Sometimes, it’s ok to call it quits

In a perfect world, I’d be experimenting with sourdough breads regularly.  I’d create boules of beauty, and share them with friends and family.

However, this isn’t a perfect world.  A handful of close friends are gluten free.  I rarely get to share the things I cook and bake because I’ve messed something up just enough that it doesn’t feel fit for sharing, or I’m just make enough food for myself for the week.  At the end of the day, I’m just feeding myself.

I do make bread on occasion.  I even had a rye sourdough starter going for over a year.  But those two statements?  Rarely done at the same time.  When I make bread, it’s usually with SAF instant.  When I was maintaining my sourdough starter, I was just finding ways to cook the discarded starter.  I was almost never making proper bread with my starter.  It even got to a point where I forgot I had a starter hanging out in my fridge.  I literally did not notice it in my fridge until about two months after its last feeding.

Even then (!!!), it took me a couple of weeks to finally toss it in the trash.  Some part of me hated feeling like I was giving up on a project.  But logically, it didn’t make sense to try again.  More so, because I have a place in a 10 minute walk away that does a wonderful sourdough.  I’ve started going there a bit more frequently because I absolutely love their sourdough pizzas, but you can pick up bread to take home.  I can spend 2-3 days making sourdough bread on my own, or I can spend $4 – $7 at my local restaurant.

Pizza at my favorite place #food #pizza

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It will do me more good than harm to recognize what I am willing and not willing to do.  If I didn’t live so close to awesome bread, I’d probably feel differently about this.  Or if I had a large family to feed, which I don’t.

But you know what they say: when one door closes, another opens.

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Edible insects (crosspost)

I can now say that I’ve eaten a freeze dried insect, thanks to the Nordic Food Lab.

I'm a nerd. #nordicfoodlab #harvard

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These are not corn puffs…

kimchi fail so let me try amazake instead

It’s hard to see, but the radishes in my dongchimi had some color change.  Everything smelled fine, but I wasn’t convinced so I didn’t eat it.

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Both photos were after I drained out the liquid.  Before I drained it, it looked like this:

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That’s a lot of life going on in there.

I haven’t had the energy to buy the ingredients again.  But I still wanted to work on some fermentation so I decided to try my hand at amazake.

Amazake is a drink made from sticky rice and koji grains.  Koji are rice grains that have been inoculated with the bacteria you would use to make miso soup and other Japanese fermented products.  Amazake, like yogurt, needs a certain temperature range to ferment.  It was the primary reason why I never bothered to make it.

Last week, it occurred to me that I had access to a couple of sous vide products which could make DIY amazake possible in my house.  So, it’s currently doing its thing in a slow cooker hooked up to a Codlo device.

This is what determination looks like:

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It’s not the most thought-out set-up, but that’s what I get for not planning ahead.  What you see is a 3qt sauce pan (with the rice and koji) set into a 4.5 qt oval slow cooker.  The sauce pan was too tall, and the handle was in the way.  So, I resorted to covering it with aluminum foil.

I am ridiculous, I know.

This also won’t be done until about 10pm because cooking the rice and then cooling it took me longer than I had anticipated.

Food science lecture

FYI, I found this today:

The Science of Salami and Cheese

Cambridge, MA, United States
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Join Rachel Dutton and Benjamin Wolfe, food microbiologists at Harvard University’s FAS Center for Systems Biology, for a tasting of artisan cheeses and salami as they share exciting new discoveries in the science of fermentation.

The New York Times called fermentation one of the top 10 food trends in 2013. But what is fermentation and how does it transform raw materials like grains, grapes and milk into delicious foods like miso, wine, and cheese? What are microbes and how do they ferment foods? Where do the unique flavors of cheese and salami come from? Why do flavors vary across different producers and how does this relate to ‘microbial terroir’? In this special event, we’ll explore the science of fermentation through the lens of cheese and salami.

*Due the the limited availability participants may only register one additional guest.*
Alumni and Friends of the Harvard Community: $20

Rachel Dutton received her PhD in Microbiology from Harvard Medical School and is currently a Bauer fellow at the Harvard FAS Center for Systems Biology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her lab studies the microbial communities that make up the rind of cheese, with the goal of understanding the biodiversity of cheese communities, the interactions between cheese microbes, and on developing experimental model ecosystems. Research from the Dutton lab has been featured in Culture Magazine, the Boston Globe, and the New York Times.

Benjamin Wolfe is a microbiologist/mycologist at Harvard University, specializing in the microbiology of fermented foods. He has a B.Sc. from Cornell University and a M.Sc. from the University of Guelph. He earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University studying the ecology and evolutionary origins of mushroom-forming fungi. He is currently a post-doctoral fellow with Rachel Dutton at Harvard’s FAS Center for Systems Biology where he is working on several projects exploring the ecology and genomics of cheese microbial communities. He’s also working on a project to characterize the microbial diversity of American artisan salami. Ben has taught food microbiology courses at The San Francisco Cheese School, the Harvard Summer School and is a regular contributor to Lucky Peach magazine.

I would go if I could, but I’m busy Wednesday nights without enough notice. Registration is required, but anyone can sign up. If you’re local and available Wednesday evening, I recommend going! (And then, please let me know how it went!) (^_^)

Reference link and registration link
http://alumni.harvard.edu/events/science-of-salami-and-cheese-0

The Start of 2013, in pictures

I went to the Red House again for New Year’s Eve.  The menu was almost the same, but a few things were different.

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I had the latkes, the paradelle (again), the stuffed scallops, and the bread pudding.  The latkes were delicious even without the sauce, so I’ll have to say that I liked it better than NYE 2011’s preparation.  The paradelle was still delicious, but perhaps spicier than last time.  The stuffed scallops were very good.  It looked like a small portion compared to the other entree options, but I had suspicions that it would be a smaller plate of food and strategically ordered it so that I would have more room in my belly for the bread pudding.  (haha, and it was the right move in my opinion.)  The scallops were served on shells with some asparagus spears.  There was a lot more seafood in the stuffing than I expected, but the dish wasn’t overly fishy or anything.  The bread pudding was quite yummy and filling, but I don’t remember having chocolate chips in it last time.

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Mystery experiment, part 2 of 2

So! Hi. Yeah, this follow up post is much later than it should be. Part of it was because the fermentation period in my cold New England apartment ended up being ten days. And then I wanted to experiment with it before posting anything.

The original post?
https://awesomesauceeats.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/mystery-experiment-part-1-of/

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