Balsamic Onion Marmalade


Balsamic Onion Marmaladeonion marm

1/2c balsamic vinegar

1/2c good sugar I used coconut sugar

2T lime Juice

1c onion sliced

Method:

Place balsamic vinegar, sugar, and lime in a sauce pan and place on high heat. As this mixture cooks watch its viscosity you will see it transform from large bubbles to small bubbles back to large bubbles. Every time a change in the size of the bubbles occurs you will notice a change in its sound. When the large bubbles come back it should be around 270-280 F. At this point you will add the onion to the sauce pot. The moisture from the onions will weep out and the mix will regress to the small bubble stage. Now cook until you are back to the large bubbles and you are good to go.

The Best Brownies You Will Ever Eat


The Best Brownies You Will Ever Eat
4 oz Unsweetened Choclate or 3 T coco powder 1T butter
1 C. Butter
1 C. Flour
1/4 t Salt
4. eggs
2 C. Sugar
2T Rum

Method
Preheat oven to 350f and grease a 9×13 baking pan.
Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler, remember the water does not need to be boiling, 120f is perfect. While the chocolate is melting take a separate bowl and sift the flour and salt together and set this aside. In a mixing bowl beat eggs until fluffy. This means they will turn a fluffy lemon yellow. Slowly add the sugar, you want the sugar to be completely dissolved if your kitchen is to cold this might not happen, at that point don’t worry about it. Now fold in chocolate, and then the flour mix, then the rum. Put into greased pan, and bake for 25-30 min.
Option two is to just eat it out of the bowl with a WOODEN spoon!

The French Press


From the outside in French, Colombian, and Italian

From the outside in French, Colombian, and Italian

The French Press

Over the last few days I’ve had several people come up to me and ask me about how to use a French press. Using a French press is an excellent way to make coffee, as long as it’s done correctly. If you fail to do it correctly, it will be painfully obvious. It can come out too weak, it can come out too strong, with the strong flavors seeming rather muddy, or there can be catastrophic failure such as I have had in the past by pushing the plunger down too hard and breaking out the bottom of the carafe. That being said, this is not rocket science and with some basic protocols anyone can make excellent coffee with a French press.

With the French press you basically have two components. Technically you could break it down into smaller components but we’ll cover that when we talk about how to clean a French press. The two parts are the carafe and the plunger. The carafe is the glass jar which the coffee brews in. The plunger part is a screen filter which acts in many ways like the screen filter in a drip coffee maker. What sets the French press apart from the drip coffee maker is the fact that all the water is in contact with all the grounds for the duration of brewing, versus the water just passing through the grounds as it is in a drip pot. The way that I look at it is like being a visitor to another country. If I passed through a small town and I got out of my car to look around little bit, bought of a couple souvenirs and left, the town that I had just left would have had very little impact on me. However, if I were to stay in that little town for a month, being completely immersed, its impact on me would be much greater. Fully immersed coffee grounds have a stronger impact on water in the same way.

Choosing the right coffee for your French press is where the fun begins–at the least for me it is. There are two basic things to consider: roast and coffee origin. You can take any coffee from around the world and roast it to fit into one of three basic categories: Columbian, French, or Italian. What sets these categories apart is roasting time and, in turn, the color of the bean. Columbian is the lightest of the roasts, then French, and finally Italian, with Italian roast being essentially burnt. Coffee origin is the next thing to consider. When selecting your coffee, Ethiopia is the motherland of coffee, followed by Mocha. It was there that coffee was originally cultivated and became what we know it to be today. I would suggest starting off in these two regions and working your way out from there. Most roasters tell you what to expect on the bag, so be sure to look. Tastes and flavors can range from creamy and mild to wine like and fruity. You can even buy wood-fire roasted beans that add a whole other dimension to the coffee.

It is very important to understand that water temperature needs to be at around 180f— in celsius this is whatever the number is across from the 180f mark on your thermometer. In a pot you can tell that the water is around 180f when bubbles form on the bottom of the pot and steam is rising. When the little bubbles start popping on the bottom, the water is close to 190f. This 180 temperature is important because of what are known as volatile compounds. Volatile compounds are what coffee is all about; they are what give coffee its flavor. You want to keep as many in the coffee as possible. It’s a balancing act of enough heat to release flavor, but not so much that the flavor released just evaporates away. And above 180f, that is what happens. In the kitchen the rule is, whatever you are smelling you’re not tasting. The more delicate an ingredient the less cooking time it has, or the lower the temperature it is cooked, or both. So the game that we play with coffee is to have the water hot enough to extract the flavors and tastes but not so hot that the steam runs away with them.

Another aspect that we need to take into consideration is the size of the grind. I have always have been a proponent of a larger grind, even in my drip coffee makers. I used to have my coffee roasters add about a half ounce to my prepackaged coffee, and have them grind it larger. They would look at me like I was crazy until they tried it themselves. In a drip machine, too small of a grind promotes channeling, which makes the coffee taste muddy. Muddy is a term used to describe that the coffee has no real discernible characteristics. All those fancy descriptions just disappear and you spent $12.00 for fair trade, free-roaming, organic, coffee handpicked by left handed Eskimos for nothing. So keep in mind the smaller the grind the shorter the time. If you are using a grind that is similar to espresso it will only take about 35-40 seconds – I don’t know what that converts to in metric. I like to grind coffee to about the size of that annoying egg-shell that falls into the bowl when you crack an egg on the rim, and no matter how you try to fish it out it keeps escaping, so you make your omelet with it in anyway. At this size I will let it steep for four minutes.

So here is my method: place your water on the stove, then grind your coffee to your desired size; I prefer larger. Put 1 heaping tablespoon of coffee for every 6 oz of water. If you are using finer grounds that would mean 2 teaspoons. I then coat the grounds with cold water. Trust me on this, you will have better taste and flavor. When your water gets to 185f — remember you put cold water over your grounds –add the hot water. Place lid on your press, start timing 4 minutes then, after the time is up, press down the plunger. If it does not want to go down give it a quick stir then press lightly. Never use force because you can break out the bottom of your press. When the plunger pushes the grinds to the bottom, stop. You will need to fight the urge to squeeze the grinds on the bottom.

Alternative method: you will need 4 mason jars for this method. Day one take one jar and place 5T coffee in it fill it to the top and put the lid on, and place in the fridge. Day two put 5T coffee in a jar fill with water and put the lid on, and place in the fridge. Then shake jar one. Day three put 5T coffee in a jar fill with water and put the lid on, and place in the fridge. Shake jars one and two. Day four put 5T coffee in a jar fill with water and put the lid on, and place in the fridge. Shake jars one, two, and three. Take the first jar and press it in your french press. Heat your coffee in a pot or even in the microwave.

Pork Vindaloo


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Pork Vindaloo

1.5 teaspoons ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground black peppercorns
1 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds
6 tablespoons of paprika or smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
1-inch cube fresh ginger, chopped
1 large onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 tablespoon ground coriander
3 tablespoons of molasses
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup water
1 1/2 # pork cut into 1-inch cubes

Equipment needed: blender, frying pan, measuring spoons, measuring cup, tongs, wooden spoon, mixing bowl

Cut pork into 1 inch cubes and place in a mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of ghee. Mix it with a wooden spoon until becomes tacky. This develops the protein on the outside of the pork making maillard browning easier and more uniform. This method can also be used for beef stew or any other kind of stew. Preheat sauté pan on high. Once it becomes hot, slowly add the pork — keeping in mind that it is hot, and the pork is surrounded by oil, so it may spatter. Turn your heat down to medium-high. Carefully turn each piece, browning on all sides. Once all the pork is seared add your thinly sliced onions. The pan will be dry, but as soon as the onions hit they will start to weep moisture and deglaze the pork from the bottom of your pan. At this point I add about a tablespoon of ghee, cooking the onions until they are very brown– think, brown and crispy– keeping the heat on medium-high high at all times. Once the onions are brown add your spice mix, minus the ginger, and cook for about 45 seconds to a minute. Place all the onions, spices, and ginger into the blender and blend. As soon as the onions turn into a chunky paste, add your water, slowly, and blend until it becomes a smooth paste. If it looks too runny you can add more paprika. Add this paste to your pork and place in a 300° oven. Cook for one hour and15 minutes. During this time you can prepare your side dishes.

Kumquats


Kumquats

Kumquats

The Kumquat

I love kumquats. Some are bitter, some are sour, and some are sweet. They are little orange jewels that can pack a real punch when added to a dish. Alas, people often approach this fruit with fear and trembling because of the bitter and sour characteristics. But there is a trick to this fruit. Usually the more bitter and sour the inside, the sweeter the rind is. This brings to mind the people who tell me that they do not like kumquats because of all the hard work peeling the little buggers. I have to break it to them that the peel is the part that you eat. The look of perplexity that I receive is worth the next two minutes I have to spend trying to convince them I’m telling the truth: “No, really! With this one you eat the skin.”

So what do you do with a kumquat?  With this fruit you have a blossom end and a stem end; cut off the stem end and keep the blossom end to work with. A good guesstimate of how much to cut off would be around a quarter inch, or a little more than the diameter of a pencil. Next comes the tricky part. You know that motion you make with your fingers that symbolizes money? That is what you are going to do to your kumquat. Roll it between your fingers and add enough pressure that you think it is going to just fall apart in your hands. Once all the juice is out start pinching the blossom end and you will feel the pithy inside slowly loosen.  Then you just pinch out the guts. Now you have a hollow kumquat. I love to stuff my kumquats with chocolate of some sort, but that is cliché.