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Ginger ale, broth, croutons, sauerkraut, beer February 11, 2006

Posted by merp in Drink, Food.

We promise to finish our dissertations some day. But meanwhile….

I brewed some orange-ginger ale last night. It didn’t go very well. This is the second time I’ve brewed ginger ale, and I have a real problem with following procedure efficiently. Or even comprehending the concept of procedure. I like to just cook as the spirit moves me–which works great for food. But when you’re sanitizing bottles and things, you really need more of a lab approach. See? I should have taken a lab science. I think they turned out ok, but I only got a yield of 6 bottles instead of 11 and may have forgotten to sanitize a couple of implements, and it took *For Ever*. It really shouldn’t take that long, if you know what you’re doing. Sigh. I will report back in a couple days on how they turned out.


Earlier this week, Aaron cleared out some of the freezer and made veggie broth. We keep vegetable scraps in ziploc bags in the freezer until enough accumulates to make a broth, something I started doing at Phoenix House with Mickey & Lars & all.

Do save: scraps from veg. chopping, wilty carrots and celery and the like.
Don’t save: brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, etc.), anything really dirty or actually gone bad.
Especially good veggies to save: celery (w/leaves), potato peels, mushrooms.

Dump 1 or 2 gallon bags full of frozen veggies in a stock pot and cover with water. Optional: add herbs, whole peppercorns, salt. Simmer all evening. Let cool over night. Strain out veggies in the morning (compost them). Pour the broth into containers and freeze.

Before that, I made croutons, another Phoenix House habit. Same as with the veggies, save scraps of bread–stale pieces, heels, but nothing moldy–in ziploc bags in the freezer. Once critical mass is achieved, make croutons:
1) Take the bags out of the freezer 12-24 hours ahead of time. Leave open on the counter to allow them to both thaw and dry out.
2) Cube the bread. (Optional: do this first, before freezing.)
2) Melt some butter (2 Tb per gallon bag??), then add herbs, garlic powder, (salt), various peppers, and as much olive oil as you had butter. Meanwhile (optional), dry out the bread cubes further on cookie sheets in a 250-degree oven.
3) Toss the bread crumbs with the fatty goodness thoroughly.
4) Toast slowly in the oven at 250 degrees for a really long time (more than an hour, maybe more than 2), stirring occasionally. They’re done when there’s no chewiness at all.
5) Let cool completely (overnight is fine, cooling down inside the oven–not like they’re going to go stale), then store airtight and have yummy salads!

And then Aaron also tried making sauerkraut this week, the right way (i.e., not pickled in vinegar, but just salted and allowing the cabbage to ferment naturally). We will report back.

And here’s Aaron’s honey porter in its second fermentation. Smells amazing:




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