We plan to going back to regular entries.
We found local Texas cantaloupe and they are huge and way tasty.
What better way to finish off a meal then to sit in the porch, the sun setting and the cool evening breeze starting to stir. The shadows grow longer as we sit and eat these pieces of nature’s candy.
No high fructose corn syrup or fancy packaging.
We think this is the best deal going for a healthy lunch. We order the Fajita Light and it comes with only vegetables with their very tasty seasoning on a sizzling platter. Very generous portion, we normally share it.
We also love the salsa and can’t get enough. Marian has them punch the frequent diner’s card. When we walk in its like the old TV show Cheers where they yell “Marian”
We highly recommend Hacienda Ranch in any of their locations for lunch or dinner! We frequent the one in Frisco, TX the most.
I love potatoes and on Saturday morning I was whining about not having something for breakfast. Marian said she’ll whip up some cottage fried potatoes which is essentially a little olive oil, sliced onions ( I love onions), and thinly sliced potatoes thrown into a skillet.
We decided to use our stainless steel OXO mandoline, a wonderful tool, to slice up the potatoes and then a crazy idea to see if there is a difference between cooking them on cast iron or a non-stick pan.
It took about 10 minutes and the potatoes went from raw to on the table with some ketchup and I had my breakfast.
I think the cast iron skillet won. It seemed to get hotter and browned the potatoes so they looked more like hash browns. The cast iron was harder to clean even though it was a properly seasoned cast iron pan.
We’ll talk about seasoning a cast iron pan in a later post.
Below is our first shot at taking a video… give us a break it’s the first one and I’m sure it will improve.
One of the things we got new at the IHA show was a new wheat grinder…did I really need another wheat grinder… no… but it is very cool and I bought into the sales pitch of cooler grinding of the wheat to preserve the nutrients and it’s faster. Why not put it to the test.
I decided to give it a run last night. It takes about 4 hours from start to finish for me to make bread with my bread machine (recipe and discussion here). I’m just starting to play with the controls and the finished product seemed a little coarser than my stone grinder. I think I can make the adjustment to where the result is much finer. The flour reminded me of what we get our of our Blendtec blender when we use it for flour.
The speed at which it went through 6 cups of wheat was awesome. I wasn’t timing it since I thought it was going to take as long as my stone grinder…so.. I didn’t pay attention until it started to make the empty noise where the motor’s rpm increases significantly. I would guess it took a couple of minutes.
We were pitched on how the way the wheat is ground inside that it would stay cooler than stone ground. I have to agree with that. The wheat was cooler coming out. The nutritional value of the wheat is higher when you don’t over heat it. But be careful, wheat doesn’t hold it’s nutritional value either if you store it for more than a couple of days.
The bread turned out fantastic!
With a coarser grind I don’t get as much of a rise out of the bread but the crumb (the holes inside) was very nice and consistent.
I strongly recommend grinding wheat at home for nutritional value and taste… amazing taste. It’s not that hard or that messy and well worth your time. I like the Nutrimill and it can make a bunch of wheat at one time.
From the L’equip website.
In Chicago at the International Housewares Show – very fun looking at all the new gadgets and appliances. Seems like the trend is definitely towards healthier eating… some vendors figured that out and others are still pitching the same old diets that has got us into trouble.
We’ve seen some very nice new steamers, juicers, rice cookers, dehydrators, and wheat grinders. I was surprised at the amount of juicers and dehydrators we’ve seen. We’ll talk about several of these over the next few days.
We are looking forward to getting back to some home cooking.
It’s been a while since we wrote anything on the blog. Our schedules have been nuts. We are back to being regular again. It’s not that we haven’t been vegetarian but just busy.
This week we’re at the International Housewares Show in Chicago. The best restaurant ever is a Polish buffet in Chicago on North Milwaukee called the Red Apple. Easy to have an all veggie meal and all the most amazing food.
I couldn’t help myself and had to have a couple meat dishes but I’ll careful later…
We eat here every time we’re in Chicago…simple, tasty and everything is fresh, run by a Polish family. All the food is like my grandmother cooked.
That means sauerkraut, beets, salads of many kinds, potatoes, carrots, dried fruit compotes, and the incredible hot cucumber soup Marian is enjoying.
Trying to figure out the recipes here, after many returns to the buffet, so incredibly sad that we have no more room!
We will be also talking about what we’ve seen at the IHA show that a vegetarian kitchen needs.
I’ve done a bunch of research on rice cookers and there are a BUNCH out there. You can pick them up pretty cheap at Wal-Mart or Target and they will save you a ton of work.
At the less expensive models they all work pretty much the same way and are pre-set to a couple of varieties of rice. This works for most of us. Just add water, use the measuring cup they give you as part of the package… don’t loose it… and about 40 minutes later you have perfect rice each time. Much better than doing it on the stove.
What you have to be careful about is having rice stick to the sides of the bowl in the cooker. That bowl needs to be cleaned real well. If it’s a non-stick coating clean it right away by itself in the sink with a scrubby that won’t damage it.
I’ve been doing that and I’ve had the same rice cooker for years with flawless results.
The rice cooker that I really like is kinda expensive since it’s fairly sophisticated in how it cooks the rice. It has sensors etc. to make it perfect. I bought it years ago and the instructions were in broken english since it seemed to be the popular one used in Japan…. soooo… I figured they know a think or two about rice and it was rated very highly there I went and bought one. It was pretty tough to find one. I’ve now seem them at some local Asian markets but still you can find it online.
The specs from the Sanyo site are:
- Separate Inner Pots and Inner Lids for Rice and Slow Cooking
- Titanium-Coated Extra-Thick (3mm) Non-Stick Rice Cooking Inner Pot with Round Bottom for Maximum Heat Distribution and Optimum Cooking
- Multi-Menu Selections. Ideal for White, Mixed, Rinse-Free, Brown, Haiga, and Sushi Rice, Quick Cooking, Slow Cooking, Steaming, and Tofu
- High & Low Slow Cook Temperature Settings with 12-Hour Programmability
- LCD Clock & 24-Hour Preset Timer Allows for Cooking Completion at a Desired Time
- Keep-Warm Function Keeps Rice Warm and Delicious After Cooking
- Tofu Function and Container for Preparing Nutritious Soft Tofu Ever Time
- Steaming Function with Uniqe Tray for Preparing Healthy Steamed Foods
- Retractable Cord
- Measuring Cup, Spatula, Tofu Container, Steaming Tray, and Multi-Language Instruction Manual Included
I love them… Marian not so much. These are refried beans that I make in the pressure cooker.
It’s simple to make and fairly quick if you don’t factor in soaking the beans.
One thing to remember…soak the beans… usually overnight does the trick and make sure that at least 2/3’s of the water is above the beans. The beans absorb quite a bit of the water especially in the first 4 hours.
I have a Fissler pressure cooker which is excellent… and it takes 14 minutes to cook the beans once it’s at pressure. This time will vary depending on your pressure cooker. When done I let it cool down by itself and then use something like a hand mixer or a boat motor thingy to puree them.
- 1 pound beans – already soaked
- cover the beans with water in the pressure cooker so there is about 1″ of water above the beans
- 1 tsp of garlic powder
- 1 tsp of onion powder
- 2 tbl spoon of oil
- DO NOT add salt or any acidy products like tomatoes till they are done…. why you ask…. it makes the beans very tough using the pressure cooker! Don’t do it wait till the beans are done
They are wonderful!!
- Pressure cookers are not scary…. understand how yours operates
- Don’t fill your pressure cooker more than 1/2 way
- Soak the beans
- Don’t add any acidic ingredients till the beans are done
- Don’t add salt till the beans are done
- Let the pressure cooker cool down on it’s own to open it up
- Oil keeps the beans from foaming….I have accidentally forgotten to add oil and didn’t have a problem
This bread is awesome! It’s like a desert but mostly good for you and easy to make once you mastered the basic whole wheat recipe posted earlier (Whole Wheat Bread).
The recipe is the basic whole wheat recipe.
Whole Wheat Recipe for 1.5 lb Loaf
- 4 cups of flour
- 4 tbs of vital wheat gluten helps the bread rise otherwise you have a biscuit (usually 1 tbs per cup of wheat)
- 1/4 tsp of ginger (feeds the yeast)
- pinch of ascorbic acid (sets up a acidic environment that yeast really likes)
- 1 tbs of lecithin makes the bread nice and chewy
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tbs honey
- 2 tbs of olive oil (cheap brand is fine)
- 2 cups of water
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
The difference is adding the 1 cup of chopped walnuts to the bread mix. It easy to chop walnuts but don’t get too crazy. They don’t need to be a powder.
Next “make ready” the 1/2 cup of raisins and 1/2 cup of Craisins.
As the bread machine kneads the bread it starts to beep on when to add the raisins etc. It’s important to wait for the beep otherwise the raisins get pounded to death and they will disappear into your bread.