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Do-It-Yourself Staple Foods
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anna



Joined: 30 Nov 2004
Posts: 45
Location: north carolina, usa

PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2004 4:58 am    Post subject: Do-It-Yourself Staple Foods Reply with quote

This summer i moved our of the dormitory and into my first apartment with four male (oy, yes i know) friends. The best, most exciting part of that for me was, of course, finally having my own kitchen! I set a challenge for myself, which i've quite enjoyed trying to meet. It was to try and see what kinds of things that i normally buy at the grocery store (or specialty store) that i could make.

This was partly because i'm very interested in knowing to particulars of what i eat, and using whole ingredients as much as possible, and partly because it just fascinates me. It's been SO fun.

So far i have done: crystalized ginger, spicy chickpea snacks, veggie burgers, granola, chicken and veggie stocks, pita bread (as well as other breads), baba ganouj, hummous, tofu "chicken" nuggets and ginger syrup (great in milk for "ginger milk" or over ice cream with unsweetened cocoa powder).

do any of you like to make your own staples? what kinds of things do you make?
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2004 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also make hummus and granola they are favorites and always on hand. I also love a variety of herb scented salts, blueberry vinegar and chai. I have never thought of them as staples, but now I realise I am never with out them or thier ingredients in my kitchen.
Good luck Anna in your culinary discoveries!
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2004 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

anna-

Those are some *lucky* boys! Make sure you let them know that they can show their appreciation by doing the clean-up. Wink

You might like to keep some roasted garlic handy. I peel several heads and put the cloves in a 4oz. canning jar with enough olive oil to almost cover. I put the metal lid on loosely and put the whole thing in the oven ( on a bit of alum foil with the edges folded up is helpful) when I'm roasting something else. Watch them and take them out when they are barely showing some color. Let them sit on a counter to cool.

Cloves can be used to flavor almost anything. The oil, likewise, adds a nice flavor to whatever else you're cooking.

I'll see what else comes to mind.
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3-Martini-Lunch



Joined: 13 Dec 2004
Posts: 3
Location: Sonoran Desert, North America

PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2004 2:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Erin wrote:
I have never thought of them as staples, but now I realise I am never with out them or thier ingredients in my kitchen.
Good luck Anna in your culinary discoveries!


And that made me think about what my "staples" are! So this is my first post . . . I have simplified my kitchen so much since I was Anna's age, just married, and having so much fun experimenting. I really don't buy hardly any processed or prepared foods . . . each week a selection of organic vegetables and fruits (I try to buy local, and in-season only); I keep the freezer stocked with organic or natural meats, including those we hunt ourselves; and I guess the "staples" for me would be always having on hand things like fresh breadcrumbs; homemade poultry and beef or venison stock; a wheel of parmesan cheese; fresh eggs (from my neighbor); garlic and ginger paste if possible, if not then fresh or frozen; high quality flour; olive oil; tomato paste; and the like.

So in looking at it, I don't make staples except for my stocks -- I LOVE making them, and have finally "trained" my husband to NOT throw away the bones! It's much easier than I thought to cook from the "basics" - to whip up a simple white sauce for fish or a quick pastry for a rustic tart if I have certain things on hand, fresh.

Anna - I would really recommend reading an old copy (preferably stained and well loved) of Joy of Cooking. Besides absolutely delightful prose, the sections on basic sauces, pantry items, etc., are indispensible!

Good luck! Sounds like fun cooking for a bunch of guys - my favorite times are when we host hunting camps at our place, and I get to cook up all sorts of yummy foods for a bunch of hungry men and women!
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tea leaves



Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 57
Location: boston, the home of the bean and the cod

PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2004 7:03 pm    Post subject: staples Reply with quote

I always have a chicken in the freezer to make chicken soup for sick friends or just for a homey dinner. Alway keep goat cheese, the freshest tomatos and bread I can find, split red lentils and organic milk. Oh and emergency rations of chocolate in any form!
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brighidsdaughter



Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 233
Location: Canton, TX USA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great question Anna! Homemade mayonnaise. I'm not a mayo freak, but oh, the *good* stuff you can make with a blender or food processor! They hardly bear any resemblance to the off-the-shelf stuff. Shelf life isn't as long, but that's a small price to pay to be the creator of a taste you can't buy off the shelf. Good olive oil & a pinch of cayenne. Fresh-squeezed lemon juice, with a bit of lemon zest & fresh herbs. Flavored vinegars instead of lemon juice. Part veg & part walnut oil with cracked pepper added. The possibilities are endless! I know they're out of season in the northern hemisphere, but for our frieinds in the southern (and for future reference) A dab of homemade mayo on a thick slice of homegrown tomato that's never seen the inside of a 'fridge is heaven! Have fun with your cooking adventures Very Happy
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Magala



Joined: 05 Dec 2004
Posts: 5
Location: Seattle, Washington

PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 6:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Anna, something else you could make in advance and keep on hand is seafood breading. It's basically just seasoned flour with a bit of cornmeal in it. You can use it for just about any kind of fried/sauteed seafood imaginable..heck, chicken too, and you can use it two different ways, too.

Straight breading: Dip the seafood in egg and then bread with this flour coating; fry.

Batter: Take the basic mix and add enough milk, buttermilk, or even evaporated milk to make a medium batter (slightly thinner than pancake batter.) It can help to add a very small pinch of leavening to get it a little fluffier. Dip and fry.

There are eight -million- regional variations on what "seafood breading" should consist of, so you should probably experiement and find one you like. After that, it's easy to keep on hand in a container for seafood frying emergencies.
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I make crackers using bread flour, yellow corn meal, salt, and water. No yeast is required. Just roll the dough thin and bake on a cookie sheet until golden brown. Let it cool and maybe leave it in the oven for a few days to dry out. Then you can break it up into cracker-sized pieces.
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Alistair



Joined: 05 Dec 2004
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 5:59 am    Post subject: re: roast garlic in oil Reply with quote

I have to say be careful making roast garlic in oil as mentioned in one of the posts. There is a good chance that botulism spores will survie the oil roasting and the finished product is now a nice anaerobic and fairly pH enviroment for clostridia to grow...if kept above 4C.

I know i sound alarmist, but garlic oil/butter is a recognised danger for this kind of thing.

bon app├ętit Smile

Alistair
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sobodda



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 5
Location: Providence, RI, USA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2005 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sarape wrote:
I make crackers using bread flour, yellow corn meal, salt, and water. No yeast is required. Just roll the dough thin and bake on a cookie sheet until golden brown. Let it cool and maybe leave it in the oven for a few days to dry out. Then you can break it up into cracker-sized pieces.


These sound really good - I have to try some!
I've been making crackers lately as well. After seeing some designer crackers at the store, $6 for only 30! , I decided to give it a try.
I used this recipe from allrecipes.com:
http://appetizer.allrecipes.com/az/WhtCrckrs.asp
but I added a liberal amount of garlic powder and cayenne pepper (and one time, some dried oregano). They are so tasty, look cute, and people really love them. Not to mention they are so much cheaper to make.

As far as other staples...some of my favorites are spreads. Cranberry chutney was fun to make and it doesn't seem to go bad. Also hummus, as other people mentioned, is more tasty and less expensive when you make it at home.
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2005 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sobboda, l looked at that recipe and the only differences are these: they use oil, I don't; I mix yellow corn meal with the wheat flour in a 1:2 ratio, they use all wheat.

My crackers aren't spicy. I eat them with cheese and dried plums.
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sobodda



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 5
Location: Providence, RI, USA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks so much - I will have to try them. I love the idea of cornmeal in crackers.
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Corey



Joined: 23 Feb 2005
Posts: 12
Location: Keene NH, USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow there is some very yummy stuff here. I like to keep some granola on hand, ever since I had to figure out how to make if for work, I've vowed never to buy it again, its so easy and cheap. I think that I will soon venture into the world of home made mayo, and come summer I will be hitting the farmers market so that I can make tomatoe confit.
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Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's hard to figure out what is a "staple" and what is "food". I think of staples as mayonaise, ketchup, bread, crackers, etc.

I think of spreads and mixes as food.

So, in the staples portion, I make my own pesto, mayonnaise and salsas, with an exotic ketchup like plum, thrown in during the summer months.

For the basic food things, I make all my own salad dressings and dips, my own buttermilk and yogurt. If I had a cow in my backyard, I'd love to make my own butter from her milk!

And my neighbor down the road sells organic eggs, so I buy them from her. You can hear her roosters crowing at dawn, even though she's a 1/2 mile away!
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Lisa



Joined: 10 Feb 2005
Posts: 20
Location: New York City, USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I almost always make my own peanut butter. For those of us who lives in places like New York, it's not hard to find peanut butter without hydrogenated oils, but it is expensive -- and I know that many people don't live in this same grocery oasis.

It's very simple, just blend the peanuts in a blender or food procesor -- not too much (not more than a cup I'd say). Usually I add a little olive oil which helps with the blending. Sometimes I add some honey. Don't add water! Looking back that seems obvious, but it wasn't when I tried it -- it was a disaster, or a throwback to 7th grade science class, depending on how you look at it. I've never tried with roasted peanuts but I bet that would be delicious. You can also make other nut butters this way -- although, if you're on a budget, many other nuts in the US are quite expensive. And I've learned in lots of my travels that peanut butter is not a staple food in most other countries! Ah well ...

When finished put it in a jar and keep it in the fridge -- or leave it at room temperature and be willing to spend a lot of time stirring the peanut butter to mix the oils back in!

I should start another thread on this or searcharound to see if one exits -- I wonder how people make time to cook as much as I want to. Perhaps the paradox is I love to cook and be slow and mindful and enjoy the whole process as much as possible -- so I'm not looking for ways to speed up all my cooking, just perhaps time-savers here and there that leave me free to spend as much time as I want on the actual cooking! I'll hunt around in the forums --
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