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Monday, April 26, 2010

Red Potatoes Fresh From Garden! and New Water Bath Canner

One container of red potatoes is ready to harvest, so I pulled them out of the container's soil.  I had hoped for more, but I'm not disappointed in the 1/2 pound or so I harvested.  There are 7 small potatoes...perfect for tonight's dinner.  If all goes well with the other two containers, I'll definitely plant a whole row of them in the Fall planting!

I also found the perfect water bath canner! I've been looking for over a year for one that was suitable for an electric range.  I have the coil range top, but this would work equally well for the ceramic range top.  It's a high quality, smooth bottom pot with a clear lid. I made fresh multi-berry jam with it and it turned out fantastic!!! I bought it from

I'll make more in a month or so and will post photos then.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Wheat Meat Enchilada Casserole

I used my wheat meat chunks as the meat for an enchilada casserole this evening. Wonderful! Worked just fine.  The recipe:

2 cups seasoned wheat meat chunks
1/2 onion, chopped medium fine
six corn tortillas, torn into 2" pieces
small can sliced olives
medium can enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
chili seasoning to your preference

Saute onion until tender in 1/8 cup oil.  Add wheat meat chunks and just coat with oil and get hot.  In a small casserole dish, tear up pieces of corn tortillas and line bottom of casserole dish with them.  Put 1 cup wheat meat on top, spread around.  See photo to left.

Add olives and cheddar cheese and more corn tortillas.  Repeat.  Pour enchilada sauce on top.  Bake 20 minutes at 350.

Serves 3-4.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Idea of Wheat Meat

I tried to make Seitan today, or "wheat meat".

I found the process a nightmare.  First the fresh wheat flour and water are kneaded together to form a dough ball like you are making homemade bread.  Then you rinse it over and over again, frantically trying to keep the dough ball together, until the water is clear instead of white.  Meanwhile, the huge dough ball is now half the size.

I found it horribly wasteful...for both water and grain.

So I tried a different tac.

I took :
2 cups wheat flour, freshly ground

seasoning, such as garlic salt, pepper, whatever

mixed with ½ cup water or so…until dough is workable like bread dough

Knead the dough until like bread dough.

Then rinse in cold water by dipping dough ball into fresh water and squeezing / kneading it in your hands. Keep the dough ball together as best you can.  Don't let it get waterlogged too much, just a quick dip in the water before hand kneading it.

Do that about 10 times, keeping the ball of dough as together as possible.  Do NOT let the water run.

Let rest a few minutes.

Pull the dough into small balls and flatten out. Put a few drops of Worchestershire sauce on each flattened piece, just to add additional flavor... then fry in olive oil on medium heat. Keep heat medium lowish so it doesn’t burn, and turn frequently. When browned well on both sides, take out of oil, cut into small chunks, and fry up again. It should resemble croutons.  Delicious, easy and doesn't waste precious grain.

Add additional seasoning if needed.

Let cool and eat it, or use as a meat substitute.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spinach and Wheat Bulgur

Today I made wheat bulgur, which is simply boiling wheat for an hour, then dehydrating it, then cracking it in the Vitamix blender.  The photo below shows after it's boiled, then it's wrung out in a towel and then put on the drying sheets.

I also brought in some fabulous spinach leaves for our dinner tonight.  Wow, they are doing great!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tomato Garden

The tomato plants, especially the Amish Paste, is doing so well that the time has come to put tiers up around them and take off the chicken wire cage.  So far the neighbor cat has yet to try to use it as a kitty litter box, but it had to be done.  We "capped off" the end of the next cage over to protect it.  So far, all is well.  There are five plants that are barely making it, those are the ones I planted from seed.  More on them later.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wonder Oven Bread

The best thing about the Wonder Oven is that you can cook without thinking about it, kinda like solar cooking.

In this instance, I made bread.  Make your recipe for one bread loaf, and after letting it rise once, cut in half or thirds (I cut mine in half), put each piece of dough into a washed, greased V-8 can that has had the top removed.

Let rise with a towel on top for one hour.  The dough should rise so that it's within a couple inches of the top of the can. 

When that's happened, cover top of can with foil, rubber band it to stay in place, bring a large pot of water (with about 3 inches of water in it) to boil, then place the V-8 can with the bread dough in it into the water.  It will want to float, so do your best to keep it upright as you slap a lid onto the large pot.  Turn down a bit so it keeps boiling but not furiously. 

Let the water boil with the V-8 can for 10 minutes. ONLY.

Then carefully take the whole pot, lid, V-8 cans and all, and put on the bottom cushion of the Wonder Oven, then top with the other cushion.  Let "cook" in the Wonder Oven for 2-3 hours or so (I left mine for 3 hours), and then take the whole thing out, remove the V-8 bread can, and turn it upside down so the bread falls out.

It will look something like this picture when cut into slices.

Notice there is no "crust" at all! After you cut it like this, eat like you would normally.  Excellent! Very flavorful as it should be, and with a great texture.  No need for an oven at all!

It tastes fabulous toasted too!!

So how cool is that? If your power is off but you need bread for your family, you can arrange to have enough propane or barbeque broquets around to allow you to boil water for the Wonder Oven foods you plan on making, and then put them in the Wonder Oven to "bake".  With a little forethought, you can bake up bread and a chicken or beans or whatever for your dinner and use a minimum of precious fuel to do so.

Don't forget your solar oven too.  Once food has been in there and gotten hot enough, you can also transfer it to the Wonder Oven to finish cooking!  If that works properly, you don't need a fuel source at all!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Drying Parsley and Mint

I dehydrated parsley and mint from our garden today. These photos are how they look "before" on the drying trays.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Fruit Trees

We have two fruit trees, one apricot and the other a peach.  The apricot has many small apricots, but the peach isn't showing quite yet.