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Showing posts from January, 2016

Bottling five gallons of homebrewed American Pale Ale!

Today we bottled our first batch of homebrewed beer, an American Pale Ale. You can read about our experience brewing it a few weeks ago here.

The first thing we did was read the directions that came with our kit from Brewer's Best, which told us to boil two cups of water and then add the 5 oz of priming sugar that came with our kit. We boiled the sugar water for five minutes, and then added it to our bottling bucket, which we had sanitized with StarSan earlier. Everything has to be sanitary for brewing beer to go well, so we had Star San on hand throughout the entire bottling process. Priming sugar is used when bottling beer to create some fermentation to occur inside the capped bottle which causes the beer to become carbonated.

Then we popped the lid off of our fermenting bucket. The smell of beer emanated from this dark liquid--our beer! First we siphoned the beer from this fermenting bucket into our bottling bucket.
 We left behind the trub, or nasty hops and other gunk left b…

My first sourdough from scratch experience

"We can become creators of a better world, of better and more sustainable food choices, of greater awareness of resources, and of community based upon sharing. For culture to be strong and resilient, it must be a creative realm in which skills, information, and values are engaged and transmitted; culture cannot thrive as a consumer paradise or a spectator sport. Daily life offers constant opportunities for participatory action. Seize them." - Sandor Katz, The Art of Fermentation

Last Monday evening, I combined equal parts flour and water into a bowl and mixed them into a thick paste. I knew they were equal parts because I weighed them on a small digital scale I recently purchased specifically for that purpose. I set the bowl's lid on top of its rim, slightly ajar so that air could get through, and placed it on the table near our home's central heater.


The next evening, around the same time, I weighed out equal parts water and flour, added them to the mixture, and sti…

Trying new things in a new year

This year's theme for me so far has been experimenting with new things, including making beer, growing my own sourdough starter for baking bread, and exploring new recipes for dinner! This week, I tried three new recipes and want to share them with you so you can try them, too!

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
Original recipe is available here from Minimalist Baker.
I added a couple mini portabella mushrooms and used three small shallots instead of two regular sized ones. I also didn't add almond milk. After I roasted the red peppers, they looked like this.  So glad to have a Magic Bullet now so I can make sauces like this. Thanks Mom!  Thanks also to my Mom for the spiral veggie peeler so I can make noodles out of veggies! The pasta turned out really yummy! It would be delicious served in a bread bowl and with additional veggies. 
Sweet and Spicy Baked Honey Sriracha Chicken Original recipe is available here from Chef Savvy.
It was my first experience breading chicken, and I thought i…

Brewing Beer & Baking Spent Barley Cookies

Yesterday, Green Guy and I embarked on a new adventure full of malted barley, gallons of water, hops, and yeast. We had our first beer brewing day and brewed up the ingredients to make an American Pale Ale from a Brewer's Best kit. I'd say the day was a success given that we did what we needed to do without too many egregious errors to create a wort and put it in a fermenter with yeast. It's sitting in the kitchen now, and I'm eagerly awaiting the first signs of fermentation in the airlock.


Our beer is inside this bucket, and carbon dioxide should begin bubbling through the airlock on top by tonight. We'll bottle the final product in 2-3 weeks. We'll probably do a bit more research before determining which week to bottle it. After it's bottled, it has to sit for at least two weeks to carbonate, which will happen because we'll add priming sugar.
Of course, success can be measured numerous ways, and we won't really know if our method created a drinkabl…

Homegrown, home-roasted sunflower seeds

Happy New Year! When we returned home from our holiday travels on Friday, I noticed our sunflowers were looking very droopy and sad, so we went about cutting off the large flower heads and leaving the smaller flowers to keep growing. Only after cutting the heads did I think to look up a recipe for roasting sunflower seeds, and it was then that I realized we had cut the heads off a bit too soon. I could have let the heads sit and dry out to make shelling the seeds easier, but I was eager to try making the seeds right away. I didn't see anything online saying it was dangerous to eat unripe seeds or anything, so I set to work and followed this recipe.

You can view photos of the sunflowers before we cut their heads off on my Facebook page here.
Despite not being dry or mature enough, some of the seeds in the largest sunflower head seemed viable for roasting--they were hard, round, and entirely black. Others I had been plucking from the smaller sunflower heads were purple and squishy--…