Tag Archives: sauce

How I Make Yogurt

There are many ways to make yogurt. Some people use yogurt machines, some people don’t. I’ve heard that some Vietnamese people make yogurt out of sweetened condensed milk. The yogurt at my favorite Indian place tastes like they steep onions in it. You can buy a powdered yogurt starter, or you can use plain yogurt as a starter. Greek yogurt is made from high fat milk and then strained.

I prefer to make yogurt with the help of a yogurt maker. The most important thing about making yogurt is getting the temperatures right. You need the milk to be the right temperature when you combine it with the yogurt starter and you need to maintain the right temperature for the 7 hours that the yogurt cultures are growing in the milk. This second part was very difficult for me before I got a yogurt maker. Our house is not insulated, has drafty windows and doesn’t have heating or air conditioning. So the inside of our house can be anywhere from 50F in the winter to 90F in the summer. That’s why I really like having a machine that keeps the yogurt at the right temperature for as many hours as I want. Continue reading

Huevos Rancheros

When I lived in New Mexico, this was one of my favorite things to order. They made it with a sauce of green chilies on top instead of a tomato salsa, but it’s pretty much the same otherwise. This is a really fast meal if you use pre-made salsa and tortillas, but it’s a special meal for us because we make both of those from scratch. I think the next time I make huevos rancheros I’ll double the salsa recipe so that I have leftover salsa to use on other things. Continue reading

Apple Butter

I made an apple pie for Thanksgiving and had some leftover apples, so I made apple butter. It’s so yummy on toast or pancakes. I based my recipe on this one from the National Center for Home Food Preservation. The main differences are the size of the batch, the way the puree is made, and also I didn’t can my apple butter. You definitely could though. Since I made such a small batch, it wasn’t worth it to me. If you do want to can your apple butter, just follow the instructions on the webpage I linked to above. I didn’t have apple cider or apple cider vinegar, but I imagine using them could only make your apple butter more full of apple flavor!

Apple butter should be thick like this when it's finished cooking.

Continue reading

Cranberry Salsa Cheese Spread

This is a special appetizer that my dad makes for Thanksgiving every year. He first learned it from his brother, my Uncle John, and then reinvented the recipe at home. So, this is a very Thanksgiving dish for us, but you could make it for Christmas too.

I do think the fresh cranberries taste better than using cranberry sauce, but it’s still pretty good the way I make it here. Isn’t it funny that the North American version has pineapple and the Asian version doesn’t? That’s because we don’t have canned pineapple and pineapple season is in the summer.

Hello to my family celebrating Thanksgiving in Kansas City! I hope you ate some of this cranberry cheese spread too. Miss you guys.

Continue reading

Canning Applesauce

Is it still apple season in America? It is here. Well, apple season isn’t as exciting here as it is in Michigan. Usually we only have one variety of apples and they’re expensive compared to the other fruit, but in apple season we have two kinds! All of you who can get honeycrisp apples should – you’re so lucky!

But you don’t really need special apples for apple sauce, just lots of them. I found the recipe at the National Center for Home Food Preservation. I pretty much just followed the recipe, added some cinnamon, and pureed it at the end with a wand blender. It ended up tasting just like the Mott’s Cinnamon Applesauce that my mom always had when I was little 🙂

Peanut and Sesame Dips – healthy snacks for rural villages in Laos

clockwise from top left: jar of peanut butter, peanut dip, sesame dip (tahini)

Recently James finished co-ordinating the last in a series of 3 trainings on nutrition (each one a week long). Basically the goal was to teach Lao NGO health staff how to teach nutrition in the rural villages where they work – a training for trainers. Many poor people in Laos, especially children, do not get enough nutrients. Most people do get enough calories, but they are lacking nutrients like fat, iron, vitamin A, protein, and calcium, One way to deal with this problem is to help villages find affordable nutrient rich foods. For example, peanuts are readily available in many villages and they are a more affordable source of protein than meat.

One day there was a contest at the training to see which group could invent the healthiest snack with ingredients that are available in the villages. One group thought of fried sweet potatoes, which are good for their vitamin A, but they don’t have much else, so the teacher recommended pairing fried sweet potatoes with a nutrient rich dip. I made these dips for a snack the next day to see if they could be a healthy addition to the sweet potatoes. I thought people would like the peanut dip better because of the chili and soy sauce, but they actually really liked the tahini! Continue reading

Linguine Carbonara and Watermelon Juice

I’m pleased to announce that this is my first guest post! My brother, Scott, is a great cook. He makes his own chicken broth, pita bread, and braided challah bread. Scott is probably a braver cook than me in some ways because I have never dealt with a whole chicken by myself. We had originally thought Scott might post his challah recipe, but it comes from a cookbook, which brings up copyright issues, so he chose to share this meal instead! I hope this will be the first of many guest posts from Scott.  Parmesan is not easily available in Laos, but you can get it in Vientiane. You could use the New Zeeland cheddar if you have to, but it won’t be as good. Usually carbonara includes ham or bacon, so add that too if you wish.

Carbonara is mac and cheese’s classy older cousin.  It’s a creamy and savory pasta dish with a pepper bite and yet will take perhaps only three or four more minutes than the blue box.  I’m not sure about the availability of parmesan in Laos, but the other 5 ingredients or substitutes should be available.

Watermelon juice compliments this dish well, it’s sweet, thirst quenching and puts out the black pepper sniffles.  I hear this drink comes from Mexico, but it could be from anywhere. Continue reading