Month: January 2015

Finding uses for those jars of whey…

I’m still trying to use up all the leftover whey from my cheesemaking adventures. Last night I decided to try it as the base of a chicken marinade. Amazing results! I was very happy with how well the flavor of the marinade got into the chicken. This cooked chicken would be a wonderful flavor in a chicken salad!


Whey Marinade with Curry, Cumin, and Turmeric

Ingredients:

  • 1 qt jar of whey
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Wash chicken breasts in cold water, pat dry.
  2. In a small bowl or a large measuring cup, combine the whey and spices.
  3. Place chicken in a resealable container or freezer bag.
  4. Pour marinade over chicken until covered.
  5. Marinate 12-24 hours under refrigeration.
  6. When ready to cook chicken, preheat oven to 350F.
  7. Place cutlets in glass/ceramic baking dish.
  8. Bake 30-35 mins.

A little quick pickling…

I decided to do a little quick pickling last night. Because I don’t have nearly enough random items in mason jars in my fridge at the moment. I did some Vietnamese-style pickled veggies (carrots, daikon radish, jalapenos) and some pickled red onions. I still have some headcheese left, and the delicate meaty flavor of the headcheese works really well with something tangy and spicy. If you’re anti-headcheese, these will work on almost any type of sandwich.

Vietnamese-Style Quick Pickled Veggies (Dưa món)

made 4 half-pint jars

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound carrots (ended up being about 6 carrots total), peeled & cut into “matchsticks”
  • 1 large daikon radish (it was really big, over a foot long), peeled & cut into “matchsticks”
  • 2 jalapeno peppers (if you want your pickles less spicy, remove the seeds), sliced
  • 3/4 C granulated sugar + 2 tsp
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 1/4 C hot water
  • 2 1/4 C rice vinegar

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, toss carrots, daikon radish, jalapeno peppers, with 2 tsp sugar and 1 tsp kosher salt. After about 2 minutes the vegetables will begin to soak up the salt & sugar & soften slightly, losing some of their bite.
  2. Rinse the vegetables in a collander in the sink with cold water.
  3. Whisk together 2 1/4 cups hot water, 2 1/4 cups rice vinegar, and 3/4 cup sugar until the sugar is fully dissolved. I did this in a large glass measuring cup so it would be easy to pour the pickling liquid into the jars. You can use hot tap water for this, but I used hot water from my kettle, so the sugar would dissolve more quickly and thoroughly.
  4. Transfer the softened vegetables into 4 pint-sized jars. I pushed them down a bit with my fingers so I could fit more veggies in each jar. Pour the pickling liquid over them. The liquid should cover the vegetables completely.
  5. Store in the refrigerator, and let sit at least 1 hour (and ideally 24 hours) before eating. They will get better flavors the longer they sit.

Tasty Pickled Red Onions

makes 1-2 half-pint jars

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 medium red onions, sliced thin
  • 1 C rice vinegar
  • 1/2 C water
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 tsp granulated garlic OR 2-3 cloves garlic, minced

Instructions:

  1. In a medium saucepan over high heat, whisk together rice vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and bring to a boil.
  2. Add onions, pepper flakes, and granulated garlic, stir together, and remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature. Note: I used granulated garlic because in a strange occurance I had NO garlic in the house at all. Not even the kind in a jar. Unheard of. You can definitely use actual garlic in this recipe, but the granulated worked fine too.
  3. Once cooled, transfer the onions to pint jars or and keep refrigerated. The onions are ready to use immediately but will get better flavor the longer they sit.

Not the prettiest picture, but this was my breakfast today. Headcheese breakfast burrito with pickled veg. Next time there will definitely be a fried egg in there.

Not the prettiest picture, but this was my breakfast today. Headcheese breakfast burrito with pickled veg. Next time there will definitely be a fried egg in there.

Limoncello/Clemecello Day!

It’s been a month since I zested a ton of citrus and started infusing 2 jars of vodka. I religiously shook the jars twice a week and documented the results as their contents got darker and darker. This morning an alarm went off on my phone- Limoncello/Clemencello Day! Joy!


I opened the jars and they smelled amazing! I used my endlessly useful nut milk bag (see my cheesemaking adventures for more on this) to strain out all the zest and wrung out the excess liquid.

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Here’s the clemencello (L) and the limoncello (R) after they went through the nut milk bag, before filtering.

Next I made a simple syrup with 5C sugar and 3C water (enough for both limoncello & clemencello). My initial thought was that using the nut milk bag to strain out the zest would be enough & then decided it would benefit from some additional filtering and got out my coffee filters. I used cone filters which worked out beautifully because I was able to place it inside of the mason jar and hold it in place with one of the jar rings.

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Here’s my superb, high-tech filtering system being set up.


Once filtering was complete (don’t skip this, it made a HUGE difference). I was ready to bottle my homemade booze and more importantly, taste it! The recipe, as I made it made one 750ml bottle (standard wine bottle) and 1 1/2 374ml (half size wine bottle) of each flavor. Shout out thank you to Jason for the bottles! 🙂 That was a bit less than I had anticipated, I guess due to all the filtering (& a certain amount of evaporation?).

I’m pretty happy with the results, both had a nice, sweet citrusy flavor. I was surprised to find that the lemon had a stronger flavor and a darker color, since the clementine peel was more oily than the lemon. I suppose that’s because lemons have a stronger flavor in general than clementines.

Here’s the whole series if you want to try this deliciousness for yourself. If you do, comment the blog or tweet me!

Getting Started 

Week One

Week Two

Week Three

Fromage de Tete and Banh Mi ~ AKA Headcheese Update

The headcheese is done! It was a busy weekend but I finally had the chance today to unmold my headcheese from it’s mini loaf pan home.

It’s meaty and gelatinous enough to hold it’s shape fairly well. My one kid who would eat it said he liked it better than the store-bought headcheese he tried last week; because it had more meat.

While I was running across recipes looking for something to do with all the headcheese I now have I ran across a Banh Mi. My understanding is that many different types of sandwiches can be called a Banh Mi, but headcheese is a fairly typical filling. So tonight I fixed up some Banh Mis, with French bread, headcheese, mayo, sriracha, lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, and pickled veggies. I didn’t make my veggies in an authentically Vietnamese way, I bought a jar of of the Italian-style pickled veg (cauliflower, carrots, peppers, and cucumbers). This was in the interest of getting the headcheese on the sandwich and the sandwich into my belly and onto the blog ASAP. Making Vietnamese pickled veggies is on my to-try list though (see my Pinterest).

I think that perhaps I’m more comfortable with Vietnamese cuisine than with other Asian cuisines because of the French influence. I’m trained on the classically French tip, and that’s what typically feels comfortable for me.

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Quick Little Banh Mi

Ingredients:

  • hoagie-sized baguette
  • 2 slices headcheese
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 3-4 slices of tomato
  • 3-4 slices of cucumber
  • 1-2 leaves Boston Bibb lettuce
  • a big spoonful of pickled veggies (someday soon there will be recipe link here)
  • a few drops of Sriracha (to taste)

Directions:

  1. Cut the baguette in half length-wise and width-wise. Scoop out a bit of the inside of the bread if needed.
  2. Spread the mayonnaise on the bottom piece of bread, drizzle with sriracha.
  3. Put the the headcheese on the top half. Press down and spread if necessary.
  4. Dress the sandwich with the veggies and press down lightly.

Making headcheese was a fun & interesting experience. I learned that I still like doing homemade charcuterie. I learned that people are apparently really squeamish when it comes to animal heads and other obscure animal parts. People that I really didn’t expect to be. I also learned that there are folks that think it’s wicked cool (these are the people who have random food pictures in their phones and don’t think it’s odd when there’s pictures of a pig’s head in yours).

Headcheese Assembly

The end of last week I began to assemble my headcheese. First, I scooped the creamy white fat off the top of my stock. Surprisingly there was close to 2C of it! Below the fat, the stock was thick and gelatinous. I put it on the stove to liquefy and reduce and began chopping my meat. The meat was much easier to chop when it was cold. I put about a handful and a half of chopped meat into a foil mini loaf pan (filled it about 2/3). I had the perfect amount of meat to fill 10 mini loaf pans. It took about half an hour for the stock to reduce once it came to a boil (about 45 mins from the time I put it on the stove). I added about 2 ladles of stock to each of the loaf pans. You can fill the pans as close to the top as you feel comfortable. Once all the loaf pans were full I wrapped them with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge to chill. After 4-5 hours the headcheese had started to solidify, but I would give it 10-12 hours before you try to unmold it.

Homemade Booze: Limoncello/Clemencello Update: Week 3

One more week to wait! The vodka is getting darker and the zest is nearly colorless at this point. I am excited to see what kind of big flavors I find when this thing is done. Thinking I may possibly use my nut milk bag when straining time comes. See? It’s uses are endless and I have not even used it to make nut milks (yet)! It’s almost time to find some bottles…

Headcheese Progress

Today I finally found a pot big enough for my hog’s head. It’s 33 qts. I coarsely chopped 2 large white onions, a pound of carrots (unpeeled, ends cut off), a head of celery (leaves left on), & peeled and smashed about 10 cloves of garlic. When I took the head his vacuum-packaging I gave him a quick rinse in the sink and shaved his scruff with a paring knife (fun). So now the head is simmering away in the pot with the veg, enough water to cover and a few dashes of Kosher salt. I don’t know if it was necessary but about halfway through the cook time (it will be about 6 hours in total), I flipped the head over, because I was concerned whether the snout was getting fully cooked (it was sticking out of the water a smidge).


Update:

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Here’s the fully-picked clean skull. Also, I learned that a dough hook can double as a meat hook in a pinch (because who has a meat hook laying around the house anyway?).

Currently, I have a container of chopped-up usable head-meat ready to go in my fridge. The broth has been put through a strainer & cheesecloth and is way more gelatinous than I had anticipated. Hoping to get everything assembled and working in loaf pans by the end of the day…