Archive for December, 2007

Fried Green Beans

I’m from the South so I love fried food and I love frying food. At first I sucked at it and would always burn the food, splatter hot grease all over the place (and myself), and occasionally set something on fire. Not so fun, but eventually I got the hang of it (sort of).I had some batter and breadcrumbs left over from the eggplant sans parmigiana so, of course, I decided to fry up some green beans! You can make the fried green beans the same way I did the eggplant but just hold the green bean at one end, dip in the batter, roll in the breadcrumbs, and fry.However, if you want to do it the good old Southern way you should completely cover the green beans in the batter, skip the crumbs, and drop them into a saucepan filled with a few inches of hot oil.

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Oops!

I made a sourdough starter and left it in the cabinet with my vinegars and, well, then I kind of forgot about it. My girlfriend noticed something stinky while I was gone,  discovered the starter, and put it out on the porch. I hope it’s still out there because I want to see the blue stuff she was talking about. And take pictures, of course!

Here’s how I made my failed and forgotten sourdough starter:

 1/2 cup warm water + 1/2 cup flour + 1 tiny pinch of yeast (to help things along)

To test the water, stick your finger in it. If you can’t really feel anything (cold or hot) then it’s around 98 degrees which is perfect for making yeast happy without killing it.

So, I’ll attempt the starter again when we move into our new place and get it into the fridge before it turns hazardous.

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First Vinegar Attempt

Given my intense love affair with pickles you may correctly assume that I have a deep affection for all vinegars as well. Red wine, white wine, balsamic, apple cider, rice, malt, you name. Plus, vinegar most likely occurred by chance, kind of like love affairs do! Like, the mutual ones between humans – not so much humans and pickles.

Anyway, I’ve always had a palate geared more toward the sour, bitter, tangy, and savory. Even as a kid I would much prefer a pickle over ice cream or a lemon over a popsicle. I was inspired by Trace’s post about fruit scrap vinegar and decided to try it out.

I made a tiny little batch just to try it out and see if I have any success. I put a few slices of a dumpstered gala apple and maybe a tablespoon of sugar in a wine glass and filled it with water. That’s right, a wine glass. If this works I’m going to have some really classy vinegar. Maybe I’ll even store it in a Swarovski encrusted bottle. Maybe something a little like this:

Yeah, it’ll be like the Paris Hilton of Vinegars (who’s currently shilling ‘her’ cans of RICH Prosecco right now). Except, that giant praying mantis of an heiress is kind of the opposite of classy.

But, I digress. My concoction’s been chilling out in a dark cabinet for about a week now with a cloth on top to keep yucky things out. Chilling indeed. It’s been so cold the past few days and the heater here is such a joke that I’m afraid maybe it hasn’t been warm enough for my little acetobacters. Apparently between 70 and 90 degrees is ideal. It seems to be doing well though. The water is slightly tinted and there appear to be some gelatinous bits (the mother) forming on top. The smell is something like really fruity, sweet white wine.

I think tonight I’ll start a batch of red wine vinegar with some chianti I have. Oh, and there’s some Cristalino in the fridge! I’m totally going to make some champagne vinegar. MMM!

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Eggplant sans Parmigiana

Vegan Dumpster Eggplant sans Parmigiana

ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • water or broth
  • breadcrumbs
  • favorite marinara sauce (recipe later)
  • cooked spaghetti or angel hair pasta
  • s&p
  • basil and/or oregano

First things first: for delicious tender, non-bitter eggplant you must properly prepare it. Slice eggplant into 3/4″ rounds and arrange on a plate or cookie sheet. Cover liberally with salt. Let sit for an hour (or two or five), draining liquid periodically. Flip, salt, and let rest again. You can probably just coat both sides with salt, cover, and let sit overnight though I haven’t tried this.

Ok, the eggplant’s almost ready. Put the slices in a colander, rinse thoroughly, and let dry while you prepare the batter. Put the flour in a bowl and slowly stir in water with a fork or whisk until you get a thick pancake-like batter. Then add s&p and herbs or spices du jour. Spread your breadcrumbs on a plate. I used some hot and spicy commercial variety my mom gave me. Heat some olive oil or what have you in a pan.

Dip eggplant slices in batter, let excess drip off, and coat with breadcrumbs. Fry! God, I love fried food. Have you ever eaten so much greasy fried food that you get psychosomatic chest pains? At least I hope they’re just psychosomatic. Get both sides nice and golden brown.

Serve delicious, crispy-yet-melt-in-your-mouthy eggplant atop pasta and marinara.

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Tonight’s Finds

Slim pickings tonight, unfortunately. We got:

  • bok choy
  • small cabbage
  • 3 or 4 carrots
  • a couple radishes
  • 1 tomato
  • broccoli

and:

  • a huge bag of various bagels from a bagel place

My share was half the bok choy, half the broccoli, all the carrots, and two grocery bags of bagels.

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Winter Hash

winter hashVegan Dumpster Winter Hash

Ingredients:

  • baby red potatoes
  • squash
  • celery
  • rehydrated shiitake mushrooms
  • kale and/or chard
  • s&p
  • garlic powder

Chop potatoes, squash, celery, and mushrooms. Saute in oil or margarine until potatoes are slightly browned. Add kale/chard and cover. Simmer on medium-low heat until potatoes are tender. Season to taste with s&p and garlic, or saute fresh minced garlic with the vegetables. I didn’t have any fresh garlic at the time.Sage would be a good herb to season with.

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Pickles

I LOVE pickles. Love. I think I may have some sort of sodium deficiency or something.

Anyway, I was at Big Lots with my mom one day and she found a jar of pickles in the clearance bins outside of the entrance. She held it up to me and said, “50 cents for pickles? You can’t beat that!” And I can’t turn down pickles. I ate most of the jar and decided to experiment with reusing the brine.

50 cents!

How I ‘made’ my pickles:

  1. Slice cucumber up as thin as you like.
  2. Spread on a plate or cookie sheet and sprinkle liberally with salt.
  3. Let sit for an hour or five.
  4. Put slices in jar and place in refrigerator.
  5. Wait at least 24 hours to enjoy your delicious crispy pickles.

The salt sucks the water out of the cucumber which will in turn allow the cucumbers to soak up the brine.

Salty cucumbers:

Here are my pickles!

my pickles

You can see my pickles at the top and the store bought ones at the bottom. Mine totally look way better. Now we’ll see how many times I can reuse the brine before something goes awry.

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