Back home again after my holiday trip 01/05/2012

First I spent a month baking cookies and preparing other goodies and then I packed up and drove north to visit my daughter and her family.
Along with me went sufficient cookies to supply hungry folks for a while, hopefully!
I took my Thermomix along to show how it can cook as well as operate like a food processor and blender, plus weighing the ingredients for various recipes.
I made a batch of butter, a batch of peanut butter and also risotto for one dinner.
There was no time to do more as my daughter took me to many interesting restaurants in her area as well as one in San Francisco.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable trip and although I managed to come down with a cold on my last day there, I really can’t complain about any part of it.
Now I’m home, after retrieving my basenji from my best friend, who cared for him while I was away.
My kitchen and pantry are in serious need of reorganizing after my extended baking efforts of last month. Mainly putting things back in their regular sites so I can find them again when needed.
Welcoming a new year – they seem to roll around so much faster – with everything in my kitchen organized, is important to me.
One of my resolutions for this year is to keep this blog more up to date and not allow distractions to delay postings about my activities, especially in the kitchen.

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4 Responses to Back home again after my holiday trip 01/05/2012

  1. Danna says:

    Welcome home AND to your blog. I follow your link from my site (every once in a while) to see what you are up to, and I’m glad to see you are back to posting! Your scrambled eggs look delicious, but you posting again is even better!

    • asenjigal says:

      Thanks so much for visiting my blog and commenting. I am rather prejudiced but I think my version of scrambled eggs is better than most. A biochemist friend tells me that the caseins in the cream and the egg yolks combine to create a tender web that supports the other components without making them tough – as happens in scrambled eggs without the cream.
      That all gets a bit technical for me but I do know it works.

  2. Craig Lanese says:

    Hello there,

    I noticed you made a batch of peanut butter for your trip, but cannot find any info on how you do it. I am not a cook, but am most interested in making my own PB. Last year my wife bought some Smuckers organic crunchy PB. At first I wasn’t thrilled with it (and hated the mixing in a jar with no extra room), but now I can’t stand the taste of “regular” PB.

    The motivation for making my own comes from the current worldwide shortage of peanuts as a result of drought. High cotton prices have also resulted in former peanut acreage now growing cotton. Available peanuts are going to the mass market Jiff and Skippy type products, not to the much smaller market for organic/natural products. My beloved Smuckers organic crunchy has been discontinued until further notice. I will be able to buy some time by adding chopped peanuts to their organic creamy style, but the folks at Smuckers tell me that may soon be discontinued also.

    While researching peanut butter machines I came across a post from you on egullet talking about using the old Universal grinders with a nut butter blade. This caught my interest as it seems the only electric devices suitable for the task are quite expensive. I see quite a few of the old manual machines on ebay, but would dearly love to be more informed as to the best choices for PB. Any information/advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Craig Lanese

    • asenjigal says:

      Hi Craig,

      If you have a food processor, you can use it to make peanut (or any other nut butter). You just have to scrape down the sides and process it until it reaches the consistency you like and if you like chunky, add some more and pulse until the added nuts are broken down to the size you prefer.

      I don’t know where you are located but I buy shelled peanuts, with the skins, at a local middle eastern store. They have better prices and a fast turnover so the nuts are always fresh. Indian markets also are a good bet. Prices have gone up but the supply has been steady, I just bought five pounds last month.

      The trick is to use raw peanuts and roast them to the degree you want – I prefer them roasted just to the point that they are ready to scorch because I prefer that flavor. I add a small amount of salt about 1/4 teaspoon per cup of peanuts, while grinding them.

      You can use any meat grinder, like I pictured in the eGullet post, but none of the newer ones have the “nut-butter” attachment.
      If you like chunky style, nut butter, it will work fine for you.

      The old “universal” grinders with the nut butter discs do show up on eBay from time to time.

      I stopped buying nut butters a few years ago – I used to like Trader Joes but with the salmonella recall, I’m glad I’ve avoided it.

      I hope this helps.

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