Slow Food

Sauerkraut tastes pretty much the way its name sounds.

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I thought making it would be a bit of a chore, but it’s pretty simple, really. We shredded up a cabbage, added a teaspoon of salt, then tamped down on it with a heavy stone pestle until quite a bit of liquid came out. We packed it firmly into a large glass jar, making sure there was enough brine to completely cover the cabbage, and put a bowl with a jar full of water in it on top to ensure the cabbage would stay submerged. A dish towel over the whole business kept out dust and sunlight.

The flavor began to change after just a few days. I liked it at that point, but we decided to keep it going  a while longer, and what we ended up with has a very strong flavor that will hold up well to whatever it’s paired with. Now we’ve transferred it into mason jars, and we’ll store it in the fridge for use. It will continue to ferment, but the cold will slow it way down.

Must be a similar process that has me slowing down as the temperature drops.

Smell My Feet

Halloween is coming.

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Your payback for scooping mounds of stringy, wet, goopy mess with nothing but a spoon and your bare hand? Something good to eat.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Preheat oven to 400.

Rinse seeds.

For every 1/2 cup of seeds, mix 2 cups water with 1 Tablespoon salt.

Put the seeds in the salt water and bring to a good boil.

Remove the seeds from the water, spread them on a cookie sheet, and sprinkle with salt, cayenne, cinnamon and sugar, whatever you like.

Bake for 10-20 minutes, til crunchy.

Forewarned is Forearmed

The only problem with this recipe is that it smells like you’re baking an apple pie, and then you realize you don’t have an apple pie, so you need to make an apple pie.

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Now you know.

Apple Chips

Apples

Cinnamon

Sugar

Slice the apples as thin as you can get them. They don’t need to be peeled or cored, but do discard any seeds.

Put them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. (I’ve tried other things – parchment is the way to go here.)

Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. You can skip this, but why would you want to?

Bake at 225 for 2-3 hours. To test, take one out of the oven and let it sit for 2 or 3 minutes. At that point it should be crunchy, not chewy.

Store in an airtight container.

Eat Your Veggies

Does zucchini come to mind when you need a dose of chocolate?

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Probably not, but it will after you make this bread.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Preheat oven to 350.

2 cups flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup buttermilk (You can substitute with milk and a splash of vinegar.)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/4 cups shredded zucchini

1 cup chocolate chips

Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar, and salt.

Add wet ingredients, then zucchini and chocolate chips.

Bake 40-45 minutes in a buttered bread pan.

Strength in Numbers

We need a lot of snacks, yes?

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It’s getting cold; it’s important we keep our metabolisms going strong.

Peanut Butter Bars

1 stick butter + 1/2 stick butter

1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted (Sifting’s a pain, but makes a big difference here.)

1 cup peanut butter

5 graham crackers, smashed finely

1 cup chocolate chips

Line a square pan with parchment paper for easy removal.

Melt 1 stick of butter in a saucepan.

Add the peanut butter and stir til melted.

Remove from heat, add sugar, and stir til combined.

Add graham cracker crumbs and stir til combined.

Press the peanut butter mixture into the lined pan with the back of a spoon.

In the same saucepan, melt the 1/2 stick of butter.

Add the chocolate chips and stir til melted.

Pour the chocolate over the peanut butter and spread to uniform thickness.

Cool in fridge for an hour or two then cut into bars.

Store in fridge.

Good and Ready

Granola bars are a most versatile snack.

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They’re tasty at any time of day, and you can easily switch up the ingredients depending on your mood and what you’ve got in the house.

This is our standby recipe. We individually wrap the bars so they’re ready to go when we are.

Granola Bars

Preheat oven to 325.

3 1/2 cups oats

1 cup rice krispies

1 cup wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup flax seed (optional)

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup honey (approximate)

Combine oats, cereal, flour, baking soda, salt, flax seed, and sugar.

Melt butter and combine with vanilla.

Add butter/vanilla to oat mixture and stir to coat.

Add chocolate chips.

Add 2/3 cup of honey and stir well.You will probably have some dry parts that won’t combine well with the other ingredients. If you do, add more honey, up to 1/3 of a cup, until everything’s sticking together pretty well. It should be pasty, not soupy.

Butter a 9″x13″ baking pan and press the mixture into it firmly using the back of a spatula.

Bake for 19 minutes.

Let cool and then cut into bars. We cut them in thirds the long way and then into the desired width.

These will last at least a couple of weeks in plastic wrap, but you’ll likely eat them sooner.

Sugar and Spice

What happens if you take applesauce and keep cooking it?

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With a few more spices, you’ve got apple butter.

This recipe can be divided or multiplied. I double it for 40 pounds of apples. Well, 40 pounds of apples minus enough to make a pie.

Apple Butter

18 cups unsweetened applesauce

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon allspice

2 cups sugar, divided

Fill a crockpot with applesauce. It might not all fit, but that’s ok, you can add more later. If you’ve got 2 crockpots you could get both going – that’s what I do.

Add spices and 1 cup of the sugar.

Prop the lid on your crockpot with a wooden spoon or chopstick so the steam can escape.

Set the heat on low.

Cook for 6 hours, then add the rest of your sugar and more sauce if you’ve got room.

Continue cooking and adding applesauce as needed until it looks and tastes like apple butter. Mine generally takes a total of about 22 hours. (That includes the 6 hours above.)

Prep 12 half pint jars.

Ladle hot apple butter into jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace.

Process in hot water bath for 5 minutes after water has returned to a boil.