Category Archives: Cooking

Make a Wish Cookies!

It is time for the bright yellow flowers across the midwest to come into season o lawns everywhere. It’s dandelion season! Before the flower turns to seed (the ever-fun make a wish stage!), we thought it would be fun to try making something delicious from the bright yellow flowers to accompany the salad we made from its leaves.

Overall, we thought it was fun to make them, but thought the texture was too fiberous. Kind of hairy, if you will. In addition to the ingredients in the recipe below, we added in additional seasoning like cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and chocolate chips. We shared them with friends and neighbors for the novelty of it, and they each said they loved them. Our crew, on the other hand, will probably stick to apricot oatmeal cookies and leave the little sunny flowers to go to seed so we can make more wishes instead of cookies with them!

This was the recipe we used: https://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/dandelion-flower-cookies

If you try making them, we’d love to know what you think…

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Chicken Ginger Magic!

About a week ago now, I created a secret soup recipe based on one of our favorite Thai restaurants. By using taste and smell, I have refined my version to taste just like the restaurant’s! Its called chicken ginger soup! {although I call mine fake chicken ginger soup because I don’t use cubes of chicken in mine!} THE SECRET HAS BEEN REVEALED!!

Ok, here’s what you need: chicken broth, cilantro, parsley, water, rice or noodles, and ginger (of course!). And then the spices: onion, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.

Now, LET’S GET COOKING! First things first – start cooking the rice. Then finely chop some cilantro, parsley {as much to your liking}, and ginger about as big as your pinky finger then add about two teaspoons of onion powder and 1 teaspoon of garlic. TOSS EM’ IN THAT POT!!!! Once the rice is cooked, add some to the pot so they can soak up all of the fancy shmacy juices and add the chicken broth. Finally, SERVE IT UP!!!!!

If you have any suggestions on  how to make it better just say the word down below.

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About a week ago now, I created a secret soup recipe based on one of our favorite Thai restaurants. By using taste and smell, I have refined my version to taste just like the restaurant’s! Its called chicken ginger soup! {although I call mine fake chicken ginger soup because I don’t use cubes of chicken in mine!} THE SECRET HAS BEEN REVEALED!!

Ok, here’s what you need: chicken broth, cilantro, parsley, water, rice or noodles, and ginger (of course!). And then the spices: onion, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.

Now, LET’S GET COOKING! First things first – start cooking the rice. Then finely chop some cilantro, parsley {as much to your liking}, and ginger about as big as your pinky finger then add about two teaspoons of onion powder and 1 teaspoon of garlic. TOSS EM’ IN THAT POT!!!! Once the rice is cooked, add some to the pot so they can soak up all of the fancy shmacy juices and add the chicken broth. Finally, SERVE IT UP!!!!! If you have any suggestions on  how to make it better just say the word down below.

 

Mud Lake Farm

As part of the Saugatuck Center for the Arts, Intriguing Conversations program, we attended a presentation on the Future of Farming where farmers Kris and Steve Van Haitsma from Mud Lake Farm in Hudsonville, Michigan presented how they are using technology to move small scale agriculture into the future while still maintaining a chemical and fossil fuel free farm!

We love how creative and resourceful farmers are (have to be!). One more vote for small scale, diversified farms!

These were the Graphic Recordings I created during the hour long presentation:

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Meringue…

Last week in Kitchen Chemistry, we learned about Meringue! In learning about the chemistry behind making it, we did an experiment to learn about solutions, suspensions, colloids and emulsions. We also learned all about the Tyndall Effect!

Basically, we learned about the differences between: solutions {it cannot separate, it cannot filter and does not scatter light}, suspensions {the particles settle out, it can be filtered and it can scatter light or be opaque}, emulsions {uses emulsifiers to create the colloid, a better example shown below} and colloids {no separation, cannot be filtered and does not scatter light which is shown in a more visual way below}. 

The project we did was pretty darn awesome! Once the ingredients were mixed with water, we shook them and waited to see what happened to the particles – did they settle, separate or stay mixed? It was then that we learned about the Tyndall effect. By shining a light through the test tubes, if you can see the beam of light, that is the Tyndall Effect. The light is reflecting off of the minuscule colloidal particles in the dispersing medium (in this case, water). Next time you see a beam of light, you can think of John Tyndall!

For the baking half of the project, we made meringue {we made a pie and the plain cookies!}. Curiously, hours after our lemon meringue pie was out of the oven and in the refrigerator, we saw it had little beads of an unknown but delicious looking brown beads on the surface of the pie.  Our baking friend Eddie {you can read about him in one of our earlier posts} told us that we probably whipped the meringue too fast and it fell and burned a little, and that the brown dots were most likely sugar that didn’t get mixed in well enough to the egg whites.  And if that wasn’t enough we also made cookies which did the same thing. We are going to try it again and make the meringue slower this time and see what happens!!

Although we had some complications with the recipes, we recommend any of these projects and here is your warning, meringue is DELISH!!!! Get ready, ’cause next week we are doing cornbread and chili and cornbread! Hopefully it will turn out!! :0)

Happy Baking from our Kitchen Lab to yours!

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Day 1: Meringue cookies

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DAY 2 – More Meringue!

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Jelly Anyone?

For this MIT, Kitchen Chemistry project, we were learning about jelly, jam and other science, related to making it. Here are some things we learned:

  1. The difference between jam and jelly:  Jelly is made with pureed fruit and jam is made with the fruit juices. When mixed with sugar, the pectin inside the fruit creates a gel like substance otherwise known as jelly.
  2. In the old days, canning is and was a way of getting our fresh food by preserving it in jars for when we needed it most!
  3. Acids neutralize the negatively charged pectin particles, then the sugar bonds with the water, bringing the molecules closer together so they can bind into the texture we know as Jelly. That is the “High Methoxl” menthod and it uses boatloads of sugar. With the ‘Low Methoxl’ process, calcium bonds with the pectin particles to achieve the same outcome, minus the sugar.
  4. Pectin actually comes from the cell walls of plants!
  5. The reason why we boil the jars before canning anything in is because it’s a form of sanitizing, so it kills any of the bugs or germs that were in the jar in addition to ensuring a good seal!
  6. If the lid didn’t seal (pop!) it means that there is still oxygen in the jar which also means it could potentially create a bacteria culture, which is NOT great :^(  (Ever heard of botchullism?!)
  7. Jam and jelly don’t contain any fat! BOOM!!!!
  8. The largest recorded pbj was… [get ready…] 40 ft long, contained 50lbs of jelly and 150 pounds of peanut butter!!! wow… but disgusting. Hopefully the makers of said sandwhich found a lot of people to eat it all!!
  9. Tastes amazing with greek yogurt also more helthy than normal fruit flavored yogurt found in the mystical, magical supermarket!

Our jelly was made from organic berries we picked and froze this summer. Blueberries and Strawberries with a fair helping of organic lemon zest and juice. When it was done processing, we waited to hear the tell-tale ‘pop!’ and knew then that our jars were sealed TIGHT! Not sure how long it will last – it sure tastes AMAZING!!

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Scones & Coffee

This week in Kitchen Chemistry, an Open Courseware program offered through MIT, we looked at Scones and Coffee. There was so much to learn and experiment with, we will give the highlights to try and keep it on the short side.

First, there was coffee.

We learned about 2 types of coffee seeds that come from the coffee bean (actually a berry, Arabica and Robusta), different stages of roasting and of course, the incredible effects of caffeine on the brain and central nervous system. We discussed addiction and what the symptoms of withdrawal are. We also learned about how coffee is decaffineated. That, if you aren’t aware, is something to look into – methyl chloride (also used in paint stripper and other industrial processes is used unless it is Swiss coffee – yikes).

Thre is an enourmous amount of waste that comes out of coffee harvest. A company named CoffeeFlour has found a way to change it for the better. Amazing!!

We took a field trip to our local coffee house and a super cool barista helped the girls grind some expresso beans for our experiment. Once ground, we headed to our lab to see what we would see. The smaller the grind, the more fragrant, and more robust cofee, although once it was drinkable coffee, the least fragrant.

Four grinds, 150ml of water and 1/2 tbsp of each and check out what happened.

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4 grinds from very fine to coarse…

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Steeped, strained, and ready for analysis.

 

Next up: Scones!

In this part of Kitchen Chemistry, we learned about how vinegar curdles milk… the vinegar attaches to the protein strands, causing it to coagulate and make curds, called casein.Long before plastics this was used to make belt buckles, knives, you name it. Once it is dry it is STRONG! Check out this video.

 

The final recipe wasn’t our favorite once it was done, so I will skip posting it. They looked nice, but were a little more bread-like than scone-ish. We will try an new recipe and see if it works better!

Thanks for joining us for this week’s Kitchen Chemistry. Next time, jams and jellies take the stage. Stay tuned!

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A Recipe for Disaster!!

A delicious disaster that is!  Several years ago, I learned to use the stove and somehow it’s opened crazy new possibilities, so I decided to post some of my favorite recipes on the blog so you can try them if they strike you fancy! I don’t usually measure things (but am trying to get better at that), but at this point, I go with what my gut says.  As an example, say I’m adding paprika into a stir fry, I add in however much depending on what me or others like:0) Anyways, if you do decide to try them, I’d love to get your feedback so I can keep tweaking the ingredients!

Holiday Hash

Ingredients:

Potatoes, scallions, cheddar cheese, salt, pepper, curry, turmeric, oil, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, toast {optional} and a holiday hat (You don’t actually have to add your hat, but it just gives the hash browns more flavor!)

First things first, heat up a pan and add some oil. Then, chop up scallions and any kind of potatoes you like: red potatoes, hot potatoes, cold potatoes, green potatoes, normal potatoes, fresh potatoes, blue potatoes, organic potatoes, old potatoes, young potatoes…  in other words just use whatever kind of potatoes you enjoy. I use about 3 potatoes, but depending on how many servings you want, adjust accordingly. While that’s cooking at medium to low heat, begin to make the saucy-sauce!

In a small mixing bowl, combine cheddar (about 1/4 cup), spinach (however much you think you’ll like), salt, pepper, a touch of curry, and the onion and garlic powder. You won’t need much of the saucy sauce ’cause too much and it would overpower the hash browns.

Now, back to the hash… while gently mixing, add in turmeric, curry, paprika and salt. Once mixed, it should turn bright orange which is pretty fancy shmancy, right? When the hash has browned you can add your holiday hat and sauce to the hash browns and you’re done!

It’s just that simple.

I hope you like it!

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