Making your own vinaigrette is so much easier than you think and tastes way better than anything you could buy in a bottle from the grocery store. And with some vinaigrette basics knowledge, you’ll be able to add interest to any lowly little green salad and turn it into the star of the show.
Dashi (two ways)
Dashi is a Japanese stock, usually made with dried bonito flakes (but I have a vegan version for you, too), that is used pretty much everywhere in Japanese cuisine. And making it from scratch is so easy, it’s not worth buying the powdered stuff ever again.
I made this with a good fried of mine recently, and I’ve been kind of obssessed since. I want to melt it over popcorn, I want to slather it on bread, I want to spread it over pancakes, waffles, and french toast, it’s just so magical. Sweet cream butter almost tastes bland to me now. And guess what, it’s easy peasy to make. All you need is some yogurt or buttermilk, cream, and a pinch of salt.
Homemade Chicken Broth and Stock
I love this time of year. When the air gets really crisp but we still have a lot of days of sunshine, and I just want to make a big pot of soup and a loaf of crusty bread for dinner every night. The funny thing is, I used to hate soup. I remember complaining as a teenager that soup wasn’t a real meal, because … well, I don’t remember why I said that, actually. And then one day my sister made this amaaaaaaazing creamy chicken noodle soup, and I was sold. First of all, cream. Am I right? And second, she made her own broth. For meals as simple and basic and everybody-has-a-good-recipe as chicken noodle soup, you need to start with quality ingredients. And we all know from the title of my blog that I’m just a little bit passionate about making food from scratch. There are a few reasons for that:
- Homemade food just tastes better.
- It’s so much less expensive to make things yourself.
- I get to control what I put into my food.
- And, I guess I’m one of those weirdos that actually really thinks it’s fun.
Next time you’re thinking of buying a can or carton, read the ingredient list. I’m quite happy with my 4-5 ingredient list of real food + water, thank you very much.
Sourdough Starter from Scratch
Here it is. I’m going to talk about my relatively new obsession of baking bread with a sourdough starter. I’m still kind of a newbie at this, but I don’t buy bread from the store, bake my own loaves a few times a week, and have had several successes. And now that I’m getting the barely-gripping-with-my-baby-sized-fingertips hang of this, and don’t use commercial yeast anymore, I think it’s time I share my sourdough story.
Homemade Pumpkin Purée
I was never a fan of winter squash growing up. I can’t really explain why. But 2 years ago, I was asked by a friend to teach a little class on pumpkin recipes for a group of women at my church, and I was apprehensive but accepted the challenge. I hadn’t really considered that there was a whole lot more to those Autumnal flavors than pumpkin pie and overly brown-sugared butternut squash. But as I researched and experimented, I discovered a whole world of varieties and flavors beyond the tried and true cinnamon, clove, ginger, and nutmeg combo and was completely smitten.
Cooking beans 101
Beans. Don’t we all have a love-hate relationship with them? The love because they are so good for you! Depending on the specific type you eat you can get varying amounts of soluble fiber, protein, antioxidants, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, just to name a few. And the hate because, well, how do I approach this delicately? We all know the end result problem with beans, right? [cough, cough]
Soaked Brown Rice 2 Ways
Several years ago, long before I became this paranoid health-foodie of a mom, my husband worked retail in a pretty remote little town and he always came home with awesomely hilarious lunchbreak conversation stories. My two favorites were “Have you ever noticed that water ain’t got no flavor?” and “Did you know that eating a bowl of rice is like eating a bowl of sugar?”
We always had a good chuckle, but in the back of my mind that second one haunted me. I mean guys, I am Japanese. (Well, half, but let’s not get too technical here) I LOOOOOOOVE me some rice. And Japan has one of the top 10 highest life expectancies in the world, and one of the lowest obesity percentages in the developed world, and we love rice. So things didn’t add up in my head. I mean, we’re all told that whole grain is better than refined, but is it really ever explained? We throw around buzz words like “healthy” and “high fiber” and “slow carb” and we’re generally pretty satisfied. And frankly, I was happy eating my bowl of white-rice-sugar 3 times a day and didn’t want to find out the reasons behind why I shouldn’t be eating what I wanted to keep eating.
But I’m a mommy, and these little babies entrusted in my care deserve the best. So, I swallowed my cultural pride and did a little digging. And hoooooly moly, people are passionate about this subject. There are heated articles on both sides.