Saturday, October 26, 2013

Quinoa, in the pressure cooker. Make a batch and keep it in the fridge for the week for salads, sides or just snacking. Perfect

I love Quinoa.

I love my Nesco pressure cooker.

I see no reason the two of them can't come together to make me happy oh and make me food too.

I think Quinoa can be tricky to cook well, sometimes.  It can be gummy and go from perfect to baby food very quickly.  Well, it can unless you have an electric pressure cooker.

I have found, lately, that I cook loads of this sort of thing on a Sunday and store it so that I can pick what I want as a quick side or to stir fry or to heat up or to make into a salad without having to give it much thought.

Even thought I am home, I'm homeschooling the teenager and trying to get my two passions off the ground, the food stuff and the making stuff for my Etsy store, TracyMakesStuff.  I also have to clean way more often because we are HERE all the time.  It was easier to stay ahead of it when the child was in school and it was only me here all day.  But, once again, or still, I digress.

This recipe is one in my list of quick and easy "cook for the week on a Sunday" one from the repertoire.

Pay attention, it goes fast:


1 cup quinoa
1 3/4 cups water
butter (if you'd like)

Okie dokie, here we go:

Put the quinoa, water, salt and butter in the pressure cooker.
Lock and load, 7 minutes.  Go do something
When the DING calls you back into the kitchen, release the pressure, cover the Pressure Cooker with a tea towel and leave it a few minutes.


There's no other way to cook Quinoa and now you have some for the week.  When it's cold, throw it in the fridge.  I like to toss it with avocado and grilled chicken and toss it in a light vinaigrette.  It's super delicious, crazy delicious and one of the top things to do.

This recipe double easily and if you go to 3 cups of quinoa, start removing 1/2 cup of water at each increase.

Go make some.


Monday, October 21, 2013

New obsession...the Chinese Clay Pot

I have a new obsession, the Chinese Clay pot.  I also have what might be a obstruction to my success in Clay pot cooking, that being my ceramic cook top. 

I have researched and read pros and cons and the people who said "it's no problem, use it" and those who wrote dire warnings about a culinary Apocalypse if I attempt it.

I HAVE to make the clay pot rice, rice, a little ground beef and some spices?  Oh yeah, I need that in my house.  I need it in my house TODAY.

I don't have much but I do have $12 and I am going to buy a clay pot today and will be venturing into spotlit glory or impending doom later this afternoon. 

I LOVE this!

I've morphed a quick recipe from what I read that came with the pot and some net searches and this is 

Tracy's Clay Pot Beef and Rice (Chinese inspired)

1/2 lb ground meat (I'll use pork next time)
1 1/2 cup short grain rice (I'll use slightly less next time)
1 Tblspn oil
green onions
soy sauce
(or garlic ginger paste)
rice wine
oyster sauce
whatever other flavorings you love

SOAK the clay pot, completely submerged in water for a while (I soaked mine about an hour)  I truly didn't want it to explode on my cooktop.  Oh and "spoiler alert"  it didn't.

IN a blue bowl, mix the ground meat and whatever spices you like, add a little water and squish it around and leave it.  (mmm, the raw meat shot)

In the soaked pot, put about a Tblspn of oil and some salt, then add the rice and enough water to cover the rice by about half an inch.  That, in my house, is my thumb nail ;)
Put the lid on the clay pot and leave it about 15 minutes.  Turn the heat on and bring the pot to a boil (time to peek)
Ok, it's doing SOMEthing, this is looking good.  After it boils about 4 minutes, reduce the heat and leave it another 4 minutes.
At the end of the 8 minutes boil/simmer time, spread the meat on top of the rice.  It's super easy, just sort of grab blobs (culinary meat term) and put it on the rice.  It spreads really easily. Pop the lid on for about 15 minutes, till the meat is cooked.
This is delicious and tastes and smells like every Chinese restaurant I've ever been in.  The rice is a little chewy and tender at the same time.  The meat is soft and flavorful. I will play around with the spices and flavors as I continue on my Clay Pot quest.
It made a TON of food for 1/2 lb of ground beef.  Mum, Connor and I all ate from the pot and there was a little left for Connor's lunch.  

I think this is definitely worth my $12 investment from World Market.  I love this thing.  I'm going to try chicken and pork and maybe shrimp in here.  I think a little fry up of the meat first would also add a neat flavor element.  Yeah, I will be playing in my kitchen with this new toy.

There was some crispy (stuck) rice on the bottom, I like to eat that part (mmmm crispy) For those who are not a fan of the crispy bit, it came up fine with a soak.  I think this pot will work just fine so long as it's not subjected to extreme temperature changes.  I say NAY to the nay-sayers, you most certainly CAN use a clay pot on a glass cooktop successfully.  

OH and as a weird aside, 2 hours later, the rice was still WARM as it sat on my countertop.  Not hot but definitely warm and eatable.  This also might be a decent thing to do for my "I won't be home till 11pm" husband who insists on microwaving the food I cook.  Hmmmm, I think he needs his OWN clay pot. 

Now, I hear you can do noodles in it too...

Go get one of these, it's fun, different and makes a meal a little bit different than the usual stir fry.  I still can't believe that little bit of meat flavored all that rice so beautifully... yeah, we are happy on this one.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Linen things I make and sell that are totally food related.

I try really hard not to steer you wrong.  I love sharing my ideas and recipes and just general stuff here.

I like to have some of the toys that go along with the cooking that I do. I'm not a fan of single use or specific use items, I think we all need to be using our money on things that have many uses.

I sell on Etsy and my store is:
Tracy Makes Stuff

I sell through my Facebook store page:
Tracy Makes Stuff in Austin

That being said, I have a few items that I use in my house that I make to sell and I think they are appropriate items to list here.

A head's up, the linen bread bags are going to be included in a Californian magazine in their December issue, I'll post the link here closer to the time.  I'm so excited :D

Anyway, these are the foodie items I'm selling in the store.  I wanted you to have 'dibs' on them because Christmas is coming and I am planning of starting to make a lot more of these items.

1.  Linen baking cloth, also known as a clouche.  
Bakers Linen Cloth Baking Clouche 100% Linen Flax Linen Proofing cloth
I use these to cover my island when I make bread  It reduces the amount of flour I need.  I can use it to flip soft dough (like my ciabatta) around and over and I can cover loaves while they rise.  It absorbs some liquid and there is a solid difference in the dough that I shape and let rise on the floured counter and the dough that I shape and let rise on the cloth 

2.  Linen bread bags and Linen potato bags
Linen Bread Bag by TracyCooksinAustin Listing for a set of TWO

I use these to store my fresh bread.  There's no mold on the bread and it is better than plastic.  I don't think bread should be stored any longer than a day or two.  In my house, after a day or so, it becomes bread crumbs or croutons that I store in the freezer.

I also have these bags with the word POTATO across the front, yeah, I store my potatoes in them, they stop any mold or yukkiness from the plastic bag, and they're kept in the dark so they don't sprout so quickly.  Brilliant I know, my mother's idea.  OH and she has a pocked on her potato bag that says 'garlic'.  Yeah, high, dry, dark and it all lasts so much longer.

AND for the Whovians of us...

I'm OVER handing people a piece of paper towel when we eat. I don't like cotton napkins, they don't feel right and I'm all about linen.  I, however, do NOT make the linen napkins from 100% linen, because you'd have to iron then and there's no one with enough time or energy to iron napkins for every day.

I use a 80-20 linen cotton blend. No ironing and it behaves exactly like 100% linen.  The feel is the same, the look and the use.  Perfect. 

These are the perfect addition to the house.  They wash up a dream and I have a pile of them that are in perpetual rotation.  I have both the black and the natural, depending on my mood.  Initially, I thought black was weird as a napkin but it's GREAT! 

Let me know what you think of the items, I'm interested.  I don't know what the rates are to ship outside the USA but I'm looking into it. 

Have a great rest of your day, I'm making bread and pressure cooker jambalaya (which I'll post in a day or so) in preparation for my mom coming to stay for a bit.  I love playing in the kitchen with her, I'll post what we make.