Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

Flexitarian

White Tailed Deer, Madison, CT, August 2002

I am becoming a Flexitarian or for lack of a better term Semi-Vegetarian. I do eat more meat than an occasional meat item. But I am cutting back on meat and hopefully someday will be a full fledged Vegetarian or as some would say a Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian.

Why, for a lot of reasons. I feel it is wrong to raise animals for the purpose of slaughter. Many who raise these animals raise them in an inhumane way which to me is very disturbing. If we must eat meat, then we need to do it in a caring earth honoring way and a respectful to the animals themselves and the planet.

In my rural community, there are those that hunt for pleasure and sport. An idea that is not acceptable to me as a reason to kill. There are others who hunt to bring meat to their tables, for without the wild game, they would have a difficult time surviving. I do hope these hunters and gathers are respectful in the way they harvest  the wild creatures.

Wild Turkeys, Carmel, Maine, October 2010

As a hopeful Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian, I feel that it is ok to raise animals, cows, goats & sheep, for their milk & wool, as long as it is done in a humane way. Raising animals for their milk has been done for thousands of years, but it needs to be done in a proper and humane way. I also feel it is proper to collect eggs from birds, chickens, ducks and geese. These too, must be cared for in a proper way.

As far as vegan goes, I don’t think I will ever be able to limit my self as strictly as vegans do.

I just wanted to put something out there that spoke of where I was on the vegetarian ladder. There are those that are above and below me on this ladder. I am trying to bring into my recipes a more vegetarian aspect, for those that feel vegetarianism is the way to go.

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Awesome Chili

Awesome Chili

I used to use 2-Alarm Chili mix and then decided that I can do the spices for a lot less, so here is my version of my chili.

  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
  • large onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 lbs (900 gm) lean (93%) hamburg
  • 2 cup (480 ml) tomatoes chopped or canned, see text for other options
  • 1 Mrs. Wages Classic Salsa seasoning mix to make 2 cups of medium salsa, Ball seasoning mix also OK
  • 2 cups (480 ml) water
  • 1 4 oz can (113 gm) hot jalapeño slices or 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 gm) cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon (5 gm) salt
  • 1 teaspoon (5 gm) ground pepper, coarsely ground is OK
  • 1 teaspoon (5 gm) paprika hot or mild
  • 1 teaspoon (5 gm) oregano, dried
  • 1 teaspoon (5 gm) sage, dried
  • 2 teaspoon (10 gm) cumin, ground
  • 2 tablespoons (30 gm) chili powder, ancho preferred
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 4 cups (960 gm) cooked beans, pinto, kidney, pink or red, drained, canned is OK

Using a wide bottomed 4 or 5 qt (4 or 5 L) pan, add olive oil and sauté onions and garlic until the onions are translucent. Add hamburg sauté, breaking up the meat into small pieces. If a high fat meat was used, I would sauté in a separate pan,  adding the meat to the chili pan when the fat has been rendered being careful to separate the meat from the fat.

Add diced tomatoes and Mrs. Wages Salsa mix. As an alternative you can add 2 cups (480ml) salsa in place of the tomatoes and Mrs. Wages seasoning packet.

Add two cups of water, hot jalapeño slices and rest of the seasoning, plus cornmeal, except for the cooked beans. Cook on a slow burner for 30 minutes for more. The last five minutes, add the cooked beans.

Serve the chili over crushed taco chips or rice. Top with cheddar or monterey jack cheese, pice de gallo and/or sour cream.

Greek Salad Dressing

Greek Salad Dressing

I found this web page http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/11397/1/Greek-Salad-Dressing-Recipe.html on Health Guidance website for Greek Salad Dressings. There are three choices, I ended up with my own version, you can use one of their Greek  Salad Dressings or you can use mine, which follows.

Dry Ingredients First!!!

  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 gm) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 gm) black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 gm) basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 gm) marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon (5 gm) oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 gm) thyme
  • 1 clove garlic minced or 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 gm) dry garlic pieces

Wet Ingredients Next!!!

  • Juice of a lemon, plus sufficient water to equal 1/4 cup (60 ml) or 1/4 cup (60 ml) reconstituted lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup olive oil

I suggest using a 12 oz (360 ml) Ball canning jar with plastic cover, as depicted in the above picture. Place dry ingredients in the jar. Using a glass cup measure, such as Pyrex with US Standard and Metric markings, squeeze the lemon juice into the measuring cup, add sufficient water to equal 1/4 cup (60 ml). Then, add olive oil up to the 1 cup (240 ml) level. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients in the canning jar, screw cover on tightly and shake to mix ingredients. Store in refrigerator.

My refrigerator is set at 40° Fahrenheit (4° Centigrade) which makes the olive oil semi-solid, so I have to take the dressing out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before I am planning to use it, to allow the olive oil to return to it’s normal liquid state.

Fahrenheit to Celsius (Centigrade)

Most conversion charts go from Centigrade to Fahrenheit, but sometimes one wants to go from Fahrenheit to Centigrade. My chart does this for cooking temperatures.

Fahrenheit Centigrade Actual Centigrade Adjusted
170 76.67 75
200 93.33 95
225 107.22 105
250 121.11 120
275 135.00 135
300 148.89 150
325 162.78 165
350 176.67 175
375 190.56 190
400 204.44 205
425 218.33 220
450 232.22 230
475 246.11 245
500 260.00 260
525 273.89 275
550 287.78 290

US Measures to Metric Conversions

When you start converting from US measures to Metric, which most of the rest of the world uses. For the purposes of cooking, I am going to list what I feel is the best conversion. Nothing ever comes out exact when going from one standard to the other.

US Standard Metric Actual (ml) Metric Adjusted (ml)
1 cup 236.6 240
1/2 cup 118.3 120
1/3 cup 78.9 80
1/4 cup 59.2 60
1 tablespoon 14.79 15
1 teaspoon 4.93 5
1/2 teaspoon 2.465 2.5
1/4 teaspoon 1.2325 1.25

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins

Adapted from Better Homes & Garden’s New Cook Book, Limited Edition(Pink), 12th Edition. I increased the sugar, baking powder and blueberries.

  • 1 3/4 cup (420 ml) flour
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) sugar
  • 2 1/2 (12.5 ml) teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 (1.25 ml) teaspoon (sea) salt
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) fresh lemon zest (peel) or 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) granulated dry lemon peel (optional)
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) milk
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (240 ml) blueberries, fresh or frozen

In a large bowl mix dry ingredients together, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon peel. Use a wire whisk to mix the dry ingredients together.

Using a 1 cup (250 ml) measuring cup, add milk, then oil and last the egg. Use a fork to mix the wet ingredients. Something, I learned from watching Rachel Allen’s cooking show. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing with a spoon till all the ingredients are incorporated. Add the blueberries last, if the berries were frozen, keep them frozen till the your ready to add them to the mix.

Bake in preheated 400F (205C) oven for 18 minutes. Makes 12 muffins, I use muffin papers to make cleanup a breeze.

Greek Potato Salad

Greek Potato Salad

The recipe is adapted from Jeff Smith’s cookbook, “The Frugal Gourmet“.

  • 2 lbs cooked potatoes peeled and cut up, cooled
  • 1/4 large onion chopped, preferably a mild onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped or 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

When the potatoes are cooked , drain them but do not rinse them. Let them cool in a strainer, so the water will drain. When cooled add the rest of the ingredients, stirring to mix and chill before eating.