Making Sourdough Starter

This week I made a Sourdough starter. First, I ground my own flour from non-GMO wheat berries. Then I created my own starter culture. In short, I added equal parts water and flour and let them sit on the counter overnight and fed it each day. The yeast on the wheat will start to multiply. Each day you will see more bubbles and smell a sweet sour smell, as the starter gets stronger. For daily feedings I removed all but 4 oz of the starter, then added back 4 oz whole Wheat Flour and 4 oz water. By day 6 my starter rose 3x the size of the initial feeding. I was taking pictures each day and created this movie. The jar on the left is the control starter that I got from my brother in law, Jim. The jar on the right is the new culture I created this week.
The bread in this movie is from Jim’s starter. I will make bread from my starter next week.

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Three things I learned this weekend

Just a quick note on some fun stuff that we did this weekend. Besides having some of the best home made chili ever and waking up to some very yummy blueberry pancakes the next morning. I learned that:

My brother has a cylon toaster.

That Ron Zacapa X0 is a very good rum.

And finally, if you want to make truly the best drinks ever you should get a book that describes how it was done back in the 1800s. This means figuring out how to work with chunk sugar and egg whites to filter out impurities. It is all worth it if you want your own simple syrup.

That is why I like to visit my brother, I learn all kinds of cool things.

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It is Darn Cold Out, It Must be Hot Chocolate Season

It is that time of the year, Winter has set in. The fish pond is frozen solid, and snow flakes drift down lazily from gray clouds; we also found all those drafty areas in our house that bothered us last winter. Our winter hats and gloves lay piled by the front door for easy access. It is definitely time to break out the hot chocolate to warm up.

So heat up some Hot Cocoa and dream of summer… Or in our case think “why oh why did we move away from Florida.” Happy Holidays!

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iPhone 3G Fixed, Zoo was Fun, Beef Good

Well we did a road trip to Indianapolis, Indiana to the Apple store. We had been to an Apple store in Madison WI to look at cases for our iPhones, but we did not expect the line and the interrogation we got before we could even go into the store. All went well though once we got to see a “Genius” he just asked the basics, looked me up in their data base, walked into the back room and returned with a replacement iPhone. The Genius did not talk much to me, I figured well he is a genius and must have psychic powers or something or he is just plane tired of dealing with us iPhone folk, because darn close to everyone in view at the Genius Counter line had an iPhone with “issues” in hand.

Anyway, the phone is fixed, and I just had to drive back two hours to sync the phone to my laptop to get it to work again. I kinda wish the support guys had given me a heads up about that, then I would have brought my MacBook Pro with me. Anyway, the Apple Store was packed and crowded and noisy, but right next door was a real live Pottery Barn.

Heaven.

They make everything look so perfect in the Pottery Barn, way better than in their catalog;  you just want to buy everything just the way it is and set it up the same way at home. My wife bought a bag of sea shells and I bought a wall shelf wide enough to hold my Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station with Gigabit Ethernet and Western Digital 500GB My Book Essential Drive in our seller stairwell.

The Indianapolis Zoo was a blast too. O liked the dolphins and the train and the giraffe and of coarse, the gift shop.

On the way back we stopped at the Beef House and had us some beef and rolls. We love the Beef House; it is one the best steak joints we have ever been to. We call it the Disney of Beef; train loads of cattle go in one door, and bus loads of people go in the other (Not really). You can even park an RV and go in for diner. Exit 4 on I-74 in Indiana. Yum. Yum.

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Scorpion Soup

Our brother in law thought we would like this recipe. We do like crawdads and scorpions are kinda like earthbound crawdads.

Scorpion Soup

Ingredients

  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 30-40 live scorpions, washed
  • 125g fresh pork
  • 1 large garlic bulb, crushed
  • fresh ginger root, about 3cm, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ litre water
  • 1 handful dried Chinese dates
  • 1 handful dried red berries
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • Preparation
    Heat the oil in a large wok. Stir-fry the scorpions for 20 seconds. Add the pork, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir-fry briefly, then add the water slowly. Add the other ingredients and simmer on a low heat for 40 minutes.

    Notes
    This soup can be eaten either as a starter or as a main course and tastes mostly of the pork and dates. It is best accompanied by Chinese beer.

     

    Scorpions are eaten in the south of China. They are reared in ‘ranches’, mostly in people’s homes, then sold in the markets. Scorpions have a woody taste and should be eaten whole, except for the tip of the tail.

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    Phylogenic Relationships between Chilli Peppers

    The author the article Phylogenic Relationships of Capsicum had worked hard trying to identify different types of chilli pepper or bell pepper plants of the Capsicum genus, from around the world. In the end he tied it all together with this one image.

    The author said he had to grind up plenty of peppers to get data from their DNA. His words of wisdom from this research: “one should take care to wash thoroughly before rubbing your eyes or touching any other sensitive parts of your body especially after grinding up a hot pepper like a habanero chilli”. I remember walking past his lab the week he was working on the habaneros and hearing curses emanating from men’s room that would make a sailor blush. What’s hot in the world of chilli peppers check the Scoville scale.

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    Steak on the Bone!

    My brother cooked some 3 inch T-bone steaks for us a couple weeks back. Man was that good food, grilled and seared on the outside, tender and rare on the inside. Two pieces, just enough for four hungry people.

    Here is a picture during the prep work from my iPhone. The pic is a little fuzy, our normal camera had battery issues, like we forgot to charge it.

    3 inch T bone steaks

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    Fresh Lobster Mailed to Illinois

    Yup us Midwesterners tried something new this year for Geko’s B-day, we ordered lobster from Amazon.com. I was thinking of trying frozen lobster tail from our local supermarket and decided to check Amazon.com for recipe books on lobster. This all came about because this past summer we took a trip out to New England and had fresh whole lobster for dinner while visiting one of our relatives. My wife had never had whole lobster before and she totally loved it. I was thinking of just getting a book on lobster and seafood recipes from Amazon.com but while searching the site for lobster anything, I came across a link for Classic Live Lobster Combo for Two People by Lobsters-Online, well that got me thinking I should just totally surprise her with a lobster birthday dinner at home. The combo we ordered came with two live 2.5lb lobsters, 20 ounces of clam chowder and bibs and tools. The kit came with directions for making the lobster and even directions on how to eat it and lobster not being native to Illinios those direstions came in handy.

    Classic Live Lobster Combo for Two People by Lobsters-Online lobsters in 16qt stock pot lobster on the plate

    The dinner went over well and we almost could not eat all the food. Our 3year old son did have some reservations about us eating the “obsters”, but we put on a Disneymovie to distract him while we placed the lobsters in the boiling water. Once they were cooked and plated, he was fine with playing with the claws and the shell cracker. Kids…

    The kit was complete enough that we might try it again on a camping trip if we can get FedEx to deliver to the campground…

    I think we goofed on cooking them though. We boiled them together in a 16qt stock pot. Next time we may just use two stock pots one for each lobster.

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