The Ginger Experiment

So, we have been exploring options in hydroponics and aquaponics this year.  We are still in the early beginning stages.

However, I watched a video of someone using an amazing hydroponics system who grew ginger for home use.  I watched him harvest a few pounds of ginger.

We eat a lot of ginger here.

I make my own chai tea (recipe forthcoming some other time).  I cook with ginger.  I make ginger bread, gingerbread, and all sorts of other things.  Ginger is a real thing here.

I tend to use it for pain, especially in tea form.

I watched this guy harvest several pounds of home-grown ginger…and I knew how much I had just paid for dried ginger a few months before when I made my last batch of chai tea (as in, I make up the dry stuff, and then use it to make tea as needed).

I buy ginger root from our local global food store fairly regularly.

Not a day or two after I watched this video, and saw genuinely fresh ginger root, we went to said global food store and I saw for the very first time in my life the freshest ginger root I have ever laid my eyes on…laid up in the bin with the regular old dried up not so fresh ginger I was used to seeing/buying.

Strange as I am, I grabbed a nice thick big hunk of the fresh stuff…and then I grabbed a smaller piece of the not so fresh stuff.

I brought them home.  Showed them both off to a boyfriend who looked a me as if I had grown great big bunny ears because I was so excited about the ginger (and apparently he has no clue that I cook using as much ginger as I do…)

The not so fresh stuff…since I already had a nice hunk of that in the freezer that I use to cook with…I actually took outside and stuffed into this large pot of dirt that we have.  We’ll see what comes of that this year.  Fingers crossed it grows like gangbusters–we’ll have to see what happens with this bizarre weather around here.

The young fresh root I sliced, using a mandolin, very carefully, since i have lost more of my thumb to that thing that I care to admit to on a regular basis, and I cut it into fairly thick rounds.

I laid all these rounds out on dehydrator trays.  Oh, do I love our dehydrator.  I set it on the low herb setting.  I walked away.  About three hours later, just before I went to bed, I decided to check on my ginger.

I am so glad that I did.  Those nice big three inch wide rounds (some of them, not all of them were so big) had reduced down to tiny crumpled pieces of paper.  I had about 1/2 to 3/4 of a pound of root…I have a sandwich baggy full of the dried scraps that I could probably crumple up and hold in my hand…it rehydrates amazingly well into those coin shapes once it hits a liquid again…so it is beautiful.

Terrific for using in cooking…amazing for using to make just plain ginger tea … which I cannot actually tolerate, but I can add something else to it so that it isn’t just ginger…because believe it or not, ginger alone upsets my stomach…with some other stuff, I can take it just fine.

There’s my idea for the day that I am sharing.

Thanks for listening.

The Things We Are Learning…

Do you know what we learned here at home this past week?

That English muffins are not baked at all–they are grilled.  Like on a griddle, or in a pan.

We watch as much The Great British Bake Off as we possibly can on Netflix–there are only three seasons available…but we watch every single episode over and over–except the show stopper on one episode because we feel so bad for the person who went home (forty seconds, indeed!)…but we do watch episodes over and over and over of the three seasons we have available here…and we have begun to do several things.

I do have to say I am very grateful for this show…I am now cooking a lot more…and I haven’t wanted to cook in a long time.  Dinner tonight was homemade bread with homemade cottage pie…and the family is too happy about that one.

One: the teen girl is baking like mad.  She makes her own fondant, with marshmallows, so it’s the “quick” fondant–but she is way too happy with it.  She makes cakes, cupcakes and other bits from scratch now.  She made a coconut crème pie this weekend–and that includes making the crust from scratch, making the whipped crème from scratch…she is having a field day.

Two:  I have made things like, oh, English muffins.  I have a cast iron pancake skillet (or at least that’s what I call it–it is not a fry pan–no raised sides) and we worked out our first batch and they are yummy.  It was a test batch–they rose for too long on the first rise–but at least I know what I did wrong…they puffed up all mighty mighty when I fried them.  So the next time, I will adjust accordingly.

I also got to make an Apple Betty Crisp for my darlin’ man.  What is an Apple Betty Crisp?  Well, I took an Apple Betty recipe and I combined it with an Apple Crisp recipe…and voila…Apple Betty Crisp.  Why did I do it that way?  The Apple Crisp recipe had way too much sugar, and not enough crumble for the crisp…I like to improvise.

Three:  this week-end, for St Patrick’s Day, we had our celebration on Saturday, for the most part–I still have cupcakes to make, but Sunday was another busy day…and he girl had to make her coconut crème pie, so I wasn’t fighting to make cupcakes…although I did make my own buttercream…

I found out…the teen girl (as opposed to the teen boy) loves cabbage.  Cabbage.  Who knew?  And all I did was chop a head of cabbage up, toss it in water with two packets of onion soup mix, and let it boil until tender.  I pulled out, drained it all–I used the left-over broth to boil our ears of corn in…and that was nice and tasty.  But the cabbage, I chopped up finer for eating, tucked them into a bowl and let butter melt all over the top.  Nothing more than that.  And the girl cannot get enough.  Cool.

For the teen boy, I asked him what he needed to have at a St Patrick’s Day celebration–I received one request.  Green bread.  That’s it.  Not cakes.  Not cupcakes.  Not puddings.  Not jellos. (The youngest wants green and orange jellos, but no one else does.)  Plain old green bread.  I used a basic white bread recipe, in my bread machine on the dough cycle…and it took a lot more green food coloring than you would think to turn it a nice deep shade of green–versus a pale pastel Eastery sort of shade of green…it turned out quite yummy.

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My oldest son's st pats day request. .. green bread

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Although the youngest, who normally cannot get enough of homemade bread when it’s baked here…he won’t touch it…even though when asked how he turned the bread green (his sister was teasing him) he said as he is a super hero he used his super powers to turn the bread green–and that he did it because he is a super hero and that is what super heroes do.  Just so ya know there.

I do plan on making cupcakes tomorrow…I have the green buttercream.  I am making either vanilla or lemon cupcakes.  Maybe even both.  The funny thing is–I probably won’t eat any.  It’s why I don’t really bake more, because it doesn’t always get eaten.  Believe it or not, the toddler is not all that into sweets.  He loves to help cook and bake, but not so much eat.  Although since last week, that has been slowly changing…so we’ll see where he sits when I start up with the cupcakes again.  He is a picky one, that boy.


We Cooked The Mushrooms Here…


So, we are mushroom people here.  I admit, I like to collect certain type of mushroomy kitschy bits here and there, but overall, we are a mushroom eating family.

My daughter LOVES to eat mushrooms.  This post is for her.

We had a container of mushrooms, not quite baby, but small portobellos, in the refrigerator.  I had gotten them for a reason, for some particular meal I was to prepare…and then…well…chronic illness…sometimes I achieve my plans; other times…I totally forget about them.

These mushrooms languished in the fridge for a bit (a couple of weeks).  My daughter spotted them and brought them to my attention.  I checked them out…and they needed to be cooked.  Quickly.

They were slowly starting to slime.  Now, slimy mushrooms, in this case, are not a good thing.  I had to toss three mushrooms due to slime, but the rest were fine.  I washed everything under running water and gave them a rough pat dry.  Then I sliced them, long and a bit thick.  I threw the stems out.  They had gone too woody.

I put a few tablespoons of oil olive in a pan, along with some salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cardamon, and cloves.  I turned the heat under the pan on to about medium and tossed in the mushrooms.  I sautéed these a bit, until the olive oil absorbed into the mushrooms, which was not the plan at all.  So, I checked the fridge, grabbed a pumpkin ale–hey, all I wanted was a beer–I didn’t care what kind really–this pumpkin beer had been sitting there a while because my partner didn’t like it–and my idea on beer is more about cooking with it than drinking it…except for Murphy’s Stout…but that’s me…I dumped the beer in with the mushrooms.  Because I needed them to cook fast–starving teenager and all, you know–I cranked the heat up to medium-high.  Now, I stirred these things often before I added the beer.  To keep everything from sticking.  Once the beer went in, I deglazed the bottom of the pan, scraping every little bit I could free from it.  After that, I kept an eye on it and I stirred it periodically.  Once the beer began to cook out, I stirred it a bit more often to keep it from sticking to the pan.

As soon as all the beer cooked off, I set it aside.

Here is where the girl made some pasta, just your basic spaghetti noodles.  Nothing special.

We took hot spaghetti noodles and threw some of the mushrooms over them, with a little bit of olive oil.  Stirred it a bit to combine…and ate it.

Voila–all done.

Ok, so I know you have questions–like how much of stuff.  Like–really? cardamon? why?

I opened my cabinet and asked the mushrooms what they needed.  Seriously.  I jut trusted my intuition there.

I probably used 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil while cooking.  I might have used at least a teaspoon of the salt, the garlic, the onion powders.  Maybe a half of teaspoon on the pepper (freshly cracked and grated–by pepper mill).  Cardamon, maybe a fourth of a teaspoon.  Cloves, maybe about the same, maybe a little bit more.  I would have used whatever beer I found in the refrigerator, but I prefer to cook with darker brews–but then again, I prefer to drink darker brews.

Whatever you make of it, my daughter loves it…and so do I…and we are looking forward to re-creating it, frequently.

Let us know if you try it…or something like it.