Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wonder Box for Black-Eye Peas

First a little bit of a disclaimer. These Black eye peas have been stored since about 1988. Pinto beans that old would be very difficult to cook soft. These took longer than normal, but did get soft and yummy. So far the wonder box has been a fun experience just learning what it will or will not do.

Pick through and rinse the peas the same way that you would pinto beans. If you aren't sure what I mean, click HERE. All dried beans and peas should be picked over this way. I put 2 c. of black eye peas and 4-5 cups of water in each pan or cooker. Salt to taste (I used 1/2 t. for low salt).

1. Pan on top of stove: Cover and boil for 15 minutes, then place in the wonder box. The temperature was 204 degrees, but dropped to 194 within 30 minutes. 2. The wire you see coming from under the lid was a remote thermometer to track the drop in temperature. Since the lid was not down tight, it did lose some heat, even though it was covered immediately with the wonder box top pillow. I left them cooking for 7 hours. 3. I just covered the crock pot, placed a folded towel over the top and cooked for about 7 hours.

1. This first pot of black eye peas were cooked in the Wonder Box. I had to cook them on the top of the stove for about 30 more minutes to finish them up. 2. The black eye peas in the small crock pot were just right. 3. These are my favorites for dressing up the black eye peas. The liquid smoke is a quick cheap way to kind of give the flavor of bacon. Use a little at a time, too much can really louse up your food! The Frank's hot sauce is more peppery without being so HOT like Tabasco is. The bacon bits is . . . well bacon . . . and of course everything is better with bacon! Right? Oh, and don't forget the cornbread! The little gadget in the front of the picture is the remote thermometer that I used to track the temperature. I find it to be really handy to have in the kitchen and out at the BBQ.

Celery Salad from Bountiful Baskets

I am determined to not waste anything fomr my BB (Bountiful Baskets)! If we don't use it all, we are not saving as much as possible. It has become quiter a fun game for me. So here is one of the salads that I am making today. Later, I will adding a couple more cucumber salads.

Sorry that there aren't more pictures. While Gabriel was here, I put black-eyed peas in the wonder box and small crock pot, then started the salads. In the middle of it all, Stephen brought Lincoln and picked up Gabriel. Poor little Lincoln got hungry and fussy. Since I get to be the ogre who is teaching him to take a bottle when mommy isn't here, things got a little hairy around here!! Just don't seem to be as good at multi-tasking as I used to be.

CELERY SALAD ----Really wonderful light salad for the hot summer weather . . . love it!

  • 1 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 1/2 T. fat free mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 T. plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans
  • 2 t. lemon juice
  • 1/8 t. salt

Look below to see how what I put in the salad. Notice anything interesting? There is an extra bowl of something that looks suspiciously like peeled, seeded, chopped cucumber. I was trying to make a couple of salads and got the stuff mixed up!

I had put it in before I realized what I had done. It just makes the salad a little lighter flavored and juicier.

This would also be really tasty using craisins instead of dried cherries. I think I will add left over chicken, diced, so that it will be a complete meal in one dish. ;-) not that I am lazy or anything like that!

This is an article that I posted in February and then promptly destroyed my blog site! My daughters could use these tips so I will be adding them over the next few days. Do I have the cutest little mother-in-law or what. The picture is my oldest daughter, Mariah, and Grandma Jeanne at a family reunion celebrating Grandma's 80th birthday. We should all look so good, huh?
The Secrets of Powdered Milk

It's finally time to start sharing some of my favorites using powdered milk. As I have told many who have asked, "Powdered milk is not just for gagging on"!

Let's start with a little secret my cute little mother-in-law taught me a long time ago. I was about to make some glaze for some really yummy, drippy cinnamin rolls. She made them better. She had me heat the milk, very warm but not scald before I mixed the powdered sugar with it. I couldn't believe the difference! It no longer had a "raw" taste. I didn't even know it had a raw taste! that got me thinking and so I did some hunting around and found this great little article on the internet I'd like to share with you. These tips really make a difference. Give it a thorough read, you'll learn a lot of whys even if you knew what to do!

Scalding Milk
Q: I have heard that it isn't really necessary to scald milk, even though the recipe may tell you to. Is this right?
Milk is scalded by heating it to 180°F (82°C). Visually, at sea level, this is the point at which tiny bubbles begin to form. Because water boils at a lower temperature at higher altitudes, this visual clue may be inaccurate (see High Altitude Cooking).
Scalding serves three purposes: it kills harmful bacteria that may spoil the food being prepared, it destroys enzymes that may affect the way the milk performs in the recipe, and it raises the temperature of the milk to speed up results. With modern pasteurization, the bacteria and enzymes are already destroyed, so scalding is no longer necessary to accomplish those goals, although heating the milk may help to encourage the growth of yeast in breads, to better dissolve other ingredients, or to promote desirable bacteria growth for recipes such as making yogurt.
In the case of raising the temperature to speed results, the milk only needs to be heated to the optimal temperature, not necessary all the way to a scald. Temperatures might be in the range of 110°F (43°C) for making bread or yogurt. Always check the recipe to be sure.
The one exception to note is that, according to Shirley O. Corriher in her book Cookwise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking, there may be some evidence that certain proteins in milk may affect the rise of breads. For this reason, she continues to scald milk used in bread baking, as a precaution.
Of course, if you are using raw, unpasteurized milk, then you need to scald it since the bacteria and enzymes have not been destroyed through pasteurization.
Addendum: Thanks to Alton Brown in his recently aired Good Eats episode "Churn Baby Churn 2" for reminding me that there is a fourth purpose in scalding milk, that being that heat increases the amount of flavor that is extracted from some ingredients, such as vanilla beans, for those recipes where other ingredients may be added to the milk while it is being heated.

Your article wrongly states that " With modern pasteurization, the bacteria and enzymes are already destroyed, ......". Pasteurization only reduces the amount of bacteria and enzymes to acceptable level.
Posted by: Nishant Mar 12, 2007 at 10:18 AM
Scalding the milk gives a certain good flavor to some recipes. Recipes for vanilla ice cream and custard and many other things. Check it out. My grandmother used to make ice cream to die for. I could not seem to duplicate it using her recipe. The difference turned out to be the scalded milk she used.
Posted by: Julia Jones Jul 12, 2008 at 01:30 PM