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Hot Pepper Sauce

9 Jul

I have a few Hungarian Yellow Wax pepper plants that are really producing! They are spicy, but not too hot. While I’ve decided to leave some on the plants to turn red, I’ve been searching online for ideas of what to do with the rest. After enjoying a sweet jalapeño sauce that came with a burrito from La Chica Loca, a local cafe, I decided to try making my own.

I found this recipe.

For as much as I usually tweak recipes, I did very little to change this one. Well, I didn’t use jalapeños, and I substituted ancho pepper seeds in place of the cayenne. I don’t really care for cayenne, and had the seeds on hand, leftover from making another recipe (to be posted later). But I mostly followed the recipe. Except I wanted the sauce thicker, so cooked it down quite a bit before adding the peppers. Also, after cooking the peppers in the sauce for 5 minutes, I fished them out, added the honey and cooked it down some more.

It is delicious! Sweet, spicy, with a bit of vinegary zing. Definitely a keeper recipe. I’ve * it on my bookmarks. After enjoying it on the half of buritto leftover from yesterday, I have a half pint left to use, either as a sauce or in other recipes.

In an earlier search, I found a recipe for a filled Turkish flatbread that I’m thinking this sauce would be good with, maybe as part of the filling or as a side.

Hungarian Yellow Wax Pepper Sauce

Creating new meals

8 Jul

After a recent inventory of the upper storage cabinet in my kitchen, I started browsing for ways to combine the canned foods I have on hand.

I started with green beans. I don’t know why I have so many cans of them, because they are certainly not a favorite. I suppose I purchased some when they were on sale, thinking they were a bargain. After which, they get pushed to the back of the cabinet when I choose something else.

I found lots of ideas and created a list of combinations to try. Like most times when I find a good recipe, I tweak it. I nearly always have to downsize the recipe. Often I make substitutions to fit either what I have on hand, or to satisfy my desire of the moment.

Yesterday I decided to try a recipe that combined summer squash (I have a small one left that needs eaten), green beans and tomatoes. I choose this recipe because, beside green beans, I have several cans of tomato products. I also liked the recipe because it had herb, although I usually add some, even if the recipe doesn’t call for them. The recipes said to cook the beans, tomatoes and squash together, adding coriander, parsley, and pepper.

I liked the sound of the recipe, but I wanted a cool dish. So I only cooked the squash, sautéing it in a bit of olive oil. While the squash was cooking, I drained the cans of green beans, and put them in the bottom of my bowl. Next, I used my slotted spoon to drain the tomatoes (using about a third of the can) which I layered on top of the beans. The squash was tender, so I added it for the next layer. I decided some of the leftover canned ripe olives that I had in the fridge would be good, and also some crumbled some feta cheese. The recipe had called for coriander and parsley, so I used the mortar and pestle I had recently purchased and ground them. (Next time I will chop the parsley, as it got kind of mushed.) After sprinkling them and freshly ground pepper on top, I decided it was ready to eat.

Appealing Green Bean Salad

It was very good. It had just enough liquid to moisten the dish, yet not become runny. Even though it looked pretty layered, I mixed it all together before I ate it. When I will make it again, I will let the flavors blend awhile in the refrigerator before eating.

Yummy bean salad

After a long break

1 Oct

After a long breakI traveled all summer, during which time my raw food diet was on hold. I ate whatever was served, wherever I was. This seemed the simplest solution. I felt it best just to fit in. However after about three weeks I began to have bad stomach upsets. It didn’t even seem to matter what I ate. It took my daughter (who had offered to let me use her blender if I wanted to do raw) to offer a possible reason. Maybe, my stomach was rebelling at the non-raw diet! In my research of how to start a raw diet I’ve seen that too much, too quickly can cause an adverse reaction. I must have added raw food gradually enough that I didn’t notice any symptoms. But I definitely had the experience in reverse! Yet, even with this adverse reaction because it was more convienent. I continued to eat whatever and after about a week or so my stomach adjusted. It was certainly a learning experience,
Once I returned to Florida I was trying, again, to go raw. For some reason it doesn’t seem quite a easy as this spring. Maybe partly because I came back fairly exhausted and just didn’t feel like making the effort to restock and prepare. I have been looking at websites, getting ideas, planning menus, etc. This week I started making my morning blended drink. I appreciate the wake up, energizing feeling it gives me. And most days I have eaten a large salad for lunch.
Dinner, however, remains a problem. I often have activities during the afternoons, and come back tired and hungry. I quickly consumed all of the snack items leftover from my trip. I then usually opened a can of something and snarfed it. Or I munched on something in the fridge, only to be left feeling dissatisfied.
Last night as I turned onto my street I smelled the burgers at Wendy’s. I told myself it would be ok, just this once. The reception at the drive up was a little fuzzy and I ended up purchasing a double cheeseburger, small cheese burger and large unsweetened tea. Boy did that burger smell delicious, I could hardly wait to get into my apartment! Since I was so hungry I started with the double burger. It did taste good. But before I was even halfway through my stomach started feeling strange. I told my self–no way–it has to be just my imagination. It couldn’t have an effect that quick. I continued to eat, finishing the large burger and starting on the small one. But after a few bites, into the fridge it went-along with the tea.
By then I wasn’t feeling too bad, just a little burping, and after a bit went to bed. I often wake up at night, so it wasn’t unusual when I awoke at 2am. But the way I felt wasn’t usual. In vain I tried to find my tums. (Did I mention I am not completely unpacked from my trip yet?) Instead I turned to the old remedy of baking soda in water. It did the trick, along with leaving me thirsty. Lol
My smoothie this morning really hit the spot. Yet now at lunchtime I am, again, feeling upset. I don’t even want to think of that half of sandwich in the fridge. It will probably become cat food to one of the strays around here. I’m thinking I will have only the tea for lunch. Perhaps not the healthiest–but my grandma always gave me burnt toast with tea for upset stomach. I’m just omitting the burnt toast!

Raw Food Update

7 Apr

Although I am certainly not 100% raw, I have been adding LOTS more raw food to my diet.  However there have been some challenges.  Since I like variety–in my food as well as in most everything else–I have been searching the web for raw recipes.  There are tons of them!  But many take quite a bit of time to create or use equipment which I don’t have and presently have no room to store.  And unfortunately I have become somewhat spoiled by the abundant availability in this area of resturants where I can quickly get a little something that satisfies my taste buds for the moment.

I have tried a few recipes, with varying degrees of success.  I do ok for breakfast.  Often I will blend up a mix of greens, fruits, and veggies and nuts.  Sometimes I add sprouted grain that I have on hand.  I can’t really call these smoothies (they are more like a thick drink) becuase I am only using my Osterizer blender which I’ve had for several years.   The only other equipment I have is a tiny food processor which does about a cup at a time.  It works for me becuase that way I can eat what I fix in one setting.

Another breakfast I make with my little processor is grated soaked almonds, apples and a slice of ginger root.  Very fresh and filling!  Since I am still trying to use up the un-raw food I have on hand, I have added Grape Nuts cereal to the apple/almond breakfast.   Sometimes I made a wonderful mango pudding, adding a little coconut,  bananas and ginger root.

One of the reasons I have been frequenting restaurants is because I still haven’t broke myself of the habit of buying too much produce at one time.  Some of the raw sites even say to purchase lots of food so you always have something on hand whe a craving strikes.  But this hasn’t worked for me.  I will buy food items thinking I will make some recipe, only when the time comes I either don’t want to take the time to fix it or I’m not in the mood for that food.  Then before I know it, the food has spoiled.  And I am again berating myself for wasting food and money.  Other times I will sprout beans, greens, and grains, but leave them too long before using and they get tough.

At times, I will buy food that I have rarely if ever used–like mangos.  The first ones I purchased were the large kind which seemed to have an aftertaste.  I added them to my morning drink.  But then I discovered the smaller mangos and found they were wonderful.  That is also case with the fresh coconut.  Once I finally got it opened, I found several uses for it.  I ate some fresh and cut the rest up in pieces and stuck in the freezer.  I do this with my ginger and turmeric too.  It makes it so easy to slice off a bit and add to a dish.  So, yes, there have been some successes.

Someone at my last Raw Food Potluck had fixed a great cauliflower recipe.  Although I had never been a big cauliflower fan, I purchased one at my last grocery visit.  And it has set in the refrigerator for nearly a week.  But today I decided I am going to use it.   So I searched for raw cauliflower recipes.  Some where it is chopped into a rice like size and used like rice as a base for sauces.  Other recipes for different salads.  I finally found one on titled Raw Cauliflower Korma.  I’m not sure  what Korma means but I liked the list of ingredients.  I’ve been frequenting Indian resturants lately and this recipe seemed to fit right in.

Yes, the recipe sounded good.  The fact that I didn’t have some of the ingredients didn’t stop me.  I hardly ever follow a recipe exactly!  So I went about substituting and mixed up a spice mixture that apealed to me using sumac seasoning, dried mint, dried thyme, coriander seeds, cinnamon, and galangal.  It seemed to need a little more sweetness so added some crystallized ginger.  I used 4-5 cauliflowerettes, about a half cup of carrots, some tamarind paste, two dates–hey I followed the recipe on the dates– a clove of garlic, two green onions.  Oh, tomatoes–no sun dried tomatoes in cupboard.  But I did find a can of garlic herb pasta sauce and a can of tomato soup.  After considering I decided on the tomato soup.  For liquid I used the water from soaking the nuts. Directions always say to discard tries water, but I’ve developed a taste for it.  It tastes a little like the fermented drink rejevenic made from spouted grain.  Anyway, I added that.   And today I created enough (nearly raw) tasty Cauliflower Gaspacho for two meals!  Probably in the time it would have taken to drive to a restaurant.  Plus saving money, I know what all the ingredients are and know it is fresh!  And, hopefully, since the cauliflower didn’t really taste like cauliflower, I will be able to find other recipes that I like and make them before the rest the head spoils.

Another success was the dish I made for the Raw Food Potluck.   I call it Butternut Slaw. Raw grated butternut squash, fresh squeezed orange juice, ginger and turmeric root.  I let the flavors blend overnight.   The recipe, which I changed completely, called for cranberries.  But I liked the flavors of the slaw just as it was.  So I made a relish side dish with cranberries, apples, oranges, olive oil, rice vinegar, a bit of stevia and some of my espresso vinegar.  Both were a hit and the slaw especially was so pretty and fresh looking!

Butternut Slaw with Cranberry Relish

Butternut Slaw with Cranberry Relish



Raw diet?

16 Oct

I’ve been on many different food kicks in my life.  Enjoying the novelty of new ways of eating.  Wholeheartedly getting into each one, only to eventually lose interest or slip back into more regular, normal eating patterns.  Although my kids and friends would probably tell you that there is really very little “normal” about my eating habits–nor anything else about me, for that matter.  Strangely enough that doesn’t hurt my feeling.  It did, a little, in the past.  But I think I have finally arrived at the place where I know what/who I am and am satisfied with it.  Not that I don’t want to get better, cause I do.  But it’s pretty amazing to find that I like myself!

Back to diet.  I feel like I need an extra boost of energy this fall.  I remember when I was first on the diet to lower my thyroid.  It was hard to stay on.  Indeed at the first slip I was off and couldn’t seem to get back.  And since my thyroid was better by that time, I must admit I didn’t try very hard.  But I remember, and hope I never forget, how I could actually feel my body bogging down.

And now, when I feel I need a boost I am turning to not just adding more fruits and veggie to my diet, but more raw ones.  I have been interested in raw diet at different times in my life, but never gone completely raw.  I doubt that I will this time either, but I guess , with me, anything is possible.

At some of the meet-up groups I attend, there are people who are really into vegan, vegetarian, and I believe a few into raw.  There are even a couple of raw meetups.  But I have enough meet-up groups at present.  So I’m doing this on my own, as usual.  This week I have visited countless websites and You tube videos.   (I will list the sites on a later post).   I’ve bookmarked a lot of them.   I’ve looked at raw recipes–so many look so good.  I’ve checked into the different ways to start on raw foods.  I’ve even made up a grocery list.  Then, last night I stumbled on a site that recommended to just eat simple.  Eat whatever fruits and veggies I want, eat as much as I want.  Enjoy what I eat, truly savor it.   I like that idea.  

That’s when I realized I don’t have to embrace the whole raw food idea (even if that is how I have often worked in the past).   I can just eat what my body seems to need and what I want.  I had to smile at that.  Because even this week, when I was searching out all the raw food info, I have also been experimenting with soy milk and soy burgers–certainly not raw, but at least vegetarian.   That’s not saying I will go all veg, though.  I love a good steak occasionally.  Just last night I cooked the last one in the freezer.  But, surprisingly, I found it didn’t satisfy me quite as much as I had expected.  I found I only wanted about a third of it.  I guess my body is trying to tell me something.  I really need/want to learn to listen to it more.

Even though the idea of a raw food diet still intrigues me, I’m going to try to go about it differently.  To not just jump in and immerse myself, then later, perhaps, lose interest.  Instead, I’m going to take it slow.  To enjoy the tastes of the fruits and veggies.  Not to limit myself.  To keep experimenting with other, cooked foods, if I want.  But to add more fresh, raw foods to my diet.  Which is what the dietary experts tell us is best, anyway.  I want to see where it will lead me.  Because, I realize that in food, as well as every area of my life, its really the journey that I enjoy.  Really, that’s what this life is about–a journey.  As I write this, I realize that is also true in a spiritual sense.  But I will write about that another time.  This post is about food.  (I have to keep telling myself that, or I know I would go off on another tangent.)

I was thinking that my raw diet journey will start as soon as I go to the grocery store, but I realize it has already started.  I’m already a good way into the research.  I am learning now, even though not yet sampling.  Perhaps, that will be all the journey is–just learning.  Just learning–that sounds like I’m devaluating the learning process/journey.  I don’t want to do that.  Everything I learn is important.  Even when I’m learning what doesn’t work for me.

So, Raw Diet. I’m on my way.



Cheese Update, July 29

26 Jul

It is with regret that I report my efforts in making hard cheeses were not a success.  And I had such high hopes, especially for the smelly Picking Cheese!

It was hard waiting the month before checking it, but I did.  I had marked on my calendar when to check it.  I waited and waited.  And at last came the day.  So you can imagine my disappointment when I examined it this week and  found it had completely molded!  Even the cloth I had wrapped it in and the inside of the pan I was using as a drain shelf was covered with mold.   I had to throw out the cheese and wrap.  The pan needed a through scrubbing and bleach.  I’m sure the problem was because I didn’t store it in a cool enough place.   It would have been best if I had an old refrigerator or maybe even if I had used a cooler and continually added ice.    It may have been better if I had used a cheese mold and press.

The Cornish Cheese is ok.  Certainly not great.  Very crumbly and dry.  It tastes only acceptable.  I tried some plain and it was ok, but very bland.  One day I added some to an omelet.  I won’t do that again.  I was able to eat it, but can’t say I enjoyed it.  I am debating whether to keep it or throw it out.

On a brighter note, the fresh cheeses were great!   I was able to use the lime cheese until a last week, when I noticed mold.  The other fresh cheese (I didn’t label it so don’t know if it was the ricotta or the mozzarella) lasted quite a while too.  And the Feta is still very tasty!   I imagine with it being in brine, it will last indefinitely, just get more salty.  Unless I use the Feta as the salt for a dish, it needs rinsed before eating.    I shared the fresh cheeses with my daughter-in-law who loved them.

One interesting thing in my cheese making venture was what to do with the whey.  Since I never want to waste anything, I froze it, thinking I would use it later in one of the ways I had seen online.  Well I found a use for it this summer.  Homemade gator aid!  With all the hot weather my daughter and I had talked of the need for electrolytes.  She mentioned she had seen recipes online.  So I looked.  What I ended up making was a combination of several recipes.  My gator aid consists of baking soda, salt, sugar, lemon Koolaid, whey and water.  I used amounts listed in the recipes, then adjusted to taste.  The result was a refreshing, low cost yummy hot weather drink.

So to sum up my cheese making efforts, I’d say it was an adventure.   Will I try it again?   Definitely on the fresh cheeses.   I will probably want to find other fresh cheese recipes to try also.   As for hard cheese–well I know I’m not ready to invest in cheese making supplies. However, I  would really like to try  the Picking cheese again.  I do love a challenge and t is just quirky enough that it intrigues me.

Cheese update, July 1

1 Jul

The Feta is very tasty.  I think the goat chease recipe has a pronounced lime taste, so I may not have added the correcct portions (I made 1.5x recipe).  But it is still very good.

The Cornish cheese seemed very crumbly when I went to wrap it.   Strange because I thought I followed the direction on that recipe closer than I did the others.   It said to put it on cool spot, and the only place that is cool here is my fridge.  So I put it in veggie drawer.   I forgot to put the basil leaves on it.  I thout of it today so unwrapped it and tried to rap some leaves around  the cheese, but it is still very crumbly.  It, and the Picking cheese should be ready to sample by middle of July.   The Picing hardly smells at all now, so I’m really glad I didn’t throw it out early on when it smelled so bad!

I haven’t made any manicotti yet, but been using the cheese on top of  omelets and baked potatoes and it tastes very good.  I got too busy to make the ricotta and my freezer got too full for any more whey, so the rest went into the compost pile.  I thought of using to water garden, but luckily saw on one of the ‘uses for whey’ sites that it can burn plants if not diluted.

Cheesemaking venture

22 Jun

Well, here I am again off on something else.  Not exactly new, but something I haven’t done for a long time–leftovers I guess.  I agreed to milk some goats for some friends while the were on vacation.  I have had milk goats in the past, so I do know what I am doing–at least mostly.

i goat sat for these friends a couple of times last fall and made some wonderful baked custard and delicious ice cream.  I also made some acceptable feta and ricotta.

But it is summer now, so I don’t want to heat the oven for custard.  And I had just bought milk, so don’t need to use the goat milk for drinking or cooking.  For some reason I’m not really in the mood for ice cream.  So decided to experiment with making cheese.

Of course I couldn’t find the recipes from last fall.  I thought I had printed them off but. if so, where did I put them?  Well I would just have to use what I had.  After searching the internet, I found some recipes that sounded interesting.  Most called for yogurt or buttermilk starter which meant a trip to town.  One good thing-I do have rennet.  I had ordered several boxes from Amazon last fall.  Wanting to make some cheese right now, I looked some more.  Then i saw it.  Cheese made from lemon juice or vinegar!   Wow, I just had to try this!

I found the recipe at  (Hey, I just learned how to add a link–at least I hope so.)  I tried the Goat Cheese recipe using lemon juice.  I rolled the cheese in seasoned herbs.  I tried it after two days and it was really good.  Could have used a little more salt.  I didn’t add  any to the cheese cause my herb blend is salted.

Not wanting to limit myself to making only this cheese, I went and got the buttermilk and yogurt.  Now I could make real cheese.  I again made some Feta from the recipe on the rennet junket box.  Only this time, instead of water for the brine,  I used whey (after ripening a day) leftover from the goat cheese I had made.   I learned this from my internet search.  Interestingly, the whey brine can also be used to make sauerkraut.  I will have to try that next summer, when I hope to have a better garden.  The whey itself can be used as liquid in lots of recipes:  bread, soaking grain, stews, etc.

On another site ??  Now what??  I just did the link and now I can’t get the link button to work.  Ugh, technology!  I am using my laptop and it is so sensitive.  I probably bumped something.    Well I will just have to type in the link and you can cut and paste.  It is

<  The title is “Making Cheese:  Homemade Cheese Making Recipe or Two for Homemade Cheese

This site has several recipes for ‘old world’ type cheeses.  I think it is always interesting to learn how people used to do things.  Some of these recipes are really something!

 One recipe, the Picking cheese, is made by setting it in the hot summer sun for a week.  Now this sounds like an adventure!  So I started to make the cheese, adding the rennet and starter.  I continued following the directions when it said  to leave the cheese  in the hot sun in day and bring in by night,  And  I waited, at bit impatiently.  I moved it from the east to the west side of the house daily.  The recipe didn’t say if it should be covered or not.  I didn’t the first day, but it seemed to be drying out and it smelled a bit when I brought it in that first night, so I covered it.  I had it in a snap on top stoneware bowl.   By day 5 this cheese was really smelly.  It was a good thing I had a tight fitting lid,  especially when it was inside for the night.  It was so smelly I was tempted just to throw it out, but couldn’t quite make myself do it.  I really wanted to see the end results.  Yesterday was day 7.  So this morning I bravely uncovered it, salted it and wrapped in a bandanna.  Since I don’t really have cheesemaking supplies, I improvise a lot.  I put it in a strainer type double boiler with a small plate on top.  For a weight I filled a gallon jug with water and put it on top of the plate  Since I don’t really like to waste anything, I decided I might as well make tea too, so in went some tea bags.  I’ll empty out the tea tonight when I turn the cheese and put in new water.  I wondered where I could now put it that it wouldn’t stink up the whole house?  I decided in my laundry room would be ok.  I lit a scented candle in there and also in the kitchen. (by the way, I ALWAYS use the candles in glass jars now.  Maybe I’ll remember to tell you about that at Xmas time.)   Funny thing though, after adding the salt the cheese didn’t smell quite as bad!   So even though the house smells a bit funny, it isn’t really a bad smell.  Now I have to wait again to see the result.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed.  I really would like to have it turn out good.

On my second batch of the Goat Cheese recipe I decided to use lime juice.  I had quite a bigger batch this time.  It is now curing in the fridge.  Maybe next time I can try vinegar.  I read from one website that vinegar, strangely enough, produced the best cheese.

I also made some ricotta, but the temp got too high, so it isn’t as good as I made last fall.  I tried some mozzarella, but again the temp got too high.  I had tried that in a crock pot cooker, got distracted and didn’t watch it as close as needed.  So I don’t have an elastic cheese.  Flavor is ok, but it is grainy.  I think it should have drained longer, too.  I followed the recipe time for the drain time, but guess I should have just followed my instincts, since it seemed kind of runny.  Anyway it tastes good.  I think I will use it as ricotta for making manicotti.

This morning I’m using the last of the milk to make the Cornish cheese from the ‘old world’ site.  That isn’t the name of the site, but since it has old world type recipes that is how I refer to it.    I found another site

<     Title:  “Wild Garlic Yarg:  Cornish Cheese

It calls the Cornish cheese Yarg (gray spelled backwards).  According to the site and also my internet search seemed to confirm this, the Gray family produces this cheese in the UK.  Often it is wrapped in nettle leaves.  On this familiesonline site wrapped it in wild garlic.  I don’t have either, so I’m going to use basil leaves.   I may try some ricotta again  with the Cornish whey.  I froze the other leftover whey.   I hope to add it to bread and stews later.

Oh, by the way, yesterday I found my recipes from last fall.  They were in a folder marked ‘cheese recipes’  In a pile of papers I needed to go through.  I still have lots of stuff to go through, but I’ll tell you about that another day.

Wish me luck on my current cheesemaking results.  Please check back.  I will really try to write every week if possible.  And send your comments.  In trying to find how to make the link button work I somehow brought up a page of my stats.  I have had 7 viewer today!  That is encouraging.  Someone is really reading this blog.  The regions are US mainland and Alaska.  Wonder who in Alaska is reading this?  I did post my blog site on FB so maybe they got it from there.  Guess it need to update my FB profile sometime and add by blog.  I’m sure that can be done.  Just something else to learn.  But if there is one thing I’m not afraid of, it is learning new stuff!

You all have a good day!

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