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Marlene

Camping, Princess Style

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Yesterday morning started off with a bang, literally: it sounded like the contents of 3 kitchen drawers all falling to the floor at once.

 

Up from the kitchen there rose such a clatter, we bounced out of bed to see what was the matter.

 

Nothing looked out of place.  The sound was coming from the heater vent.  Oh, dear.  Further investigation and dismantling, several hours' worth, led to the picking out of dozens of itty bitty plastic pieces from inside the works. That clatter and bang had been the sound of the furnace fan disintegrating and spitting vanes all over the heating element (oh, the odor!).  We'll need a new furnace motor.  We'll need to go to a service place.  We're miles from any repair facility, and don't want to break camp.  We'll make it until we're closer to a repair place, after Christmas; we intend to have outside electrical power in a couple of weeks, and we can tough it out without heat until then. It isn't very cold here.

...

Nonetheless...

...

I'm really quite put out about yet another mechanical problem.  It could be worse: it could be the generator and wiring (as last year) or a glide motor breaking (ditto) or a wheel bearing failure (previous trailer, at least twice).  We're safe, dry, healthy and mobile.  Still, it takes time we'd rather use for other things, and saps the energy needed for my intended cooking.  We went the easy way.

 

Last night was my darling's basic comfort food, almost as easy as it gets: sausage, onion and potato hash cooked over the campfire, and asparagus cooked in the microwave with butter.  I don't have a picture of the asparagus; I think it's an insult to the poor vegetable but at least it was edible. The blurry photo probably reflects my mood when I snapped the picture.

 

20171210_094956.jpg

 

There had been better cookery in previous days. I'll write about that in another post.

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UGH I would be more than put out.....a brand new trailer....they just don't make things the way they used to.  I'm glad that you can limp through, at least until you get to a repair place.  Sigh.

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Sorry to hear about the heater drama and hope it turns out to be an easy/quick fix! That hash looks really good though...  :)

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2 minutes ago, heidih said:

So you don't lke the MW asparagus? I've found it to be a good way to avoid water log. Was interested when Kenji touted it here http://www.seriouseats.com/2017/07/how-to-steam-vegetables-in-the-microwave.html

 

Wow - unexpected mechanical failures - not a happy place. At lesst you have that crazy pup to distract you ;)

 

To be fair, MW asparagus can be good and we've had some success with it.  Unfortunately it can also be overcooked in an inattentive heartbeat, and we've had limp army drab bits often enough that I tend to think of microwaving it as last-ditch expedience.  I generally prefer it roasted, grilled or otherwise browned, or else used as one of many elements in some dish like pasta primavera.

 

I'll try Kenji's method, with the proviso that it must not be left whole unless I'm cooking for myself (another point of contention in our household 9_9). Thanks for that link!

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I also like and use Alton Brown's method of wrapping the asparagus in damp paper towels and steaming

the bundle for 2-4 minutes.  He also pre -salts before putting them in the MW.  Easy to check a spear

and stop the action when things are cooked to your taste.  I always use whole spears but snap off the

tough ends.

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My bread-baking is improving again.  My latest loaf, from a few days ago, looks pretty good:

 

20171210_141230.jpg

 

...at least, until you see the bottom xD...

 

20171210_150849.jpg

 

Still, it's better than its predecessor.  I used the screen you see in the top picture and no cast iron.  It still got a bit too warm on the bottom.  Next try I'll use the middle oven rack.  The crumb shot will be at the end.

 

 During our last trip to town, we succumbed to the promise of this label:

 

20171207_170116.jpg

 

As we suspected, it was a "t" and not a comma that was missing. :) The label looks messy because the butcher was good enough to split a package and wrap the halves separately for us. A 3-pound roast is as much as we care to cook at once.

 

We wanted a pork roast for cool-weather cooking and to use some of the sauerkraut I made last fall.  5 of these 1-quart containers take up a lot of fridge space!

20171210_095454.jpg

 

This is usually a slow-cooker recipe for us.  Since we're on generator power only, we opted for the oven.  Here's the roast, sprinkled generously with cumin and nestled in its bed of potatoes, carrots and onions, just before going in for a low and slow oven cook.

 

20171207_171251.jpg

 

When the potatoes were soft and the roast was nearly done (somewhere around 160 - 165F), we added the kraut and let it come up to temperature.

 

20171207_193252.jpg

 

We think this also helps slow the temperature rise of the meat and holds it at that magic collegen-stall temperature a bit longer, but don't have rigorous tests to prove it. We do know that if the kraut goes in too soon it's difficult to get the spuds cooked.

 

This is a different form of simple cooking altogether than the hash and microwaved asparagus, and we don't find it compatible with troubleshooting mechanical problems - but when it comes together, we're happy.  The leftovers make us doubly so. :)

 

20171210_095552.jpg

 

 


Edited by Smithy Punctuation (log)
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Not much any better than pork with sauerkraut. I do love it.

 

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I'll second that, it's one of my cold-weather staples. Next batch will be even more fun, because it'll be my own home-fermented sauerkraut. 

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3 hours ago, chromedome said:

I'll second that, it's one of my cold-weather staples. Next batch will be even more fun, because it'll be my own home-fermented sauerkraut. 

 

There's a certain pride in that, isn't there?  I was frantic during our packing-up: the large batches of kraut fermenting in our kitchen still needed to be dealt with one way or the other, and I had (grr) no time. I got it done anyway, and what we have here is about half of what I'd made.  

 

What method did you use for your kraut?  Have you written about it in the Sauerkraut topic, or in the less specific What Are You Preserving, and How Are You Doing It? topic?  If not, we're missing out.  ;) 

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Glory be, I've had my first success at making yogurt without electricity.

 

I know that yogurt-making predates household electricity by centuries.  No doubt many (most?) folks still make it the old-fashioned way.  However, my attempts at making yogurt have been such failures that I resorted to store-bought for years - until the advent of the Instant Pot.  That little beauty has been wonderful as, among other things, a yogurt maker.

 

Where we are presently camped, we rely on the generator for electricity.  That precludes the long run times needed, say, to incubate yogurt or do sous vide cookery.  I asked over here about the temperature that the Instant Pot uses to incubate the yogurt culture.  Thanks to @Anna N and @ElsieD, with additional information from @Tropicalsenior, I picked up the information that I needed: the incubation temperature should be around 107F and ElsieD's Instant Pot maintains between 105 and 106F.  My oven, with the pilot light on, registers 107F according to my meat thermometer.

 

I brought my half-gallon of milk to a low boil, let it cool to around 110F, added some of my precious culture and whisked it all thoroughly.  Wrapped it in a towel and stuck it in the oven.  Periodically I'd reassure myself about the temperature: open the door, quickly turn on the thermometer (which goes to sleep after a few minutes), shut the door, then recheck the temp.  106 or 107F every time.

 

This morning, I had yogurt.

 

20171211_094256.jpg

 

Hooray!  I don't have to go back to store-bought!  

 

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Do your ever drain your home-made yogurt to make Greek yogurt? I have a hankering for the tsatsiki my DW makes and am thinking that fresh, home-made yogurt would be at least a notch up from draining store-bought yogurt. I have never attempted home-made yogurt and will most likely use my Anova to maintain the temperature if I do try making my own.


Edited by Porthos (log)

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28 minutes ago, Porthos said:

Do your ever drain your home-made yogurt to make Greek yogurt? I have a hankering for the tsatsiki my DW makes and am thinking that fresh, home-made yogurt would be at least a notch up from draining store-bought yogurt. I have never attempted home-made yogurt and will most likely use my Anova to maintain the temperature if I do try making my own.

 

 

I always drain it.  The bottom picture in the collage above is of the yogurt draining in my Euro Cuisine Greek Yogurt strainer, recommended by @kayb (and others).  I tried cheesecloth in a colander at first, but find the very fine mesh in this strainer to be more effective than cheesecloth and easier to clean.  

 

When I remember, I use the whey to make bread. I can't tell that it makes a difference in the bread quality, but it feels less wasteful. :)

 

eta I'll post a better photo of the draining process if it seems useful.


Edited by Smithy Added offer for extra pic (log)
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13 hours ago, Smithy said:

 

There's a certain pride in that, isn't there?  I was frantic during our packing-up: the large batches of kraut fermenting in our kitchen still needed to be dealt with one way or the other, and I had (grr) no time. I got it done anyway, and what we have here is about half of what I'd made.  

 

What method did you use for your kraut?  Have you written about it in the Sauerkraut topic, or in the less specific What Are You Preserving, and How Are You Doing It? topic?  If not, we're missing out.  ;) 

I mentioned it in passing in the "What are you preserving?" thread. I went very basic for my first time, just the basic 2% brine and no additional flavorings. I was inspired by an unusually good special (local, freshly-harvested cabbage at $0.19/lb, prices typically range from $0.69 to $0.99 in my neck of the woods). 

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3 hours ago, Smithy said:

 

When I remember, I use the whey to make bread. I can't tell that it makes a difference in the bread quality, but it feels less wasteful. :)

 

 

Been looking at a fermentation cookbook, and it mentions using whey as a "starter" for fermenting fruit. Haven't tried it yet.

 

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11 hours ago, Porthos said:

Do your ever drain your home-made yogurt to make Greek yogurt? I have a hankering for the tsatsiki my DW makes and am thinking that fresh, home-made yogurt would be at least a notch up from draining store-bought yogurt. I have never attempted home-made yogurt and will most likely use my Anova to maintain the temperature if I do try making my own.

 

 

I forgot to mention earlier that I think tsatsiki is a fine condiment that I enjoy eating but have never made successfully.  Would your DW care to share her recipe?

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@Smithy She uses the recipe from Jeff Smith Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines.  I think she drains the shredded cucumber for 24 hours, and then still squeezes the daylights out of it.

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6 hours ago, Porthos said:

I think she drains the shredded cucumber for 24 hours, and then still squeezes the daylights out of it.

 

I also think it's good to get liquid out of the shredded cuke for tzatziki, but I am nowhere near as dedicated or patient as that! :)

 

I usually just put a paper-towel lined sieve over a bowl and let the cuke drain there for 15 to 30 mins or so. Then lift the paper towel out and give a few squeezes and then shake the cuke shreds into a clean bowl. But then I don't mind the cuke adding a bit of liquid, especially if I start with a well-drained yogurt. 

 

 

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On 12/11/2017 at 2:40 PM, Smithy said:

 

I always drain it.  The bottom picture in the collage above is of the yogurt draining in my Euro Cuisine Greek Yogurt strainer, recommended by @kayb (and others).  I tried cheesecloth in a colander at first, but find the very fine mesh in this strainer to be more effective than cheesecloth and easier to clean.  

 

When I remember, I use the whey to make bread. I can't tell that it makes a difference in the bread quality, but it feels less wasteful. :)

 

eta I'll post a better photo of the draining process if it seems useful.

 

What to do with the whey is actually a huge issue, commercially. The Mohawk Valley, south and east of where I live, has become Yogurt Central. Since Greek-style strained yogurt became all the rage, that's what they're making a lot of. But the whey all needs to go somewhere, and it can't just get dumped outside.

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8 minutes ago, MelissaH said:

What to do with the whey is actually a huge issue, commercially. The Mohawk Valley, south and east of where I live, has become Yogurt Central. Since Greek-style strained yogurt became all the rage, that's what they're making a lot of. But the whey all needs to go somewhere, and it can't just get dumped outside.

 

I've wondered about that.  In Minnesota, relatively small quantities (5 gallons? I don't remember) of milk spilled from a commercial operation must be reported to the Minnesota Duty Officer and treated for cleanup.  We in the mining business, who had to worry about non-food spills, thought it sounded very silly, but the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency noted that the Biological Oxygen Demand was quite high for breaking down even such a benign substance. So where should the whey go? My darling said his parents would have slopped the hogs with it. Are there pig farming operations in or near the Mohawk Valley? 

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6 minutes ago, heidih said:

Hhmmm - I know I saw something recently about drinking the whey, and I see whey protein marketed. Found this article interesting  https://www.farmcurious.com/blogs/farmcurious/17599408-cheesemaking-what-to-do-with-all-that-whey

 

That's fascinating. I blush to admit it, but I'd never wondered where "whey protein" came from before now. It looks like I should be able to use all the whey I generate in the future.  I used some of it as a marinade for chicken yesterday.  The broth is simmering away now; too bad I didn't think to try the rest of the whey as a broth additive! 

 

One of our cocktail folks might like to try the martini idea under the "Booze It Up" section. :)

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3 hours ago, Smithy said:

 

I've wondered about that.  In Minnesota, relatively small quantities (5 gallons? I don't remember) of milk spilled from a commercial operation must be reported to the Minnesota Duty Officer and treated for cleanup.  We in the mining business, who had to worry about non-food spills, thought it sounded very silly, but the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency noted that the Biological Oxygen Demand was quite high for breaking down even such a benign substance. So where should the whey go? My darling said his parents would have slopped the hogs with it. Are there pig farming operations in or near the Mohawk Valley? 

Certainly nothing major. Not like the midwest.

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Fellow I was talking to today showed me a bottle of vodka made from whey. Apparently you ferment the whey - then distill the beer it produces. It's called Black Cow Pure Milk Spirit. There's another Broken Shed from New Zealand. 

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