Wednesday, September 25, 2013

egg whites

I had a long trip down to NC yesterday for medical stuff, and overslept so there was no time to make a proper breakfast.

On the run, I broke one of my rules and went through McD's for an Egg McMuffin. The 'special' offer was an "egg white McMuffin" which I declined.

True, the egg whites are high in protein, but the real value in eggs is the yolk. More so if the eggs are from free-range hens. That means truly free range, like from a local farmer who has a dozen or so hens that are outside all day, not the factories that have a small dorr to allow hundreds of hens access to the cement outside. I never buy nutritionally deficient factory eggs anymore... I'd rather do without.

Almost all of the ever-important nutrients like DHA, folate, choline and the essential vitamins like A, D, E, K-2, B-6, & B-12 live in the yolk rather than the white.

Makes me wonder why the spiel, and what are they doing with all the yolks?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I didn't know this, did you?

I've been using aluminum foil for more years than I care to remember. Great stuff, but sometimes it can be a pain. You know, like when you are in the middle of doing something and you try to pull some foil out and the whole roll comes out of the box.

Then you have to put the roll back in the box and start over. The darn roll always comes out at the wrong time.

Well, I would like to share this with you. Yesterday I went to throw out an empty Reynolds foil box and for some reason I turned it and looked at the end of the box. And written on the end it said, "Press here to lock end". Right there on the end of the box is a tab to lock the roll in place. How long has this little locking tab been there?

I then looked at a generic brand of aluminum foil and it had one, too.

I then looked at a box of Saran wrap and it had one too!

I can't count the number of times the Saran warp roll has jumped out when I was trying to cover something up.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


One of my good friends entered 2 of my homemade vinegars in the Fair, and I won a Blue ribbon for the Chive Blossom Vinegar, and a 2nd Place Ribbon for the Ruby Basil Vinegar!

I use champagne vinegar as a base, but it's expensive ($40/half gallon with S/H). So over this winter, I plan to buy some inexpensive champagne and make my own champagne vinegar. It takes about 5-6 months for champagne to mature into vinegar, but during that time I have no herbs growing in the garden anyway.

Right now I have some tarragon vinegar brewing, with a touch of garlic in it, and plan some chive (not the pretty pink chive blossom) vinegar later, but before frost.

I did make some fruit vinegars, raspberry, cranberry, and blackberry and still have frozen arils of pomegranate to use. It's amazing what a splash of a fruit vinegar does for meats and vegetables.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


This is a repost because I made another one last night, and easier to re-post than write anew. STILL a big favorite!

OhMyGod~... This is one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth!!! YUM! YUM! YUM! 

If you are not familiar with a clafouti, you are not alone... neither was I, except reading the name occasionally on food blogs. This one I made, my very first, blew me away with the taste. I had thought it might be good, but turned out to be one of the best damn desserts I have eaten in my whole life!

According to Wikipedia, a clafouti, or clafoutis, is a baked French dessert of black cherries in a buttered dish, covered with a thick flan-like batter and baked. The clafoutis is dusted with powdered sugar and served lukewarm.

The clafoutis originates in the Limousin region of France... and while black cherries are traditional, there are numerous variations using other fruits. I have fresh cranberries on hand for Thanksgiving, and still a lot of pears in my root cellar, so I decided to adapt a recipe I found for a Cranberry Pear Clafouti. The batter is a Yorkshire pudding style, made with eggs, sugar, cream and a little flour. The result is like a thick, puffy pancake baked over the fruit.

My adaptations were mostly in the method of cooking, although I did substitute half and half for the evaporated milk, and also increased the amount of pears, and flour.

I put about a cup of cranberries and three diced medium-size pears (peeled and cored) in a skillet, along with 1/3 cup of sugar and about 1½ tablespoons of butter. The online recipe called for only 1 pear, no butter, and baking the fruit about 20 minutes until soft. I only have a counter-top convection to work with at the moment, and decided it was easier to pre-cook the fruit in a skillet instead.

The cranberries were fairly quick to burst in the pan, and the cranberries and pears both softened in about 15 minutes on medium heat. The butter kept the sugar and fruit from sticking to the pan until they gave up some of their juices.

Next, drain the juices and set aside. The fruits don't have to be very dry, but not swimming in their juices either. Pre-heat the oven to 375ºF. Notice I used a different pan for baking. I'm using a small countertop convection oven until our oven gets repaired (or we get a new range).

In a bowl, mix 2 large eggs, 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1½ teaspoons vanilla, ⅓ cup half and half, and ¼ cup sugar.

Spread the drained fruit evenly in the bottom of an oven-proof pan (which you have buttered), and pour the batter on top.

Bake in the upper third of an oven until puffed around the edges and set in the center, about 12-15 minutes.

Because this batter puffs when it cooks, it also falls just like a soufflé! The topping deflated in the time it took to find and focus the camera! This is the virgin dish for this little oven, and I also see it heats unevenly. Next time, I'll keep a better eye on it and rotate halfway through.

OhMyGod~...  that's one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth!!! YUM! YUM! YUM! Not too sweet; just enough sweetness to excite my tastebuds dancing around the tart cranberries. The 'pudding' was excellent, a puffy-custard-y texture with lovely vanilla overtones.

Serve warm with the reserved juices (re-warmed) poured on top. Sprinkle with a tad of powdered sugar for looks. Serves 4.

Here's my recipe adaptation:

    * 3 medium pears, peeled, cored and cut into ½ inch dice

    * 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

    * ⅓ cup sugar (for the fruit) plus ¼ cup sugar for the batter

    * 2 large eggs

    * 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

    * 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

    * ⅓ cup half & half (or cream)

    * 1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar

Place oven rack in upper third of oven. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a 9-inch glass pie plate or coat it with cooking spray. (I used a metal pan; can't use glass in this oven)

Combine pear, cranberries and ⅓ cup of the sugar in the baking dish. Bake until the fruit is tender and very juicy, about 20 minutes. (I did mine is a skillet on the stovetop.)

Meanwhile, whisk eggs, flour, vanilla and the remaining ¼ cup sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in half and half.

Drain the juices from the baked fruit into a small bowl, holding back the fruit with a metal spatula. Reserve the juices. Redistribute the fruit over the bottom of the dish and pour in the egg mixture. Bake until puffed and set, about 12 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

Serve warm, with the reserved fruit juices spooned over the top. Sprinkle with a tad of powdered sugar.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Micro Greens

Beet and Kale microgreens from NPR

Micro greens are something I can actually chew, and love, so salads are finally on my menu again!! 

Not only that, they are 4-6 times more nutrient-dense than larger greens of the same varieties. Microgreens could easily be confused with sprouts, but they're not the same thing. Sprouts are seeds germinated in water just long enough (usually 48 hours) to grow roots, a stem and pale, underdeveloped leaves. Microgreens, on the other hand, need at least 7 days to grow before you can harvest them. Source

Six years ago I went through all the pre-testing for a liver transplant and as part of the process they pulled all of my teeth (except 6 in the lower front). Medicare will NOT pay for dentures (nor hearing aids and eyeglasses) so I'm nearly toothless, making chewing many things a problem. What I've missed the most is salads, because the lettuce leaves are so thin they are difficult to chew, and blenderized salads do NOT appeal to me!

Several weeks ago I bought some micro greens at the farmer's market, and not only can I chew them, the taste is just terrific! They were expensive to buy, so I just ordered 1/4 pound each (minimum order) of mild and spicy mix, great for beginners, from Johnny's Selected Seeds. I can grow them all winter long on a window sill in my LR in a small flat, so it's a Win-Win.

After I see how I do with the beginner mixes, I will branch out to making my own mix of greens and herbs. 

Johnny's has some great information on how to grow them, varieties available, and mixes for beginners. 

"Micro Greens are the leaves of certain vegetables and herbs harvested when quite young, generally at the first-true-leaf stage of growth. In cuisine, micro greens are added to gourmet salads, sprinkled over entreés, or used for garnish. They can be marketed as individual components or in signature blends, combining a number of varieties with different flavors, colors, and textures."

Basics of Growing Micro Greens

Micro Greens Comparison Chart

Herb Varieties for Micro Greens

ps... if you do an internet search for "micro greens recipe" you will find hundreds!