The Real Know How

How-Tos, Videos, Tutorials — Ramping Up for the 21st Century

Archive for the category “cooking”

How to Cook Squirrel

Brian of mountnman shows us how to cook squirrel. He says that often people end up with a squirrel dish that is far too tough and chewy. He’s done a perfect job dressing the squirrels. They look like rabbit that you’d see at a butcher’s.

Strangely he didn’t add any onions, garlic, sauces or spices. But I think his aim, anyway, is to show the basic method for stewing the squirrel.

Here’s a ’50s style squirrel stew recipe from the Missouri state government’s Department of Conservation, complete with floured squirrel and cream of mushroom soup:

A recipe from the same folks for Squirrel Country Sausage:

Country101living brines and then deep fries his squirrel:

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How to Make Sugar Beet Molasses

Brian shows us how to make molasses sugar out of sugar beets.

How to Make Seitan

“Step by step video instruction on how to make seitan from wheat flour.”

You are washing away the starch in the flour and isolating the gluten (protein) in the wheat flour, so if you have issues with gluten, this is NOT for you.

Note that things will go even more quickly if you use gluten flour (a more expensive option).

How to Make Tofu

“Complete video directions for making tofu at home.”

Biogas System

This is the best small farm biogas system video I’ve seen so far.

As with many other useful technologies, we don’t hear much about biogas in this part of the world while it’s being rolled out extensively in the developing world and is a technology that could be universally useful.

Here a small farmer, Edward, in Uganda shows us his underground biogas system. It’s actually pretty elaborate and if maintained properly, he says should last about 70 years.

Edward keeps cows and sheep but seems to just use the cow’s dung and urine for the biogas system. He says that he mixes one part dung and one part water or urine and lets this mixture drop into a digester.

From the digester the digested solids and gas are separated in an underground dome (7 feet deep and 14 feet across).

From there the gas is piped into the farm house to the stove (which looked pretty much like a normal propane stove to me) and to fuel one gas lamp (which I found produced very dim light, but before they probably had no light at night or used kerosene lamps, so for them it’s a huge improvement).

The digested solids, now good for use as fertilizer/compost, drain out into a kind of pond area.

Edward notes that the covers to all of the biogas system access points are very heavy concrete to prevent children or vandals from fiddling around with them and either falling into the dome to their deaths or letting the precious biogas escape.

As he shows us his biogas system, Edward also points out his 10,000 liter rain water collection cistern.

Note that this system only uses waste from livestock but that other systems would also use humanure.

John Njendahayo, a Ugandan engineer, explains more about this kind of domed biogas system. Cue the following video to 4:25 where he starts to talk about the system itself. He covers the sizing of the systems, the relationship of input to output and what you can run on the biogas (including a modified paraffin fridge).

The system uses dome shapes so that none of the gas gets trapped in corners as it would in a rectangular digester. He notes that the reason for burying the digesters is to keep the temperature constant for the bacteria.

Here he talks about being able to sell the compost the digester produces as fertilizer and about needing to clear the pipes of condensation and how the gas is piped into the house.

Cultured Pickling

“Heres the clichĂ©: Alex Hozven craved pickles when she was pregnant with her first son, 12 years ago. And the twist: She started her own pickling business. The Cultured Pickle Shop sells pickles ranging from classic sauerkrauts to unusual kimchees and Kombuchas—way beyond the sour dill. But its the experiments, like the mysterious nuka pot or pickled blood oranges, that really get Hozven excited. Theres plenty of zing, zest, pow in all her pickles, though.”

Alex’s shop is in Berkeley, California.

Tempeh-making

This video with Jessica Baucom was great because she talks about how to make tempeh (a fermented bean cake) with all kinds of beans (not just soy) and explains in a simple way the critical points in making tempeh.

“Tempeh is a great source of protein (with zero cholesterol!) and easy to digest – it’s also a great meat substitute.”

Here Anna Antaki of the Weeping Duck Farm shows us her commercial tempeh making operation.

Both Anna and Jessica make their tempeh in plastic bags, but you can make it just as easily (without having to deal with plastic touching hot food) in pyrex dishes or cookie sheets. I’ve made it this way before and it came out fine, albeit with thicker white growth on the side of the tempeh not in touch with the dish. Traditionally, in Indonesia, where tempeh first originated they use large leaves, like banana leaves to package the tempeh.

Barrel Cactus Candy

Barrel Cactus - photo by Vegan Feast Catering on Flickr

From Cooks.com

BARREL CACTUS CANDY
Take the barrel cactus and cut off around until you get to the white meat. Do not use center of cactus because it’s very hard to slice.

Start by slicing one inch strips of cactus. Soak in cold water overnight. Next morning drain and slice into one inch cubic squares.

Cook in boiling water until tender.
For two quarts of cactus cubes, make the following syrup: 1 c. water 2 tbsp. orange juice 1 tbsp. orange juice 1 tsp. orange peel

Stir and dissolve syrup over low heat until thoroughly dissolved. Put in cactus and cool slowly until syrup is absorbed. Roll in powdered sugar.

Using a Temperature Controller to Save On Kitchen-related Electricity Costs

I was pretty blown away by this project.

Mikey and Wendy live on an off-grid, homestead in New Mexico (see their Holy Scrap Homestead blog). As such, they were looking for more efficiency from their appliances. Mikey has come up with a temperature controller that has allowed them convert a small chest freezer into a refrigerator and so downsize from their full-size fridge that cost them a lot in energy and was underutilized.

The temperature controller can also be used to regulate temperature for stuff like tempeh and yoghurt making, incubation, heat pads, raising bread dough, and controlling the temperature on simple crockpots and on hot plates for tasks like candy-making. There are a lot of possible uses.

The design and instructions on how to build it are “open source” in other words, free, off his website but he also sells kits to build it yourself and already completed units from there, as well.

Here is Mikey talking about the controller and what he was able to do with it. BTW, I don’t know Mikey or Wendy and they haven’t asked me to blog this. Just stumbled across this and thought it should be shared.

Here’s Wendy making yoghurt using the device:

Wendy using the temperature controller to make tempeh:

Mikey raising bread dough.

Besides the temperature controller, Mikey has other useful open source projects.

Making Preserved Lemons

This is an easy process (another lacto-fermented pickle) and a good way to preserve your bounty if you have a lemon tree or to extend your lemon-eating period if you eat seasonally.

Re ingredients, at its simplest, you just need lemons (in Morocco a specific kind is used, but any kind will do), salt and a sterilized jar. In this video, Jules also adds green bay leaves for color and a bit of flavor.

She ferments them for several weeks and says that the preserved lemons will keep in the cupboard, sealed, for about one year. Once open, she stores the jars in the fridge.

Tara shows you what the finished product looks like (she adds spices to her lemons in the jar) and tells you how to use the preserved lemons (you discard the preserved pulp and use the rind cut up finely to flavor dishes) and what they go well with. She says the unopened jars will keep “practically forever, really.”

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