Monday, February 08, 2010

Because you're not made of invisible pork chops

Should I just attempt to sneak in the substitution of "we" and "us" for "I" and "me," or do I need to be explicit? OK, well, previously mentioned swell fellow is still around. Shall I just keep referring to him as Swell Fellow? S.F.? He does have a name, so maybe I should just use that?

Anyway, he likes to cook. Me, not so much, although I have been making an effort. But I've discovered it's actually fun to cook things with someone else. Here's our most recent pizza:

more pizza

Then we decided to try jaeger schnitzel, which was something he liked to eat way back long ago when he lived in Germany. From what I gather, "schnitzel" roughly means "cutlet." "Jaeger" means "hunter," and since jaeger schnitzel is made of pork, one presumes the prey was wild boar. Or maybe it got away and the hunters just stopped at the store for a tenderloin. Anyway, in our first attempt the schnitzel came out a tad dark:

jaeger schnitzel

So we tried again:

second try at schnitzel

It was yummy. Here's the schnitzel recipe and here's the potato side dish recipe.

Oh, also, I made bread, just because the swell fellow likes bread and it's something I already knew how to make. I was feeling all domestic and shit. But my whole-wheat bread never seems to rise nicely, so I think I need to learn a trick or two. But it tasted just fine.

whole wheat bread

I just used the ordinary wheat bread recipe from my Betty Crocker cookbook. Maybe I need to experiment a little with other recipes. At any rate, making the bread inspired me to whip up a batch of sourdough starter, which will be all ripe in a few days. So this weekend I think I'll make some sourdough bread, or maybe try my hand at sourdough whole-wheat.

So now that I'm feeling bolder in the kitchen, I decided to try something I've been thinking of for a while: homemade yogurt. See, I eat a lot of yogurt, and it gets expensive. And while there are lots of coupons for the mind-boggling variety of newfangled sugary or nutrasweety yogurt concoctions with stupid names, there aren't quite as many for big ol' tubs of plain, unflavored yogurt, which is what I buy. So I read that one can make yogurt in a crock pot, and I decided to try it. I found instructions here. And sure enough, it works! I didn't take a photo, but imagine a crock pot full of yogurt and you've pretty much got the picture. It came out a bit liquidy, probably because I used skim milk (and even though I put some non-fat dry milk in as a thickener), but I use the yogurt to make fruit smoothies in my blender, so it really doesn't matter. It's easy! It's cheap! And because Durham doesn't recycle plastic yogurt tubs, I get to feel a bit superior about not contributing to the waste stream. (Not that I really do; I re-use and re-use plastic yogurt tubs like nobody's business. Chances are if anything is being stored in anything in my house, it's being stored in a plastic yogurt tub. And still I have half a cabinet full of them.)

So now I'm going to keep playing with the yogurt formula a bit. This time I used Dannon, just because that's what I had in the fridge (coupons!). But I think want to try starting a batch with some of the more expensive specialty yogurts (particularly Oikos and Chobani--they're quite yummy!). I've read that Trader Joe's Greek yogurt makes a great starter, too. Also, I want to try other methods of thickening it. I wonder what arrowroot or agar-agar would do? I'll have to research this ...

So now that I'm becoming kick-ass in the kitchen, what should I try next?

10 comments:

spacegrrl said...

apparently durham JUST started accepting tubs for recycling. like, last week.

but you're going to need something to store all that homemade yogurt in, so don't recycle those extra containers yet...

also, i already like this guy better because you don't have to pretend on the internet that he doesn't exist.

Lisa B. said...

Oh, yay Durham! Because I'll never not have too many yogurt tubs. (I can imagine times when I won't have time to make the homemade yogurt and will need to buy it.)

And EVERYONE likes this guy better ;-) Me especially!

girlnblack77 said...

'Swell Fellow' makes me happy because you are happy. :)

I think your next project should be sourdough. And you should pass some starter off to both me and my sister... because (no matter how many time's I've tried) I can't make starter and (supermom that she is) she doesn't have the time. :)

Lisa B. said...

Of course y'all can have some starter! It's just about ready. Maybe I can give you some when the GS cookie drop goes down ...

crystal said...

Have you tried adding a couple of tablespoons of vital wheat gluten to your bread dough? It has made a big difference for my ww bread.

Lisa B. said...

I've not tried that, Crystal. Where does one get vital wheat gluten? I love whole wheat bread but mine never turns out great.

crystal said...

You can get vital wheat gluten in most grocery stores. You may have to buy without a coupon though :) It is almost never on sale. You will find it in the health food section in the specialty wheat section. Bob's Red Mill makes one that is pretty reasonable.

It makes your bread rise higher and lighter. You add 2 tablespoons for every four or so cups of flour. The other think I like doing is mixing whole wheat with bread flour. If you are feeling really fancy (and have a few extra dollars) you can buy whole wheat bread flour to get a similar rise.

Happy baking!

Lisa B. said...

Thanks! I'll definitely get some vital wheat gluten!

girlnblack77 said...

Cookies start arriving this weekend!

Lisa B. said...

Yum!!