When I left Iowa many years ago to live in New York State, there were some surprises. Most of them were of minor consequences, and I really didn’t give them much thought. When it came to food surprises, well, as you might imagine, that was another matter. I had grown up with certain things easily attainable, but now not only could I not find some things, people often looked at me like I was nuts when I mentioned them.
Take apple butter, for example. When I first moved to New York, I couldn’t find it anywhere. I recall mentioning it to someone, and she thought I was talking about butter with apples in it. A tasty combination, and one I’ve since tried, but not what I was looking for. No, this is the dark, sweet goodness sold next to the applesauce or in the jelly/jam section. I am happy to report apple butter, including the Musselman’s of my childhood, is now more readily available. In the interim, of course, I started making my own.
And then there are malts. Back in Iowa, we could go into Williams Dairy, pick up some milk (in bottles, no less) or to an ice cream store and get cones, shakes, sundaes, and malts. Malts, you ask? Yes malts. These are basically milkshakes that have malt powder in them. Think a shake with crushed malted milk balls in them. Nope, couldn’t find them anywhere around here. People didn’t even know what they were. I venture to guess there are still many who have no clue, because I still can’t find them here. Oh you can buy a jar of malt powder and make your own, but forget trying to buy one at an ice cream shop. You can pick dozens of flavors, but forget the malt.
Tenderloin sandwiches. No lack thereof. Perhaps that was my biggest surprise. I grew up on these things. Oh Mom never made them, but they were staples in our house. Dad worked a lot of overtime, and he often brought home pork tenderloins and french fries for dinner on those nights. I remember the brown sandwich bag, stained by their greasy goodness. A thick, crunchy coating hid what was usually a thin piece of meat. It often seemed there was a contest to see which “joint” could make them the biggest, the thinnest, and the crunchiest sandwich.
And I kid you not about biggest. Most of the tenderloins were huge and dwarfed the sandwich rolls (we called them buns). The meat hung over the sides and usually had to be whittled down first, before getting to the rolls and the condiments. As for condiments, the simpler the better. I usually ordered mine with mustard, onion, and pickle. Gotta have the pickle. As for the “tenderloin,” actually pork tenderloins were seldom used. The meat of choice was usually a loin roast or even boneless pork chop.
And nope, can’t find them here. I’ve looked on many a restaurant menu and under every conceivable name, but pork tenderloin sandwiches have been nowhere to be found. People of New York, you do not know what you’re missing.
Last night, after more than 20 years in New York, I made my first tenderloin sandwich. And oh how good it was. I took a boneless pork chop, beat it into submission, dunked it in buttermilk and rolled in seasoned flour. Pretty basic. Think chicken-fried steak or even really good fried chicken. I fried it until the crust was super crunchy and the meat cooked through. I served it on a homemade sandwich roll. This was really is small, though the meat is a bit on the big side.
And it was heavenly. Even without the french fries, this sandwich, as simple as it is, brought back such wonderful memories of growing up in Iowa. And I must admit, made me a bit homesick. Think I’ll watch Field of Dreams now.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: you’re not doing your children any favors by not teaching your children to cook, or, as in my case, nurturing their interest in cooking. And this brings us to today’s post. I want to introduce you to Chef Bean. This 4-year-old dynamo enjoys her cooking classes (though she may not make cupcakes as much as she’d like). And her mother, Wendy, encourages Bean’s help in the kitchen.
Wendy and Bean graciously agreed to an interview. Where Bean might have not too many details, Wendy embellished; her comments are in parentheses.
How long have you been helping in the kitchen?
Since I was this big, 5 times.
(Since she could attack eggs with a fork; at least 2 years now.)
How did you get started?
(I’d break eggs into a tall mug and let her beat them while I sifted flour or chopped veggies.)
When you first got started helping in the kitchen, what kind of things did you do?
Mix, count, stir.
(Getting Bean to help with stirring seemed like the logical first step, we’d start with eggs, and then moved up to pancake batter … and also incorporated counting too. Now she sniffs, tastes, chops, feeds the meat grinder—and does the dishes!)
What kind of things do you like to cook?
Veggie pizza, cupcakes!!!!!!!!
(We started with baking—muffins, cakes, pancakes, bagels—and moved on to wraps and smoothies. Now we’re starting to do main courses together that involve meat and tofu.)
What kind of things do you like to eat?
Broccoli, pasta, cheese
(She’ll try anything as long as there are no meat “chunks,” and she doesn’t like spicy foods.
Why do you like to cook?
Because I like helping.
Do you have your own tools/pans?
My chopper, my apron, and wooden spoon.
(Bean has her own chopper—a wooden-handled blade she uses to chop things with. We work with the “grown-up” pots and pans. I don’t believe in patronising kids in that way, don’t like buying kiddie-only stuff when she can be learning on the real thing. She does have her own apron and hat though! And goggles. Very important when chopping onions with her wee chopper.)
How long have you been taking a cooking class? What’s it like?
5 days. It’s good. I like it because it is so fun.
(She has been attending classes for about a year now. We enjoy it. The cooking classes she used to take degraded into just decorating cupcakes and cookies. Then we found these new classes offered by our local supermarket, and they’re fab! The kids are cutting, zesting, stirring, and learning as they go. Two thumbs up from this Momma!)
Is there something you don’t cook now but would like to?
(She just decorated cupcakes during a weekend playdate.)
Many parents would like to get their kids involved in the kitchen but aren’t sure how. So I took the opportunity to ask Wendy how she has fostered Bean’s love of cooking.
How did you get Bean started in the kitchen?
It was beating eggs in a bowl and stirring pancake batter and adding the blueberries—small tasks initially. We’d taste and smell the ingredients as we went along (when appropriate to do so).
What kinds of things do you let her do/not do in the kitchen?
Anything stovetop, unless I can assist. She’s short, and the only way she can reach the stovetop is by standing on a dining room chair—which is not the best idea. I have recently let her handle raw meat, but I don’t let her chop it up—yet. That day will come, once she has better knife skills. She will feed the grinder for me, though, and she’s great at making meatballs.
Did you cook with your mom?
I did, yes. And I am lucky that Mum went to college to study hotel and catering management. So not only were the skills handed down to her by my gran, but Mum was formally taught some of the tricks of the trade, too! The funny thing about learning to cook with Mum, and I try to do this with Bean, is she never really measured anything. I’m sure that even now she doesn’t own a set of scales. She has a knife and her trusty tablespoon, and that’s it. It’s good though, I think, to learn to cook this way, as you really get to own the dish. It’s yours. You’re not completely following someone else’s recipe. Even in baking. But yes, Mum and I spent a lot of time in the kitchen.
It was important to me to go back to those more simplistic roots, to eat locally and seasonally (growing up in a Scottish hamlet, strawberries were only available for 2 weeks; bananas were foreign almost!), and to cook from scratch. Not only is it setting Bean up with a good foundation, I hope that we’re also making some memories.
How much freedom does Bean have in making decisions about what she makes?
I think she has a reasonable amount of freedom. Sunday is when I do the menu planning. I have cookbooks and recipes cards with photos of the dish on them, and Bean is allowed to browse through them and pick a dish or 2 that she likes the look of. She’s chosen well in the past (sometimes better than her daddy!). She also always comes grocery shopping with me, and I allow her to help choose her fruits, etc., for her lunches. She then helps me cook/prep the dishes, so she’s involved from start to finish on some occasions.
(All photos reprinted with permission.)
I love chèvre—goat cheese. I occasionally buy a log, but it can be expensive. And really, why buy it when I can make it myself. So over the weekend, I made my first trek into making goat cheese. I assure you, the journey was worth the effort.
Actually, the word “effort” is a bit of an exaggeration. The most difficult and time-consuming part may be finding the goat milk. Even that is getting easier. I bought mine at Old Barn Hollow Farm, our locavore store. But I’ve also seen it at times in the mainstream grocery store. This recipe calls for 8 cups (half gallon) of goat milk. As with other cheeses, pasteurized is fine, but make sure it isn’t ultrapasteurized.
You’ll also need direct-set mesophilic starter culture. This can be ordered online from cheesemaking supply companies. Some companies also sell a starter culture developed especially for chèvre. I tend not to buy products designed for a specific cheese (or much of anything else), but it is an option. In researching recipes for chèvre, I did find some people didn’t like the texture of cheese made with the chèvre starter culture. You can also use ¼ cup of fresh cultured buttermilk instead of the chèvre starter culture. Since I had some direct-set mesophilic starter culture, I used it.
You’ll also want rennet. You can order animal or vegetable, liquid or tablet rennet. The liquid rennet is easiest to use. I didn’t have any, so I used tablets I had on hand. But most people use liquid, so that’s what I’ve included in the recipe.
Because this cheese uses a direct-set mesophilic culture, the milk is only heated to a lower temperature, 86 to 90 degrees. Pour the room temperature milk into a nonreactive pot and heat over low, stirring occasionally. This will happen quickly, so don’t go wandering off.
A Note about Raw Milk. If you have access to and want to use fresh goat milk, that’s fine. Please note however, that heating only to 86 to 90 degrees will not pasteurize the milk. If you choose to pasteurize the milk, that’s an additional step. The milk will then have to be cooled to the appropriate temperature.
The next step is adding the culture, whichever you choose to use. Sprinkle it evenly across the top and let it rehydrate for 3 to 5 minutes.
When it’s rehydrated, gently—and I mean gently—stir to combine, using an up-and-down motion. How can you tell if you’re being gentle enough? Put the spoon in the pot and make a crosswise motion. If the milk quickly stops moving, you’re fine. If not, take it easy!
You’re almost finished. Seriously. Gently stir in the rennet, making sure it’s mixed in thoroughly. Then put the lid on the pot and put it somewhere out of the way for 12 to 24 hours. You don’t want to jostle the pot, so keep that in mind when selecting the location. Some people put it in a cold oven. After 24 hours, my cheese-to-be looked like this. Instead of draining in a cheesecloth-lined colander, I
I decided to ladle the curds into a ricotta mold to drain. And it’s waiting time again. After about 18 hours, the whey had mostly stopped draining. I put the curds into a bowl and gently mashed them up. I added salt and formed into 2 logs. One of the logs I rolled in herbes de Provence, the other in chives.
I let them sit in on a tray in a cheese container for about an hour in the refrigerator. Then I wrapped them in plastic and returned them to the refrigerator. Make sure to let the cheese come to room temperature before eating. It’s really good on homemade crackers.
If you don’t think you can eat all the cheese within a week, it freezes well. Before salting, divide the curds and freeze the unsalted batch in an airtight container.
I hope you try this recipe. My version is found here.
Over the weekend, I made fresh goat cheese. (I’ll blog about that later.) It seemed only logical to have it on some crackers. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any. But did I let that stop me? Good heavens, no. I did some research and came up with a cracker recipe. Actually, I came up with several, but this is the one I used today.
I thought making the goat cheese was easy, but let me tell you, there’s not much easier than making a basic cracker. In fact, you probably have all the ingredients on hand. All you need are flour, salt, vegetable oil, and water. Seriously, that’s all you need. You can use whatever flour or flour combination you like. I used 1/4 cup of whole wheat and 3/4 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour. Mix together all the ingredients except the water, and then add the water, starting with 1/4 cup. You don’t want a sticky dough, so add the water carefully, a little at a time.
Then comes the “hard” part, and I use the term loosely. Flour your work surface and rolling pin. Roll the dough until it is between 1/8 and 1/16 of an inch thick. Make sure the dough’s thickness is consistent. You want the crackers to bake evenly. Once it’s the desired thickness, cut into individual crackers. You can use a knife, pizza cutter, whatever. I used my pastry cutter, so I got a wavy edge. Place on parchment paper, score with a fork, and bake for about 10 minutes. The results?
I confess I sampled more than few without the cheese. Yum. And they were really good with the fresh goat cheese.
I’m definitely adding crackers to the list of things I’ll probably never buy again. They’re fresh and without preservatives. Plus, there are endless possibilities. Give them a try. I think you’ll be unlikely to go back. Here’s the recipe for Easy Crackers.
This upcoming week is going to be one of “those” weeks. I have so much on the calendar for the week, I’m not sure how I can actually do things I want to do—like planting my community garden plots and building the new one in our backyard. It also means I could find myself without time to do much cooking. This could send me to a fast-food place or picking up overly processed food at the grocery store. Neither of these things really appeal to me. I could cook ahead, and I actually do sometimes. But at the moment, the refrigerator is kind of full with things that will make other things. So doing much cooking ahead really isn’t feasible at the moment.
When I was a kid, Sunday dinners were often pancakes my dad made for us. Pancakes were pretty much Dad’s domain, and we always looked forward to those special Sunday nights. To this day, if I’m making pancakes (and now waffles) at home, it’s more likely to be for dinner than for breakfast. I particularly seem to go that route when I’m super busy—like next week.
To be honest, I often buy pancake mix. I know, I know. But it’s so convenient. I’ve tried using baking mix, like Bisquick or Jiffy, but I don’t like the pancakes/waffles made from them. So I’ve opted to go the commercially packaged pancake/waffle mix sold among the bottles of syrup.
I guess I should say “used to.” Though I occasionally made my own mix, I hadn’t thought about making it in bulk. This would save me time and money. Oh yes, it definitely saves money, especially since you likely have the ingredients on hand.
All you need are flour, nonfat dry milk, baking powder, sugar, and salt. If you don’t have or prefer not to use nonfat dry milk, leave it out. When you mix up the batter, instead of adding water as called for in the recipe, use milk. And if you’d rather not use sugar, you can use Splenda or Truvia. If you’d prefer to use agave syrup or honey, simply add it when using the mix. Sometimes I like to add some spice to my pancakes or waffles. Instead of adding it to the entire mix, I wait and add it when using the mix. That way, I’m not tied to one flavor for the entire container.
The recipe makes approximately 6 cups of pancake/waffle mix and stored properly, will keep for 3-5 months. I prefer to make smaller batches that will be used more quickly. To be sure I have the pancake/waffle recipe at hand, I put it on the label, along with what it is and the date mixed.
Don’t be afraid to try making up your own mix. You’ll be able to have it exactly as you want it and when you want it. The recipe for mine is here.
It is so easy to fall into a rut. Whether it’s cooking and food choices or another area of life, falling back on the tried and true usually requires taking the path of least resistance. And if we always cook things the same way—the way we know we like them—there’s no risk. But what’s the fun in that? We may also get into the habit of eating the same thing over and over, because it’s inexpensive and we’re trying to save money. I don’t know about you, but that would probably find me falling off the budget wagon really quickly. Me? I’d probably just get all grumpy and depressed about not having the money to eat things I really want. Neither of those are attractive options, but what can you do to make things taste different but stay within your budget.
It’s easier than you think. When I’m looking to change up some flavors, I often opt for infused oil. What’s an infused oil? An excuse to charge more for something relatively basic. No, seriously, it’s simply oil into which another flavor, or flavors, have been added. And though you can buy them commercially made, why bother? All you need is your cooking oil of choice and your favorite spices, herbs, or other things to infuse into it.
Two of my favorite infused oils are roasted garlic and roasted red peppers. Kareen, my recipe tester, prepared the roasted garlic oil. And since I had roasted red peppers on hand, well, I naturally made the roasted red pepper infused oil.
After deciding what to add to the oil, you need to select the oil. Of course, personal preference is paramount to the decision. One of my major determinants is what I’m going to use the oil for. Infused oils can be used to make salad dressings, mayonnaise, marinades, finishing sauces, and dipping oils for artisan breads (hopefully homemade, of course). I also inject them into poultry before roasting. If you want the infusion ingredients to stand out, you need a neutral oil, such as vegetable or canola. Using a flavorful oil, like olive oil, can mute the other flavors, but it does add a layer to the flavor profile. Kareen made versions using olive oil and vegetable oil. She preferred the olive oil version when using as dipping oil. But when she tried it on whole wheat pasta, she preferred the vegetable base, as the garlic flavor really came through.
Regardless of the oil used, roasted garlic infused oil is made the same way. You can find the recipe here.
For the roasted red pepper oil, I used vegetable oil. Regardless of what I use it on/with, I want the flavor of the peppers to be front and center. The recipe for this oil is found here.
You can puree the mixture until completely smooth. I prefer there to be some pepper still recognizable, but not chunky. And since I’m making it myself, I can have it however I want. It does need to be shaken before using.
The other day I decided to make a bulgur salad for lunch. Besides the grain, it had fresh avocado slices, quark cheese, scallions, and tomato. I topped it off with a drizzle of the roasted red pepper oil. I could have added a bit of vinegar for a more traditional salad dressing, but this worked just fine.
A Word about Storage
There is conflicting information about how to store garlic-infused oil. But one rule is paramount: do not use raw garlic, because it can contain botulism. Some people heat the oil, and others roast the garlic. There are sources who say doing so make it safe to keep the garlic for an extended period at room temperature. I tend to err on the side of caution and keep my roasted garlic oil in the refrigerator. I keep my roasted red pepper oil in the refrigerator. Just take the oils out to come to room temperature before using.
As a child, I never ate an avocado. In any way. shape, or form. When I’d ask Mom what they tasted like, she’d screw up her nose and say either, “Yuck,” or “Ew,” which, incidentally, was the same response she gave when I asked about asparagus. Truth be told, I’m not sure she’s tasted either—ever.
I finally tasted avocado during my college years and fell in love. I have more than made up for that avocado-deprived childhood. I like it in most dishes, but guacamole is my favorite. And while I like my version of guacamole, I went searching for other recipes over the weekend. It is often said that there are as many recipes for sweet tea as there are people who make it. I’m thinking that could be said for guacamole, as well. Some people put all kinds of vegetables in it. Some put mayonnaise and/or sour cream in it. I even found a recipe that called for cream cheese. I have to admit I may have to try that one. I do love cream cheese. Some people insist there must be tomatoes in guacamole, while others think that addition is sacrilege.
Then there’s the whole texture thing. Some people like theirs completely smooth. Others like it really chunky, almost like a chunky salsa. Me? I like my guacamole fairly smooth. I cube my avocado and then mash it up until it’s just slightly chunky. My texture preference also affects the other ingredients I use. Instead of minced garlic, a common ingredient, I use garlic powder. Rather than use chopped jalapeno, I usually use a few drops of hot sauce. And though I often use finely chopped onions or scallions, it doesn’t bother me to use onion powder.
Of course, freshly squeezed lime juice is a must. How much I use varies considerably. It depends on the richness of the avocado, heat of the onions, and how much hot sauce I used. Oh, and mood. Sometimes I just want a little more lime flavor than others. I salt to taste. For some reason, I’ve never been a big fan of black pepper in my guacamole, though I do like it a lot and use it often.
Avocado is a healthy addition to your menu. Of course if you load it with things that are not quite as healthy . . . well, you know how it goes. Still, give avocado a chance, whether in guacamole, a salad, or some other dish. And look out for sales. One of our local stores have it on sale often.
Last night I dreamed about cheese. That should come as no surprise. There they were: rows upon rows of luscious cheese. Hmm, a cheese lover’s idea of heaven.
I have quark in the refrigerator. I’m not talking about the software program, elementary particle, or science fiction character. No, this is a dairy product popular in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland that reminds me of cream cheese. It’s a versatile product. It can be eaten plain, with fruit and/or honey, or with herbs for a savory cheese. There are many recipes on the Internet for using it in cheesecakes and other baked goodies. And while it seems to be available in more stores, it’s still a relatively rare find in many grocery stores. I know I’ve not seen it.
Quark is a very easy cheese to make. All you need are whole milk and cultured buttermilk, with active cultures, of course. You can also use mesophilic starter or quark starter, but unless you make a lot of cheese that requires buying it, why bother. Incidentally, from what I’ve read, when a recipe calls for that culture, you can substitute buttermilk. Simply heat the milk to 88 degrees. Don’t stir. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but don’t. And pay attention. For many cheeses, you have to heat milk to over 150 degrees over a low temperature, so it can take quite a while. This happens quickly.
Let the milk stay at 88 degrees for about 45 seconds. Then remove from heat, cover with a lid, and let sit until it reaches room temperature, between 65 and 80 degrees. This is the temperature at which the cultures will work best to make quark. Now this can take a while, but don’t rush it. It’s worth the wait. Once it has reached the proper temperature, gently stir in the buttermilk. (Yep, you’re making cultured buttermilk.) If you’re using dried culture, whisk it in. Put the cover back on and set aside. Be sure to place it somewhere it can sit undisturbed for at least 6 hours and up to 24. You want the curd to be a solid mass, not small curds, like those used for cottage cheese. If you use cultured buttermilk rather than the dried culture, it will likely take closer to 24 than 6 hours.
Now you need to check for a clean break. Insert a clean knife into the middle of the curd. If you can pull it gently aside and see whey, you’re good to go. But if the curd seeps back into the “opening,” it needs a while longer. Line a colander with dampened butter muslin, cheesecloth (3 or 4 layers), or 2 or 3 coffee filters and place over a large bowl. Using a slotted spoon, gently, oh so gently, spoon the curd into the colander. If using butter muslin or cheesecloth, tie the ends together (like we did for farmers’ cheese) and allow to drain in the refrigerator overnight, or until it is the desired consistency. Squeeze out as much whey as you can, and let sit in the colander or hang to drain. If using coffee filters, just place in refrigerator; it may take longer to drain. When it’s the consistency you like, place in a covered container and refrigerate. Try to eat within a week.
Out of 2 cups of milk, I got about 3 ounces of quark. It tastes a bit tangier than cream cheese and is easily spreadable.
If you search for quark cheese recipes, you’ll find several that describe culturing the milk in the oven. There are also some that suggest placing the milk in your yogurt maker to become cheese. I even saw an ad for a quark maker. This just seemed to be the easiest way for me.
While you can add many things to quark, one thing that is not added is salt. I suppose you can if you want—well, of course you can; it’s your cheese—but it’s not traditional.
Enjoy your preservative-free cheese. The recipe is here.
I’m a little late posting about a subsequent foray into the cheese lab, but better late than never.
You might remember the farmers’ cheese I made a while back. It’s a very easy fresh cheese to make (meaning it doesn’t require much ripening), and it welcomes the addition of herbs and spices. I like to add dry parsley to the cheese at the same time I add the salt. But it’s awfully good on its own.
Based on the result of my farmers’ cheese, I decided to try a version using all buttermilk. Unlike the farmers’ cheese, which I found many recipes for, there were few for such a cheese made only with buttermilk. Eventually I found a few. They were all pretty basic: heat cultured buttermilk and then let it strain in a colander. When it’s the consistency you like, mix in some salt and form into a ball, log, whatever. Of course, you can also eat it as is.
I wanted something different, so I added some chopped pimento when I mixed in the salt. It gives it a really nice flavor.
I should have been happy with it, but I wasn’t. Well, not completely. All buttermilk cheese recipes I found said it was a dry cheese. And this is. I added some whey during the dripping process, but it didn’t seem to make a difference. Of course I can add half and half or cream when I eat it, but the flavor was nice plain.
I’m not sure why the cheese is dry. It may just be the nature of the beast, since others who made it say it’s dry. Other reasons for dry cheese are heating too long at too high a temperature. If you stir the curds too vigorously, they can become dry and rubbery. I don’t think I did either of those, so I’m thinking it’s a characteristic of this type of cheese.
I will likely make this cheese again. Next time, I think I’ll cook it to a lower temperature. But despite my somewhat disappointment in the results, it was worth the effort.
If you want to try it, simply use the recipe for farmer’s cheese, but substitute buttermilk. I added about 3 tablespoons of chopped pimento. Again I forgot to write down the final weight, but I think I got about 8 ounces from the quart of buttermilk.
It’s true. I looked down into my bowl of soup, and there they were—tails. But they were the good kind. These tails were attached to French lentils.
I decided to expand my sprouting to include lentils. You might recall I’ve sprouted wheatberries, which I then dehydrated and ground into flour. You can read about it here. I also sprout radish seeds with regularity. Radish sprouts make great snacks and salad additions, by the way. But back to lentils. Why sprout lentils? Like sprouted wheatberries, there are nutritional value to sprouting lentils. And for those who have digestive issues with lentils and beans, sprouting can help prevent or lessen such issues.
Sprouting lentils are as easy as sprouting wheatberries. It does require planning, so having sprouted lentil soup for dinner that night isn’t an option. Like most other sprouts, they are soaked overnight in filtered water. The following day, you begin the process of rinsing and draining the lentils a few times a day until they reach the desired amount of sprouting. How long this takes depends on multiple factors, including volume of lentils and ambient temperature. In my case, it took about 3 days. I could have probably used them after 2, but I let the tails get a bit longer.
Now that I had the lentils, I wanted other things to add to the soup. My vegetable drawer was somewhat sparse, and I couldn’t go to the store. What to do? What to do? And then it hit me. Last August I started my dehydrated soup mix. (Details can be found here.) I still had some left, so it seemed like a good thing to add that mix to my soup. So dinner that night was straight from the pantry dehydrated veggie mix, sprouted lentils, and canned chicken stock.
I did not rehydrate the vegetables before adding to the soup. I simply combined the ingredients, along with some freshly ground pepper, a bit of salt, and some red pepper flakes. It cooked for about an hour or so (all right, I forgot to look), or until the vegetables and lentils were almost tender. Then I added some dehydrated kale. It cooked for a while longer. Then I added some chopped fresh baby pac choy, which I bought at Old Barn Hollow, a locavore and artisan market in my city. It cooked until the pac choy was almost tender. I wanted to retain some of the crunch, so I did not cook it completely.
A very happy camper. The only thing I’d change would be to use a lighter hand with the red pepper flakes. Yep, I put in a bit too much, though it did break through my sinus blockage.
Expand your horizons. Take a favorite bean or lentil soup recipe and change it up a bit by sprouting them first.