I'll try to add more detail later.

( Hat tip to http://dark-phoenix54.livejournal.com/509043.html )
[personal profile] susan8020
This may be shaping up to a sort of 'freezer as stock pot' thing, or 'perennial soup with no deadline pressure'.

The Thai restaurant put my hot veg curry takeout in a big strong plastic container, twice as big as the curry needed. The curry was also too hot for me.

So at home I added a can of coconut milk before putting the takeout in the freezer. That still left the container about a third empty and the curry too hot.

So each time I take out some curry to eat, before I put the 'pot' back in the freezer, I add in something new. Like somewhat cut fresh brussel sprouts. At the table I add a protein ingredient (often warmed separately) like shrimp or chicken or tofu (see previous post about tofu). And serve over rice or bread or noodles cooked separately of course.

If the original dish had been too mild, I'd be adding spicier things, like peppers to the pot, and sausage at the table.

For safety and convenience, I don't put anything in the freezer 'pot' that needs further cooking. Even at the table I use pre-cooked shrimp, chicken, etc. For convenience, I sometimes make a batch of rice and freeze it and break off bits for several days to use with quick meals (home cooked brown rice then frozen seems much better than buying 'frozen rice'.)
lindorie: (Default)
[personal profile] lindorie
Better late than never, right? Here's a link to a post I wrote up today on how to extend that can of mini-ravioli sitting in your pantry with whatever vegetables you have on hand:

Warning for colorful language!

Enjoy! :D

[personal profile] susan8020
Speaking of things worth buying already prepared -- fried tofu!

Iirc Commodorified said a while back, that vegetarians don't EAT tofu, they just BUY tofu, then the non-vegetarians throw it out after it goes bad. I'm guilty.

But a couple of weeks ago I bought a tray of 'fried tofu' and made some cuts to divide it and put it straight into the freezer. Now I just took it out broke off some pieces and added them to hot curry that was warming up -- fine.

Tofu that's been frozen gets a nice chewy texture with spongy holes to fill up with sauce. Fried tofu more so apparently.

Buying it already fried means no fooling with the creepy white stuff under water.

Here's more background on 'frozen tofu' in general:
https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CHMC_enUS396US397&aq=f&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=%22frozen+tofu%22
17catherines: (Psychokitten)
[personal profile] 17catherines
Happy food carnival day!

I decided my first post was way too boring, so this is the fun half of my contribution.

Basically, it's a whole collection of ways to adulterate packet cake mixes until they are unrecogniseable as packet cakes, starting with the classic from my student days - Tim Tam Cake

Enjoy!

[personal profile] susan8020
For adding fresh vegs to prepared dishes, here are some tips about how to keep fresh vegs very handy.
http://susan8020.dreamwidth.org/10112.html
[personal profile] susan8020
CURRY ETC. Bring home a take-out of a very spicy curry dish. Add canned coconut milk, some chopped meat and veg -- that makes several servings of mildly spicy curry.

Same with a boxed spicy entree from the grocery store. (Tasty Bite used to be good for this, though lately they've got too mild.) A boxed spicy dal makini could combine with a can of Progresso lentil soup.)

(First catch your take-out. ;-) Here are some tips for easily managing the take-out from the restaurant table to home to storage.)
http://susan8020.dreamwidth.org/895.html

--------------------

BASTARD BEEF WELLINGTON: Buy frozen pie crust and a soft spreadable sausage such as Braunswiger. Spread the sausage over and around a piece of steak. Enclose the steak in the pie crust and bake.

('Liver pate' is traditional for this and very good. Authentic 'goose liver pate' is unethical, but various other soft 'liver sausage' and even veg/vegan 'pate's are available. Or if you fry liver with onions, run the leftovers through a blender for a 'mock pate'.)
kathmandu: Close-up of pussywillow catkins. (Default)
[personal profile] kathmandu
When I was growing up, we kids liked ramen noodles. But Mom wouldn't let us eat them plain -- she said they weren't nutritious enough. So the way we were allowed to eat them was:

Ramen Noodles with Green Peas, Cheese, and Yogurt

1) Take one package of ramen noodles. Remove the flavor-packet. Put a (small) pot of water on to boil.
2) Chop up one to two ounces of cheese. I prefer cheddar or colby.
3) When the water boils, drop the ramen noodles in. Turn down heat a bit so it won't boil over. Poke the noodles a bit with a fork so they'll all get wet.
4) Get out frozen peas.
5) At the three-minute mark, pour some peas (maybe a quarter-cup? as many as you'd like) into the boiling noodles and water.
6) Immediately drain off all the water.
7) Put pot with noodles and peas back on the stove. Stir to release steam. Immediately dump in some or all of the flavor-packet. Also dump in the chopped cheese. Stir cheese in so it starts to melt.
8) Promptly (before the cheese finishes melting) get out the yogurt and dump a couple big spoonfuls into the pot. The idea here is to use unflavored, unsweetened, nonfat yogurt: it adds protein without adding fat. And fruit flavoring just would not go at all.
9) Stir thoroughly.

This produces warm-but-not-hot noodles with some vegetable content, some protein content, and a mellower and less overwhelmingly salty flavor. It's very cheap, only takes fifteen minutes to make, and only uses one pot.

It tastes exactly the same after it's cooled. This may not sound like a selling point, but it meant this was my default food for carrying along with me: safe for several hours without refrigeration, and just as appetizing as when it was new.
17catherines: (Psychokitten)
[personal profile] 17catherines

Not a cross-post, but a link to my carnival submission at Cate's Cates which includes

  • Three recipes from tins
  • Three things to do with a rotisserie chicken, plus stock
  • Three ways to jazz up a basic tomato pasta sauce from the shops
redbird: apricot (apricot)
[personal profile] redbird
This is a slightly higher-energy and more-flavorful version of one of the canned soups I grew up eating. I came up with it shortly after I had surgery a few years ago, when I had so little appetite that a teaspoon of sugar in black tea four times a day was a significant part of my total calorie intake, and I didn't have the energy to even think about more serious cooking.

Ingredients:
  • 1 can Campbell's vegetarian vegetable soup

  • 11 or so ounces [325 ml] of chicken broth, homemade if you have it l(my partner and I tend to make and freeze broth for later use after he roasts a chicken) or from a carton.*

  • Water (if you have less than a full soup-can of chicken broth)

  • Powdered ginger


Procedure:
Defrost the chicken broth if necessary, either in a microwave or in a small saucepan on the stovetop.
Empty the can of condensed soup into a 1- to 2-quart saucepan.
Use the can to measure an equivalent amount of chicken broth, or chicken broth and water. Mix that with the canned soup.
Add a small amount of powdered ginger. Try a quarter teaspoon, or less if you don't like things gingery; more if you're another person who has to remind herself to go easy on the ginger because other people don't like it as much as you do.
Heat to a simmer, stirring a few times while it heats, and eat.

Optional extra: if you happen to have some leftover cooked chicken, and some appetite (because you probably aren't doing this less than a week after having surgery), cut up the chicken and add a handful while the soup is heating.

This is lunch for one person, or a starter or side dish for two or maybe three.

I suspect that this would work fine with beef broth, but I haven't tried it. Ditto for other brands of canned vegetable soup, but you might have to adjust the quantities.

Note on the chicken broth: We tend to freeze it in units of one cup, one pint, and as ice cubes. We fill an ice cube tray with chicken broth. Put in the freezer for a day or two, then decant into freezer bags; those are a bit over an ounce each, and handy for adding a bit of chicken flavor to sauces. They can also be handy when I need between one and two cups of broth. Wash the ice cube tray after this before using for anything else.

*I tend to avoid canned chicken broth because most of it is saltier than I like, and some brands may taste of metal, but if you have one you know and like, go for it.
amazon_syren: (Palimpsest Emerges)
[personal profile] amazon_syren
Happy Carnival Day!

This is not a cross-post, it's a link to my carnival submission:

How to Use Convenience Foods to Cut Down on Prep-Time and Energy-Expenditure

It's not nearly as well put-together as my last one, but have at it. :-)


TTFN,
Amazon. :-)
malkingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] malkingrey
(Not so much a curry as a curryoid object, but simple and good.)

  • 1 or 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, depending on how many people you're feeding, cubed

  • 1 or 2 onions, ditto, chopped (How finely? Depends on how big you want your onion bits, and how energetic you feel. If you like recognizable pieces of onion, dice them by hand. If you want your onions more thoroughly cut up and adding texture to the sauce, or if you're too tired or too lazy to chop them up by hand, run them through the food processor with the chopper blade.)

  • 1 can Roland's coconut milk, or other brand you happen to like, so long as it's the cooking kind and not the kind you buy to put into mixed drinks. And the "light" cooking kind doesn't work so well, either.

Put the onions and the chicken into a crockpot. Add the curry paste. Cook on low for 5-6 hours, or on high for about three -- and a while longer isn't going to kill it, either way. Start it at noon and it'll be ready for dinner if you cook it on high. Or start it in the morning and cook it on low.

About 30 minutes before you plan to eat, start some white rice going by your preferred method (mine's a rice cooker.) Open the can of coconut milk and add it to the crockpot to cook for the last 30 minutes.

Serve curry over rice.

Note: most crockpot chicken recipes work better with boneless thighs than with breast meat.
windtear: Gif of three-tiered stone fountain in a park, with animated water running over it (Dancing drops)
[personal profile] windtear
Half-homemade is a strange but lovely concept and one I embrace wholeheartedly, because it sums up my cooking style perfectly. These are the non-homemade parts of my cooking that I recommend:

Prechopped frozen vegetables! I love these things. schemingreader endorses pre-prepared spinach, but I expand that to all vegetables. With frozen vegetables, it doesn't matter if your (or a fussy family member's) favourite veggie is out-of-season, because it's right there in the freezer section waiting for you. They're uniformly chopped, which is a boon for cooking. Heck, they're pre-prepared, so all you really have to do is pop them in the wok/roasting pan/microwave bowl/steamer/pot of boiling water and away you go. If your dish is supposed to be served 'with cooked vegetables', the prechopped frozen vegetables take the labour out of that side and make it a viable part of the meal and not something that you try to dodge.

Soup mixes, be they canned, dried or stock cubes, are God's gift to the busy cook. Only once have I ever made soup from scratch and it's not something I see any need to repeat. Stock cubes combined with cakes of egg noodles make great cheap ramen, canned cream of chicken soup is a wonderful base for almost any chicken casserole, and powdered soup in sour cream is a quick and easy dip. Plus, of course, they make tasty soup.

Finally, I recommend pre-spiced pieces of meat (chicken, steak, etc). Toss them in the frypan or roasting dish and cook away. They're pre-portioned into meal-sized pieces and the spice mix is usually good (or at least worth trying, and if you feel the need to add, say, some sprigs of rosemary, nothing's stopping you).

Cooking from scratch is fun and good on the weekends, when there's time. For the week, though... that's when we all need a little help. I don't see anything wrong with cooking from a packet or using a premade sauce - it's all cooking, and it's all ours.
schemingreader: (Beatles Yellow Submarine)
[personal profile] schemingreader
I have many ideas for blogging about half-homemade dishes--premade foods mixed into or as the backbone of, my homemade food. The only problem with this one for me is that I'm not sure what counts as a premade food. Thinking about pre-done cooking tasks, though, I think my favorite convenience food these days is spinach. I have come to believe that adding spinach to dishes is an easy way to make them awesome. I also like other greens—but spinach is the best.

Prewashed fresh greens why I think they are a convenience food, and how they can add greatness to your meals )

Frozen, chopped spinachin some ways, even more convenient )

I like the way spinach tastes, I like the color, and I like the way it gives people super strength. I feel blessed to live in a period when it's also possible to present it as a convenience food, a good candidate to be part of a series of posts about food that's only half homemade. Even if you think it doesn't qualify, I hope you'll still try eating more spinach.
glinda: I like bananas, bananas are good (bananas)
[personal profile] glinda
Half-Homemade pretty much perfectly sums up my cooking style, so it seemed an excellent topic for me to dive into this fest and write about.

It is, after all, largely the basis of how I learned to cook. I went to university knowing the basics, I had a short list of meals I could make and keep myself reasonably well fed and that was that for the best part of four years. During the stress of my Masters, I decided to learn to cook properly as a way of taking better care of myself. Sundry LJ folks weighed in with ideas and recipes (most notably moviegrrl) and I trundled off on my training wheels.

Cookery confession number one: I've never made a proper stock in my life. I spent five years cooking for one and in the years since I've never yet cooked a proper roast. Boiling the bones and making a stock for soup is something I've seen my mother do dozens of time, but I've never done it myself. I've never bought stock either (so many recipe books talk about buying it and keeping it in the freezer/larder, but frankly I don't have the space), whether I'm making soup or a sauce, my stock involves a crumbled up Oxo cube and some boiling water. Speaking of half-Homemade, they used to do a range of herb and spice cubes that were the perfect hand hold for the beginner cook, venturing into Italian or Chinese or Mexican cuisine who had not yet the time and/or finances to establish a proper spice collection. I took my first steps into cooking outside my comfort zone (without a tried and tested recipe from a friend or my mum on hand) with the recipes on the back of those packets, cooking ingredients I'd never tried before reassured that Oxo wouldn't lead me astray – they rarely did. It's taken me years to find a Chinese Five Spice that satisfactorily replaces those little cubes and doubtless by the time I finish the jar, they'll have stopped selling that particular mix and the dance will begin again.

Some people are a bit sniffy about cook-in sauces and packet kit meals. I have to wonder how they learned to cook anything outside their comfort zone. I learned how to make Lasagne from the back of jar of sauce and fajitas from a kit box. Through time and experimenting I've learned what bits I can make on my own to my own taste and which bits are best left to the professionals (making guacamole was an interesting and frustrating experience and I believe it to be an art that I do not have the patience to master). But those sauces and kits remain a great way to try out new things without having to buy a bunch of expensive and sometimes really hard to source ingredients you might only use once, because it turns out you don't like it or your parent/kid/spouse/flatmate turns out to be allergic. If they turn out to inspire you to experiment with ingredients or replicating your favourite sauce all the better, but equally if you like it just the way it is, you've just cooked and eaten something tasty and nutritious, so you'll excuse me if I don't see a down side here.

I keep passata and pesto in the cupboard (neither of which I have the time, patience or space to make from scratch) along with the tins and the pulses – lentils I will happily soak overnight, chickpeas always come out of a can. Some days I'm happy to spent half an hour experimenting with herbs and spices and odd things I found in the cupboard to make a new dish of my own, others I just want to chuck some sauce over the chicken to bubble away reassuringly without having to stand around faffing with a rue. I always keep an emergency packet of couscous in the cupboard, for the days when I don't fancy rice or potatoes, or the days when I just want to chuck some cold meat in it for protein and eat the couscous straight out of the damn jug with a spoon. You find the combination that's right for you and you change it up if it doesn't work.

I, for instance, am going veggie next month...it's going to be interesting.

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Cooking For People Who Don't: A Carnival of Feeding Ourselves and Each Other

September 2012

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