Category Archives: Cooking

Wigglin’ Gummy Bears!

What do you know about GELATIN!? Most people know about it because of Jello but it is used in all kinds of product besides that, including some manufacturing processes. As we  learned about the properties of gelatin, to our surprise, it is made of collagen, the stuff in bones, ligaments, skin and connective tissue! (Oh dear!!)! It is the most abundant protein in mammals. It is generally collected from cows & pigs for creating gelatin. It’s colorless, odorless and tasteless (well, we think it has a little taste, but we are sensitive to flavor). Wonder where the famous wiggle comes from? It originates in the structure in the protein strands which tangles and traps the water inside it. Structure + water = jiggle!

To get hands on experience with this, we moved into the kitchen to make tiny gummy bears. They are SO CUTE! For this cooking adventure we used: vegan gelatin, two flavors – grapefruit and apple, little gummy molds, a pipette to be extra exact when filling, and a pot and boiling water. Let’s get COOKING!!

We made 2 flavors. Apple lemon and grapefruit honey. We made the recipe, piped them into the molds and whacked them in the fridge for about an hour of so. The grapefruit one didn’t set, and they didn’t taste so great… The apple gummies set up great, but again, not such terrific flavor.  It was cool to know that inside those jiggly little bears were tiny microscopic mesh holding pockets of flavored liquid! Now that’s BEARY cool!!!

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Brownie Time!

We’re in luck! You may remember our Kitchen Chemistry experiments we posted throughout last year and now MIT’s Open CourseWare, program is offering an Advanced Kitchen Chemistry class! We will be using this as one aspect of our science/chemistry curriculum again this year and we couldn’t wait to get started. Enter….Brownies. Yes, brownies!

Before we started cooking we had to answer some questions, the first was: What is the  difference between cake flour, bread flour and all-purpose flour? The primary difference is the protein content which becomes gluten. Cake flour has the least amount of protein, (about 8%) while all-purpose has somewhere around 10-11%. finally, bread flour has the most protein AND it’s got a very fine texture. When your making cakes, you would want a flour that’s lower in protein.

Here’s the next question: What are the health benefits of chocolate? In milk and dark chocolate, it can give protection from disease-causing free radicals, potential cancer prevention (says the cocoa plants), improved heart health, good for overall cholesterol profile, better cognitive function, blood pressure\ blood sugar aid, and a SUPERFOOD!!! (which not much of this matters when people are adding piles of sugar on top!)

Next: What are the types of chocolate? SO MANY!!! Unsweetened, bittersweet, semisweet, milk, dark, sweet baking, unsweetened cocoa, white, pre-melted, candy coating, mexican (my personal fav!) and so much more!

Ever wonder why we crave chocolate? We learned about that in DEATH BY CHOCOLATE! an earlier post. Check it out here.

And finally: If you were optimizing the brownie recipe, what things would you examine? We decided the short answer is the type of flour, the amout of chocolate and the quantity of eggs.

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We loved baking these little treats! They were cakey and delicious, but too airy for us to call them brownies. This is where the optimization of ingredients begins. Today, we will alter the contents and see if we can create the perfect brownie for us! To be clear, nothing wrong with chocolate cake, but we were striving for a true brownie. :0)

Pots and Pizza…

It was raku day again at Jeff’s studio. The sun had finally come out after what seemed like a week of solid, steady rain. No better time to eat! Just before the pots were removed from the kiln, we began making PIZZAS! Street taco sized tortillas, sauce and cheese, we placed them into the kiln once the pots were removed, for a late morning snack. Minutes later, the bottoms were crisp, the cheese melted and our treats ready to eat. We let them cool while we checked on the pottery pieces, now covered in sawdust. 3 cheers were given by potters and just like that, they were gone!

Oh, the things you can do with a kiln! :0)

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Candy Crystals!

At the end of last week, we went to the annual Tulip City Gem and Mineral Show in Holland, Michigan. During the week we reviewed the rock cycle (check out our fun experiment we posted last year on this here), types of rocks and also crystals.

We then headed to the kitchen to make our very own.,, This is the recipe we used. It was for beach glass candy, but we didn’t round the edges on ours. Super fun and oh! VERY delicious!!! We flavored ours with vanilla in the pink and peppermint in the blue. Very refreshing!

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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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