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Comment by Joan Denoo on September 13, 2015 at 10:35pm

You people have been a real joy for me today, again. I am busy making grape juice, bobbing between the kitchen and the computer, much as a dancer would bob around to the rhythms of a song. Carl provides the tunes and everyone contributes to the beat. 

I harvested only about a third of my grapes today and will try to finish tomorrow. I have to get out early before the bees wake up. They don't like me fooling with their food supply. The squirrels gave me a scolding, too. 

Good night, everyone. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on September 13, 2015 at 9:45pm

Sauerkraut got us through the first year of 1974-5 when we left my husband and moved to Spokane. We bought the house on July 1, 1974, pulled out an old thicket in the back yard and planted potatoes and cabbages by July 15.

We harvested the cabbages and set up a table in the back yard. We washed the cabbages in an old galvanized tub and trimmed them. We shred them on an old cabbage shredder of my grandmother's, weighed them on an old scale from the farm store and poured the salt over them by weight. We poured the salted cabbages into a water reservoir of an old toilet we bought at Dick Brown's Salvage. The cabbages released a lot of moisture and completely buried the cabbage shreds. We topped the cabbage shreds with cheesecloth and held the cabbage below the moisture line with water filled Mason jars. 

We let the cabbage brew until Dec. 22 when we opened it and had our first meal of sauerkraut and corned beef. That was our Jule celebration, and it was delicious.

Over the years, we developed rituals to commemorate our new life. We planted seeds in the spring with a celebration dinner. We had a summer feast of a celebration of growing time. We harvested in the fall and made sauerkraut with an autumn meal out of the garden. On Dec 22 we broke open the crock (by this time we had a real container in which to make the kraut), and had a yearly Yule feast.  

Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter Celebrations, all featuring some aspect of growing cabbages.

Comment by Daniel W on September 13, 2015 at 9:21pm
Carl, you added another! Yes, it's black coffee for me!
Comment by Daniel W on September 13, 2015 at 9:19pm
Carl, The Ink Spots really set the theme for a coffee and tea conversation!

Joan, I thought you might have experience with sourdough. Anyone who has made their own saurkraut would be comfortable with natural food fermentstions.

The do it yourself sourdough starter seems easy. Im starting a batch to see how it does. My thought is the sourdough bacteria must be enriched in the air of the flour mill, with all of that flour dust flying around, for who knows how long. Same of the organisms may be local too. If the flour is not bleached, it probably has potential starter already mixed in.
Comment by k.h. ky on September 13, 2015 at 9:16pm
I could live on homemade bread. I made it when I have was younger and more ambitious. Now the closest I come is some awesome homemade cornbread. I use sour cream in it and bake it Iin an iron skillet.
Comment by The Flying Atheist on September 13, 2015 at 9:10pm

Comment by Joan Denoo on September 13, 2015 at 9:05pm

Sourdough! Oh what a delight. I first learned how to make it from an Indian woman in Kenai, Alaska. I had her starter for years and it finally died when work, children, and laziness didn't keep it up. 

I started sourdough with potato water and mashed the potato into the water.The rest of the recipe is as I remember making it. There really isn't much you can do wrong. Alcohol forms at the top if you don't refresh it with flour and water to feed the bacteria that forms. There are several other recipes on the internet that look familiar.

Sourdough croutons are the best ever. Just cut the day-old bread into cubes, melt about a tablespoon of coconut oil and butter in a skillet. Coat the cubes with the oil then bake for 10 minutes in a 300 degree oven. Cool, serve on salads.

This is especially good if you chop up fresh sage, or parsley, or garlic, or whatever you like and sprinkle it over the bread cubes in the skillet, then bake. 

Cheese is also a nice addition to the cubes before baking. 

Comment by The Flying Atheist on September 13, 2015 at 8:59pm

Comment by Joan Denoo on September 13, 2015 at 8:17pm

Coffee! hot, black, strong, brewed in a French Press for four minutes, made fresh every cup. However, I am lazy so I make three cups and put two in a thermos. Then I add rich cream and honey. Old farm girl habits die hard.  

Comment by Daniel W on September 13, 2015 at 6:15pm

Sourdough #2

Here's how it came out. 

I did one loaf in a Pyrex breadloaf pain, and the other in a wider lower Pyrex food container.  Might have benefited from another 5 min in oven - very hard crust, softened up a bit.  Chewy, with a definite sourdough flavor.  Will need some fine tuning and experience, but happy with this first attempt.

I used bread flour.  Might be a little lighter with all  purpose flour.


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