Category Archives: Tools

After a tip off by a member of the GMO Free USA community, we called Lodge Cast Iron today and they confirmed that they are using Roundup Ready GMO soybean oil to pre-season their cookware at the factory. “Seasoning” is when oil is baked on to give cast iron cookware a non stick finish. The customer service rep was very helpful and she explained that the GMO soybean oil can be removed in a two step process. First, put the pan in the oven and run the oven’s self clean cycle; let cool. Second, give the pan a good scrub. Then you will need to start over and re-season your cast iron cookware with shortening or the oil of your choice.

Watch this short video to learn how to re-season:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gg6S6vWyPH8&list=PLF41A72C04A6AE443&index=2

 

Why Ratios Are More Powerful than Recipes

Cooking can be daunting, but what you may not know is that a lot of foods are governed by some very basic math. Once you understand it, you’ll always be able to make a batch of freshly baked bread, make a rich and savory sauce, or mix up a simple syrup to sweeten cocktails or drinks. Knowing these ratios is liberating (you’ll never buy a pre-made box or mix again), and they serve as a platform for you to begin experimenting with your own favorite flavors and ideas. Think of it: Once you’ve mastered how to make any bread, it’s just a few minor tweaks to make something special, like a sourdough, or an herb bread, or to try something entirely new that you dreamt up, no recipe required.

“When you know a culinary ratio, it’s not like knowing a single recipe, it’s instantly knowing a thousand.”

Professional chefs understand the power of these ratios (although they don’t refer to them as such)—they’re part of any basic culinary education. This is also why professionals don’t need to fumble for a recipe every time they need to make bread, and why a good chef can instantly scale a recipe from a family of four to a banquet of four hundred without worry. So can you.

For example:

Vinaigrettes are always 3:1, oil to vinegar. Simple and easy—no matter what kind of vinaigrette you plan to make, this simple ratio should help you make it—and the best part is that once you start making your own, you’ll never buy bottled salad dressing again. Mix up some balsamic with a nice olive oil and you’re done. Expand the idea a bit by adding some diced shallots or chopped herbs for a little added freshness and flavor.

Stocks are generally, 3:2, water to bones. Want to make your own chicken or beef stock? Next time you roast a chicken (or even get a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket) or cook a bone-in beef roast, save the bones. Then get a nice big pot (or use your crock pot), and add in 3 parts water to 2 parts of the bones from your old meal. That alone will get you a simple stock. As usual, you can doctor it up with salt, herbs, and other seasonings, but this basic ratio will hold true and net you a stock that’s good for anything.

Bread is generally 5:3, flour to water (plus yeast/baking powder and salt). Almost any bread dough follows this general ratio. You’ll also need to add salt (a pinch is enough for a small batch, but the general rule is about 2% of the weight of the flour) and yeast or baking powder for leavening (1 teaspoon for baking powder for every 5 ounces of flour, or 1 teaspoon of yeast for every 16 oz/1 lb of flour). From there, the sky’s the limit on the flavor or type of bread you want to make. You’re free to add herbs like rosemary or thyme for an herb bread, or lemon and poppy-seeds for a savory quick-bread.

much more..

“The Human Effect Matrix”

A tip-of-the-hat to Cool Tools


Covering everything from 1,3-Dimethylamylamine to Ziziphus Jujuba with over 20,000 scientific citations, examine.com’s List of Supplements  site became really useful when it released what it calls “The Human Effect Matrix” which summarizes clinical human trials and lets you immediately know what effect each supplement has (and how strong that effect is)..

Vitamin D is an essential vitamin known as the sunlight vitamin, due to synthesis occurring in the skin from the sun’s radiation. It has a multitude of benefits to the body including supporting bone structure, mood state, and is generally seen as healthy and anticancer.



Human Effects Matrix

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Spinach, Bacon and Freshly-Grated Nutmeg

Low in saturated fat and cholesterol with tons of Niacin, Vitamin B6, Dietary Fiber and Vitamin C, this winter vegetable is made sublime with the addition of spinach, specially-prepared bacon, red pepper flakes, pastured butter, sea salt, cracked pepper and freshly-grated nutmeg.

Boldly-flavored and satisfying, this dish is inexpensive and easy to make..

1 organic spaghetti squash (cucurbita pepo, squaghetti)
1-1/2 cups spinach, blanched and squeezed dry
4 oz thick-cut bacon
1 cup filtered water, boiling
olive oil as needed
sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons pastured butter
red pepper flakes to taste

Split the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and fibrous material as you would do before carving a pumpkin for Halloween.

Place the squash cut-side-up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Mist with olive oil and season liberally with sea salt and cracked black pepper.

Place the squash in a 300 degree oven and roast slowly for 1-1/2 hours.  Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees and continue to roast until squash begins to brown and char slightly, about 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside, keeping warm.

Meanwhile, prepare the bacon by cutting it into 1/2-inch strips and placing it in a heavy skillet set over medium high heat.  Pour the boiling water over the bacon and allow to cook until the water is half gone.

Pour off the water and rendered fat and return the pan to medium-low heat.  Cook the bacon until nicely browned, then remove from heat and set aside, keeping warm.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan set over medium heat.

Using the tines of a fork, shred the cooked squash into the pan with the butter, separating it as best you can.

Toss the squash so that its coated with the butter, then add the spinach and red pepper flakes and stir to combine.

Continue cooking and stirring the squash and spinach until heated through, then taste and adjust for salt and pepper.

Turn the squash out into serving bowls.  Top with bacon (including some of the drippings) and just-grated nutmeg.  Serve immediately.

Male_spaghetti_squash_flower

“Spaghetti squash are relatively easy to grow, thriving in gardens or in containers.

The plants are monoecious, with male and female flowers on the same plant. Male flowers have long, thin stems that extend upwards from the vine. Female flowers are shorter, with a small round growth underneath the petals. This round growth turns into the squash if the flower is successfully pollinated.

Spaghetti squash plants may cross-pollinate with zucchini plants.”

Hone Your Chops: The Chef’s Guide to Knives

“With all the books and blogs dedicated to the art of food, most focus exclusively on recipes. But while ingredients matter in the concoction of delicious and impressive meals, a solid knowledge of kitchen tools is also important. Readers of this infographic receive a crash-course in knife anatomy, selection, and handling.”

Hone Your Chops: The Chef