Thursday, February 1, 2018

Neutral Buoyancy Cheesecake (Sous Vide) Dex#

With cherry topping, left, and apricot jam, right.

This was a fun one! I got a huge kick out of the Lifehacker post called Will It Sous Vide? Creamy Cheesecake Edition. I love cheesecake, and have sous vide capability. Also, cheesecake does not rely on sugar for its structure, and the fiber just disappears into the batter like it isn't even there. I found a good starting recipe, replaced 4/5'ths of the sugar with dextrose (to reduce the amount of fructose in it), and added enough fiber to make the fiber:carb ratio match that in blueberries. Turned out fabulous!

I also had sous vide adventures of my own. Tried putting the cheesecake mix into a vacuum bag to cook, then sprinkling it with toasted crumbled graham cracker crust.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Ingredients and Equipment lists

I've just started two Amazon lists. These are things I have and use. I've commented on some of them. I didn't buy all of these things from Amazon, it's just a convenient way of making these lists to share and refer to. Some things can be picked up locally for a better price, so it may be worth having a look around first.

Kitchen Equipment

Other things I like:

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Rudolph's Elixir, Tipsy or not

This is my take on a festive drink called Rudolph's Spritzer, originally made with fruit juices and sodas. I've captured the flavors of the original, while leaving behind a lot of the fructose. For the "tipsy" version, add vodka. Admittedly, I have not tried it that way myself. Cheers!

Candy Cherry Syrup Dex#

What's this? What's it for? Add it to a cola or lemon-lime soda to make a cherry version, yummm; plus it adds fiber. It also turns plain yogurt into something like a go-gurt, but with a lot less sugar.

 It has a super-strong and sour cherry flavor, and reminds me of cherry candy. After a lot of Google searches, I discovered that almond is the secret flavor. I also tried this with real cherry flavor and artificial cherry flavor. In the end, I decided to use both! It satisfies my notion of cherry candy from my childhood, while rounding it out with the real flavor.

Dragon's Blood (Fruit Punch Soda) Dex#

This is currently our favorite flavor of home-made soda. It's written with "candy cherry flavor" as a separate recipe, because I also make a cherry syrup to put in colas, and this is such a nice flavor. It is shelf-stable, and can be made in larger batches. I've also broken out the exact amount needed for one and for four 2-liter bottles of Fruit Punch Soda. The syrup is in a previous post, Home-Made Soda: The Syrup, Dex#.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Same-Day Eggnog Dex#

I really love a glass of eggnog around the holidays. It's a bit fussy cooking up a custard, and worst of all, it takes hours to cool. Grabbing a bottle from the grocery is so much easier and faster! Except, it has all that sugar in it. If only I could make eggnog at home, and drink it right away; then it would be easier than driving to the store.

Well, I've found a way, and it makes us happy. :) It's also Dex#, my term for when the carb to fiber ratio is 5:1, like what it is in blueberries. For Dex#, all the non-fiber carbs count, where as for Dex+ I only look at the fructose to fiber ratio. But enough of that, on to what makes the recipe work!

There are a few special things to consider here: 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Spriggan Soda (Lemon-Lime)

You can make a really good lemon-lime using, no surprise, lemons and limes. However, lemons and limes vary in size and cost, they spoil, and also take a bit of work to cut and squeeze. The easier and more consistent way is to use lemon and lime oils for the flavor, and a blend of citric and malic acids for the sourness.

I've been using Boyajian oils, which you can get in a set of three, orange, lemon, and lime. They can also be used in place of citrus zest, 1/4 tsp or 24 drops per 3 tsp zest; really handy. The emulsifiers (gum Arabic and xanthan gum) in the syrup allow the oils to blend in, rather than pooling on top.

Acidity is a huge part of the flavor of citrus, and of soda. You can try only using the citric acid, but using the malic also makes this more like real citrus fruit. Malic acid is the sour in lots of super-sour candy. It's also the main acid in apples.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Home-Made Soda: The Syrup, Dex#

I'm revisiting Soda Syrup, for a couple of reasons. The lemon-lime I had come up with was tasty, but it was too much work to make a glass. The syrup was very thick, and hard to stir in. Cutting, squeezing, and crushing the lemons and limes was a hassle. We stopped making it, and after a while, diet drinks started showing up at home.

This new and improved syrup:
  • Is thinner due to not using corn syrup.
  • Contains some stevia, a natural sweetener that, best I can tell, has no bad effects on health.
  • Has emulsifiers (I will spare you all the details on experiments), which allow use of oils for flavoring, and also gives a nice foam like store-bought cokes.

Home-Made Soda: Let's talk Fizzzzz

I've been playing with carbonated beverages lately, because who wouldn't like to know how to make their own Coke; am I right? Cola, as it turns out, is quite a challenge, and I'm still working on that one. However, fruity flavored sodas are delicious in so many varieties it's hard to make a bad one. Well, as long as the sweet/acid/flavor ratio is good. After that, it's up to you as to what flavors you like. So many flavors!

This is my newest creation: Rudolph's Elixir. For Rudolph's Tipsy Elixir, add vodka.
What you need for any soda is: syrup, emulsifiers, flavors, acids, and carbonated water. Let's talk carbonation first; syrups and flavors in a future post.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Cream Candy Saga continues....

Another Thanksgiving, another try at cream candy. This year, we thought we knew what we were doing. That is where we went wrong. Complacency.

Armed with notes from years past, I did not even dribble candy into a glass of water as the temperature rose. I couldn't find my old-fashioned glass thermometer, so used the fancy William Sonoma flat metal one. Then the fateful comment was made: "The one thing that hasn't gone wrong before was to go too high on the temperature".

Well. Now we know what happens. If the candy gets too hot, it is nearly impossible to pull. Two good-sized adults pulling on a batch of candy, and it barely stretched. I bet we put 150 lbs on that candy. Impressive; it didn't break either. We did as much as we could, then just laid it down. If you tried to snap it, the candy rope just slowly bent. If you dropped it from a foot or so above the granite, it broke in pieces. Eating a piece resulted in gluing teeth together, kind of like a sugar daddy, more like hard candy. The kids started microwaving bits of it to see what would happen. It became crumbly, but lost the good flavor.

So, nothing to do but start over, after a good 20-30 minute hunt for the thermometer. This type, but I don't think this brand, just whatever was at the grocery. Also, I used a spoon and glass of water to check the thread, soft ball, and hard ball stages. I also used my fancy electronic thermometer, the only one I've found that works with the induction cooktop.

The glass thermometer rose steadily. The electronic was more volatile, reacting quickly as the probe was moved around in the pot. As the glass one approached 260, the electronic would read as high as 270! I finally couldn't take it any more, and pulled it off the heat when the glass one read 255. And, that was too early.

The candy was too sticky to hold for long, and was really soft. I laid it back down on the silicone mat, and pulled/folded it on the mat. Then, in a surreal few minutes, it turned foggy, smelled wonderful, then turned into crystal and broke in pieces. Success! Although not beautiful, it was all gone in a moment, as many hands reached in.

Bonus: By the next day (today), the original batch crystallized into a slightly dryer, more crumbly version of the proper texture. I just checked, and it is softening, and is almost just right! The kids say that our true belief that the batch had failed is why it turned good. Hahaha, and my brother's family took some with them; should be witnessing the magic also, on their journey home. A good Thanksgiving was had by all.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

(Kentucky) Cream Candy Update

2015 Update:

Cream candy. Every Thanksgiving, we make it again. It is always delicious, but the experience is always different, and unlike how I recall my father doing it.

This year I tried a couple of changes, and got a dramatically different result. However, no new pictures, unfortunately.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Ma's Six Day Pickles Dex+

Pickles? Six days? Why??? Answer: These are amazing. This is my grandmother's recipe. And, for myself and my brother, they are as delicious as they are in our childhood memories. Translucent, crunchy sweet/sour pickles, kind of like bread-and-butter's. 
Translucent pickle slices on top of grilled cheese. Simple perfection.
They are especially good on top of a grilled cheese sandwich. My children love them too. The recipe, as it was given to me, was very light on instructions, and included wonderful measurements like "salt to float an egg", and "alum the size of an egg". Yes indeed, an egg will float if you add enough salt to the water. Fun fun fun. :)