Archive for Cooking

The Flavor of Ham.

Posted in Cooking, History, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2017 by urbannight

HamI once saw a program on how Ham is made. The flavor of ham is added to the cut of meat. Without it, ham just tastes like a pork pot roast.

This makes me wonder if people used to have recipes for whatever they would treat ham with before cooking it. You know, back in the days before it was commercially produced on a large-scale.

Did farm wives make their own, did people in town buy it with flavor added or did they make their own? Was it basted on or marinated? Now days it is injected.  Did they actually do that back in the day?

Now comes the ultimate question. Who decided which flavor to use when large-scale production started? Who decided what the ham flavor, that we now all know now, should taste like?

Edited.

Someone did contact me to say that historically it would be soaked in a brine and smoked.  Which is how my dad makes jerky.  My dad’s jerky is thick cut so it is meaty once dried and not like a piece of leather.  My dad makes the best jerky.

Prunes, nature’s candy. Seriously.

Posted in Food, Health, Life, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2016 by urbannight

I would love to share a photo of delicious prunes but I’m on a borrowed computer and borrowed internet tonight and can’t really download and upload one.

Dried prunes are delicious.  They are super sweet.  They taste like candy.  I don’t buy them to much because I over eat them and they are bad for me.  Dried fruit generally is bad for you.  It has an entire fruit worth of sugar in a single bite.  So this is really bad if you are a diabetic.

I fail to understand why people claim to hate prunes.  Why do prunes have such a bad rap?  I’m guessing a lot of people assume they are bad because they have been told it.  (Like me and Brussels sprouts.  I thought they were bad because everyone said so.  Turns out I actually like them.)

I know that a long time ago that all food was cooked, including fruit.  (We are talking middle ages.)  But eating raw fruit and drying fruit has been a thing for as long as the United States has been a country.  Not sure when the people decided that maybe fruit didn’t need to be cooked to death.  But I do recall references to stewed prunes in novels.  Some were old novels, from the 1800’s.  Some were more recent, from the 1900’s.  I don’t think I’ve read or heard that reference in this century.  Maybe the people saying now bad they are only ate stewed prunes.  Stewed fruit just doesn’t sound very good to me in general.

Still, dried prunes are delicious.  Seriously delicious.  I think I will have to go out and buy a small box of them.

Rice and Lentils, a simple if slow cooking dish.

Posted in Caooking, Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2015 by urbannight

I have this super simple dish I make sometimes.  It always  tastes great but it takes a long time to make.

I start with a few cups of water and set it to boil with a bullion cube in it.  Any type, sometimes chicken, sometimes beef, sometimes veggie.

Once the lentils are nearly done I add rice and whatever seasoning trips my trigger at that moment in time.

You have to watch to check the water, add more as needed.   I’ve found it always takes more than the amount of lentils and rice recommend.  I’m not sure why.

Now I just as water as needed until both the rice and lentils are soft.

I’ve never had it turn out bad.

That being said, I’ve had trouble using some of the so-called instant rice.  Regular instant rice cooks up fine.  But there is an ‘instant’ boil in bag Jasmine rice that doesn’t seem to work.  I, of course, cut the bag and pour it in.  The problem is that the box says this ‘instant’ jasmine rice cooks up in 8 to 10 minutes.  This is not true.  I’ve never had it cook in under about half an hour.  Even when cooking it on its own according to the cooking instructions on the box.  If you want to use Jasmine rice, it will turn out better if you just buy a normal bag of the stuff and cook it per those instructions.

The Strange World of Garlic Usage

Posted in Cooking, Food, Health, History, Life, Science, Tea with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2013 by urbannight

Once upon a time, when I was feeling poorly, a friend told me to rub garlic on the bottoms of my feet. My big question was how this was supposed to help my cold. It made no sense. Since then, I’ve looks up uses for garlic. There are some really strange ones out there.

To start with, garlic seems to have some antibiotic properties. This means it can kill some bacteria and fungus. It is supposedly good against viruses but I’m not sure about that. Viruses usually just need to run their course. It may help prevent mold. Throughout history, it has been used for many medical purposes so I would have to guess some of them were helpful enough for people to keep using it.

Garlic is supposed to help reduce acne. But that is strange to me. Acne is not a bacterial issue. It a build up of oil, dirt, dead skin flakes, lotions, and make-up. It’s a build-up of anything that can block the pores. It’s been proven that eating chips and pizza will not cause acne. It is partly a skin care issue and partly an issue of some people being more prone to it than others. Some health conditions may make it worse. But I always thought that was because the condition was influencing the health of the skin by causing some kind of imbalance. Your skin is actually an organ. So I would think running garlic over the skin would just add garlic oil to the mix of stuff clogging up the pores.

While we are on skin, a cut garlic rubbed into cold sores is supposed to help them heal faster. Now this makes a little more sense than using it to treat acne. The antibiotic nature of the garlic has something other that dirt and oil to kill and lead to healing.

Another skin condition it is supposed to help is Athlete’s foot. Garlic is an antifungal. Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection. You crush or smash some garlic and put it in a footbath of warm water. That gets the oils out of the garlic and spreads the oils over the feet as you soak in hot water. This sounds logical, more logical than running garlic over your feet for a cough.

Making a paste of minced garlic, olive oil, facial cleanser, and sugar, massage into the skin, and rinse, is supposed to tighten and exfoliate the skin while drying out acne. I suppose it might dry and tighten depending on the facial cleanser being used. The paste with sugar as a defoliant probably does work.

It’s supposed to help clear up psoriasis. Now they have identified an acid contained in garlic that is working on a certain omega fatty acid in the skin so this may have some truth to it.

This is a strange one, as putting garlic oil on a mole, several times a day, and coving with a bandage, is supposed to remove a mole. Sounds like duct tape, which has some chemical or compound in the adhesive that is supposed to do the same thing.

Now for some non-skin related uses.

It supposedly can be minced and put in mineral oil for a full day, and then the infused oil is mixed with a bit of liquid soap and some water and put in a spray bottle. Spray on plants as a natural pesticide. Liquid soap isn’t natural. Can it still be called a natural pesticide? I guess bugs don’t like garlic. This reminds me that they used to say eating a lot of garlic would keep mosquitoes away. That has been disproven. Some say infusing it in the mineral oil and then mixing that with water and lemon juice and using it as a spray on may work. Much like the homemade pesticide.

You are supposed to be able to mend hairline cracks in glass by putting crushed garlic over it to fill the crack. Not sure that I would want to do that. Wouldn’t you still see a line? Even more so than the hairline crack?

Apparently fish like garlic. Some fishermen swear by it to bait their hooks.

It may work as a road de-icer. As the story goes, a spice maker had a batch of bad garlic salt and donated it to a town to put on the roads on winter. I’m not sure the garlic had as much to do with it as the salt.

Massaging the scalp with garlic or garlic oil is supposed to stimulate hair growth.

Here is one of the stranger ones again, cut a sliver of garlic and tie a string around it and put it in your ear to combat an ear infection. Not something I would want to do. The other version of this is to crush some garlic, place it in hot olive oil for 5 minutes. Then you strain and cool the oil. Use it as ear drops. You may be able to find ear drops made of garlic oil in home natural heath food store or someplace like Whole Foods.

Similarly, it can be peeled but not cut, put into a strip of cheesecloth, and inserted using a tampon applicator in order to treat a yeast infection. Like athletes foot, it is a fungal infection. Only in this case, it is caused by the body’s natural bacteria getting out of balance allowing for the growth of this. The ‘good’ bacteria normally eats this naturally occurring ‘fungus’. When something kills the good bacteria then you produce too much of this and get an infection.

One item I found on one site was using thin slices of garlic over a splinter and the splinter will work itself out. I’m not sure how that is supposed to happen. Is garlic a wood magnet?

Internally, some people find regular consumption of garlic eases gas. For other people it causes gas. Make minced garlic into a tea for sore throats and as a cough syrup. It is supposed to reduce the duration of a cold as well and regular consumption of it is supposed to help prevent colds. Researches believe that it is a component called allicin that does this.

Compounds in garlic are supposed to send signals to the brain that you are full. So a dish with a lot of garlic in it may make you feel fuller faster. Thus you eat less of it. And it is supposed to rev up the metabolism so you burn more calories. So it may have minor weight loss properties.

Speaking of ‘wood’, it’s been used as an aphrodisiac for just about forever. It is suspected that it is because garlic aids in blood circulation, so blood is pumped to the extremities more efficiently. So it ‘may’ increase a man’s endurance.

Using it with some a rather strange list of food ingredients may clear out intestinal parasites. Icky.

Ghost Chili

Posted in Cooking, Food, Hobby with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2013 by urbannight

Ghost Chili

Maybe it is because I’ve just been so dang cold. But I’m slightly obsessed with peppers today. It may be a bit too much, but here is a third, if short, post about yet another chili pepper.

This is the hottest pepper in the world. Another pepper was declared to be hotter until letter testing showed that sometimes Ghost Chilies were hotter. So now they are both the hottest chili known on the planet.

I LOVE the flavor of these insanely hot chilies. They are a little hotter than I can handle. But I love them so much that I torture myself in order to enjoy the deliciousness of them.

I have occasionally found things made with them that I can eat, just slowly, or in small amounts. I love salsa made from them on bread and even on a baked potato.

If you can tolerate peppers at all and enjoy a delicious hot pepper, and you have not yet tried these fiery little angels, you really must experience them for yourself.

Stuffed Anaheim Peppers

Posted in Cooking, Food, Health, Hobby with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2013 by urbannight

anaheim_pepperThe Anaheim pepper is a very mild, somewhat sweet, pepper. Named for a town in California, they were developed in New Mexico and the varieties grown there tend to be a bit hotter than the ones grown in California.

My favorite way to eat these it to slice them in half, long-wise, and clean out. Mix cream cheese, crab, and cayenne in a bowl. Fill the peppers.

As we all know, everything is better with bacon, so wrap a slice of bacon around the stuffed pepper. Grill or roast until the bacon is cooked but try to avoid burning the pepper.

I’ve never seen any directions on this so I play with it every time. In fact, sometimes I start them in the microwave to partly cook the bacon and then roast them in the oven to finish. A small amount of charing on the peppers is okay. It enhances the look of them without leaving them tasting burnt.

You may want to use pre-cooked bacon because they are never cooked enough. But sometimes they are cut too thin and then the bacon cooks too fast instead of too slow.

Cayenne Pepper

Posted in Cooking, Food, Health, Hobby, Tea with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2013 by urbannight

cayenne-pepper-diet

The queen of peppers. She is in the middle of the bar for heat. (A three on the 5 point chart I was looking at the other day.) They are a lovely, shiny, bright red but can look pinkish as well. You can eat them green or fully ripe. A lovely, barely there flavor, they work wonderfully to add heat to any dish without significantly altering the inherent flavor of the dish. High in Vitamin A and other vitamins, most people can’t eat enough to make it count. But it has often been used as a warming spice, to combat cold-temperature areas as well as something to help make you sweat and thereby, somehow, keep you cooler in hot climates. That second half never made sense to me.

It supposedly reduces pain, improves blood flow, and helps ulcers. Yep, a chili pepper that helps ulcers. It is supposed to be calming on the stomach and a tea of it is sometimes used for this purpose. It is quite good at getting the sinuses flowing. All chili peppers are anti-inflammatories. The hotter the pepper the more capsaicin. The more capsaicin, the better it is as an anti-inflammatory. Making it good for arthritis and other inflammations and inflammation based pain.

I’ve heard tell that the peppers help you lose weight because you eat less. But any help in weight loss may actually be attributed to thermogenics. The capsaicin produces a reaction where the body gets very hot. This reaction actually requires a lot of energy, like putting coals on a fire. So your body starts burning an increased amount of calories and uses more oxygen for around about 20 minutes. Perhaps I should have a much of cayenne tea in the morning and before or after every meal.

This is my all time, favorite herb.