In My Kitchen 6-25-11

A peek into my day :-).

My cast iron skillets and I have reached a truce. If I promise not to use them for eggs (scrambled, fried, etc.), they work beautifully to cook up meats, veggies, pancakes, etc. I love my cast iron skillets :-). I just wish they liked eggs. And if anyone was wondering, yes it’s true that a high acid food does NOT work well in cast iron. I forgot that important rule a few weeks ago, sauteed vegetables and added some lemon juice. Ugh. The most iron-tasting veggies I’ve ever had, and it completely stripped the seasoning. *sigh* So I get to re-season again, which I needed to anyway, since I hadn’t since I called an egg truce with the pans. Now we’re all one big happy family :-).

I’m draining some whey from kefir, to use for fermenting purposes. I lined a colander with a kitchen towel, and placed all over a bowl. I love the thick “Greek yogurt” type of kefir it leaves behind :-). I don’t let it drip all out, just enough to give me 1/4 cup of whey or so, but I could drip all the way for a really firm “cream cheese” type consistency, which I’ve done before with yogurt, and is lovely.

Avocados, O how I love thee. These are one of the few things that I can eat at a dinner, feel pleasantly (but not overly) full, and it will hold me through the evening and I won’t wake up shaking with hunger. It’s hard to get enough calories sans grains for dinner and not still need a significant snack before bed. And even then I usually wake up very hunger. Yay for good fats.

Mmmm. Pumpkin pancake recipe (via Modern Alternative Mama) still open from breakfast :-). Yum!

I now have two gallon-sized glass jars! Yes I’m obsessed :-). But they make me smile :-). I found one new at T.J. Maxx, the only one they had. The other I found at a thrift store. FINALLY. It is very difficult to track these down locally! (These are holding fermenting kombucha, as you might have guessed.)

Distilled water for making  Insect Repellent (scroll down on linked page). What am I supposed to do with the rest of the gallon?

Yummy almond flour crackers. Just butter, almond flour, and a bit of water (and a sprinkle of salt on top).

Making dilly carrots. Hans and I LOVE these. Many thanks to Crazy Aunt Hannah for turning Hans onto these ;-).  He didn’t want to try them until Aunt Hannah coaxed him. She can get him to try and love just about anything ;-).

And lacto-fermented ketchup too! This time instead of whey I used leftover dilly carrot liquid as my innoculant. Interested to see how that goes. . . I’ve used other fermented “leftover” liquids before and they work great. Each imparts a slightly different flavor :-).

Our “garden” for this year (apartment-living has gardening limitations ;-D). Three containers of tomatoes and one of cucumbers. The cucumbers seem to be doing fabulously. They have grown a ton since I got them a few weeks ago. They were only 2 leaves each then! The tomatoes. . . have me stumped. Discolored leaves of various types, one plant looks stunted. . . hmm. But they are bearing fruit! We’ll see if the fruit is good.

This is my “stunted” plant. Compare with the next photo, which is another tomato plant I have.

Same container size, bought at the same place. One is way taller! Both of the plants started developing yellowed leaves on the bottom last week. Basically my books have narrowed that down to one of about 5 nutritional deficiencies or 8 possible pests. (I barely exaggerate.)  I started fertilizing them once/week a few weeks ago, using Miracle Grow “Tomato Food.” The one plant already looked stunted, but the yellowed leaves are an in-the-last-week development. Not sure if that’s related. . . and I have no idea if Miracle Grow is a “safe” choice for gardening, so feel free to enlighten me if you want ;-). It was on the shelf at my local store, so I got it. Maybe next year I’ll put more thought into plant care :-).

And here’s a close-up of my third tomato plant, which has developed what looks like early blight. I don’t have many leaves left that show it really well, as I cut them off, but the middle of this picture shows it somewhat. But early blight is supposed to be very rare for container plants. Hmm. Maybe I got lucky(?). Heh. The fruit on this plant (there are several baby tomatoes right now) aren’t showing signs of early blight yet, though, so. . .


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Deanna
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 21:58:43

    See if you can get your hands on worm castings. It’s phenomenal natural “miracle grow” and it can also be used as a bug deterrent on them too.


  2. Kacie
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 22:03:57

    You could use the rest of your distilled water in your iron.

    I didn’t realize crackers could be so simple. I think I ought to make some!


  3. susanegk
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 22:12:40

    Crackers are simple. . . if you have a baking stone. Otherwise they are a PAIN to try to cut out and transfer without mashing them. With a stone, you just preheat the stone, then pull it out of the oven, roll out the dough and use a pizza cutter to cut the squares right there, then pop it in the oven. Beautifully easy.


  4. susanegk
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 22:14:29

    Deanna, do the worm castings get mixed in the soil (so something I would have to wait to do next year), or is it a topical treatment? Sounds interesting!


  5. jessicatelian
    Jun 26, 2011 @ 00:04:46

    Oh, YAY! I missed these posts… 🙂

    Let me know if the insect repellent works…I wanted to find a natural non-oil-based repellent since Aaron really doesn’t like the oily feel of the ones we have (Burt’s Bees and Graham Gardens stick).

    Not to make you call off your egg-truce with your pans…but for my skillet, I’ve finally found success at scrambling eggs in it. Heat on medium-high heat, add 1/4-1/2 stick of butter, let pan heat until butter just starts to brown, add eggs (already whisked together), and stir until done. I did that this morning and hardly had any residue left! 🙂


  6. susanegk
    Jun 26, 2011 @ 14:15:43

    The insect repellant does work, Jessica. Adrian has been taking the bus to work, and has been applying the repellent to ward off mosquitoes at the bus stop, and it has worked well. The downside is that my skin doesn’t like citronella anymore than DEET :-/. I have super-sensitive skin, and citronella, in particular, is an essential oil that can be an irritant. Some sources suggest not using it on small children for that reason (“risk of dermatitis”). But most of the “natural” children’s insect repellents on the market contain citronella! So take it for what it’s worth. . . Also, citronella in controlled studies usually only works for 40 minutes (as opposed to a few hours, if I remember correctly, for DEET), but Adrian still smells lightly of citronella when he comes home for supper, after applying the spray right after breakfast in the morning, nor does he feel the mosquitoes are attacking him in the evening (and the days when he hasn’t worn repellent are a different matter). Don’t know if the other essential oils help with that?

    Hmm, I’ve tried basically what you suggested for eggs :-/. Lots of butter, letting it “meld” with the pan for a bit, adding eggs already whisked. I’ve tried a higher heat and a lower heat, as depending on who you ask, the advice for cast iron is to either go low or high ;-). And I’ve done this SEVERAL times. I’ve had success twice. ever. Hmm. I so want it to work!


  7. hannahpi
    Jun 26, 2011 @ 18:24:10

    Fun!! I love these posts. 🙂


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