Archive for the 'Spices, Herbs, Seasonings' Category

Recipe: Making Homemade Extracts

|November 20, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

 I received so many requests for this information – and I wish you would have contacted me sooner for these.

You may not be able to make all these before this holiday season – but if you are a baker – you will find that you can still make them now and you will then have them throughout the year.

By now, you know I am a "homemade" person – and I find that by making my own flavored extracts that my baked goods always have a better taste.  Did you ever buy a bottle of peppermint extract and have a really lousy taste in your finished product?  Fresh is always better.  You will have better results.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tired of paying high prices (which continually keep going up while the bottle sizes get smaller!) for your extracts and flavorings?

Of you are an "occasional" or "seasonal" baker that only pulls out the flour one or twice a year you probably don't mind paying for an extract. You may even share a bottle with others that don't bake as much. Not in my house. I need my extracts. And I have to watch my "inventory" of my homemade extracts, oils, flavored sugars, etc. to make sure I always have them on hand.

Save money – DIY! It's simple, it's easy, it's flavorful – and it's cheaper! More bang for your buck.

I don't add sugar to my citrus extracts – some do – it's your choice. The sugar is not needed as far as I am concerned.

Also – I feel that using colored bottles is better – keeps the sun out – which will effect your extracts/flavorings.

Be sure to sterilize your bottles and caps!

Opt for colored glass bottles when you can. Store out of sunlight in your pantry/cupboard.

Happy extract making!

 

How to Make Anise Extract

This takes a good three months to make – but it is worth it. and so simple!

Fill a small (half-pint) sterilized jar with whole star of anise. Carefully pour vodka over until it reaches the top. Cap. Store in pantry, shaking once a week for 3 months. If you want your anise flavoring to have a stronger flavor – allow to sit for 4 months before using.

When ready to use, strain into a clean, sterile jar, cap and store in your pantry.

 

How to Make Cinnamon Extract

Some will use a light rum – but I use my 80 proof vodka.

Break a couple cinnamon stick into a clean, sterilized jar;.

Pour 8 oz. vodka over sticks; cover; place in pantry.

Shake daily for 2 weeks.

When you have the flavor you are looking for, remove the cinnamon sticks. The longer they are in the jar, the stronger it will be, and you don't want it too overpowering.

Store in pantry.

 

How to Make Coconut Extract

1 coconut

1 1/2 ounces freshly grated coconut, approximately 1/3 cup

4 ounces vodka – 40 proof – some use 80 proof

To open a coconut: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the coconut onto a folded towel set down in a large bowl. Find the 3 eyes on 1 end of the coconut and using a nail or screwdriver and hammer or meat mallet, hammer holes into 2 of the eyes. Turn the coconut upside down over a container and drain the water from the coconut.

Store the water in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Place coconut on baking pan and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. (The coconut should have cracked in several places.) Using an oyster knife or other dull blade, separate the hard shell from the brown husk. Using a serrated vegetable peeler, peel the brown husk from the coconut meat. Rinse the coconut meat under cool water and pat dry. Break the meat into 2 to 3-inch pieces. With the grater disk attached to a food processor, grate the coconut.

Place 1 1/2 ounces of coconut into a 1-cup glass jar with lid (sterilized) and pour vodka over it. Seal and shake to combine. Place in a cool dark place for 5 to 7 days, shaking to combine every day. Strain coconut and discard. Return vodka to a clean (sterilized) jar or to its original bottle and store in a cool place for up to a year. Reserve the remaining coconut for another use.

 

How to Make Lemon Extract

the zest from 1 – 2 lemons (wash and dry the lemon well, remove zest – no pith)

4 oz. vodka – 40 proof – some use 80 proof

1 teaspoon sugar – totally optional

Combine sugar and vodka in small stainless or glass saucepan and warm (do not boil) to dissolve sugar. Transfer to sterile jar; add lemon zest. Cap tightly and shake.

Place in pantry – shake daily. In a month you will have your extract.

NOTE: If not using sugar – place vodka and lemon zest in sterile bottle; cap; shake and proceed as above.

 

How to Make Orange Extract

the zest from 1 – 2 oranges (wash and dry the oranges well, remove zest – no pith)

4 oz. vodka – 40 proof – some use 80 proof

1 teaspoon sugar – totally optional

Combine sugar and vodka in small stainless or glass saucepan and warm (do not boil) to dissolve sugar. Transfer to sterile jar; add orange zest. Cap tightly and shake. (Make sure your strips of zest are completely immersed.)

Place in pantry – shake daily. In a month you will have your extract.

NOTE: If not using sugar – place vodka and orange zest in sterile bottle; cap; shake and proceed as above.

 

How to Make Lime Extract

the zest from 2 – 4 limes (wash and dry the limes well, remove zest – no pith)

4 oz. vodka – 40 proof – some use 80 proof

1 teaspoon sugar – totally optional

Combine sugar and vodka in small stainless or glass saucepan and warm (do not boil) to dissolve sugar. Transfer to sterile jar; add lime zest. Cap tightly and shake. (Make sure your strips of zest are completely immersed.)

Place in pantry – shake daily. In a month you will have your extract.

NOTE: If not using sugar – place vodka and lime zest in sterile bottle; cap; shake and proceed as above.

 

How to Make Grapefruit Extract

the zest from 1 – 2 grapefruit (wash and dry the grapefruit well, remove zest – no pith)

4 oz. vodka – 40 proof – some use 80 proof

1 teaspoon sugar – totally optional

Combine sugar and vodka in small stainless or glass saucepan and warm (do not boil) to dissolve sugar. Transfer to sterile jar; add grapefruit zest. Cap tightly and shake. (Make sure your strips of zest are completely immersed.)

Place in pantry – shake daily. In a month you will have your extract.

NOTE: If not using sugar – place vodka and grapefruit zest in sterile bottle; cap; shake and proceed as above.

 

How to Make Almond Extract

4 oz. almonds, peeled and blanched

2 cups vodka

Process almonds in food processor until fine – like raw sugar not white sugar.

Transfer to sterilized 1-quart glass jar; pour in vodka; cap tightly; store in pantry. Shake daily for 6 weeks.

After 6 weeks, straner through a coffee filter and transfer to small (sterilized) jars. Cap.

Takes time to make – but will keep indefinitely.

 

How to Make Vanilla Essence

This is more of a vanilla flavoring than an extract – milder – not as flavorful.

For this, I use vodka – some will use brandy, rum, gin, cognac or brandy – which to me changes the flavor completely and will effect the outcome of your baked goods. Vodka has the perfect flavor for true extracts.

3 vanilla beans, split to within 1/4-inch of each end

8 oz. 80 proof vodka

Place vanilla beans in sterilized glass jar and cover with vodka. Place in pantry; shake occasionally and let set for 2 months before using.

NOTE: ALSO – WHICH TO ME THIS IS IMPORTANT – since vanilla beans come in two different grades (A and B), I prefer to use the B grade. Grade B vanilla beans.


Grade B beans have less water weight. You get more bean for your buck because you're not paying for water. This also means that less water ends up in your extract.

With Grade A you pay for appearance, which doesn't matter.

We get the same beans as Grade A, but at a fraction of the cost.

 

How to Make Vanilla Extract

This is more flavorful than vanilla essense.

For this, I use vodka – some will use brandy, rum, gin, cognac or brandy – which to me changes the flavor completely and will effect the outcome of your baked goods. Vodka has the perfect flavor for true extracts.

6 vanilla beans, split to within 1/4-inch of each end (some remove the seeds, some don't)

8 oz. 80 proof vodka

Place vanilla beans in sterilized glass jar and cover with vodka. Place in pantry; shake occasionally and let set for 2 months before using.

NOTE: ALSO – WHICH TO ME THIS IS IMPORTANT – since vanilla beans come in two different grades (A and B), I prefer to use the B grade. Grade B vanilla beans.


Grade B beans have less water weight. You get more bean for your buck because you're not paying for water. This also means that less water ends up in your extract.

With Grade A you pay for appearance, which doesn't matter.

We get the same beans as Grade A, but at a fraction of the cost.

 

How to Make Peppermint Extract

This uses dried peppermint leaves.

Chop 1/4 cup peppermint leaves in your food processor or use a mortar and pestle. Transfer to sterilized glass jar.

Add 4 oz. vodka and 4 oz. filtered water. Cap and shake.

Store in pantry for 2 weeks before using. Remember to shake daily.

When ready to use, strain and transfer to clean, sterilized bottles; cap; store in pantry. Discard used leaves.

 

How to Make Peppermint Extract

This is for those that grow their own peppermint.

Clean (wash) your fresh cut peppermint springs. You will want to "bruise" them a bit with your fingers for the flavor. Place in sterile glass jar. About 5 or 6 small sprigs work well with 6 oz. vodka (3/4 cup). Be sure to cover the springs with the vodka. Cap and store in pantry.

After 2 weeks you wil have a mild peppermint flavor. Once it is the strength you want, strain and discard the sprigs of peppermint. Store in pantry.

 

So it's time to visit your local liquor store and stock up on 80 proof vodka!

Enjoy!

 

Recipe: Fries with some zing!

|October 23, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

I wasn't raised on hot and spicy foods so I am not a really big fan of them.  But occasionally, I like some ZING to something.

After opening and closing the fridge a dozen times, wanting to have something to pick on (you know how that goes – nothing seems to look good at the time) I decided instead to head to the potato basket.  (I know – a far cry from the fridge!)

I scrubbed and sliced some new potatoes into 1/4 inch slices.  I was in the mood for fries.  And who said they had to be cut into fingers anyway?

I tossed them in olive oil and placed on my baking sheet – once again – too lazy too pull out the deep fryer.  By the time the fat got hot enough to cook anything in my oven fries would be done.

Baked at 350 – 375* F., turning half-way through cooking time.  I like them with that nice golden color and a bit "crusty".

Meanwhile, I wanted a different flavor and a bit of zing so I combined about 1/4 cup Kosher salt, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon onion powder, and 1 tablespoon garlic powder, and a few grinds of fresh large ground black pepper (once again I eye-balled everything).  Once they were done I sprinkled with my mixture – both sides, then I sprinkled some fresh grated Cheddar over the tops and placed in the oven for a minute – just long enough to slightly melt the cheese (I prefer my cheese on my taters and not my baking sheet.)

Served with a mixture of ketchup with some prepared mustard for a quick dipping sauce.

Yeah I know – but it was good and satisfied my craving.  And I didn't miss any of my movie!

Jalepeno monterey would haver been good on this as well!

 

Happy munchin'!!!

 

 

Recipe: How to cook a turkey

|October 9, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen
 
There is nothing like a golden brown turkey that is moist, juicy and full of flavor in every bite. Nothing is worse than a bland, burnt and tasteless bird!

Before cooking your turkey, read the thread “How to clean a turkey”.

When planning your meal, allow approximately 1 to 1 ½ lbs. uncooked turkey per person.

For ROASTING:
For a simple roasted turkey, you can begin with brining to add flavor, keep your bird moist and tender.

Clean your defrosted turkey.

Make your brine:

In large, non-reactive container** (plastic, glass or stainless steel), add:
2 cups table salt
2 gallons cold water
Stir until salt dissolves.
Place turkey in container and place in refrigerator for 6 hours.

**Make sure the container is large enough to submerge the whole turkey.

Additional notes on brining: You can add sugar if you want – equal parts sugar and salt, stirring well to dissolve before placing the turkey in the brine. Some use honey or maple syrup in place of sugar. You can also add herbs and seasonings, if desired.

NOTE: Do not brine kosher or self-basting turkey. They are pre-treated in such a way that no additional salt is needed.

When ready to cook, removed turkey from brine and discard brine. Thoroughly rinse entire bird, inside and out using cold water; rinse for several minutes; pat dry with paper towels.

Use a large V-rack that fits into your roasting pan; cover rack with foil and poke holes to allow the heat to circulate.

Chop one onion, 3 carrots, 3 stalks of celery; toss with thyme and place in roasting pan. This is a great way to add flavor to your pan drippings for making gravy. Pour a cup of water or chicken bouillon in the bottom of the roasting pan.
Melt 6 tablespoons butter and brush over dried turkey; brush entire bird and place breast down in V-rack. Place in preheated oven and cook for 45 minutes.
Remove from oven and brush back and legs with pan drippings.
Cook an additional 45 minutes.
Brush entire surface with drippings again.
Cook another 30 minutes.
Continue this process until your bird is cooked – a meat thermometer should read 165* F. for the breast and 175* f., for the thigh.
Let rest 20 minutes before carving.

Stuff your bird the safe way
The USDA warns that cooking with stuffing can increase the chances of contracting a foodborne illness.

NOTE: If you bird is pre-stuffed DO NOT THAW BEFORE COOKING. ALWAYS COOK DIRECTLY FROM ITS FROZEN STATE.

Do NOT use fresh stuffing if you plan on grilling, smoking, frying or microwaving the turkey.

Do not combine stuffing ingredients for your stuffing ahead of time and refrigerate. Prepare everything immediately before you stuff the bird.

Do not overstuff. Stuffing expands while cooking so keep it loosely packed. Try to stick to the ratio of ¾ cup stuffing per pound of meat. Cook at 325* F.

NOTE: Cooking overnight at a lower temperature is not sufficient to keep bacteria from thriving. And stuffing should reach an internal temperature of at least 165* F. before turning off the heat.

For SMOKING:
Smoking a turkey add a warm, moist flavor and does not take any longer than traditional roasting. You can use a water-based method or smoke directly on the BBQ grill.

First of all, brine your turkey as described above to add moisture. It’s your choice if you want to use the direct heat method or the indirect heat method. Remember to replenish wood chips frequently. Do NOT stuff turkey that is being smoked.

Smoke turkey until done – breast meat should register 165* F. and thigh meat should register 175* F. on the meat thermometer.

OVEN SMOKED TURKEY

1 (10 to 12 pound) turkey
1/2 cup seasoned salt
1/4 cup fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4 tablespoons liquid smoke
Vegetable oil

Grease a large brown paper grocery bag with vegetable oil and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Wash the turkey and pat dry with a paper towel. Combine 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, seasoned salt, garlic powder, liquid smoke and black pepper and mix together to make a paste. Rub the turkey well with the paste, inside and out. Place the turkey in the greased bag and tie the bag closed with a piece of string. Place on a baking sheet and roast 3 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before untying the bag and removing the turkey.

Two-Stage Roast Turkey with Southwestern Honey-Pepper Rub

* 3 sticks unsalted butter
* 2 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
* 1/2 cup ground cumin
* 4 tablespoons dried oregano
* 1 tablespoon chili powder
* 1 tablespoon garlic powder
* 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
* Pinch of ground cloves
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 1/4 cup honey
* 1 (14 pound) turkey, well chilled

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Prepare the rub: Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Pour butter into a large mixing bowl. Add pepper, cumin, oregano (pulverizing it with your fingers), chili powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, clove, and salt, mixing well. Drizzle in the honey and blend well.

3. Rub mixture all over the cold turkey?both on and under the skin, as evenly as possible. Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan in the lower portion of the oven, legs toward the back. Roast until the turkey starts to turn golden, about 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and roast the turkey for about 1 1/2 hours, basting with the pan juices every 20 minutes or so. (The white meat is done when a quick-read thermometer reaches 150 degrees.)
4. Remove turkey from oven and (at table, if desired), remove the large breast fillet from each side of the turkey. Let the fillets rest a few minutes before carving into slices. Serve white meat with Cilantro-Poblano Cream Sauce.

5. Meanwhile, return the rest of the bird to the 325-degree oven. Cook until the dark meat reaches 175 degrees, about 20 minutes more. Remove, let rest a few minutes, and serve the dark meat with Smoky Chipotle-Mushroom Gravy.

Recipe: Continuing with Halloween –

|August 13, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

 

Although the Kitty Litter Cake is exceptionally good – there may be some that would prefer to pass on it (although I haven’t had anyone pass it up yet!) and I always make sure I have my traditional “pumpkin” cake ready. Of course it disappears fast too!

I bake a chocolate cake in 8 or 9-inch round tins:

Chocolate Cake

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder**
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter (not margarine)
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla**
1 cup buttermilk**

Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter and flour two nine-inch cake pans, line bottoms of pans with parchment paper; butter and flour parchment paper as well.

In bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt; set aside.

In separate bowl, cream butter; gradually add sugar and beat at medium speed for one minute; add eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. Gradually add water and vanilla; beat another minute more.

Reduce mixer speed to low and add ¼ dry ingredients, 1/3 buttermilk, another ¼ dry ingredients, another 1/3 buttermilk, until both are completely added. Blend only until the flour no longer shows, then add the next portion of buttermilk.

Pour into prepared pans and bake in preheated oven for approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until done – use the toothpick test for doneness. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes before removing by inverting onto wire racks. Allow to cool completely.

Frost and fill as desired. What I do for Halloween I fill with either a pudding or mousse (chocolate) and I frost with a basic white frosting that I have tinted orange with food coloring. I decorate the cake with a Halloween face to look like a pumpkin using candy corn or other candies.

My basic frosting – A stick of softened butter, sifted confectioners’ sugar, a splash of vanilla and enough milk for a nice spreading consistency. No – I don’t measure. Ad a few drops of orange food coloring or red and yellow until your get orange.

A plate of cookies is always nice to have for serving.

This is my Autumn Cutout Cookies recipe:

½ cup butter (not margarine)
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*** recipe below
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 tablespoons canned pumpkin (or fresh – pureed)
1 teaspoon vanilla**
2 cups flour
Orange and green paste food coloring

Cream butter. Add sugar and spices. Beat. Beat in egg, pumpkin and vanilla; beat in as much flour as possible – stir in the rest. Divide into 3 portions; tint. Cover and chill 3 hours or till it’s easy to handle. Roll ¼-inch thick. Place 1-inch apart on ungreased sheets. Bake 375* F. 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on racks.

MARBLED LEAVES: Combine doughs; cut leaf patterns; sprinkle with sugar; bake.

PATCHWORK PUMPKINS: Roll white dough. Roll other colors and cut into strips. Lattice strips over pumpkin loosely. With rolling pin, gently roll over strips to gently press down. Cut pumpkin shapes. Use scraps to make leaves. Bake.

POLKA DOT PUMPKINS: Roll a portion of dough ¼-inch thick. Cut with pumpkin cutter. Place on ungreased sheets. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Using small cutter, make smaller cutouts in chilled cookies. Fill each opening with another color of dough. Bake.

You know by now – I insist on making as much as possible homemade!

Need Pumpkin Pie Spice?

1/2 cup cinnamon
1/4 cup ground ginger
2 tablespoons nutmeg
2 tablespoons ground cloves

Combine all. Use 3 1/4 teaspoon per 1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin.

And speaking of pumpkin –

I think everyone gets pumpkins for Halloween. Many just carve and waste the pumpkins completely. That’s a no-no in my book!

Did you know that you can make your own pumpkin puree to use in your recipes? Simple and cheap! My preference is the sugar pumpkins – but the choice is yours.

Begin by selecting a nice ripe and firm pumpkin. Don’t think that bigger is better – the larger pumpkins get “grainy” the bigger they get.

As with everything (I have this “thing” about cleanliness – almost to the point of OC!) – wash the pumpkin off! Dry with paper towels.

Cut your pumpkin open and remove the seeds and fibrous strings. Cut the pumpkin into 4 to 8 pieces (depending on the size of the pumpkin) and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place in a preheated 375* F. oven for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until the pulp is soft.

Using a spoon, remove the pulp from the rind – discard the rind. Place pulp in a blender or processor and process until smooth. If you want a really thick puree, place the pureed pulp in cheesecloth and twist to squeeze out the excess water.

Use immediately. You can freeze in portions for baking. Label and date. YOU CANNOT CAN PUMPKIN PUREE – it is not recommended by the USDA.

And don’t waste the seeds! As children we used to chomp on pumpkin seeds constantly.

Extract seeds from pumpkin – removing from the fibrous strings. Wash thoroughly in warm water; drain well; dry with paper towels. Transfer seeds to a baking sheet in a single layer and sprinkle generously with salt.

Bake in a preheated 350* F. oven for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes and adding more salt to taste. Cool before tasting! If the insides are dry – they are done.
Cool completely before serving.

VARIATIONS:

Cheesy Pumpkin Seeds- sprinkle with Cheesy popcorn seasoning.
Tex-Mex Style- Sprinkle powdered Taco seasoning onto the seeds. This is better mixed in a bowl first. Add more red pepper powder for a really hot seed!
Cajun style- Mix seeds in a bowl with a packet of Cajun seasonings mix. If you like it really spicy, add extra hot sauce.
Garlic Salt- REALLY GOOD!

Recipe: July 4th – crockpot BBQ Western Pork Ribs

|July 3, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Well – it's the July 4th weekend and what is better than a nice BBQ?

Since I am spending the holiday alone this year, I've decided to have a little BBQ for myself.

I had wanted to BBQ some beef short ribs, but of course, the meat manager was all out and said they won't be in till Tuesday.  So much for that – I'll have to make them after Tuesday.  So I "settled" for Western Style Pork Ribs.

And with this heat and humidity that came in all at once – the crockpot was my friend today.  And I didn't have to stand over it as it cooked.  Gave me some "personal time" that I appreciated.

After washing and patting my pork dry (I wash everything), I lightly coated with oil, and coated with a bit of a dry rub (both sides):

Kosher salt

cracked black pepper

garlic

parsley

onion powder

paprika

chili powder

 


As I get older, I don't want a lot of heat and spice so I went light on the chili powder and paprika.  Covered and let sit in the refrigerator for about an hour.

I was in the mood for a baked tater – but no way with this heat was I turning on the oven!  So I settled for a potato fan.

After scrubbing my tater, I sliced 1/4-inch slices about 3/4 of the way through the potato – being careful not to go all the way through and ending up with  slices.  Normally, I like these done in the oven.  I melt butter and swirl the tater in it, and I drizzle melted butter between the slices and season.  Bake in the oven until done.

For today, I buttered the tater, slathering it on top and seasoning with Kosher salt, cracked black pepper, garlic, and parsley.  The butter will melt into the slices.

I made a foil/parchment "boat" to use in the crockpot along side the pork.  This way the butter stayed around the tater.

Making the sauce was easy today – I used a bottled sauce that I cut with ketchup.  Like I said – sometimes you need to tone down the spices.

I set the crockpot on HIGH, and it was done in 4 hours.  During the last hour of cooking, I basted the pork with the BBQ sauce.

Add some corn on the cob – and I had a nice meal.

 

Recipe: How to make your own onion powder and minced dry onion

|June 12, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

What a money saver this is!  Especially if you grow your own onions!  If not – watch those weekly sale papers –

 

Preheat your oven to 150* F. if you are not using a dehydrator.

Peel your onions and remove that dry papery skin that is on them.  Slice thin and place in your dehydrator or on baking trays in single layer.   When they are dry they will be brittle.

When dry, remove to clean, dry paper towels to cool completely.

Grind or minced to your desired consistency using your coffee grinder, food processor, mortar and pestle – your choice.

Store in airtight in glass containers in cool dry place.

And don't ask me if I would freeze this – no – I do not want the moisture in it.

Recipe: Make your own garlic powder and minced garlic

|June 12, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Why not?

 

It's easier than pie and you will know just how fresh it is – instead of relying on your grocer who may not be rotating his stock or selling old product.

If it's stale – the flavor is just not there.  And you already know how I feel about spices and herbs – regardless of what anyone says – once opened they will not last.

 

Start by preheating your oven to 150* F. if you are not using a dehydrator.

Peel your garlic cloves and slice thin.  Believe it or not, if carefully handled, using a single-edged razor blade works great for this!

Just spread your slices on your tray and heat/dry until done.  (If you can easily crumble it in your hand – it's done.)

Remove to clean, dry paper towels to cool completely before grinding.  I use my coffee grinder (I have one that is designated for spices only), but you can use a mortar and pestle, food processor, or roll with your rolling pin to desired consistency.

Store in an airtight glass jar in your pantry.

I don't make enough for a year – but I am a garlic user and I do make it frequently.

  

 And if you are going to tell me you freeze it – that is something I won't do – I do not want the moisture in it.

 

And now a word on minced garlic – 

Did you know that minced garlic has chemicals in it to preserve it and that it may have been bleached to keep its color?

Do it yourself – just coarsely mince and dry as above except for minced garlic your oven temperature should be 130* F!  Check it every so often and if it begins to brown, lower your oven 10 degrees.  Stir every 3 hours. And leave the oven door cracked a bit for air circulation – you are drying – not baking.

Depending on the humidity and high altitude, drying times can be up to 12 hours or two days.  High altitude dries quicker!

Remember to use good heads of garlic – nice and firm – not dried out or mushy or shriveled.

Need to reconsitute it for a dish?  Just soak in water.

Ta-da…………..

 

  

Recipe: Replenishing the pantry – Seasoned Salt

|March 12, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Seasoned salt is one of those “ingredients” you can always do without since it is made up of so many other popular ingredients you have in your pantry.


The sad part is – I don’t trust those that make many things these days. I often wonder what “hidden” ingredients are in it and not listed. I do not believe in using MSG. One of these days I’ll bore you to death with my MSG stories.

 


So I make my own – nothing really special – it’s basically just the Lawry’s Seasoned Salt recipe that you can find anywhere on the web with a few changes and that I use my own homemade ingredients:

 


2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon powder
1 teaspoon onion salt**
1 teaspoon onion powder**
1 tablespoon garlic salt**
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon cumin salt**
1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
1 tablespoon dried parsley**
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon curry powder**
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/3 cup Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Mix all ingredients together thoroughly, or put all ingredients in a pint-sized jar with tight fitting lid, shaking until blended well. Store in your pantry and use within 3 months.


Makes about 1 cup

Recipe: Replenishing the pantry – My Homemade Lemon Herb Seasoning

|March 2, 2011|read comments (2)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

I have to admit that I absolutely love lemon herb chicken and pork! Of course I make my own Lemon-Pepper Seasoning, but I think I get more use out of my Homemade Lemon Herb Seasoning.


First of all – when it comes to dried lemon peel or dried orange peel – I ABSOLUTELY REFUSE to spend money on it in the stores. They are so overpriced it’s not funny. I’ve been making my own for years and it’s so simple and it practically costs me nothing to make.


We are a fresh lemon and fresh orange family. I always have fresh lemons in the house for using in cooking and baking, in beverages, to accompany fish and/or seafood dishes and to use in dressings, etc.
And fresh oranges – what can I say – we love to eat oranges and I also use them in recipes.


When shopping for lemons and oranges, I always look for the nicest rinds as well as the best produce I can buy. When I get them home I wash them very well and dry. Grab my zester or a grater (I use both) and remove the rind – leaving the pith behind. I grate/zest on paper towels and leave to dry. It’s that simple. Store airtight in glass containers in the pantry. If I am making a lot and I am in a hurry, I may dry on the fruit roll-up trays that came with my dehydrators or I may pop the rind in the oven to dry at 150 – 200* Fahrenheit until dry. Just spread out on a low-rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally.


When I need to make a seasoning mix that calls for either – I can easily grind to a fine powder using my coffee grinder (I have one that I use ONLY for seasonings).

 


To make My Homemade Lemon Herb Seasoning


5 tablespoons dried basil**
¼ cup dried oregano (scant)
1 ½ teaspoons fresh cracked black pepper*
1 ½ tablespoons dried onion flakes**
1 ½ tablespoons whole celery seeds
1 teaspoon garlic powder**
4 teaspoons dried grated lemon zest**


Combine all ingredients and mix well; store airtight in pantry for up to six months – if it lasts that long! When using – add Kosher salt to taste.


*To crack peppercorns – place in resealable plastic bag and crack using a rolling pin, dowel or cast iron pan


**homemade ingredients

Recipe: Replenishing the pantry – My Homemade Dipping Sauce

|February 26, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Being Italian, I am a big bread and pasta lover! I like to keep a jar of my Dipping Sauce in the pantry to use for dipping bread, or for using as a sub/hoagie dressing or a dressing for a pasta salad, veggie salad or an antipasto.

 


¼ cup crushed red pepper
¼ cup fresh ground black pepper
¼ cup dried oregano
¼ cup dried rosemary
¼ cup dried basil
¼ cup dried parsley
¼ cup garlic powder**
¼ cup minced garlic**
1 ½ tablespoons Kosher salt


Place all ingredients in grinder and grind evenly if you like – if not, mix well. You can always grind it later using your coffee grinder, if desired.


Store airtight.

 


When you want to use it – mix 1 tablespoon of this mixture with olive oil (extra-virgin preferred). You can adjust the flavor the way you want.


Dip warm bread into mixture and enjoy!

 


If making subs/hoagies/panini sandwiches – I combine this mixture in a plastic bottle similar to a plastic ketchup or mustard bottle and shake and squeeze on the bread as a dressing. It can also be used with mayo/salad dressing on sandwiches for a little extra "zing" in the flavor. Try on your next salad!


I went to a beauty supply house and bought several different sizes of hair dye applicator bottles that I use in my pantry. You can cut the tips as large as you would like for many uses. Those bottles are used for salad dressings, chocolates, syrups, icing cookies with designs, BBQ sauces, etc.
Just use your imagination!


MANGIA!


**Homemade ingredients


NOTE: Make a smaller batch of this by using 1 tablespoon of everything except the salt – use only 1 teaspoon of that.