Friday, April 12, 2013

Foods from Scratch

When we cleaned out our fridge, our condiments were the biggest thing to go.  Even though we bought the non-HFCS ketchup, it still had a ton of chemicals, colors, and preservatives.  So the first thing I made from scratch was ketchup that I found on Nourished Kitchen's website.

It's a fermented ketchup, but it tasted normal to me whether I ate it immediately (which I did), or if I ate it after it fermented.  It's really simple, too!  Just tomato paste, maple syrup, whey, vinegar, salt, cloves, and allspice.  When I first tried it, it was very heavy on the cloves to me.  But after the fermentation, it was just fine.  I'm not sure if the spices actually mellowed or if my palate is really changing that quickly.  Either way, I seriously doubt we'll be buying ketchup anymore.

I grew up eating salad dressing, and *B* grew up eating mayonnaise.  We held onto the mayonnaise when we got rid of the condiments because it had few ingredients, but we weren't thrilled about the soybean oil found in it.  *B* and I were watching Julie & Julia (one of my favorite movies), when Julia Child (played by Meryl Streep) was making mayonnaise.  Then, it hit me.  If I'm going to have mayonnaise, why not make it myself, and why not use Julia Child's recipe?

Since I don't have Julia Child's cookbook, I looked it up online and found this recipe from What's Cooking America.  I had a problem with my blender turning off over and over again (it's on the fritz), but even then the mayonnaise came out perfectly.  It tasted like deviled eggs in the best possible way.  Like the ketchup, we will no longer buy mayonnaise.

One of the items on my yearly to do list in the sidebar of my blog is to make homemade pasta.  I had always been really intimidated by this process, but I never had the equipment to do it.  My dad bought me a professional series KitchenAid for Christmas, and it came with a pasta roller and two cutters, spaghetti and fettuccine.  I absolutely love fettuccine, but I was still overwhelmed by pasta making.  One day I just sucked it up and tried. 

While I used this recipe to start with, it was way too dry.  I couldn't even get it into a ball.  I searched all over the food forums, and finally decided to add a little olive oil to the dough, maybe a tablespoon or two.  That seemed to make all the difference.  It took a little while to figure out how to get the dough to stick together long enough to get through the roller, but eventually I felt like an old pro.

I made a batch of fresh pasta for dinner, and dried the rest for another time.  I wasn't sure where to put it, but *B* stood it up in a half gallon mason jar.  Next time, I'll cut it so that they're roughly even and I can put a lid on it.

When I was little, my grandmother lived off the grid as they say.  She raised chickens and rabbits for eggs and food respectively.  Being a writer, my grandmother wrote me a really cute little chapter book about a bunny who runs away.  I still have it.  It even has photographs of a cute little grey bunny in the cover.  Imagine my horror when I went out to see her a short time later and found that she had eaten that very bunny before I had even received the book in the mail.

I had never eaten rabbit, and until that point in my life, I didn't know that people could do that.  But here I am twenty-some years later.  *B* had mentioned wanting to try rabbit, and I was standing in our local butcher in front of the rabbit case.  Without dwelling on it, I brought one home and threw it in the freezer.  It sat there for a couple of months.  Finally, *B* put it in the refrigerator.  I had to cut it up, cook it, and eat it.  I found a recipe for braised rabbit in a book I got from the library, Paleo Comfort Foods.

So I went online in search of a video for quartering a rabbit.  This video was fantastic.  He really made it so easy to do.  Within twenty minutes, the rabbit was simmering away in our skillet.

And the verdict: it was GOOD.  I mean, really, really good!  *B* and I both like white meat poultry.  The whole rabbit was practically white meat.  It wasn't greasy or gamey at all.  I served it up with asparagus, "fried" apples (pan warmed with cinnamon and a touch of butter), and homemade bread.  Oh was it ever amazing...

Next Post:  Homemade Baby Food


  1. The ketchup sounds like something I could do! I have made mayo before but I worry about it lasting in the fridge. How long does yours keep? When my husband was a missionary in Chile, the people there would make homemade mayo, but they would throw away whatever they didn't used the first day.

  2. A disclaimer - I tend to eat things with little regard for expiration date.

    I made that mayo on March 25th, and ate some last night. It tasted just fine to me. *B* is more picky than I am and he ate it as well. I've seen online where people say homemade mayo can last a couple of weeks. Now that you've brought to light how long I've had it in there, maybe we'll kill the jar tonight :o)

  3. Good to see you're blogging again :)

  4. Thank you! It's nice to be back now that I feel like I have something to talk about :o)