Monday, August 4, 2014
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
|Vegetable Refuse (top left), Vegetable Stock (bottom left), Chicken Marsala (right)|
This post could also be entitled Graduate School Soup or How Not To Waste Your Vegetables.
Not wasting food is something that is generally important to me. But I'm just one person and there are a lot of things that I have to buy in greater bulk than I can eat it (especially because, one of the nice things about graduate school, is that most events have lots of food). So, how does one solve this problem? I find that vegetables are especially tricky because they go bad so fast.
I found my inspiration for making this vegetable broth from Oh My Veggie and Poor Girl Eats Well.
- In the weeks before you make the soup, keep a large plastic ziplock in your freezer. When you have vegetable scraps put them in there.
- Please note: you want your vegetables scraps to be edible (i.e. not rotting and washed), and to not include things in the cabbage family which will make your broth very bitter. You can put in things like herbs, but they will change the flavor of your broth, so keep that in mind. I suggest things like green onion ends, carrots that have dried out, etc.
- You want to make your stock when you have about 12 cups of vegetables in the freezer.
- On the day you make your soup, put two tablespoons of olive oil into a broth pot and heat on medium heat.
- Chop about half a sweet onion, and sautee it in the bottom of the broth pot.
- When the onion is aromatic and soft, add the 12 cups of vegetables and 12 cups of water.
- I then simmered the broth for about 3 hours until it became medium brown and stock-like.
- If you want to make broth, you can season your stock now with salt, pepper, and whatever other herbs you like. However, you don't need to season it if you want stock.
- When the stock is done, strain it into a bowl.
- Ta da! You have your very own stock.
Monday, May 12, 2014
I don't know if I've mentioned Charleton Griffen before; he is one of the narrators that reads a lot of the classics including the Iliad and the Odyssey as well as Livy, Tacitus, and many others. While his readings are conveniently unabridged and great for studying for my history of literature exam, unfortunately I am not the biggest fan of his voice. He read slowly and has an accent I'm not keen on. However, I noticed when I was there that Charleton Griffen also did the reading of the 9-11 Commission. Interestingly, when I looked at that, I realized that not the commission itself, but the audio recordings of the transcripts of the interviews are actually free for all Audible members, which I think is pretty cool.
On a totally separate side note, I have recently become addicted to the History of Philosophy without Any Gaps.
Thursday, May 1, 2014
The year isn't over yet, but I'm closing in on the finish line. It's been a long but I have really enjoyed (at least parts of) it. I've learned more than I thought possible. Most of it is academic, but I thought that I would share the nonacademic bits.
My first installment will be on recipes-- I've learned a lot about how to preserve veggies before they go bad. It should be debuting when I get back from this conference.
Sunday, February 2, 2014
- First, it took ages and ages to grind the Kamut flour to make this bread.
- Then, the gluten structure on the bread didn't develop, so I ended up with a huge bunch of useless dough that it had taken hours to prepare.
- Finally, Time Warner Cable totally messed up at Fox stopped working. During the Superbowl. Seriously lame.
However, things ended up improving.
- I whipped up a heavily modified version of this bread.
- We watched the Superbowl on Fox Deportes, the Spanish Fox Sports channel. None of us know Spanish, so it was pretty funny. And the commercials were way better when you have no idea what is going on.
- The picnic was delicious.
Have a happy Superbowl Sunday, everyone. Except you, Time Warner Cable. Go boil your head.
Saturday, January 4, 2014
As such, I have really become fascinated by the simpler foods: things that can be made simply, but still taste delicious. So, here is my first post on the simple things that make me smile.
I loosely adapted these multigrain scones from my favorite white-flour scone recipe. I actually cannot find where the scone recipe originated-- but it might have been something like My First Baking Book. I didn't have any currants, and, in my view, white flour scones without currents are really boring. American scones-- those wedge-shaped frosted things you find in coffee shops-- tend to have all sorts of flavors added to them to combat this problem. I, however, wanted something simple, so I rummaged through my cupboard and tried something out. It worked and I really like them.
The following recipe has many different possible variations. Play around with it! I will put the variations in endnotes so the recipe is easier to follow.
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour 
- 1/4 cup red whole wheat flour 
- 1/4 cup grains (I used Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal) 
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (or 1 tablespoon) baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup sugar 
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold (1/2 of a stick, 4 tablespoons)
- 3/4 cup milk 
- 1/3 cup currants 
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Mix together the flours, grains, salt, baking powder, and sugar in a bowl.
- Cut the butter into pieces and add it to the mixture. Use a large fork to mix the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is the consistency of bread crumbs.
- Then add the milk (and optional currants).
- Mix until a sticky dough forms. If it is not sticky, add more milk. Only mix until the dough forms and all the dry spots are gone. Do not overmix.
- Drop them onto a pan in chunks between the size of chestnuts (produces about 16) and the size of half a tennis ball (produces about 8). I do not tend to shape my scones. However, you can shape your scones like wedges, like Southern biscuits, or in various other ways.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees F or until they are brown around the edges.
- Eat within 24 hours.
- They can also be frozen to preserve freshness. Wait until they cool completely and then put sets in airtight containers and put in the freezer. You can warm them in a toaster oven directly from frozen (bake at around 325 until hot all the way through and brown on top-- usually 3-4 minutes in my toaster oven). Otherwise, you can thaw them for a few hours and eat them at room temperature.
- By this, as per usual, I mean whole wheat flour from white wheat (as opposed to red wheat). You can use either hard or soft wheat for these scones. The harder the wheat, the more dense the texture will be. I tend to use hard wheat because it's what is available to me (as I am restricted to the grocery stores within walking distance). However, soft wheat is generally more flavorful. Beware though, if you use soft wheat, you must reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe.
- If you like the richer nuttier flavor, switch amounts for the red wheat and the white wheat in the recipe, or just make the entire thing red wheat. If you do this, you will have to add a little bit more liquid. If you want lighter/whiter scones, replace this with white flour.
- You can use any multigrain mix which appeals to you (or obviously mix your own). The important thing is the courseness of the grind. You need the pieces of grain to be about the size of an amaranth grain). If you've never seen amaranth, I highly recommend adding it to breads that you plan on toasting, but another reference might be about 1/2 the size of a piece of toasted wheat germ. If it's too big, it will be crunchy.
- If you like sweeter scones, you can add more sugar either into the mix or on top. I sprinkled about half a teaspoon of cinnamon-sugar on the top of each of my apple scones when I made them (replacing the currants with chopped apple). You can also glaze them, if you so desire. Sue has some creative ideas about glazing in her various scone recipes.
- I use nonfat milk because I like my scones lighter (and also because it has less calories). However, you can also use any other kind of milk. I made the most recent set (the ones pictured with the currants) with lowfat buttermilk because Servia had some left over from Christmas. They were a little heavier and more tender than the ones that I make at school. If you like heavier scones, try with buttermilk or cream.
- Currants are optional. You can also substitute raisins, fresh chopped apple, chopped nuts, dried fruit (cranberries, etc), fresh blueberries, etc. I tried them with chopped apple once and I quite liked them. However, if you want a distinctly apple flavor, you may want to try adding more apple than 1/3 cup or substituting a small portion of the milk with apple juice or apple cider.