Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Snack: Apples

Time: 5-30 min, depending on which snack

Main Ingredient:
Apples, any variety

Snack Ideas:
1. Eat the apple. ;-)

2. Slice up apple, arrange on a plate, and serve with various dips like homemade nut butters, honey or other liquid sweetener, cooked and sweetened fruit that's tart, cream. Additions like cinnamon, nutmeg, and fresh, grated ginger work well, if tolerated.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Learning about my food: Sweet Potatoes

Today, Sweet Potatoes.
First, let's take care of all that naming mix-up.
The Yam vs. the Sweet Potato.

In most of the world outside the USA, 'yam' and 'sweet potato' are used in reference to two completely different plants. The yam, or 'true yam,' is an African/Asian native from the monocot family Dioscoreaceae. The sweet potato is a dicotyledon from the family Convolvulaceae. Both are root veggies, though. Both are edible. The true yam is typically bigger and sweeter, and may be found in African specialty grocery stores, sometimes, in the USA.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

How-to: Roasted peppers

Time: 1 hour...maybe. It takes me a few hours, but it's greatly dependent on amounts.

bell peppers or chile peppers (allergic folks, check on waxes and coatings)
(optional) oil with a flavor that won't clash with the peppers

Friday, February 3, 2012

Pecan milk

Time: 8 hours 10 min
(8 hours soaking/ 10 min prep) Or, if you're like me, 40 hours, since I forgot I was doing this for over a day. Oops.

1 1/4 cup raw pecans, chopped
4 cups water
1/2 tsp. sea salt
agave syrup to taste (optional)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Attempted Sweet Potater Tots - FAIL

My attempt to make sweet potater tots based on the potater tot recipe. Uh, yeah, that didn't do so great.

So let's review the failure, shall I?

For ingredients, I used a japanese sweet potato (I like these better for frying than regular garnet jewell yams or pink sweet potatoes.). Then I grated about a 1 inch peeled piece of fresh ginger and added that, along with a teeny bit of salt. The flavor of this was FREAKING AWESOME. Very sweet with a little flowery smell to it from the ginger. No real heat added. I loved the small pieces that weren't burnt beyond recognition.

To make it, I grated the sweet potato, squeezed out the water, mixed it with the other ingredients and then cooked it at the same temp and for the same times as the Potater Tots recipe.

And here's how that FAILED.
1. Squeezing the water out - Without the extra moisture and no added starch or binders, these did not in any way stay together like the potatoes. With the potatoes, once a tot has been cooked on one side, they stay together. Sweet potato shreds stayed in shreds completely separated so that turning them over was like flipping hashbrowns. On a second attempt, I didn't squeeze the water out, and that worked better.

2. The temperature -  Hooo baby, not a good idea. Pan on high? Burned the sweet potatoes. Oven at 425F for 8-10 minutes? Holy crud did that burn the sweet potatoes. I had little blacked pucks with a little sweet potato in the middle. Ouch. One thing that helped - turned stove down a little and put the tots on with a lid for 1 minute, to help steam the middle a little. That did have them cooked by the end. Turned down the oven heat to 400 for the second batch, and that worked better, but still burned. We'll have to see the next time I get these. Or I'll try it with regular sweet potatoes and see if it's different.

My Conclusion:
I think this recipe could become something really tasty and great, but it still needs some playing with (or rather, I need to learn how to treat the ingredients so I don't destroy them like Godzilla stomping on a Sweet Potato city). I think I'll have to research how to fry sweet potatoes and see if there are any suggestions from other cooks for temperatures and types of cooking that work best with these root veggies.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Potater Tots 2

Potater Tots part 2. They look much better now, eh?

After making Potater Tots a few more times, some words of potater wisdom for an improved recipe.

Ingredients Changes:
1. Using garlic as seasoning, not such a good idea. If it's on the inside of the potatoes, it's fine, but any that happens to be the outside and comes into contact with the pan burns like mad and is very bitter. Which, uh, is kind of a 'duh' moment, when I think about how garlic usually reacts to high heat. I'm going to try and make some of these with chopped garlic or homemade garlic paste in the middle and see if it works.

2. Less olive oil results in slightly burnt potato on the stove setting needed to crisp the potatoes up while on the stove-top. A little more oil than 4 Tb and the potato tends to be more browned and crispy.

Directions Changes:
1. Squeezing out the water with towels or paper towels is annoying. Towels get stained and I have to wash them - yes, I'm lazy, so less work is better, as far as I'm concerned. Paper towels can sometimes be a corn hazard, if the paper towel company adds corn starch to the paper towels. Or at least, I hear this happens to both paper towels and paper plates, to help prevent sticking, but haven't checked it out myself. However, getting a handful of grated potato and squeezing out the water by hand, over the sink or a bowl, works great. It gets the moisture out, but leaves enough to help it stick together a little bit, which I need since I'm not using anything else to help it stick.

And that concludes revamping this recipe, woo hoo!