Archives for posts with tag: laura ingalls wilder

a big part of my philosophy on cooking and eating is of course using products and produce that are organic, sustainable and local, but also unprocessed, or what i like to think of as ‘what would laura ingalls wilder do?’ she lived in a day where everything was made from scratch, all foods were basically what we know as organic today, and definitely pre-GMO.

she also didn’t grow up with processed snacks such as cheez-its in her cupboard like i did as a young girl. granted the list of ingredients in cheez-its isn’t nearly as long as many processed chips, crackers or snacks in the same demographic, and they don’t have the evil monosodium glutamate in them, but i have definitely cut way back on my intake of these addictive lil cheesy nibbles due to their processed nature. of course, when craft services puts out the little single serving bags on the table at work, they are very hard to resist, and i usually tuck one away in my set bag to eat in guilt later when i can blame it on the ‘late hours’ or ‘i’m tired’ or ‘i don’t want another fucking piece of fruit’.

so, when my upstairs neighbor, who is a chef, posted a picture on instagram of homemade cheez-its, i about lost my shit, because i fucking love cheez-its!

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thankfully she was willing to share her recipe.

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ingredients:

  • 9 ounces (about 2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 7.5 ounces (about 3 1/2 cups) extra sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated
  • 2-4 tbsp ice water
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten

directions:

in the bowl of a food processor add the flour, baking powder, paprika and salt. pulse to combine. add the butter and cheese, and pulse until very well combined. add 2 tbsp of ice water and pulse until the dough is just wet enough to come together when squeezed. add up to 2 tbsp more water if necessary.

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divide the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap. press each half of dough into a flat square, wrap well, and chill for at least 30 minutes.

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working with one square at a time, roll the dough out to a scant 1/8-inch thick. using a fluted pastry wheel, cut the dough into 3/4-inch wide strips, and then in the other direction to make 3/4-inch squares.

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use a wooden skewer, or chop stick, to poke a hole in the center of each square.

transfer squares to a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze the dough until firm, about 10-15 minutes. do the same with the other square of dough.

preheat the oven to 350˚ F.

brush the squares with the egg white and sprinkle with salt. gently break the squares apart and transfer the parchment onto a different baking sheet that hasn’t been in the freezer.

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bake until puffed, set, and browned on the bottom. make sure to bake them well, so that the finished crackers are crisp. (completely frozen dough may take extra time.) start checking them at 15 mins, but can take up to 20-30 mins.

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transfer the parchment with the crackers to a cooling rack. store cooled crackers in an airtight container.

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makes about 5 cups.

thanks to chef jamie lauren for the recipe, and my renewed addiction. 

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when i first made homemade chicken stock i could not believe how easy it was. although the process is long, the actual ‘work’ time is short, it makes your home smell incredible for the entire day, and the health benefits are great.

ingredients:

  • 3 lbs of chicken parts, roughly the bones/carcass of (2) 3-4lb chickens
  • gizzards and livers (optional)
  • 2-4 chicken feet (optional)
  • 1 onion, quartered with skin and roots
  • 3-4 carrots, unpeeled with tops
  • 1 garlic bulb, cut in half through the center of the cloves
  • ½ of a bunch of celery, leaves and butt included
  • fresh herbs, several stems of each such as thyme, rosemary, sage
  • 1 tbsp of black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • fresh parsley, several whole stems with leaves

place all the ingredients, except the parsley, in a large stock pot, and cover with cold water. let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour. this allows the vinegar to start extracting calcium and brings the water to room temperature. it is thought that gradual heating brings out flavor.

bring it to a boil.

skim off any scum that rises to the top. reduce to a simmer and cover for 6-8 hours. add the parsley about 10 minutes before you take it off the heat. strain the broth through a mesh colander. press down on the veggies, meat, bones, etc to extract any remaining juices. let it cool before letting it chill in the fridge overnight.

skim any fat that has come to the surface.

pour into different sized containers and freeze. this is helpful in the future when recipes require different amounts of stock.

the benefits:

i have based my recipe off “broth is beautiful” by sally fallon, which is a very informative article that tells of the many benefits of making your own stock. among them it says homemade stock has minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur in a form that can be easily absorbed by the body. it also contains chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine which are known to help arthritis and joint pain, as well as, gelatin that has been shown to treat many different kinds of ailments including diabetes, cancer, and at the very least aids in digestion. back in the day when meat was a luxury item, or even scarce, every part of the animal was used in some way or other. fur and feathers were used for warmth, the meat for nourishment, and the bones were made into stock, but…

“when homemade stocks were pushed out by cheap substitutes, an important source of minerals disappeared…thickening effects of gelatin could be mimicked with emulsifiers but the health benefits were lost.”

i am not sure what the process is for the producers who make boxed and canned stock, but i wouldn’t be surprised if they took short cuts, and that the nutritional value of theirs not matching making your own.

i have become more and more inspired by farmers markets, julia child, laura ingalls wilder, and the basics of cooking. ultimately, i would really like to take as much processed food out of my diet as possible. for example, i never have ketchup in my fridge, but a recipe called for 2 tbsp of it, so instead of going to the store and buying a bottle of ketchup, i made my own out of what i already had at my house.

a few weeks back, i had a craving for my grandma’s wild rice casserole. now, it is not a healthy dish by any means, but her recipe calls for canned cream of mushroom soup and canned asparagus (blech). i read the soup label only to discover MSfuckingG in it.

are you kidding me?! i thought that crap was banned by now. regardless, the basic ingredients were simple, so why couldn’t i make it from what i already had in my kitchen: butter, flour, seasonings, broth, milk and mushrooms?

homemade canned cream of mushroom soup
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 cup broth
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup mushrooms, diced small
s+p

melt the butter.
whisk in the flour, one tbsp at a time.
add poultry seasoning.
whisk in broth.
whisk in milk.
stir in mushrooms.
s+p to taste.
heat until desired thickness.


you’ll have the same amount in a can of campbell’s without all the extra ingredients you don’t need like vegetable oil, modified food starch, dried whey, soy protein concentrate, yeast extract, and monosodium glutamate! plus, it tastes better and took less than 5 minutes to make. it made me think: what other processed food can we just make ourselves? or, what would laura ingalls wilder do?

a version of this post first appeared in my sister kate’s blog smart girls who do stupid things.

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