Zucchini! Zucchini! Zucchini!

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ZucchiniSoupBaseAus15

It is probable that Zucchini Season will last until December! Today’s zucchini project is a soup base – tremendously simple — 1 big zucchini, 1 big onion & 1 stick of butter. Clean and dice the veg, cook until tender then either freeze or can to be finished off into soup this winter.

This recipe is from Jan, one of my food & nutrition mentors. She blends hers so it is less chunky, then adds her own bone broth, herbs and cream to finish off the soup. She cans her soup base, and she already has several quarts in her pantry. Envy!

I am trying my first batch with two sprigs of fresh rosemary and two bay leaves for flavoring. What do you think of my adding some oven roasted tomatoes and homemade chicken broth to finish off this soup?

If you make this soup base and finish it off, I would love to hear about it.  Annette 🙂

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This is Magic!

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This is a down & dirty post — wanted to get this published, too much fun and deliciousness!

If you shop at Trader Joe’s you may have noticed the Magic Shell recipe on end caps stocked with Coconut Oil & Semi Sweet Chocolate Chunks.  Any girl or boy raised in the midwest has memories of getting summer treats at the DQ (Am I right?).

Well! Now you can make an adult (& kid) version that is ridiculously simple, yummy and actually good for you.  So much has been discussed about the nutrition benefits of coconut oil, from frying foods to detoxing with oil pulling.

Coconut oil over ice cream!  It is Magic!

HERE’S THE SIMPLE RECIPE;  2 parts chocolate to 1 part coconut oil.

In Minnesota, coconut oil is typically solid (I know, I know …) so I warmed a small saucepan with both the oil and chocolate.  Once the chocolate is softened, take it off the heat and blend.  I made a small amount using 2 tablespoons of chocolate to 1 T coconut oil.  I found this made enough shell for two scoops of ice cream. If I were a kid, I would want all of this for myself; I would not share a bit.

That’s it!  Now scoop your ice cream, pour the Magic Shell over it, and wait about 30 – 45 seconds.

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If you have never shopped at Trader Joe’s, here is their link.  Trader Joe’s  I am biased, and the only ice cream I typically buy when I am not making my own is their French Vanilla.  The French Vanilla has a very short list of ingredients and uses sugar to sweeten.

Obviously, you can get all of the ingredients where ever you want.

I am thinking I might blend a little dark chocolate into my next Magic Shell. Have fun!

Annette 🙂

Rhubarb Soda — Making Up For Lost Time

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Prettier Pink

Prettier Pink

I am making up for lost time with all things pink.  When I was a little girl, I remember not being fond of pink  due to the fact that the only pink clothes I can recall having were made of double knit.  Does that ring any bells?  Our mother went through a phase of sewing clothes for us.  It may have been to save money, but I do believe it was more to make things for us.  There is something particularly special about a garment that has been made just for one. Sewing with double knit fabric is easy, from what I witnessed — no fraying.  I would think that working with fabric that does not fray and will be worn by an active little girl, double knit is an excellent choice.  And, knit garments have some stretch so more forgiving for fit and growth. 

But all I remember is that it was hot and scratchy.  And the outfit was a shirt and pants, not a dress.  I loved dresses. I adored dresses and would wear them as often as I could. I did not, of course, tell my mother any of this.  We wore the clothes she made for us.  And, she made me other pretty things, some of which I still own.

Everything gathered

Everything gathered

Well, that was off the topic of making homemade soda.  So be it. Let’s get back to brewing our own homemade soda.

Just so you know, this second brewing of the soda recipe will be tweeked again.  I have made Rhubarb Soda two times now.  The first batch was bubbly, golden and had a tangy taste.  Definitely a success, but I wanted pinker, sweeter and more bubbly.   Using the recipe below, I got pinker, I got great flavor, but my soda was nowhere near as bubbly as the photos other brewers show.  Living in Saint Paul, Minnesota, we are relatively cooler than many places.  Fermentation does take longer.

My original batch was inspired by AndHereWeAre. Ariana Mullins mentions that a soda formula is flexible, and, from what I experienced, I agree.  In my area, it makes sense to always plan on more time for fermenting.  But for the “perfect soda”, how do I get more carbonation?

Other brewers out there mention that flip top bottles hold in more of the carbonation.  For the first two batches I used mason jars.  Everything is to be sanitary, especially when you are leaving it out to ferment, and I know how to prep jars for canning.  That may be the only change needed to get a more bubbly soda, but I am thinking I will pare back the sugar a bit too.

Good Rhubarb Soda - sweetened with honey

Good Rhubarb Soda – sweetened with honey

Good Rhubarb Soda

1 c rhubarb syrup (sweetened with honey)
3 c water
1/4 c buckwheat honey
2 T liquid whey

Better Rhubarb Soda

Better Rhubarb Soda

Better Rhubarb Soda

1 c rhubarb syrup (sweetened with sugar, recipe below)

3 c distilled water

1T raw buckwheat honey

3T liquid whey

Rhubarb Sauce

2 c rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 c white sugar

1 c water

Method

Rhubarb pieces

Trim, clean and cut rhubarb into 1 inch pieces.

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Simmer with water and sugar for about 15 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft.

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Strain the syrup from the sauce. The sauce itself will be quite sweet; any kid will eat this rhubarb sauce. I enjoyed it over vanilla ice cream. Set the syrup aside to cool.

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Sanitize your quart jar, lid and ring. I boil the glass for a full 12 minutes and simmer the ring and lid at a low boil in a smaller saucepan.

Ready to Ferment!

Ready to Ferment!

Once the syrup and your jar is cooled, you can combine the soda ingredients for fermenting. Into the quart jar, add one cup of the rhubarb syrup (this recipe makes about 2 cups), 3 cups of distilled water, 3 Tablespoons of liquid whey & 1 Tablespoon of raw buckwheat honey. Now your soda is ready to ferment!

Cover with the lid and ring and place in a dark place where it can brew.  My brew shelf is the cupboard above my kitchen sink.  It is dark, tends to be warm and cannot be reached by my pirate cat, Lucas.

During fermentation, the whey will digest a lot of the sugar to create carbonation and beneficial bacteria. So, not only it is cool to tell people that you make your own soda, it actually does have some nutritional value.  I can tell you that the children who tasted my Better Rhubarb Soda, one of them being my little nephew, LOVED it.  They did not care that it was a home brewed probiotic drink, or that it had been made from rhubarb.  They drank every drop.  And, they are on their way to enjoying delicious homemade foods, ones that will keep them in good health!

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Captain Luke Sparrow 🙂

Until the Best Rhubarb Soda is perfected….