Browsed by
Tag: Basics

Pickling Spice Blend

Pickling Spice Blend

Pickling Spice Blend


1 tablespoons Mustard Seed

1 tablespoon Coriander Seed

1 tablespoon Caraway Seeds

1 Tablespoon Celery Seed

2 Whole Cloves

1 teaspoon Ground Ginger (or a fresh slice if using immediately)

1 teaspoon crushed Red Pepper Flakes

1 or 2 Bay Leaves, broken into pieces

1 teaspoon Whole Allspice Berries

1 teaspoon Black Peppercorns

1 teaspoon Whole Dill Seeds

What to do with Celery Leaves

What to do with Celery Leaves

What to do with Celery Leaves


Celery leaves are actually quite tasty and incredibly versatile.


Add celery leaves to salads: My aunt likes to cut up the leaves and add them to her green salads. I had never tried it myself until I went to her house for lunch one day. I was surprised to find that it can be a delicious addition to change up and add a burst of flavor to your raw greens. (I think that it especially pairs up well with salads with apple slices.) I think the best leaves for salads are the lighter green, younger leaves, but that is a matter or taste, of course.


Add celery leaves and stalk pieces to stocks and bone broths: I like to freeze some of the leaves, and the small, ugly stalk bits I cut from my snacking pieces, so I can have them handy whenever I make stock or bone broth. Celery is probably my favorite vegetable for adding to stocks and broths. Not only is it incredibly healthy, adding its vitamins and antioxidants to your already healthy broths, but it also adds delicious flavor. I also often blend celery leaves and stalk pieces, along with onions, into soups with an immersion blender to give them great flavor and a thicker consistency. (That was a tip I learned from another one of my aunts.)


Chop celery leaves and use them as an herb. Celery leaves make a great replacement for fresh parsley in many recipes. You can chop the fresh leaves and add them to salsa and homemade salad dressings, for example. You can also dry the leaves and crumble them, using them as you would dried parsley.

Make pesto sauce with celery leaves.


Make celery powder with leftover leaves and ugly stalk pieces. This is actually probably my favorite use of leftover celery leaves and bits and pieces. It’s simple enough to dehydrate the leftover pieces and grind them into a fine powder once they are fully dry. The nice thing about celery powder is that it doesn’t take up much space at all and it keeps very well. I like to add it to soups, sauces, and all sorts of other dishes to add flavor and nutrients.


Make celery salt. Celery salt is just a modified use of celery powder. It is often made with ground celery seed that is mixed with salt. Don’t have celery seeds? You can also make a wonderful celery salt using the leaves and other not-so-pretty celery bits. Celery salt is often asked for in recipes, but I like to use it in place of regular sauce in all sorts of recipes to add extra nutrients and flavor!


Save for chickens or compost. If you don’t want to use the celery leaves yourself, don’t throw them away! When I’m short on time (and my freezer is full, and I have an abundance of celery powder on hand already), I throw them to my hens and they seem to love them. You can also add them to your compost bin.


Celery Powder


Wash and dry celery leaves and other celery bits and pieces. (To reduce drying time, consider chopping stalks into smaller pieces.) Fully dry leaves and stalk pieces in a dehydrator or at the lowest heat and convection setting of your oven. (Check occasionally and remove dry, brittle pieces, leaving the rest of the celery pieces to continue drying until brittle.) Once they are fully dry, grind up the celery leaves and stalk pieces until you obtain a fine powder. Celery leaves can be easily pulverized with a mortar and pestle. If using stalk bits, though, I find it much easier to use a spice grinder of coffee grinder.   Store the homemade celery powder in a well-sealed container to keep moisture out, preferably out of direct sunlight.



Celery Salt


2 Tbsp celery powder

2 Tbsp salt


Mix together celery powder and salt. Store in a well closed container in a cool, dark place.

Basic Fish en Papillote

Basic Fish en Papillote

Basic Fish en Papillote


6 rectangular sheets of parchment paper

3 T. butter

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 cup leeks, white part only, julienned

1 cup celery, julienned

1 cup carrots, julienned

6 boneless, skinless fish fillets (6 to 7 ounces each)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

6 T. dry white wine

6 fresh thyme sprigs


Preheat oven to 425°F. Fold each sheet of parchment in half and cut into a heart shape large enough to encase a portion of fish when folded in half. In a medium sauté pan, heat the butter over medium-low heat, add the garlic, leeks, celery, and carrots, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss and stir the vegetables to coat them with butter. Cover pan and let vegetables sweat for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are almost soft. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Spray the parchment hearts lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Season each side of the fillets lightly with salt and pepper. Place 1 fillet on each parchment heart and spoon one-sixth of the sautéed mixture over each fish, drizzle 1 T. of wine over each fillet, and top with a sprig of thyme. Fold the parchment over and seal the edges by crimping them. Place parchment packages on a large sheet pan (or two if necessary) and bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. If the parchment was well sealed, the packages may puff. Remove from oven and use a spatula to place a parchment package on each heated serving plate. Use a scissors or sharp knife to cut a large X in the top of the parchment. Serves 6.

Herbed Lemon Cheese

Herbed Lemon Cheese

Herbed Lemon Cheese


1 quart whole or 2% milk

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

¾ tsp. minced fresh chives

½ tsp. minced Italian parsley

¼ tsp. minced fresh thyme

1 clove garlic, grated

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper


Gently heat the milk to 180ºF. Add the lemon juice and stir slowly until the milk separates into curds and whey. Ladle into a cheesecloth-lined fine mesh sieve set over a large bowl. Gather the corners of the cheesecloth together over the curds and tie with butcher’s twine. Let the curds drain in the refrigerator for 4 to 24 hours, or until the desired consistency. Transfer the cheese to a medium bowl, stir in the chives, parsley, thyme, and garlic and season to taste with salt and pepper. Form the cheese into a wheel and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight before serving.

Easy Baked Polenta

Easy Baked Polenta

Easy Baked Polenta


You can use medium-grind cornmeal or polenta here.


8 cups water

2 cups medium-grind polenta

2 tsp. table salt

â…› tsp. pepper

4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (2 cups)

4 T. unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces


Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine water, polenta, salt, and pepper in 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Transfer dish to oven and bake, uncovered, until water is absorbed and polenta has thickened, about 60 minutes.  Remove baking dish from oven. Whisk in Parmesan and butter until polenta is smooth and creamy. Serve.

Mix and Match Skillet Meal

Mix and Match Skillet Meal

Mix and Match Skillet Meal


1 cup grain, uncooked

1 ½ cups vegetables, fresh, canned or frozen, ~cut bite-sized~

1 cup protein, cut bite-sized

2 cups sauce, stirred

½ tsp. spices

3 Tablespoons topping


To make in a skillet: Combine all ingredients except topping in a large skillet. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until grains are tender, about 15 to 45 minutes. Stir occasionally and add liquid if too dry. Add topping before serving. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.


To bake in oven: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients except topping in a casserole dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until grains are tender, about 50 to 60 minutes. Add topping before serving. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.


Grain – try bulgur, pasta, quinoa or rice

Vegetables – try a mixture of corn, carrots, green beans, onions, mushrooms, peppers or zucchini

Protein – try cooked cubed or ground beef, pork, chicken or turkey, canned tuna or salmon, tofu or beans

Sauce – try one can (10.75 ounces) condensed cream soup such as chicken, potato or tomato soup plus 1 1/4 cups water or low-fat milk

Spices – try basil, oregano, parsley, chili powder, garlic, onion powder or ground ginger

Topping – try grated cheese or crushed whole grain cereal or crackers

Simple Rice Pilaf

Simple Rice Pilaf

Simple Rice Pilaf


Be sure to rinse the rice until the water runs clear. A nonstick saucepan is crucial to prevent the wet rice from sticking to the pan; for the most evenly cooked rice, use a wide-bottomed saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Basmati, jasmine, or Texmati rice can be substituted for the long-grain rice.


3 T. unsalted butter or vegetable oil 1 small onion, chopped fine

1 tsp. table salt

1½ cups long-grain white rice, rinsed

2½ cups boiling water


Melt butter in large nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and salt and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in rice and cook until edges begin to turn translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in boiling water and return to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until water is completely absorbed, 16 to 18 minutes. Off heat, uncover and lay clean dish towel over saucepan; cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff rice with fork, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Instant Pot Brazilian White Rice

Instant Pot Brazilian White Rice

Instant Pot Brazilian White Rice


2 T. olive oil

½ cup chopped onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup chopped carrots, peeled if necessary

2 cups rinsed long-grain white rice

3 ¾ cups stock (your choice)


Instant Pot using Sauté mode. Add olive oil. Add onion, minced garlic, and carrots. Sauté until fragrant (about 3 minutes).  Add rinsed rice and sauté with onion mixture until the rice becomes translucent white.. Add stock of your choice and secure Instant Pot lid. Choose Rice setting and press start. If Instant Pot doesn’t have a Rice setting, pressure cook on low for 12 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally. Remove

Corncob Stock

Corncob Stock

Corncob Stock


4 (2½ pounds) corn on the cob, husked

10 C. water

1 T. black peppercorns, toasted

1 T. coriander seeds, toasted

6 parsley stems

2 celery stalks plus leaves if available

2 bay leaves

1 garlic clove, smashed

½ yellow onion, halved and deeply charred


Shave the corn kernels off the cobs and add the cobs to a heavy-duty stock pot. In a blender, blend half of the corn kernels on high and add to the pot. Save the other half of the corn kernels for other uses. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once at a boil, lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 2 hours. Strain the stock and allow it to completely cool. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze in small batches and thaw as needed.

Instant Pot Basic White Rice

Instant Pot Basic White Rice

Instant Pot Basic White Rice


3 cups rinsed white rice

5 cups stock (your choice) or water


Place washed rice and stock (can use water if desired) into Instant Pot. Secure lid and set to Rice mode. When finished, let steam release naturally. If you do not have a Rice setting, pressure cook on low for about 12 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally. 4. When pressure has released, remove lid and fluff with a fork.

Basic Sponge Cake (Genoise)

Basic Sponge Cake (Genoise)

Basic Sponge Cake (Genoise)

3 eggs room temperature

70 g (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp) sugar

100 g (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) cake flour

45 g unsalted butter melted

butter, parchment and flour for prepping the cake pan


Preheat the oven to 350ºF/175ºC. Trace and cut out a circle of parchment, grease the cake pan with butter, insert the parchment cut out and dust with flour. Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together until the mixture triples in volume, reaching the ribbon stage. The ribbon stage is attained when you test the batter and it temporarily holds a shape. Sift the flour and fold it into the egg mixture in stage until incorporated. In a separate bowl, ladle out a portion of the batter and fold it with the melted butter. Return the buttery batter to the main mixing bowl and gently fold it with the remaining batter. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30 minutes. Check for doneness by inspecting to see if the edges have sprung away from the pan or by inserting a toothpick into the center. Allow it to cool on a wire rack for ten minutes before removing from the pan. Note: Genoise cakes are dryer than many sponge cakes. You can add moistness and flavor with a simple syrup of choice.

Instant Pot Herbed Mashed Potatoes

Instant Pot Herbed Mashed Potatoes

Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

6-7 medium russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces

½ cup vegetable stock

½ cup milk

1 stick butter (8 tbsp.)

2 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. granulated garlic

1 tbsp. Italian seasoning herb blend

Salt and pepper to taste


Place all ingredients into Instant Pot. Secure lid. Pressure cook on high for 9 minutes.  Allow pressure to release slowly. When pressure has released, remove lid carefully. Transfer entire potato mixture to stand mixer. Whip potatoes with a whisk, paddle, or mixer attachment. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.

Master Recipe Meatballs

Master Recipe Meatballs

Master Recipe Meatballs


8 ounces ground beef

8 ounces ground pork

8 ounces ground veal

1/2 cup ricotta

1/3 cup shredded Parmesan

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 large egg


Preheat the oven to 400. Put everything into a large bowl and mix well—with your hands please, not a spoon. Roll into balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until cooked all the way through. Boom.



Make a Marinade

Make a Marinade

Make a Marinade


⅓ cup vinegar:


Rice wine vinegar

Apple cider vinegar

Balsamic vinegar


½ cup soy sauce


2 T. liquid sweetener:


Maple syrup

Agave nectar


2 T. Dijon mustard

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper


¼ cup oil:

Olive oil

Avocado oil

Canola oil


In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, sweetener, mustard, garlic, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil to emulsify and combine. Alternatively, shake all the ingredients together in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. 2 Pour into a shallow dish and add your desired protein or vegetables, turning to coat. 3 For beef, chicken, vegetables, or tofu, marinate for at least an hour but not more than 24 hours. For fish, marinate for at least 30 minutes but not more than 2 hours. This recipe will make enough marinade for 4 to 6 portions of protein, tofu, or vegetables.

Pressure Canning Chicken Stock

Pressure Canning Chicken Stock

Pressure Canning Chicken Stock

1 3- to 4-lb chicken, cut into pieces

16 C. water

2 stalks celery

2 medium onions, quartered

1 T. salt

10 peppercorns

2 bay leaves

4 Ball®  (32 oz) quart or 8 (16 oz) pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands


Half recipe

1/2  3- to 4-lb chicken, cut into pieces

8 C. water

1 stalks celery

1 medium onions, quartered

1-1/2 T. salt

5 peppercorns

1 bay leaves

2 Ball®  (32 oz) quart or 4 (16 oz) pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands


*You must process at least 2 quart jars or 4 pint jars in the pressure canner at one time to ensure safe processing.*


Prepare pressure canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil.  Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside Combine chicken and water in a large sauce-pot. Bring to a boil. Add remaining ingredients. Return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 2 hours or until chicken is tender. Remove from heat. Skim off foam. Remove chicken from stock, reserving chicken for another use. Strain stock through a sieve or several layers of cheesecloth. Allow stock to cool until fat solidifies. Skim off fat. Heat stock to a boil. Ladle hot chicken stock into hot jars leaving 1 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight. Process filled jars in a pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure 20 minutes for pints and 25 minutes for quarts, adjusting for altitude, according to your pressure canners directions. Turn off heat: cool canner to zero pressure. Let stand 5 more minutes before removing the lid. Cool jars in canner 10 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

A method for Vegetable Soup

A method for Vegetable Soup

Caramelized Zucchini Soup with Rosemary and Walnuts


Step 1. The vegetable. This can be whatever you have on hand, including a mixture of different things. Great options are zucchini, winter squash, sweet potato, leeks, corn, spinach, peppers, parsnip, turnip, eggplant, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, beets, onions…

Step 2. The caramelization. This step primes the vegetable to release as much flavor as possible in the soup. For most vegetables, just cut them into manageable chunks (not too small), toss them with olive oil in a roasting pan and put them in a 375-degree oven for as long as they need to get a bit crusty and caramelized. Things like eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, winter squash and sweet potato can be roasted in their skins (peppers, tomatoes and eggplant can even be charred under the broiler if you like) and then peeled before proceeding. I also toss several *unpeeled* cloves of garlic in the pan with the vegetables. When the veggies are nicely caramelized, put them into a heavy-bottomed pot on the stove. Don’t forget to peel the garlic.

Step 3. The stock. Cover the vegetables with the stock so that they’re covered by about a 1/2 inch of liquid.

Step 4. The herbs and spices. Fresh or dried – it’s your choice. There are the usual suspects, such as basil, thyme and curry, and untraditional ones, which are only limited by your imagination. Try chipotle chiles, or even chocolate! Toss in as many as you like and let everything simmer until the vegetables are starting to get soft.


Step 5. The enhancement. Here is where you can really get creative. Nuts are fantastic here, they add thickness and character without overpowering the other flavors. Walnuts, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews – lightly toast a handful and add them to the soup. Let them simmer with everything else for at least 10-15 minutes. Peanut or other nut butters are also great, as are grated or crumbled cheeses – though I add these just before the final step so they don’t get stringy. Parmesan, smoked mozzarella, cheddar, pepper jack, feta, goat… Something else I’ve been experimenting with lately is booze: brandy, port, marsala, vermouth, sherry… Like the cheese, add a glug or two just before the end.

Step 6. The enrichment. This brings it all together, gives the soup some richness and thickens it up. Traditional is of course cream, but there are other possibilities: cream cheese, yogurt, coconut milk, butter… The only thing to remember here is that some of these don’t take too well to boiling, so heat the soup gently after this step.

Step 7. The emulsion. If you have a hand blender, this step will be a cinch. If you only have a normal blender, carefully pour the hot liquid into it and cover the top tightly with a towel before you turn it on. Trust me on this one – if you don’t keep that lid down with all your strength, you will have new decor on your kitchen walls!

Step 8. The final tweak. Check to make sure the balance of salt is to your liking; think about also whether a pinch of sugar or a squeeze of lemon would enhance the flavors. Correct the seasoning, heat for another couple of minutes, and serve to hungry people in big steaming bowls.

Some of my favorite combinations:

zucchini with rosemary and walnuts
sweet potato with curry, cashews and coconut milk
corn, yellow pepper and basil
cauliflower, almond and parmesan
eggplant with cumin, cilantro and lemon
butternut squash with sage, pecans and browned butter
broccoli, thyme and blue cheese
roasted red pepper with cilantro, feta and lime
mushroom (try a mixture of fresh+dried) with marsala and hazelnuts

Air Fryer Boiled Eggs

Air Fryer Boiled Eggs

Air Fryer Boiled Eggs


6 eggs


Set six eggs in the air fryer basket


Soft boiled – air fry at 250 for 11 minutes

Medium boiled – air fry at 250 for 14 minutes

Hard boiled – air fry at 250 for 17 minutes


Once the eggs are done, transfer them to an ice bath so they can cool off.

Sourdough Starter

Sourdough Starter

Sourdough Starter

Whether it conjures up a crusty, flavorful loaf of bread or a bubbling crock of flour/water starter, sourdough is a treasured part of many bakers’ kitchens. But where does the path to sourdough bread begin? Right in your own kitchen, with your own homemade sourdough starter.

Sourdough baking is as much art as science. The method you’ll read here for making sourdough starter isn’t an exact match for the one you read on another site, or in a cookbook, or in your great-grandma’s diary

Getting it started takes a lot of steps, but once its established, its easy to maintain and use.

1 cup (113g) whole rye (pumpernickel) or whole wheat flour

1/2 cup (113g) cool water


To feed your starter


scant 1 cup (113g) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

1/2 cup (113g) cool water (if your house is warm), or lukewarm water (if your house is cool)


Day 1: Combine the pumpernickel or whole wheat flour with the cool water in a non-reactive container. Glass, crockery, stainless steel, or food-grade plastic all work fine for this. Make sure the container is large enough to hold your starter as it grows; we recommend at least 1-quart capacity.


Sourdough Starter – Step 1

Stir everything together thoroughly; make sure there’s no dry flour anywhere. Cover the container loosely and let the mixture sit at warm room temperature (about 70°F) for 24 hours. See “tips,” below, for advice about growing starters in a cold house.


Day 2: You may see no activity at all in the first 24 hours, or you may see a bit of growth or bubbling. Either way, discard half the starter (113 grams, about 1/2 cup), and add to the remainder a scant 1 cup (113 grams) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, and 1/2 cup (113 grams) cool water (if your house is warm); or lukewarm water (if it’s cold).


Sourdough Starter – Step 3

Mix well, cover, and let the mixture rest at room temperature for 24 hours.


Perfect your technique

How to make sourdough starter-1


How to make your own sourdough starter



Day 3: By the third day, you’ll likely see some activity — bubbling; a fresh, fruity aroma, and some evidence of expansion. It’s now time to begin two feedings daily, as evenly spaced as your schedule allows. For each feeding, weigh out 113 grams starter; this will be a generous 1/2 cup, once it’s thoroughly stirred down. Discard any remaining starter.


Add a scant 1 cup (113 grams) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, and 1/2 cup (113 grams) water to the 113 grams starter. Mix the starter, flour, and water, cover, and let the mixture rest at room temperature for approximately 12 hours before repeating.


Day 4: Weigh out 113 grams starter, and discard any remaining starter. Repeat step #6.


Day 5: Weigh out 113 grams starter, and discard any remaining starter. Repeat step #6. By the end of day #5, the starter should have at least doubled in volume. You’ll see lots of bubbles; there may be some little “rivulets” on the surface, full of finer bubbles. Also, the starter should have a tangy aroma — pleasingly acidic, but not overpowering. If your starter hasn’t risen much and isn’t showing lots of bubbles, repeat discarding and feeding every 12 hours on day 6, and day 7, if necessary — as long as it takes to create a vigorous (risen, bubbly) starter. Note: see “tips,” below.


Sourdough Starter – Step 8

Once the starter is ready, give it one last feeding. Discard all but 113 grams (a generous 1/2 cup). Feed as usual. Let the starter rest at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours; it should be active, with bubbles breaking the surface. Hate discarding so much starter? See “tips,” below.


Remove however much starter you need for your recipe — typically no more than 227 grams, about 1 cup. If your recipe calls for more than 1 cup of starter, give it a couple of feedings without discarding, until you’ve made enough for your recipe plus 113 grams to keep and feed again.


Sourdough Starter – Step 10

Transfer the remaining 113 grams of starter to its permanent home: a crock, jar, or whatever you’d like to store it in long-term. Feed this reserved starter with 1 scant cup (113 grams) of flour and 1/2 cup (113 grams) water, and let it rest at room temperature for several hours, to get going, before covering it. If you’re storing starter in a screw-top jar, screw the top on loosely rather than airtight.


Store this starter in the refrigerator, and feed it regularly; we recommend feeding it with a scant 1 cup (113 grams) flour and 1/2 cup (113 grams) water once a week.


Tips from our Bakers

Why do you need to discard half the starter? It seems so wasteful… But unless you discard starter at some point, eventually you’ll end up with a very large container of starter. Also, keeping the volume down offers the yeast more food to eat each time you feed it; it’s not fighting with quite so many other little yeast cells to get enough to eat. You don’t have to actually discard it if you don’t want to, either; you can give it to a friend, or use it to bake. There are quite a few recipes on our site using “discard” starter, including pizza crust, pretzels, and waffles, and even chocolate cake. If you’re still uncomfortable dealing with discard, though, try maintaining a smaller starter: the smaller the starter, the smaller the amount of discard.


Why does this starter begin with whole-grain flour? Because the wild yeast that gives sourdough starter its life is more likely to be found in the flora- and fauna-rich environment of a whole-grain flour than in all-purpose flour. What if all you have is all-purpose flour, no whole wheat? Go ahead and use all-purpose; you may find the starter simply takes a little longer to get going. Also, if you feed your starter on a long-term basis with anything other than the all-purpose flour called for here, it will probably look different (thicker or thinner, a different color) and act differently as well. Not to say you can’t feed your starter with alternate flours; just that the results may not be what you expect.

Quick and Easy Gravy from Scratch

Quick and Easy Gravy from Scratch

Quick and Easy Gravy from Scratch

Homemade gravy is quick and easy. If you’ve roasted chicken, turkey or beef, use the drippings left in the roasting pan. They make the gravy extra flavorful and seasoned. You can make gravy without drippings and use stock or broth in its place. Store-bought stock is usually under seasoned. Take care when seasoning with salt and pepper towards the end of the recipe. Finally, for more flavor, whisk in mushroom powder. This is optional but adds a deep savory flavor.


1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups warm stock (poultry, beef or vegetable stock) or use pan drippings, see note below

1/2 teaspoon mushroom powder, optional

1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs or 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs (try sage, thyme or rosemary)

2 to 3 tablespoons half and half or cream, optional

Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste


In a wide skillet with sides, melt butter over medium heat. When melted and sizzling, whisk in the flour. Whisk until the flour and butter turn into a smooth paste and look medium blonde in color; about 1 minute. It smells toasty, like browned butter.  Pour in stock and whisk until smooth. Bring the gravy to a low simmer. As it simmers, it thickens and becomes glossy.  Whisk in the herbs and mushroom powder then cook at a low simmer for a minute or two. Remove from the heat then stir in half and half or cream (optional).  Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and black pepper (we like a generous amount of pepper).  TIPS FOR USING PAN DRIPPINGS:  Substitute some or all the butter with fat left in the pan from roasting. If there are juices left in the pan, strain them then swap all or some of the stock for the pan juices. Pan drippings and juices will be well seasoned compared to the stock. When seasoning, taste the gravy first then adjust with more salt and/or pepper. If you used a stove-top safe pan such as a Dutch oven or stainless steel pan for roasting, there is no need for the skillet. Make the gravy directly in the roasting pan.

Thanksgiving Bone Broth

Thanksgiving Bone Broth

Thanksgiving Bone Broth


4 C. (1 quart) Turkey Bone Broth

2 ribs celery, diced

1 carrot, diced

1 small clove garlic, crushed

1/4-1/2 tsp. ground sage or Bell’s Seasoning (see Note)

1 clove

Celtic or pink Himalayan salt

Ground black pepper


Heat the broth in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the celery, carrot, garlic, sage or Bell’s Seasoning, and clove. Reduce the heat to medium-low or low so the broth barely simmers for 5 to 10 minutes, or just until the carrots and celery are tender. Remove and discard the garlic and clove. Season with salt and pepper and serve.  NOTE:  Bell’s Seasoning is a salt-free blend of herbs and spices containing rosemary, oregano, sage, ginger, and marjoram.

Easy Red Enchilada Sauce

Easy Red Enchilada Sauce

Easy Red Enchilada Sauce

½ tsp. Garlic Powder

1 ½ T. Chili Powder

1 tsp. Cumin

1 tsp. Sugar

¼ tsp. Oregano

Salt, to taste

8oz. can Tomato Sauce


Place small saucepan over medium heat and add all ingredients except the tomato sauce. Stir until fragrant, toasting the dried herbs and spices. Add tomato sauce and 1 C. of water, stir well and simmer a few minutes to blend spices into the sauce.  Use for homemade enchiladas or enchilada tacos, or try spooned over poached eggs.


Yield: 8 ¼ C. Servings

Calories: 15

Fat: 0g

Fiber: 1g

Canning Chili Beans

Canning Chili Beans

Canning Chili Beans

Boiled Water, kept at a simmer

7 quart mason jars


Per Jar:

1 C. dried kidney beans

1/4 C. tomato sauce

1/2 tsp. canning salt

1 tsp. smoked paprika OR plain paprika

1 tsp. granulated garlic

1 tsp. granulated onion

1 tsp. dehydrated onion

1 tsp. chili powder’1/4 tsp. cumin

vinegar to wipe rims of jars


Using clean quart jars…. add 1 C. dried kidney beans.

Add tomato sauce.

Add spices.

Fill remaining jars with boiled, hot water.


Debubble/stir contents. Wipe rims of jars with vinegar, checking for any crack, nicks and making sure rim is clean of debris. Add lid and ring, which has been soaking in hot, simmered water. Place into pressure canner. Canning: 1″ headspace, processed for 90 minutes for quarts, 75 minutes for pints at 10lbs of pressure for Michigan. Check your pressure poundage in your state. When pulling them out of the canner, cover them with a towel and allow them to cool for 24 hours. Check for sealing, remove bands/rings and wash jars in hot soapy water with 1/2 C. vinegar added to the water. Rinse and dry. Label. Place into your pantry.

Why You Need to Save Bacon Grease Like Gram Did

Why You Need to Save Bacon Grease Like Gram Did

Pop popcorn in bacon fat.

Make Caesar salad dressing with bacon drippings in place of the olive oil.

Fry chicken using four parts peanut oil and one part bacon fat.

Add about 1 T. of bacon fat per pound to raw hamburger, ground turkey, or venison meat before frying or grilling the patties.

Fry liver and onions in bacon fat.

Use bacon fat to make gravies and roux.

Sauté onions, carrots, and/or garlic in bacon fat for vegetable soups.

Use bacon fat to cook refried beans and sunny-side-up eggs.

Stir l to 2 T. of bacon fat into pots of boiling white beans, polenta, grits, or rice.

Sauté sliced brussels sprouts in bacon fat.

Add bacon fat when boiling water to cook or blanch green beans.

When baking russet potatoes, coat the skin with bacon fat before putting the potatoes in the oven.

Cook hash browns in bacon fat.

Sauté chopped Swiss chard and other hearty winter greens in bacon fat.

Fry sliced tomatoes in bacon drippings (great on sandwiches).

Use bacon fat when making skillet corn bread; you’ll get a crunchier crust.

Substitute a T. of bacon fat for other fats in single- crust pies.

If you have dogs, add it to their dog food for better flavor and digestion. Not to mention is helps keep their coats shiny and healthy.

When baking cornbread (or any other bread) use it to grease the baking pan or skillet before you add the mixture.

Add it to those green things we like to call “veggies” while you’re cooking. This way you don’t really need to add much salt, and it gives the veggies a hint of delicious porky flavor.

Use bacon fat in place of margarine for certain recipes. Get crazy and experiment. You will only find your favorite recipe by having fun with it!

Use it while frying up potatoes, steaks, shrimp, onions, eggs… practically anything you can think of frying up. Except for zombies. Don’t use bacon grease to fry up a zombie.

Add bacon fat into cream cheese to make as a sauce for different dishes. It tastes delicious poured over squash, broccoli, steaks, and potatoes. Also works well in gravy recipes.

When making pancakes, instead of using oil, use bacon grease. So genius.

Add into soups when you’re cooking over the stove- it will give your soup that extra hint of delicious savory flavor.

For an even tastier turkey sandwich (or any other lunch meat), lay warm liquid bacon grease on a plate to form a very thin layer. Lay your turkey slices (or whatever meat you like for your sandwiches) on top of the grease to just lightly coat the lunch meat. Then simply add to your sandwich. You may do this with your cheese if you would like too. This method is so tasty you won’t need to use mayonnaise. You can also use the bacon grease to fry up that sandwich after you’re done putting it together!

Adobo Seasoning

Adobo Seasoning

Adobo Seasoning

Essential in Spanish, Caribbean and Latin American kitchens, adobo is a savory, all-purpose seasoning that imparts a garlic flavor and is normally used to season and/or marinate meat, chicken or fish. It is so fundamental in Latin  Cuisines that adobado means “marinated and cooked in adobo sauce.”

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoo


ns ground black pepper

1 1⁄2 teaspoons onion powder

1 1⁄2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon chili powder


In a bowl, stir together the salt, paprika, black pepper, onion powder, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, and chili powder. Store in a sealed jar in a cool, dry place.

LTS Pantry Stable “Roux” Base

LTS Pantry Stable “Roux” Base

Pantry Stable “Roux” Base

2 C. Milk Powder (not instant nonfat dry milk)
1 C. Butter Powder
1 C. Flour

Whisk to combine, store in a mason jar in pantry. To make white sauce, mix ½ C. mix with 1 C. water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened.

Replace water with pan drippings or meat stock/broth for a gravy.

To replace a can of “Cream of X soup” in a recipe, mix a cup of the mix with 1 ¼ C. water. Add dehydrated celery, mushroom, onion, and/or chicken bouillon to match the type of Cream soup you need. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until thickened.

Uses for Soy Sauce

Uses for Soy Sauce

Uses for Soy Sauce

To give steamed rice a savory flavor, add 1 tsp. soy sauce to the cooking water.

For a delicious glaze on roasted pearl onions, mix together equal parts soy sauce and molasses and toss with the onions before roasting.

To make a quick Polynesian sauce, stir together 1/3 C. soy sauce, 1/2 C. pineapple juice, 1 can (5 oz.) crushed pineapple, and 1/2 tsp. hot-pepper sauce. Add to cooked vegetables or meat as a stir-fry sauce or serve over roasted pork, chicken, or fish.

For an Asian-style glaze, mix together 1/4 C. soy sauce or teriyaki sauce, 6 oz. Dr. Pepper, 1 tsp. hot-pepper sauce, 1/2 tsp. ground cloves, and 1/2 tsp. ground ginger. Boil over high heat until reduced in volume by about half and thickened to a syrup, about 10 minutes. Brush over baked ham during the last 20 minutes of cooking.