Saturday, August 10, 2019

Rice, in the Instant Pot

I now own an Instant Pot, hazzah! I got one for my son to take to college, and decided it only made sense that I have one at home too. That way, I can try out recipes here, and he can just make the ones that are worthwhile in his limited free time. 

I tried hard boiled eggs, and they were super easy to peel and turned out perfectly. Then we tried spaghetti and meatballs, and it was a failure. Didn't really save any time, and was definitely not as good as just boiling a pot of pasta and topping with sauce from a jar and meatballs from the freezer. 

Rice is an obvious choice, and I've made four pots of it today. We found an article on 
Green Healthy Cooking, where Lorena made many pots of rice to find the perfect way. I tried the 1:1 water to rice ratio, and it does work nicely! 

On my first batch, I used the "rice" button on the machine, because it should work, right? It did make rice, but not as well as a rice cooker. I tried again using High Pressure instead, per Lorena's instructions, and it came out pretty nicely. Then I tried rinsing the rice first, and the rice was fluffier, a little softer, and less sticky. I tried it one last time, with more salt and some butter, and that did the trick for me! Nicely salted, subtle butter flavor and richness, and the rice didn't stick to the bottom of the pot.

Rice in the Instant Pot

Yield: about 2.75 cups cooked rice per 1 cup uncooked rice.
  • Butter keeps the rice from sticking to the pot, makes the rice rich, and adds flavor.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Bam! Worcestershire Sauce Dex++

When I got my first Emeril cookbook, many years ago, the first thing I tried was the first recipe that was listed, Worcestershire Sauce. I was curious about what went into it. I canned it and set it in the pantry, and we didn't touch it for a long time, because, well, it seemed strange. One day though, we needed some for a recipe, and opened a jar; that opened our eyes, wow it was good stuff!

Now this is THE required secret ingredient in our burgers. We also reach for it when a recipe is just a little lame, and needs some complexity and depth of flavor. This is the stuff that even the kids are concerned if we run out of. Who'd have thought? My daughter actually took it with her on a beach trip with friends, for their grilled burgers.

Worcestershire, pickles, and hot bread from the oven will be high on the list of things the kids look forward to coming home for (and taking back with them) once they've moved out on their own.

I've done my Dex-magic to the recipe, since the original has quite a lot of sugar in it.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Same-Day Ice Cream Dex#

Ice cream is such a wonderful spontaneous treat, it's hard to say "no" when heading home from a special family event. Then, more and more events are "special", and next thing you know, it's a habit. I can make it healthier, but most recipes have you prepping the "mix" the day before, and then there's the ice to deal with, or the canister-thing to manage in the freezer. To really be what I need, it must compete with the convenience of an ice cream shop.
The requirements for pulling this off:
- No cooking, so the mix doesn't need chilling.
- Flavor and texture that can compete with Baskin Robbins.
- Spontaneous; zero to ice cream in about an hour.

I've held this recipe back for a while though. Firstly because it seemed too amazing to just give away. Got over that; there's no way I'm quitting my day job and opening an ice cream parlor.
Secondly, because it has raw egg yolks in it. That doesn't really bother me or my family, but if I share it with other people, that's different. Now that I've worked out how to pasteurize eggs, there are no more excuses!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza

My son went on a band trip to Chicago, and they had some really great pizza at Gino's. I then had a pizza discussion with my office-mate, who is from Chicago, and she explained that while Gino's is really good, and is made with cornmeal in the crust, she prefers Giordanos, which by the way can be mail-ordered. Obviously my husband immediately mail-order stuffed pizzas from Giordanos; for research, you understand.

We all really enjoyed the pizza, which is clearly an entirely different thing from our usual pizzas. My son, however, still preferred his memories of Gino's. Next step: find a recipe for pizza like Gino's!

Friday, March 29, 2019

LAL’s Sourdough Sandwich Buns, Schlotzky's copycat

My husband really likes Schlotzsky's sandwiches. I like baking bread, and figuring out how to make things. Naturally, he eventually wanted me to recreate Schlotzsky's buns at home. Tonight, he has made sandwiches with my creation, and declared them a dead-on match. I think they're a little softer and lovelier than the original, but I'm probably biased. ;)

There are several recipes floating around out there, but most don't make a bun with a texture and flavor that are really like the original.

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.

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. I sometimes mix up a batch of "candy cherry flavor" as a separate recipe, because this is such a nice flavor combo to use in other recipes. It is shelf-stable, and can be made in larger batches. I've also broken out the exact amount needed for one 2-liter bottle of Fruit Punch Soda. The syrup is in a previous post, Home-Made Soda: The Syrup, Dex#, and is repeated here in case you prefer making just enough for one bottle of soda.

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.