Monday, September 11, 2017

Scrambled Eggs w/Umami

If you don't know what umami is, let me first explain that.

According to Wikipedia, Umami, or savory taste, is one of the five basic tastes (together with sweetness, sourness, bitterness, and saltiness). It has been described as brothy or meaty.
Since umami has its own receptors rather than arising out of a combination of the traditionally recognized taste receptors, scientists now consider umami to be a distinct taste. 

Some of you might not know what miso is, so lets next explain that.

High in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals, miso played an important nutritional role in feudal Japan. Miso is still widely used in Japan, both in traditional and modern cooking. Typically, miso is salty, but its flavor and aroma depend on various factors in the ingredients and fermentation process. Different varieties of miso have been described as salty, sweet, earthy, fruity, and savory.

So now lets get down to how to make some of the most delicious and satisfying scrambled eggs you've ever tasted. I didn't invent this. I stumbled across a recipe that touted, "You have to drop everything and try this right now!!" So I did. Now you can too!

Umami Scrambled Eggs

4 eggs
4 tsp white miso paste
3 green onions (scallions) diced
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 C finely diced onion

1. Carefully crack eggs into bowl. Add miso paste. Whisk until well combined and slightly frothy. Stir in 1/2 green onion into egg mixture.

2. Melt butter in skillet until bubbly. Saute onion until soft. Pour in egg mixture and agitate with a heat proof spatula. Do this carefully for 15-20 seconds, then remove from heat and continue stirring. (add rest of green onions at this point) Do this until eggs are just barely cooked. Since they continue cooking in the hot pan, you don't want to wait until they are actually done. You'll dry the eggs out and the texture will suffer.

3. Plate and enjoy with bacon (more umami!), and/or toast... or whatever you fancy with eggs.

Note: I live in southeast Alaska and it's really hard to find exact ingredients so we often have to be creative. I couldn't find miso paste. So I bought miso soup mix and used a sifter to separate out the freeze dried veggies and tofu. Then used 2 Tbsp of the powder, and added 1 1/2 Tbsp boiling water to create the paste. I'll be checking Amazon for white miso paste in a tube on Amazon.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Rhubarb Ginger Freezer Jam

It's fall. Time to harvest rhubarb (or pull out the frozen rhubarb from an earlier harvest) and make something delicious with it. I love the tart sweet flavor of rhubarb jam on hot buttered toast. This is partially from looking for recipes for rhubarb that didn't require canning expertise and a little experimentation. Everyone makes rhubarb with strawberries and I had to do something different. The hint of spicy ginger was just the ticket. Have fun and don't be afraid to taste and play with spices and additions to make this jam your own!
I just love the color!

Rhubarb Ginger Freezer Jam
  • 4 cups rhubarb (chopped, about 1 1/2 pounds rhubarb stalks)
  • 3/4 to 1 1/4 cups sugar (taste as you go)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 C finely chopped candied ginger
  1. Place all the ingredients in a medium sized pot over low heat, starting with the lesser amount of sugar. Stir constantly until all of the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the rhubarb pieces fall apart. When the compote is about as thick as applesauce, turn off the heat and add ginger. Stir until well incorporated.
  3. Taste, and add additional sugar if you desire more sweetness. Keep in mind, though, that the sour flavor is part of what is special about rhubarb. If you do add additional sugar, return the heat to low and stir constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  4. Fill freezer containers with the rhubarb jam, leaving an inch of head space. Small containers no larger than a pint are recommended, so that when you thaw one it isn't an overwhelming amount of jam to use up. Alternatively, fill quart size freezer bags with 8 to 16 ounces of the jam.
Rhubarb jam will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. It is still safe to eat after that but the quality will decline. Freshly made, unfrozen rhubarb jam will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Pickled Avocados: Brave A New Flavor

When I first heard about pickled avocados, I was a bit skeptical. I am now a fan. I love savory pickled veggies... and yah, so avocados are technically a fruit, but never mind that. You wouldn't believe how hard it was to find a pickling recipe that didn't have sugar in it. I am not a fan of sweet pickles. Yuck. I like savory. So I found a basic recipe that was just vinegar, water and salt. Then I experimented with seasonings and what was really great about this recipe, is that it doesn't take long to get your reward. Just 24hrs before it's minimum flavor is reached. I thought it was best after 4 days. Another plus is that it uses unripe avocados. Costco gets bags of them and they're all usually unripe and very firm. As the avocado pickles, it softens and is the PERFECT consistency.

You can eat these right out of the jar or have them on salads, burgers, sandwiches, hotdogs (yes!) and a friend of mine made portobello mushroom burgers and these pickled avocados were made for them. She's vegan and used vegan cheese too and it was a fabulous flavor profile. The plus to this recipe is it's a small batch. Just enough to share with friends/co-workers and enjoy in short order. So, I'm sure you're curious and want to try this out, so here is the recipe:

I ended up with three jars from 2 1/2 avocados.
Pickled Avocados
2 unripe avocados sliced or chopped
2 cloves garlic sliced thin
1/2C cilantro leaves
Place in clean pint jar.
While preparing jars, boil:
1C white or apple cider vinegar
1C water 1 Tbsp iodized sea salt
1 Tbsp pickling spice
2 tsp dill weed
1 tsp cayenne
1 Tbsp dried onion

Pour brine over avocados, cover with lid loosely tightened and allow to cool before putting in refrigerator. Not shelf stable! Full flavor after 24hrs. Keeps for 3wks in refrigerator.

I encourage experimenting with the amount of seasonings and adding or subtracting anything to make it what you want. Just imagine how you would want a customized pickle to taste and go for it!

Friday, July 14, 2017

It's Been One of THOSE Days...

Yes. It's been a day of frustration, followed by anger, sorrow and defeat. We've all been there. How we react to those days can really say a lot about who we are. Our perseverance. Our ability to withstand what is thrown at us.... then there are those days where we fall apart and Just. Can't. Even.... Today was one of those days.

Let us all come together now, and commiserate over the days that bring us to our knees and have us ugly crying and screaming, "Uncle! UNCLE!!!!"

I'm usually pretty hard knuckled about adversity. I will fight through it. Brave face and all, insisting that, EVENTUALLY, we WILL see the end to this tunnel and we only have to press on and make it through and we'll be rewarded. Sometimes it pans out, or something better comes along so it doesn't sting so much or at all when we have to shift gears.

Sure, I'll vent on Facebook (avert your judgy eyes elsewhere), because that's what we do, right? It feels reassuring to have people tell you it's going to work out and to just keep pressing through.

Normally, I can hold my family up and keep them going until things finally work out, one way or another. This time... this time was different. Guess what, I have no bothers to give either. It's my pity party and I'm going to piss and moan about it if I want to, while drinking an entire bottle of wine by myself.

Housing is just a total crapshoot in this town. Seriously. Every posting on the "Buy Sell Lease" local pages is the same thing over and over. Someone posts a place for rent, and there are literally 100+ comments that are often times, people tagging a person or numerous people in it because they are
needing housing, OR asking "is this still available?" and the desperation is palpable. I say this with no judgements because I know the struggle. The desperation. I've been homeless with my family and IT. SUCKS. Right now, we have the landlady from hell and a rental that has been one insane moment to the next, a testament to how badly our city needs slumlord laws.

Tell me, does the smell of sewer gases sound delightful to you? No? Well in our landlady's opinion, we should be more grateful to even have a place, that we should either, just live happily amidst the smell of sh*t or, trust God (because that's what us religious folk do) and move out because God will magically deliver housing to us, our four children and two dogs (not mentioning the mounds of material human possessions we've collected over the years) right at the moment we walk out the door.Riiight... she actually used an analogy of Indiana Jones, trusting with a leap of faith that looked like he would be falling into a never ending pit. Because fictional adventure movies are totally how it works in real life.

(do I sound bitter? Angry? HANGRY?)

So today, after filling out the 20th rental application (why can they not have a database for all seeking shelter to fill out a uniform application available to all legit landlords? Why the eff do they all have to be only slightly different? Why must I go through this stupid process over and over and over and over again ad nauseum???!!!) I just hit a brick wall and felt so overwhelmed with how ridiculous this whole process is. I feel like I'm on a terrible version of The Bachelor, waiting for some glorified frat boy to deem me worthy of a rose. Sadly, I'm watching all the shallow self serving bitches, who don't really NEED a man, but nonetheless are there being picked over me, who actually cares and needs the security.

It's utterly unfair, but a game I've been playing out for so long, I just hit my "I'm out" moment. Other people in the house have had their tantrum moments and I've been trying hard to be the strong one. Today however, I am throwing in the towel, at least for a day or two. I'm so over the bs that comes with trying to pimp myself to potential landlords. We're not polished and perfect, but dammit we try and why can't we just be given a chance? I'm done hearing another turn down speech, wherein the landlord tells me, "We've decided to go with another candidate, but we'll keep you in our prayers." as if it isn't total irony that I've been praying fervently for safe housing, and YOU could have answered my prayers, but instead, you'll give me empty words and rejection. Thanks, but you can keep that sentimental bs. We both know you won't give a second thought to me or my family once the chosen ones have signed the rental agreement and you have first, last and deposit, safely in your bank account.

So I may or may not have walked over to the local pub, so conveniently next to the grocery store I was shopping at, and sipped a shot of Jameson whiskey. Maybe I even followed it up with a clove cigarette. Then downed over half a bottle of sweet delicious malbec wine at dinner while offering surly remarks about the economy and evil landlords. My husband thinks it's funny because I rarely give no f**ks so openly. But here I am.

As Pink so eloquently put it in her ode to walking away from negativity, "I've had a shit day."

So for all you moms, struggling to do everything for your family and hitting brick wall after brick wall: I Feel You Sister.

Keep fighting through the desire to pull a Thelma and Louise, clutching your favorite bottle of wine and go flying off the nearest cliff. I'm right there with you, hanging by my fingernails to the edge of my sanity, waiting for the tiniest karmic boost that will help me get just a little closer to saving myself from the abyss. No judgements here. None.

Past Musings You Might Ponder

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