Rye Bread

Variety is the spice of life, so we mixed it up

Bought some Bob’s Rye Flour
Small packages which we refrigerate after opening

A Tablespoon of caraway seeds is added to the loaf

And that is it, not so different from the loaf with wheat flour and no caraway seeds

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Salt

Salt

Coarse Kosher Salt is our cooking standard
Before the cooking revolution, salt was the price of salt.
Now Course Kosher Salt may be $1.00 a pound
(not expensive, but come-on it is SALT!)

So we consider alternatives

and recently acquired some Italian Natural Coarse Sea Salt
which had larger crystals, mostly unacceptable,
but we may use it to salt meats overnight, before cooking

Fine Salt is thought to be less forgiving for cooking
The larger flakes of Coarse Kosher Salt (flakes) are easier to monitor
(a pinch of Coarse Kosher Salt is less likely to result in over salting)

Flake Sea Salt is great for finishing a dish
Our jury is still out on whether it is best to season the dish, or finish with salt
(although a simple tomato or chicken breast is so-good when drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt)


More and more we are concerned with the purity of salt
it is the concentrated residue of water
so logically, if the water is not pure, the resulting salt will be a concentration of the impurities existing in the sea water

12 Different Types of Salt and How to Use Each
(wideopeneats.com)
 

Boiled Pork Shoulder

Adventures in Cooking

pork shoulder

Very Often we cook a whole chicken
Saving the Funny Parts for fried rice
Salting the Carcass, before Simmering
Snacking off the back meat, picking the bones
Storing the Breast Meat
Adding the Legs to a Braised Dinner

But most of all, we like the stock we have created
Strained and Chilled, the Fat Rises to the top to be removed
This stock can be used for the evening braise
The remaining stock used for the next boiled chicken, resulting in a Double Stock

Tired of the Bones and bored by the breast meat, I will try a boiled Pork Shoulder
Dividing and Salting, storing until the meat reaches room temperature
Simmered in Stock
Divided into portions after chilling and removing fat
Using stock for the evening braise

Green Rice

At one time, we purchased cleaned Kale, a little expensive – we couldn’t buy other cleaned greens – Turnip, Mustard and Collards.

We prefer to purchase bunches of greens in bulk, stems on. Then clean, immersing them in a pot of water. Trim all the stems for rice, reserve the tender greens in the freezer for later.

To this big pile of green stems we add an onion (chopped), lots of sliced jalepenos with a few habeneros and mushrooms. (add celery trimmings if you have them)

This large pot of vegetables will quickly wilt but rather than letting them sweat and steam, we add the rice to absorb moisture and flavor. (this drastically reduces the cooking time)
The moisture is absorbed until a fond develops on the bottom of the pan,

Then we add stock and 2 oz dried beans, lentils and split peans:

  • red beans
  • red and green lentils
  • green and yellow split peas

and 1 Tbsp of millet, amaranth, quinoa, barley and wheat berries

We keep stirring, adding more stock

And finish with julienned serrano pepper and minced garlic
dried epazote (pig weed), cilantro and red pepper flakes
with maybe a splash of hot sauce, fish sauce or soy sauce

Ten (10) things to do with Onions

OignonEspagnolOnion
Rinsed and Fresh
Celery Toast
Zesty Purple Slaw

Pickled for Flavored Vinegar
Pickled Small Boiled onions (tiny little onions)
HOT Pickled Onions
http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/hot-pickled-onions-56123
Just as we Pickle Chives, to make Chive Vinegar

Carmelized for Onion Soup or Onion
It is almost a jam

Minced for Vinaigrette
Ginger Shallot Dressing

Sliced Raw
On Hamburger
On Fried Egg Sandwich

Roasted (or cooked in the coals of an open file

Fried as in Onion Rings
Sour Dough Onion Rings and Fried Anchovie Stuff Olives

Garnish (Blanched as Garnish for Stew)
Coq au vin

Go Grinch

This is only Nine (9) Things to do with an Onion

What your favorite thing to do with an onion?

The Bread

One of our loves is baking, including jobs which required rising early to bake bread, bagels and pastry. The baking courses in Culinary School were a joy.

While living in a small studio during our years working in kitchens, we were limited to a bread machine. Over the last 10 years we have developed our own recipe for a bread which is baked in a bread machine. There is no oven, there is no bread board or kneading, only a small container with a rotating paddle in the bottom.

Working within those constrains and challenges we developed a complex and unique loaf.

It utilizes both a sponge, reserved from the prior batch (and kept in the refrigerator) with dry yeast. An important element is white flour, which we found indispensable to achieve some rise and prevent a “brick” instead of bread.

It occurs over three (3) stages, which could occur over a couple days:

Create the Sponge (#1): Combinine sponge, beer and flour (this can sit overnight)

The remaining steps must not be interrupted
It starts with blooming dry yeast with a little sugar, which will eventually produce a full head of foam. Do not continue until the yeast is fully bloomed

At that point you can Build the Sponge (#2): Add Oatmeal (or Oat Bran), Yogurt, Whole Wheat Flour, Tumeric and Cayenne Pepper. When mixed, a handful is reserved and stored for the next sponge.

Finish the Loaf (#3
): Add the yeast, now blooming with foam to the remaining sponge and add white flour to feed it.

Our bread machine has a “stop/pause” button which allows the dough some time to develop before proceeding. We press this button several times to stop the machine, delay the mixing to allow time for the dough. Eventually, the machine sounds a series of “Beeps” as notification to add the “Mix-ins” almost every type of dried fruit, seeds and meals (corn meal, malto meal, etc)

Though we never knead the dough with our hands, we stick our hands into the machine frequently, especially in the final minutes to ensure a smooth dough and break-up lumps and clumps. We add beer to provide a moist and less dense consistency.

The goal has been to combine whole grain ingredients, but still achieving a good rise. It is not a light airy loaf, it is dense but has a good crumb.

The Whole Chicken

Chicken

Last month a bought whole chickens at Marianos at $3.99 per pound
Whole Chickens are available at half that price

A Whole Chicken is a wonderful thing, especially when you use all of it
A Whole Chicken is a beautiful thing and you get all the “funny parts”
Found thighs and breasts at $0.99 per pound, but a Whole Chicken is much better
(They say everything is better cooked on the bone)

A Whole Chicken provides joy, happiness and deliciousness all through the week:

We freeze the Funny Parts in seasoned EVO, then poach the remaining chicken

  • The Funny Parts (to stir-fry with rice)
    • Wings (what do you call the three pieces of the wing?)
    • Necks, Livers, Gizzards and Hearts
    • Store in EVO, Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes
  • Legs and Thighs (instant gratification – rich dark meat)
  • Backs (picking the meat off of the back is a delicious snack,
    • One of life’s simple pleasures)
    • And Remember the Oyster
  • Breasts (lots of meat, but actually anti-climactic, unflavorful disappointment)
    • Maybe remove it and sauce it with something flavorful or hot
  • Chicken Stock (WONDERFUL, add it for everything, especially Dirty Green Rice)
      • Create a Double Stock, Boiling Chicken in Chicken Stock
      • Salt and Pepper the remaining Chicken carcass and store overnight in the refrigerator.
      • Next Day: Drain and Poach Chicken in Water and any Double Stock remaining from the previous week
        Add Dried Mushromms and a Handful of Herbs (fresh, if you have them)
      • Bring to Boil, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Save the Broth
        Strain, Chill, then eventually remove the fat off the surface

    Chicken Parts

We try to reduce fat whenever possible and:

  • discard the large firm pieces of around the tail
  • discard the skin from the neck (there is so much of it)
  • discard the skin from the neck (there is more skin then neck)
  • remove the wing tips and poach with the chicken, they might add gelatin to the stock, but otherwise are mostly skin and bone (if you were going to fry them for chicken wings, they would be a vehicle for fried breading and sauce)
  • chill and store chicken with skin on, but peel it off before eating
  • Strain the stock, chill and store, the fat will rise to the top and perhaps act as a hermetic seal until it is removed when you later use the stock

Other Secrets:

  • cook Dried Mushrooms along with the chicken (reserve for preparing green rice)
  • add Onion Trimmings along with the chicken
  • add Bay Leafs (powdered in spice grinder)