Making life simpler
Kitchen tips and tricks
Can you imagine living in a world with no or limited power? I can see a future with no power or a limited time/amount of power that each family can use. What are some of the tools that you have in your home that you would need to have that are non-electric that would make your life easier? We have talked in the past about solar ovens which is a GREAT appliance that is power free to cook your meal.
For our family the essentials for our kitchen are the following:
- Cream Separator
- Meat Grinder
- Wheat Grinder
- Butter Churn
- Solar Oven
- Sun Tea pot
- Sieve or food mill
- Pasta Roller
- Cast Iron Kettle
- Any Cast iron pots including a Dutch oven that can be used over a fire pit.
Manual Cream Separator
Cream Separator does exactly that… it separates your whole milk into cream and skimmed milk. The skimmed milk can be drank or made into cheese, added to meals, etc. The cream can then be used to make butter, sour cream or added into your coffee.
A cream separator works via centrifugal force. The machine spins raw milk in a tub or basin. During this process, the lighter butterfat globules are flung to the outside of the container, where they can be siphoned off. The machine separates the cream much faster than the gravity method, and also separates more of the cream from the milk.
Hand Crank Meat Grinder
Grinding cuts of meat is easy and is healthier because you can choose your own cuts of meat to go through the machine and not worry about additives into your ground meats.
Attach the grinder to the side of a counter or table. Add specific blades into the machine. Add cuts of meat into the “bowl” and turn the crank. The meat will come out the front and fall into a bowl (that you put in front)
Hand Crank Wheat Grinder
This looks very similar to a meat grinder, only has much smaller blades for the grinding to make wheat seeds into a powder to be used in breads and other dishes.
The agitation of the cream, caused by the mechanical motion of the device, disrupts the milk fat. The membranes that surround the fats are broken down, subsequently forming clumps known as butter grains. These butter grains, during the process of churning, fuse with each other and form larger fat globules. Air bubbles are introduced into these fat globules via the continued mechanical action of the churn. The butter grains become more dense as fat globules attach to them while the air is forced out of the mixture. This process creates a liquid known as buttermilk. With constant churning, the fat globules eventually form solid butter and separate from the buttermilk. The buttermilk is then drained off and the butter is squeezed to eliminate excess liquid and to form it into a solid mass.
(info from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butter_churn)
Sieve or food mill
The convenience of a stand allows you to walk away and let gravity and the chinois do the work of straining. Use it for straining stock or in conjunction with the tapered wooden pestle as a food press to squeeze juice from raspberries or pulp from pumpkin while leaving undesirable fibers seeds and particles behind. The funnel shape traps the food so you can have at it with a pestle and it also directs the flow to bowl or pot. Note: Also called a a strainer or misspelled as “collander”
Read more at http://www.pickyourown.org/canningstrainers.htm#szMZY2IVLJuR0wmj.99
Starting with one of the narrower, open sides of the folded dough, feed the pasta through the machine, again at the widest setting. Repeat the folding and rolling technique on the widest setting for a total of 5 times. And then adjust the width to the next setting and crank to flatten the pasta until the pasta is at the desired width.
Boule, from the French for “ball”, is a traditional shape of French bread, resembling a squashed ball. It is a rustic loaf shape that can be made of any type of flour. A boulecan be leavened with commercial yeast, chemical leavening, or even wild yeast sourdough.
- 6-1/2 cups of wheat – plus a small amount of flour to dust bread board) *if you grind your own wheat, you will need to add a Tablespoon of wheat gluten to get a better rise.
- 2 Tablespoon yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 cups warm water (not boiling, but warm to touch) plus 4 more cups of water for the bottom of the oven in a metal pan to “steam while cooking
- 2 teaspoons salt (I only use pink Himalayan in my house)
- In a glass bowl, add water, yeast and sugar and let sit for 5 minutes or until bubbly. (OR instead, use 1 cup sour dough starter instead of the yeast mixture plus 1-1/2 cup of water – Sourdough starter recipe here)
- In a larger bowl, stir together wheat (and wheat gluten if you are adding extra) and salt.
- Slowly stir in yeast mixture(or sour dough starter plus water) into flour with wooden spoon.
- Blend well until dough forms.
- Place dough ball in clean bowl.
- Cover with cloth and let rise on counter for 1 hour.
- Divide the dough in half and roll out to form either a boule shape (round) or a baguette (long and skinny) and let rise again for 1 hour.
- Using your bread knife, make slices into the tops of the dough about 1/2 inch deep. (I have always done this… I think that it is just decorative.)
- (OPTIONAL – you can sprinkle with cheese or garlic, fresh or dried herbs before baking… (I have 3 kids who LOVE cheese and fresh jalapenos or garlic saon their bread)
- Place dough in oven and pour 4 cups of water in a metal pan in the bottom of heated oven… this gives a crunchy outside layer.
- Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.
Homemade Egg Noodles
- 1 cup flour plus more for rolling out
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 large eggs
- Combine the flour and salt in a large shallow bowl. Make a well in the center and crack the eggs into it.
- Use a fork to beat the eggs and then gradually start incorporating the flour into the eggs (as you beat them, they will just gradually take up the flour). Keep stirring and pulling in more flour until solid dough forms. The dough will be sticky. Don’t worry, you’ll be working in more flour in a moment.
- Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. With well-floured hands, knead the dough, incorporating more flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the work surface or your hands, until it is smooth and firm and no longer sticky. This takes 5 to 10 minutes for most people.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill it for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
- Divide the dough into two pieces and work with half the dough at a time. On a well-floured surface roll out the dough to the desired thickness (anywhere from 1/4 inch to paper thin). Be sure to rotate or otherwise move the dough between each pass of the rolling pin to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface. Sprinkle everything with flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking.
- Use a sharp knife or pizza cutting wheel to cut the noodles. You can make then as narrow or wide as you like but cut them as evenly as possible to ensure uniform cooking time.
- Lay the noodles on a cooling or drying rack and let them sit until ready to cook. Repeat rolling and cutting with the remaining half of the dough.
- Boil the noodles in well-salted wateruntil tender to the bite. Drain and serve with butter or cheese, with stews, or in soups.