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Archive for the ‘Recipe’ Category

So what do you do when you have some lean ground beef and no hamburger buns?Well, if you’re like me, I was lucky and had some large grocery store onion bagels.  Both the beef and the bagels were locally sourced, though the bagels are only local in that they were made in my neighborhood Safeway bakery.

The hamburger meat is from the Happy Mountain® Farm in Covington Washington. There, they grow miniature cattle. Cows the size of shetland ponies.They are all natural grass fed cattle and are extremely lean. Lean to the point that you have to add a little oil to the meat so that it stays a little juicy when you cook it.

So I looked at what I had to work with and decided that I would make my burger patty in a bagel shape. Well, try as I might, the meat was just too lean to form a decent patty. So I added a little olive oil and some panko crumbs to give it some structure. Then it made a decent meat tube and didn’t fall apart. Then I set about cooking it.

I cut the bagel in two and toasted the halves.

I cut the bagel in two and toasted the halves.

I fried the burger in my cast iron skillet on medium heat.

I fried the burger in my cast iron skillet on medium heat.

I seasoned the meat with some kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. I also put some mustard and hamburger relish on the other bun.

I seasoned the meat with some kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. I also put some mustard and hamburger relish on the other bun half.

The final product, a juicy, tasty bagel burger! Mmm!

The final product, a juicy, tasty bagel burger! Mmm!

Remember to practice good sanitation! I wore food grade plastic gloves and washed down my cutting boards after making the patty.

I’d change my method by putting down some plastic wrap so the burger wouldn’t stick to the cutting board, and do a normal patty and cut a hole out of the middle with a 1 inch round cookie cutter. That, or use the cutter a mold and form the burger around it.

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Did you know that pancakes don’t come from a mix that you buy in the store? Amazing isn’t it?

Pancakes made from scratch.

Pancakes made from scratch.

Sarcasm aside, making pancakes from scratch is easy and simple to do. This morning I made myself a batch of pancakes using a simple recipe. Not only is it better for you, you control what goes into to your pancakes and into your family. So here’s the recipe:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar (optional)
  1. Grease your griddle with a non-stick spray or vegetable oil.
  2. Preheat your griddle over medium-high heat.
  3. Beat the egg, milk, and vanilla together.
  4. Sift the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl, then add the salt and sugar.
  5. Whisk the egg and milk mixture into the flour until somewhat smooth, just slightly lumpy. Don’t over mix.
  6. Pour 1/4 cup dollops of batter on to the griddle keeping them about 2″ apart. Cook until the tops of the pancakes are bubbled.
  7. Turn each pancake over and cook until the bottom is browned.

Makes about 10 4″ pancakes. Unused batter may be stored in the refrigerator. If the batter gets too thick, thin with a little cold water.

If you want to add farm fresh blue berries or strawberries or other fruit, sprinkle them on top the pancakes after you pour them on the griddle. Don’t mix them in the batter.

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It’s summer time and my thoughts turn to pickles. I’m a pickle fiend, right next to my olive obsession. I’ve learned how to make successful pickles. Not fermented pickles, I don’t have a cold, cool place for that happen, but I do make refrigerator pickles.

"B&B" PicklesI adapted a recipe from Alton Brown‘s Good Eats show. I used a locally grown English Cucumber, red onions, and garlic. I would have used locally produced apple cider vinegar, but I didn’t pick some up. I used a 60/40 mixture of sucralose and sugar, to make it diabetic friendly, but you could use just sugar if you like. So let’s start:

Ingredients

  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 4 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups sucralose and 3/4 cup sugar or 2 cups sugar
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon pickling spice

Thinly slicing vegetables is an art. That’s why they made the mandolin. I use a cheap plastic one I got at from my dad’s girlfriend. It’s made of white plastic, it’s got notches to hook it over a bowl, three depth settings, a julienne insert, and two sided grater. And it works like a charm. I’ve sliced my thumbs and fingers on that sharp blade more than once. A mandolin is easier to clean than a food processor and you can slice on the bias, which is what I did with the cucumber, to get longer slices. I still tear slicing onions on the mandolin. 

After you slice  them up, combine the onion and cucumber slices, along with the garlic cloves, in a clean spring-top jar. Don’t use a plastic one. Glass is totally non-reactive and is easier to clean than plastic. Make sure the garlic cloves are in the middle of the slices. This will make sure that they get thoroughly pickled.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. After it boils, simmer for 4 full minutes to wake up the flavors of the spices.

Slowly pour the hot pickling liquid over the garlic cloves and the onion and cucumber slices, completely filling the jar. Allow the pickles to cool to room temperature before topping off with any remaining pickling liquid. Refrigerate.

You can eat these in two to three days. Yum!

This is a sustainable recipe because except for the salt, spices and sugar, you can source all the other ingredients locally. You can adapt this recipe by pickling peppers with the cukes or just pickle peppers. This is the first of several picklings I’m going to do this year, and I’ll be sourcing apple cider vinegar from a local cider press to be more sustainable. When pickling cucumbers come into season, I’ll be getting my pickle jars ready to go.

And this is both fun and empowering. You’re not tied to the grocery store for all your condiment needs. You can do it your self, just like we used to do a 100 years ago. Next on my self-made list: Ketchup!

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One way I’ve found to live sustainably, even a little bit green, is to cook only using local ingredients as much as I can. During the summer it’s fairly easy, as I can shop the various farmers markets here in the Puget Sound area for local produce, meat, eggs, even salmon and halibut.

Delicious beef stew

Delicious beef stew

 

 

But it’s winter and all those fresh veggies are not available locally. So one must adapt and change. My CSA, Spud.com, does a good job in providing locally grown fruits and vegetables, but right now the pickings are kind of slim. Lots of potatoes and onions, some parsnips, and leeks. But not much else.

That means I have to look back in history for a pointer: Cook for the season. So that means soups and stews with meat and potatoes. Luckily Spud.com does have access to local meat through Thundering Hooves, allowing me to still eat locally. So here’s a quick little recipe for a simple winter’s beef stew:

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