April 4th, 2008

Moving and shelf life of things.

I am about to undertake yet another huge move. Last time my roommates packed most of my stuff as I am on the road most of the time. Now after having spent maybe a month total in the house we are all moving out. The roommate I like is moving away on May 31st but our lease is good till July so I have that long to get my things packed and moved. Which may not seem like a problem, except I am never able to get there.
So to make a long story short I am wondering about some of my pantry items that have not been used in over a year.
Things like spices, flours, egg replacer, grains: quinoa, barley, rice ect., dried beans. I basically have an extremely well stocked pantry that has not been used at all in over a year. Much of it in over two years!! Before becoming a truck driver I cooked all the time and it was a spur decision when I lost my other job to go into trucking so I didn't have time to use things up. I hate thinking of all I have wasted by not using it, but it's in the past. Now I need to figure out if it's worth the trouble of moving it all.

Is any of this worth saving? I know the canned goods and jarred goods are most likely okay. As are some of the box mixes because those things have dates on them. I am wondering about the bulk goods and such more so.

I have personally had flours and grains for up to and just over a year before and they have not gone bad. Spices, my mom has had some since what seems the dawn of time and they still have flavor. So what are your personal recommendations?

Vegan Fideos (Mexican pasta dish)


FideosThis is my own simplified and veganized version of a traditional Mexican pasta dish.  (x posted in my journal)

VEGAN FIDEOS

Takes about an hour, but much of it is cooking time, and none of the prep is difficult. Requires a food processor. I only have a tiny one, but was able to make the sauce in batches.

4 tbs olive oil
800 grams tomatoes (or about 8 tomatoes)
1 head of garlic
1 onion, chopped
1/2 red capsicum (bell pepper for Americans)
 chopped
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp pimenton or paprika
500 mil (2 cups) vegetable stock
a little fresh coriander or 1 tsp dried coriander leaves (cilantro to Americans)
tobasco to taste (or smoked chipotle pepper)
pinch brown sugar
dash pepper
salt if needed
250 grams vermicelli or angel hair pasta


Place all the whole tomatoes in a cake pan lined with foil. Chop the top off the head of garlic, drizzle 2 tbs of the oil over it and wrap it in foil. Place in the cake pan with the tomatoes and bake it all at 250 C (480 F) until the tomatoes are charred on top and the garlic has gotten soft, about 25 minutes or so. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the other 2 tbs of oil in skillet and saute the onion and pepper over med. high heat for 2 minutes. Add the oregano and pimenton or paprika, and continue to saute a few minutes until the onions have softened and browned. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Break the pasta in half and add to the hot skillet turning frequently until the pasta starts to brown in several places. Set aside on paper towels.

Put the tomatoes, 6 - 8 cloves of the roasted garlic (depending on how much you like - roasted garlic is not as strong as raw garlic) and the onions and peppers in a food processor, in batches if needed. Process until very well blended, like a thick sauce. If needed, add some of the stock to the food processor to help blend. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the rest of the stock. Add the cilantro and add tobasco or chipotle to taste. Add the brown sugar and salt and pepper to taste.

In a 9 x 13" baking pan, place the pasta on the bottom and pour the sauce over the top. Make sure all the pasta is covered evenly. Cover the pan with foil and bake in a 200 C (390 F) oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 5 - 10 minutes or until pasta is tender and sauce has slightly thickened.

Serve with coriander leaves, black olives and the extra cloves of roasted garlic on top, or serve with vegan cheese, vegan sour cream, etc...

It looks a lot like spaghetti, but it has a deep char grilled flavor (and a smoked flavor if you use traditional smoked chipotles in adobo) that's worth the extra time.

being vegan in ohio?

Hey guys! So, it's that time of year, and we just found out this week that my boyfriend got accepted to grad school at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio for next year!! It's exciting (and terrifying - we both grew up in Oregon, a good 2600 miles away....)

Anyway, although we're not moving until fall, I've been wondering about vegan stores/restaurants/etc in the area. I've found a few reviews, etc on other sites, but I was wondering if anybody lives/has experience in the Athens area that could give me some firsthand pointers of what to look for.

Thanks!!

Kombucha, the home brewing of

My brother has gotten two new pets, as he so cutely called them; two kombucha colonies, I think they're called. He got them from a friend who's been brewing/growing them for a while now, so he did get a basic how-to explanation, and he has been so far happy the results. Now, me, I've never even tried the drink before, so I have no ideas what to expect and am looking forward to my first taste when the next batch is done fermenting.

Till then, I have a bunch of questions aimed towards those who have some hands-on experience with the stuff:

- from what I've been able to read online, this is a drink made by fermenting black (indian) tea
* anyone know the caffeine content of the final product? I had to give up caffeinated beverages as they really didn't agree with me; one of these days I'll try to bully a doctor into checking if I'm allergic or sensitive or something to it.
* can it be made with some other kind of tea (green, some herbal kind, etc.)?

- our mother reported she'd heard of kombucha fermented with raisins (as a substitute for the sugar, is my guess)
* y/n?
* any other ways/kinds it can be made? (there were mentions of different flavors...?)

- I understand the brewing should not be done under direct sunlight, but what are the optimal temperatures? (Should George & George be moved next to a mild heat source during the cold periods, or can they stay in the not-heated areas of the house?)

- the previous kombucha-related post ended up with a bunch of negative put-downs in the comments which had very little facts backing them there
* could anyone offer some well-supported negatives of doing the whole "kombucha thing"?

- and last but not least, taking George Jr. (a newly divided kombucha colony) home with you - totally wrong, wrong, wrong, I can't believe you have a death wish the size of Oklahoma, OR, really not that big a challenge as long as you know what you're doing and aren't dumb about it? Thoughts, anyone?