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I love food!

I won’t lie, I love everything about food.  I love to buy it, I love to cook it, I love to eat it, and I love to talk about it.  I could lose and entire evening looking at recipes online.  Nothing makes me happier than spending a few hours in the kitchen making something new to eat. Late one night a few weeks ago, while googling new recipes, a seed was planted in my mind to write a blog about my food adventures.  Of course in my dreams I have a million followers reading and commenting on my posts…but even if I only have a few, it will still be fun to chronicle my kitchen woes and wonders and have something to look back at many years from now.

I lost my inspiration for awhile last year.  I got busy with school, then busy with a new job, then busy with a different new job.  I struggled to plan meals and make decisions on what to buy for groceries.  Most of the time, I waited until I was too hungry to cook and ended up eating something from Tim Horton’s or Subway or worse–eating chips for supper!  When you’re single and live on your own, you can eat whatever you want and call it a meal!  In January, I decided it was time to get back on track and signed up for a CSA.  A CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, gives people access to fresh seasonal produce grown locally.  I signed up for a fruit share and a vegetable share.  Each week the farm delivers to a pickup location only five minutes from my house!  I get a box of fruit and a box of veggies, which is often more than I can even eat in a week.  Since they determine what will be in the shares each week, I don’t have to struggle with deciding what to get for groceries!  It’s always an adventure-I’ve never tried so many new foods and ways of cooking things in my life, but I love it!  All I have to do is find a recipe or cooking instructions online, pick a protein to make with it, and I’m done!  I think it’s safe to say, I’ve found my inspiration back!

 

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Pretzels, anyone?

So I know I’ve been AWOL for quite some time. I guess I lost my inspiration for a little while. I also no longer get my CSA food box, as my work schedule has changed and I’m not able to make it on time to pick my box up. This means I have no pressing need to cook things that may go bad in the fridge, and also means I no longer get mystery foods I need to find recipes for. There goes half my inspiration…

Anyways, my latest experimentation has been sourdough-all things sourdough lol. I got some sourdough starter from a local who was willing to give it to me for free, and things just took off from there. So far, I have made two different sourdough loaves, sourdough cookies, waffles, popovers, and cinnamon rolls.

Today, I decided to try my hand at making sourdough pretzels, using the recipe found here. If you have never made pretzels before, this is definitely one of the easier recipes. I looked at many other pretzel recipes that require you to drop the unbaked pretzels in boiling water and baking soda, but I chose this one because it did not include that step. I also used regular milk instead of almond milk and replaced the glaze mix for a simple egg yolk and water glaze.

Now I have to share my brilliant hack for helping dough rise in a cold house- I use a heating pad under the bowl lol! My house is never warm-there are ZERO warm spots anywhere in it to allow dough to rise. I just put the heating pad on a low setting and it works great!

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This is what the pretzels looked like before they went in the oven. The recipe said to make 12, but I thought they were going to be pretty small, so I made 8 instead. I brushed them with my egg yolk wash and then sprinkled coarse salt ontop. They went into the oven for the suggested 27 minutes but weren’t quite browned ontop, so I left them in for probably another five minutes.

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Look at these babies!! I’m practically drooling just looking at the pictures. I bet you can imagine how amazing the house smelled once they came out of the oven! I googled pretzel dip recipes and whipped up something loosely based on this recipe and my pretzels were ready to eat. I’ll definitely be making these again!

I’m on fire!!!

Oh wait, that’s just the triple pepper fermented hot sauce I’m making lol. Although I found a recipe online for it here, I think I shall name my version Triple Threat Hot Sauce. I might actually die when I try it. I breathed in some steam when I was washing the knife after cutting the peppers and I swear I inhaled fire. For my version, I used jalapeno peppers, habanero peppers, and Serrano peppers. I didn’t want to play it safe!

I love experimenting with different fermented foods, so when I realized I could make fermented hot sauce, I had to give it a try. Today I cut up the peppers(heck yeah I wore gloves!!), made the brine, and put everything in a jar. Now I have to wait a few days before I can blend it and taste it.

This is what it looked like in the jar once I added everything. I’ll try to remember to take pics before and after it’s blended and post them too.

Homemade pasta sauce

This one was a pretty simple, quick one, but still worth mentioning.  The other night, I whipped up a batch of homemade pasta sauce!  I had frozen tomatoes from my CSA box and I wanted to make something quick for supper one night, so I figured pasta sauce was a good idea.  I looked at a few recipes online, and used this recipe as a basic idea on how to put it together.  I started off by cooking the garlic and onion in a big pot on the stove.  Then I dumped in the cut up tomatoes and some diced celery and spinach that needed to be used up, salt, oregano, and basil.  Then I just let it simmer on the stove for maybe half and hour and that’s it-fresh homemade pasta sauce!  I don’t know why but things always seem to taste better when made from scratch…

What is this deliciousness??

Homemade granola!  Wow!  Who knew it was so easy and required so few ingredients to make homemade granola?  I had no idea.  I love it when I can make things at home instead of buying processed foods that are full of sugar and mystery ingredients.  I buy Kashi cereal sometimes and eat it on top of yogurt, but the other week, I discovered this recipe online for Blueberry Flax Granola and I knew I had to try it.  The best part?  I already had all of the ingredients on hand!  I had a package of dried blueberries in the cupboard that had come in my CSA box a few weeks ago, so I was pretty excited to finally have a use for them.


Making it was quick-it took just a few minutes to mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, then I just added maple syrup until it looked like it was all coated.  The only maple syrup I had on hand was ED Smith Sugar Free Syrup, so I was a little concerned with how this would work out in the recipe, but I figured it was worth a shot.  I also decided to make a half batch instead of a full batch, just in case it was a complete failure.  Spread the granola mixture on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, bake, voila-granola!  I tasted it a few minutes after it came out of the oven and it was amazing.  The blueberries actually got crunchy, which I really liked!  I’ll definitely be making this again.  I’ve already been thinking of a few other things I’d like to add to it-maybe some shredded coconut, almonds, any other dried fruit I have on hand, maybe even a few chocolate chips once it’s cooled!

Potato Salad with Dill and Mustard

So I whipped this one up yesterday and inhaled a bowl before heading to work.  What deliciousness!  I have a bunch of potatoes that have been growing in my cupboard from the past couple of CSA deliveries.  I can’t seem to eat them fast enough!  I figured it was time to try and use some of them, so I found a recipe for Potato Salad with Dill and Mustard.  I love potato salad and I love dill, so I figured this would be a winner.

First off, let me tell you a secret: if you’re making potato salad, it’s way easier to steam the potatoes than it is to boil them!  They don’t end up nearly as watery and it’s easier to tell when they’re just cooked enough.  This will probably be the only way I cook potatoes from now on.

I did make a few modifications to the recipe.  I wanted it to be a little healthier, so I only added half a cup of mayo and substituted plain yogurt for the other half cup.  You might even get away with a whole cup of yogurt(maybe greek would be best) and no mayo.  Also, I don’t eat relish, so I omitted that.  The only mustard I had on hand was French’s Spicy mustard(which I love!) so I used that for the mustard.

The results: spectacular!  It was creamy, slightly spicy, dilly, crunchy from the celery and onions…I want another bowl right now.  It would go great with a big juicy burger!  Another recipe to save for later!

 

Pickled everything!

Ok this one was a quick and easy one but I still wanted to write a short post about it so I can keep track of all the things I’ve made.  When in doubt of what to do with something that may go bad soon, pickle it!  My latest experiment….Pickled turnips! I don’t know if I’ve ever actually had a pickled turnip, but I love turnip and I love pickles, so it seems promising!  I found the recipe for pickled turnips here.

Preparation was fairly simple- cut the turnip into matchsticks, slice garlic, beet, and put in a jar. Boil the remaining ingredients and pour over turnip, filling jar to the top. Done! It says they need to sit in the fridge for a week, so I won’t​ be able ​to taste test until next week. I can’t wait! 

Street corn salad….Really??

Yes, such a thing exists! Mexican street corn salad to be exact.  Until last week, I had never even heard of such a thing, but let me tell you, it is AMAZING!

I received a bag of frozen corn in my CSA box the other week, so it was time to start looking at some frozen corn recipes.  I could have easily just boiled it and put some butter on it, but where’s the fun in that?  I needed a recipe…something with some real flavour!  I started googling and this recipe for Mexican street corn salad caught my eye.  Time to try something new!

On Monday night, I decided to make it.  I was rushing around trying to get stuff ready for work and still had to go out to pick up my CSA box, but the recipe said it only took 15 minutes to make, so I figured I had enough time.  The recipe said to cook the corn until it started to char.  I didn’t think frozen watery corn would ever be able to char in a frying pan, but after about 10 minutes, it did start to get a nice brown colour to it.  While the corn cooks, you mix together the rest of the ingredients, then dump the corn in, mix it all together, and you have Mexican street corn salad!

The verdict: two thumbs up!  I used feta cheese in mine because I was too lazy to look for Cotija cheese at the store.  It still turned out great!  I also used pickled jalapenos, not fresh ones, and skipped the cilantro.  The jalapenos and chili powder gave it just the right amount of heat and the feta added just enough flavour to make this corn salad delicious.  If you’ve never tried Mexican street corn salad, I highly recommend it!