X’s Scalloped Potatoes

So easy.

potatoes 2 lbs evenly thinly sliced

chopped onion about 1/2 C

milk 1 1/2 C

flour 1/4 C

cubed ham 1/2 C

cheddar cheese 1 C

bacon 6 slices cooked crumbled (optional)

layer taters in greased casserole

then sprinkle 1 T chopped onion

then sprinkle 2 T cheese

then sprinkle 1 T flour

repeat layers and top with ham cubes

Cover and bake at 375° for 60-70 minutes

I added a little buttermilk to the milk and heated it before adding it to the potatoes.

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Southern Lady’s Cobbler

X has made this recipe several times, and it is a favorite of Mrs X.

The Southern Lady has made it clear that her stuff is copywrited so X wants no trouble with that type of infringement.

Iron Skillet Pineapple Cobbler

http://thesouthernladycooks.com/2015/07/29/iron-skillet-pineapple-cobbler/

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Sirloin Tips and Mushrooms

This recipe is very close to beef stroganoff; just substitute sour cream for the whipping cream.

I usually make a double batch

1 1/4 pounds sirloin cut into 1/2″ cubes

3 T butter

1 T veg oil

1 clove garlic, minced or pressed

3/4 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced

1/3 C beef broth or water

1/3 C dry red wine

1 1/2 t soy sauce

2 t dijon style mustard

1 t cornstarch

1/2 C whipping cream

Brown the meat in 2 T of the butter and oil and the garlic. When done, remove to covered casserole in preheated 275° oven.

With remaining butter, cook mushrooms until soft. Add to meat and cook for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, add broth, wine, and soy sauce to pan. Stir up brownings until reduced to a glaze. Blend the mustard, cornstarch and cream and add to pan. Boil until thick and smooth. blend with meat until heated through.

Serve with egg noodles

I add cornstarch as needed to make thick sauce.

I normally use an entire blue container of mushroom per 1 1/2 pound of sirloin.

If the meat is cooked longer, it will be more tender. A different cut of meat will require longer cooking time.

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Carrot Cake

Don’t let the ‘carrot’ deter you from this delicious cake and frosting. X has had no fewer than two marriage proposals from this recipe.

3 C grated carrots

1 1/2 C veg oil

2 C sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp soda

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

2 C flour

1 C chopped pecans (if desired)

I have used baby carrots, but they are a lot of grating unless you have a food processor (I don’t have one).

Mix oil and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time and blend well. Add soda, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Add grated carrots. Blend in flour and nuts.

Preheat oven to 350°.

In greased and floured pan, bake 35-45 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Frosting

1 8 oz cream cheese softened

1 stick butter softened

4 C powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Blend cream cheese and butter well. Add vanilla. Blend in powdered sugar until all is dissolved.

Spread over cake when completely cooled. 

This frosting will allow you to have 1/2″ thick frosting. Not for diabetics or dieters.

Refrigerate and frosting will set better.

Freezes well if you cut it and wrap in plastic then foil.

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Powdered Sugar Icing

2 cups powdered sugar

3 Tablespoons milk

1 Tablespoon white corn syrup

1 Tablespoon melted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix well. I use a butter knife to mix and a Pyrex 2 Cup pitcher.  You may need to add a little more powdered sugar. You want the consistency so that it does not run off your knife. If it does, it will run off your cookie too.

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Jubilee Jumbles

This isn’t really a Christmas cookie but many recipients of said cookie appreciate them as gifts. From Betty Crocker.

Cream

1 1/2 C brown sugar

1/2 C shortening

1 C dairy sour cream

then mix

2 eggs

then mix

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

mix

2 1/4 C flour

blend well then fold in 1 12 oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 1 1/3 C)

spoonfuls onto cookie sheet

bake at 375° for 9-9 1/2 minutes

Cool on newspaper.

Frost with powdered sugar icing.

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Oven Fries

You will need a preheated 400° oven.

I use a sheet pan for my fries.

I used 4 Russet potatoes this round. Peel and cut into finger sized chunks.

In a mixing bowl, put a couple tablespoons of olive oil, a tsp of chili powder, and your taters.

Toss the taters around until they are coated.

What spices you use are up to you. I often use basil.

Place your slices on the sheet pan and lightly sprinkle coarse salt on them.

Bake 20 minutes, then turn repeat salt sprinkle.

You can also use sweet potatoes.

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You might consider spraying the sheet with oil as these stuck. They were good though.

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X’s Guacamole

Guacamole is another side that is personal and everyone has their own recipe.

This is mine

avocados, how many depends on how much you want to end up with. I got these at Sam’s, six of them for 3 bucks. Helluva deal.

X’s pico de gallo about half a cup or a chopped tomato

fresh squeezed lime juice, at least one teaspoon

a dab of Miracle Whip if desired

salt to taste

I use a pastry blender to mash up the avocados coarsely, add lime juice, and fold in pico or tomato. My wife likes garlic salt on hers so I made her own batch. I leave it a little chunky.

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And now, I will divulge the secret to keep your guacamole from turning brown prematurely.

It is not the pits. Do not put the avocado pits in your guacamole. They will not make one bit of difference in keeping your guacamole green.

The secret is covering your guacamole with plastic wrap, pushing the plastic wrap against the guacamole, keeping oxygen away from it. All the way around. Bleed out as much air as you can.

Oxygen is the enemy of guacamole.

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Snowballs

These are favorites of my wife, and since she’s bringing home the bacon, I’ll make the effort and bake these for her.

1 Cup softened butter (2 sticks)

2 1/4 C AP flour

1/2 C powdered sugar

1/2 C chopped walnuts

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

powdered sugar for rolling/coating

Cream together the butter, 1/2 C powdered sugar, and salt until well blended. Add vanilla and blend. Add flour slowly and incorporate well. Add nuts. (Notice, no leavening ingredients.)

Chill for two hours. I only chilled for one hour and the dough was not quite hardened in the center. Still, I went for it.

Preheat oven to 400°. Bake 8-10 minutes until set, but not browned.

Remove and roll in powdered sugar while still warm and store in Ziploc with powdered sugar until consumed.

Notes:

Using a dark cookie sheet will cause premature browning on bottoms. You may have to just put one tray on top rack and bake, checking at the eight minute mark or slightly before.

I used aluminum half sheets. You can get them at Sam’s; a pair for ten bucks.

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This batch made 30 snowballs. Many of these were about the size of walnuts; maybe larger.

I had 25 on one tray, I baked it for 10 minutes. They were just starting to brown.

The other had 5 or 6, I baked it for nine minutes.

From here they cool and into the Ziploc.

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X’s Standard Kitchen Rules/Laws…or they should be

One rule that we all know but don’t follow is to be sure all your ingredients are at room temperature before mixing; especially eggs and milk. The exception to this would be biscuits. You can put your eggs in a bowl of hot tap water for a few minutes to speed up the acclimation.

In my experience, a couple sets of Pyrex measuring cups are invaluable in the kitchen. A 4 Cup, a 2 Cup, and a 1 Cup are usually sold in a set. I have three sets.

A Kitchen Aid stand mixer is a must. I have certainly been down the road the hard way and made yeast bread and rolls by hand. It’s a lot of work and takes more time. The stand mixer is a great investment.

Whenever you make cookies and some breads and cakes, always cream your fat with your sugar first.

If a recipe ever calls for nutmeg, you will get much more pronounced aroma and flavor by using a whole nutmeg and grinding the needed amount from the nut. I have a tool that is a zester that works well for that.

A whole nutmeg. Use a zester over a paper plate if you’re measuring, or hold over your French toast dipping mixture, or over your holiday egg nog.

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One can make sour milk as an almost buttermilk substitute by adding 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar to 1 C whole milk. Let it stand for ten minutes.

Baking cookies: divide the time in half. Put your tray on the bottom rack and start timer. When it goes off, put that tray on top rack and next tray on bottom and so on until all trays are done.

Plan, plan, plan ahead. If you need softened butter,  plan ahead. Melted is not softened.

Crisco sticks are handier than scooping and measuring shortening out of a can.

 

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Christmas Cookies

I have used this sugar cookie recipe for Christmas cut outs since the eighties.

Cream together

2 C sugar

1 C butter, softened

then

add 2 eggs and blend

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 1/4 tsp vanilla

blend

3 1/2 C flour

Blend well.

At this point, the dough can be chilled. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.

Roll out dough on floured cheesecloth into a uniform thickness; 1/4 inch works well for me. I use a 1/4 inch wooden dowel on either side of my dough with a rolling pin to keep the dough to 1/4 inch thickness.

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I was unable to use my giant rolling pin as the cookie dough stuck to it, so I used my smaller one with a cheesecloth sleeve. Excellent.

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Flour your cutters and cut the cookies and place on cookie sheet.

Save your leftover dough and reintegrate and use again. I keep rolling and cutting until it’s gone.

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Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes.

Cool on newspaper.

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Powdered Sugar Icing

2 cups powdered sugar

3 Tablespoons milk

1 Tablespoon white corn syrup

1 Tablespoon melted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix well. You may need to add a little more powdered sugar. You want the consistency so that it does not run off your knife. If it does, it will run off your cookie too.

Spread cookies and sprinkle with decoration. This frosting is soft enough that you can sprinkle right from the can/bottle/jar. You can also put sprinkles on paper plates and invert your cookie and press.

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I put them in the fridge on a cookie sheet to help the frosting set a little. If you don’t the frosting will stick to anything it touches.

You can use this recipe without frosting and sprinkles. Avoid rolling and cutting too by rolling into balls, dip tops in sugar, place on cookie sheet and flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass. Bake same way.

 

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Cranberry Bread

This bread is very good. It’s difficult to make. Freezing the cranberries makes it a little easier to deal with them.

1 C cranberries, grated or processed

1 1/4 C sugar

3 C flour

4 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

3 T fresh grated orange rind

1 C milk

3 T butter, melted

1 egg

1/2 C chopped walnuts or pecans

The original recipe calls to grate the cranberries which I did for several years until I got a small food processor. If you grate them, you will freeze your finger into numbness. Could grate them fresh as well…still hard on fingertips. Sigh. Seems like all us cooks do is sacrifice.

Pour 1/4 C of the sugar into the cranberries and set aside. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt orange rind, and 1 C sugar together. Mix in your butter, egg, and milk. Fold in nuts. Batter will be thick.

Pour into greased loaf pan and bake at 350° for one hour. Allow to cool slightly and tightly wrap in foil. Store for at least one day before serving to allow flavors to permeate.

 

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Chilly Today, Hot Tamale

Tamales are by far one of the most labor intensive mexican foods, yet all our hard work is forgotten when we start eating them. They are absolutely delicious with so many varieties, who could resist?

This round, I have decided to intentionally divvy up the workload into two days.

Day 1 will be filling(s) and Day 2 will be masa and assembly.

Filling(s)? you may ask?

Yes, pork, beef, chicken, bean, cream cheese, other cheeses, tomatillo salsa, red sauce, and others I do not know about.

Day 1

Pork

I have 3 four pound pork sirloin roasts that I got for a buck a pound; bone in. Spend the extra .27 per pound and buy boneless.

I am only cooking two for this round, and that is a lot of pork.

There are many ways to cook, and I’d had my druthers, I’d druther use the Dutch oven on the stovetop but my 7 quart Dutch oven is too small, so I went with a crockpot. This will cook on high for four hours.

Also it can be roasted. If you get the boneless, put a nice coating of rub on the outside from black pepper, seasoned salt, garlic powder, cumin, chili power and sear it good in your cast iron before you cook it. 350° for four hours. Same in Dutch oven. Be sure to add water covering the roast half way as you want to save the juice to add to your masa later.

To your water, I put in a whole onion, a serrano pepper, a couple bay leaves.

Red sauce

I am making red sauce this round as well. We will use the red sauce to add another layer of flavor to our pork (when it’s done) and our masa.

I bought some bulk dried peppers; about a pound. Using scissors and a sharp knife, I cut the tops off, and opened the peppers up to remove all the seeds. I tossed the pepper into a large pot on the stove with hot water to rehydrate the peppers. When the last pepper is in the hot water, I let them steep for 30 minutes.

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Remove from water (save water) and let them drain a bit. Food process them with a little pepper water. You may add 1 1/2 tsp salt, a little cumin at this time.

Pour into sieve and strain out the chunky skins. You may push the peppers through the sieve to speed up the straining process. The skins will be left behind.

If you have lots of time, you can take the peppers out of the water, lay them on your cutting board skin side down, and scrape the meaty pepper off and save it. It’s harder than you think.

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I tried first the food processor route (I had not done this route before). One must add lots of pepper water to the processor so as to have the pepper frappé with enough moisture to push it through the sieve. I had to force it through the sieve. I next tried the “scrape it off” method. The problem with that is that when scraping, I got a lot of skin with it so I had to run it through the sieve anyway. A food mill would probably be a little more efficient. The end result yielded about a cup and a half. Worth it? Jury is still out on that one.

Cover and refrigerate sauce and pepper water.

Tomatillo Salsa (salsa verde)

Yet another layer of flavor is the green sauce. I had a little over a pound of tomatillos. Remove the husks and wash them. Half them and put onto baking sheet with an onion and serrano pepper. Put under the broiler (high temp) until the tomatillo skins get blackened. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

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Put all into food processor (juices too) with 1 tsp salt and a little cumin and garlic powder. Cover and refrigerate.

Tamale Day

Start by grabbing a huge handful of husks and soaking them in a potful of hot water for at least thirty minutes to soften them.

I heated the pepper juice, pork juice, red sauce, and  half of the shredded pork. I added a tsp salt and cumin to the pork as well as half the red sauce. I added some pepper  juice also to rehydrate the pork. Not runny wet, but moistened.

Meanwhile, I am mixing the masa. 6 cups of the Maseca, 1 1/2 tablespoon baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp salt, hand full of dried parsley, 1 C of the green sauce, 1 C of the pepper juice, 1 C melted lard, and about 4 cups water (need 8 cups liquid not counting the lard). Mix until the consistency of that of soft butter because you want to spread this on your husks.

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Remove husks from hot water and drain. Then you must dry them before you spread on your masa. Set your assembly line with husks (I dry a dozen or to at a time), spread on your masa, put a liberal amount of filling, bring the two sides together so the masa on each side touches the other, then wrap the husk around then fold up on the open side from bottom. I tied these with some strips of husk. I’ve had problems with them opening up inside the steamer.

That tray is about three dozen. That was half the pork. Next, I did the other half. (My aching back.)

Steamed them for an hour and a half. I think that is a little much. An hour would have been enough as some of the tamales cooked to the husk and were difficult to remove from said husk.

Six dozen tamales, give or take from this round. I am done in. There is still masa left over. I thought about (very briefly) make some bean tamales, or some cream cheese but decided against it. I was at this for six hours today, and I still have dishes to do.

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Chocolate Walnut Dollars

Great gramma’s recipe

blend

1/2 C shortening or softened butter

1 C sugar

add 1 egg, blend

2 Tablespoons milk

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted

blend

1 tsp baking powder

1 t cinnamon

1 t vanilla

blend

2 1/4 C flour

blend well

add 1/2 C chopped walnuts or pecans

Blend well.

Form into two balls then into rolls about 12 inches long.

Place in wax paper and chill for at least two hours.

When firm, cut into 1/4 inch discs and bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

I melted the chocolate in my mixing bowl first, then added the butter and sugar.

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The dough is very dry. I used my hands to mix the last bit of flour and walnuts. It will try to crumble when you make the rolls. Patience.

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Cinnamon Rolls

This recipe is not a task for the faint of heart. The reward is beyond measure, and it is some considerable work. It will take you minimum three hours, and that is if all goes well.

Ingredients

7-8 C flour, I used bread flour but AP works fine

2 pkg dry yeast or 2 1/2 tsp dry yeast

2 C hot water or milk or mixture

3/4 C warm water

1/2 C oil or melted butter

2 eggs beaten

1  tsp salt

1 Tablespoon sugar

cinnamon

brown sugar

extra butter

dental floss

Phase I: Making the dough

To 3/4 warm water dissolve 1 Tablespoon sugar, and add yeast. Set aside.

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Heat the 2 C water or milk and pour into mixing bowl. Add 2 C sugar, butter/oil beaten eggs and salt. Start your mixer on speed 2. I used a dough hook. You may also add 2 C of flour now.

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When your yeast is pretty foamy, add it to batter.

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Add remaining flour 1 C at at time until it forms a loose bowl; this should take 7 cups +-.

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Pour dough out onto floured board or counter top.

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Knead  dough for 5 minutes by hand adding flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to counter.

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I bring a flap of dough over the top and push it into the dough ball with the heel of my hand. Rotate 90 degrees, and repeat for 5 minutes.

Then form dough into ball so that no dry flour remains.

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Place in greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap sprayed on inside surface with non stick spray (just in case). Place in warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. (I use the oven. I turn it on for 2 minutes, then shut it off before the dough goes in…just to heat it a little.)

Phase II: making the rolls.

When your dough has doubled, it’s time now to form our rolls

Punch down your dough, and turn it out onto the greased counter.

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I use Crisco and grease my counter top in the shape of a  huge rectangle approximately 30″ x 24″. Pour out your dough and roll it to fit the rectangle with even thickness as much as possible.

Take your melted butter and spread over dough.

Sprinkle dough with cinnamon. Don’t get carried away. Cinnamon is strong stuff and it can cause indigestion.

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Sprinkle dough with brown sugar. I use my fist and crumble the brown sugar out the bottom. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

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Beginning at the side closest to you, begin rolling the dough towards the other side. Just move back and forth along the dough as you go. When you reach the other side, pinch the edge to the dough, sealing it.

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You should have at least 2 greased cake pans ready.

Using waxed dental floss, slide the floss under the dough to the desired thickness of the roll; about 3/4″ is plenty.

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Bring the floss ends across and pull them through the dough. Place your roll into the cake pans until you have cut them all.

Cover, place in warm place for an hour. (This batch took an hour plus twenty).

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Phase III: baking

Removed your rolls from the oven (if you used it to let them rise) and preheat the oven to 350°. Keep rolls covered until oven is ready. Remove plastic wrap carefully because the rolls can collapse if handled roughly.

Bake 18-22 minutes.

Brush tops with softened butter.

I turn mine out onto cookie sheets upside down to cool.

I usually get around thirty rolls, depending how thick you cut them.

Ready to go in.

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I didn’t get a pic of the finished rolls.

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Peanut Clusters

A double boiler is very helpful with this.

You will need

roasted peanuts about 4 cups (other recipes call for Spanish peanuts. They have skins that come off while stirring…still tastes good)

almond bark or vanilla chips about a  pound

semi-sweet chocolate chips or bars

peanut butter

You can add paraffin too so they won’t melt in your hand…as fast. About half a slab should do.

Melt chocolate. Add peanut butter. Add peanuts. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper. Let cool.

This batch I used the leftover chocolate from the dipped ginger snaps and the bonbons with about 1/4 C peanut butter.

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Chocolate Bonbons

A double boiler makes this work much better. Don’t have one? Use a 4 qt saucepan with boiling water, and a metal bowl that fits on top.

Blend together

1 can condensed milk

1 stick softened butter

then

1 1/2 C powdered sugar

then

8 oz package of coconut

then

4 Cups finely chopped pecans

chill for two or three hours.

Form into balls about the size of walnuts, chill again.

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I rolled these a little big. There were 58 of them.

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Meanwhile, in double boiler melt 2 packages semi-sweet chocolate chips. Also melt about 1/2 slab of paraffin.

This is 12 oz of chocolate chips, 1/2 slab of paraffin, and a 1 oz chunk of almond bark. We will tip the boiler and dip in the deep end to completely coat our candies.

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When all is melted, using a toothpick or other suitable tool, dip bonbons into chocolate and place on non-stick cookie sheet to cool. Keep refrigerated. I used a half sheet with wax paper. My notes on the recipe say that wax paper is best.

I added another cup of chocolate chips to a total of 3 cups; maybe a little more, and I added the other half slab of paraffin…see note.

Note: This batch of chocolate dip was a virgin batch; meaning that it  was made from scratch. Normally, I use the chunk leftover from my previous use of the double boiler as the chocolate will keep almost indefinitely. Next time, I will use the leftover from this, and add more chocolate but not near as much paraffin. Make sense? The chocolate was way too thick before I added the extra paraffin.

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Keep several toothpicks about.

Dip quickly as the bonbons get warmer, they don’t twirl with the toothpick. Perhaps the flat toothpicks work better. I use another toothpick to push the bonbons off the toothpick onto the wax paper.

Makes about 100 if you roll them small enough.

They must be kept refrigerated as they will get very mushy if allowed to get to room temp.

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Pumpkin Bread

Tastes like pumpkin pie.

blend

3 C sugar

2/3 C oil

1 can pumpkin pie filling

2 eggs and blend

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

(a whole nutmeg)

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1 tsp allspice

blend

2/3 C water

3 1/3 C flour

2/3 C walnuts or pecans

2/3 C raisins (if desired)

bake at 350° for one hour.

Makes two large loaves. Can use smaller pans. Bread freezes well.

This batch I used 4 small pans.

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If you go with smaller pans, start checking for doneness at 50 minutes. Use a butter knife, not a toothpick.

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Wrap in foil while still warm. Freezes well.

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X’s Ginger Snaps

Historically, ginger snaps are a hard cookie; hence the term snaps attached to the name. This recipe is a soft ginger cookie. Using oil instead of shortening makes the difference.

The recipe is for dipped cookie into a melted vanilla bark. Delicious.

Cream together

2 C sugar and

1 1/2 vegetable oil

then

add 2 eggs and blend

1/2 C molasses and blend

4 tsp baking soda

1 Tablespoon ground ginger

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt and blend

4 C flour and mix well

Roll spoonfuls into walnut sized balls, dip tops in sugar, and place onto a cookie sheet, and bake in a 350° preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.

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Cool on newspaper.

makes 50 or so. This made 58.

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If you dip…

In a double boiler, melt 2 12 oz pkg of vanilla chips, or vanilla bark with some paraffin  (for hardening).

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Dip cookies halfway and place on wax paper to set.

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X’s Chex Party Mix

 

X’s official Party Mix Recipe

Preheat oven to 250°

Put large roaster pan in oven.

12 Tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 Tablespoon Tabasco sauce

3 tsp seasoned salt (I use McCormick)

9C Corn Chex keeping separate from Rice Chex

9C Rice Chex

2.5 – 3 C Planter’s Deluxe Mixed Nuts

Melt butter in 2C Pyrex measuring cup.

Add salt, Tabasco and Worcestershire.

I used 8 C Rice and 8 C Corn and 2 C Wheat

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When oven is preheated, remove pan and pour in butter mixture. Be sure to scrape out all salt from Pyrex as well.

Add Corn Chex first. Lift one side of roaster high enough so if you scoop the Chex up to the high side, they slide back. Let them touch the butter mixture. Do this  until pieces are coated well.

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Use your spatula, scoop from bottom and dump on top. It will slide down; trust me.

Add Rice Chex and coat well.

Add nuts and coat well.

Bake in oven for one hour, stirring every fifteen minutes.

Pour on newspaper to cool and drain.

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This stuff freezes well.

I use Ziploc bags. Makes great gifts…if you don’t eat it yourself.

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X’s Apple Pie II

Somewhere out there I posted another apple pie recipe. This one is better.

The wife bought an apple slicer/corer for me, and I have used it a couple of times. The slices are too fat for pie so I cut them half-way down the center. The chunks are still pretty fat.

For a 10″ pie, I used 7 apples; pretty large I guess. I peeled them first, then used the slicer, then halved them.

I used a mix of Granny Smith, Macintosh, Fuji, Jonagold, Honeycrisp, and Gala apples.

Put them into a large bowl, and add 1/4 C sugar. Coat well. Put sliced apples in colander and let sit over bowl for 1 1/2 hours. Save juice.

Meanwhile, prepare crust. My crusts have to sit on counter for 20-30 minutes to become pliable.

Preheat oven to 425°.

Pour the juice into a small saucepan and heat it on low heat, and reduce by half.

Put apples back in bowl and add

1/4 C sugar

pinch/sprinkle salt

3 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons apple jelly (optional)

1 tablespoon apple cider or apple jack

1 tsp lime juice

I ground up 1/4 tsp grains of paradise and added that to mixture; coat apples well. Set aside and prepare crust.

Place apples in concentric circles in crust, slightly mounding over the top of the crust.

If any more juice accumulates, pour it into crust as well.
Put a few dollops of butter around apples.

Put top crust on and crimp/seal crusts together.

Brush rest of glaze on top of crust. Cut slits; at least 5, with a large center one.

Do the foil thing around the edge of the crust.

Bake  for 40-50 minutes. Remove foil for last ten minutes or so (will depend on your oven).

Crust will get very nicely brown.

It must cool four hours before slicing. Your patience will be rewarded. Plan ahead.

This recipe is from Good Eats episode American Classics II. Alton Brown used his own crust baked in a tart pan.

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Cranberry Jello Salad

1 can whole berry cranberry sauce

1 pkg (3 oz) raspberry jello…sugar free is ok

1 8 oz can crushed pineapple

1/4 C chopped celery

1/4 C pecan halves ( I use closer to 1/2 C)

Drain pineapple and save juice.

Add enough water to make 1 1/4C juice. Boil and dissolve Jello into juice.

Bust up cranberry sauce and add to Jello.

Cool until it thickens some, then add celery, pecans, and pineapple.

Mix well and chill for 3-4 hours.

Top with whipped cream.

Note:

It sets faster if the cranberry sauce and pineapple is chilled.

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X’s Pumpkin Pie

X does not do pie crust and is not ashamed to buy the Pillsbury crust in your grocer’s dairy case. A man’s got to know his limitations.

For a 10 inch pie

1 15 ounce can of pumpkin

1 bottom pie crust (you can use frozen too)

2  beaten eggs

3/4 C sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 12 ounce can evaporated milk

Preheat your oven to 425°. Mix ingredients in order listed.

Pour into prepared pie crust.

Put foil around the edge of  your pie to prevent crust over browning.

Put pie on cookie sheet and bake 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° and bake for 40-50 additional minutes.

My notes on this recipe are as follows:

Leave foil on entire time…

After reducing heat, bake for 47 minutes…(my oven).

Place on rack to cool.

This recipe is from the label on the can of pumpkin pie filling. It’s as good as any, I think

 

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Azacca Single Hop Pale Ale

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Well, there it is.

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A true beer kit. a 3.15 lb bottle of gold malt extract, a 3.15 lb bottle of pilsen malt extract, some select crushed grains with grain bag, 4 one ounce bags of Azacca pellet hops at 10% AAU (kinda steep for my liking but we’ll go with it), White Labs WLP007 Dry English Ale yeast,

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and a one pound bag of Breiss Pilsen DME. This beer will get most of its color from the grains as the malt extracts won’t influence it much.

The instructions are different for the way I normally do partial mash so I’ll follow what they say.

Put grains in grain bag, tie it off, and place into pot with 2.5 gallons of water, and raise the water temp to 170°. In a separate pot, I heated 2 qts of water to around 170°. When the grain pot hit 170°, I pulled out the bag out and set it in a colander over the pot, then rinsed (sparged) the grains with the other pot of hot water.

Grains in grain bag steeping with temp probe set to 170°.

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Bring to a boil, then remove from heat to add the gold extract syrup. You must remove it from the burner or you will burn the extract. I don’t care how good you think you are, remove it from heat and stir until the syrup is dissolved. No body is that good…not even..heh heh…me.

When you’re certain it’s dissolved, put it back on the burner and return to boil. At that time add 1/2 oz of the  hops.

Full boil

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hop addition at beginning

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After this, we do nothing to the beer until 45  min into the boil. At which time we will add the other 1/2 oz of hops, and the other bottle of extract syrup, and the one pound bag of pilsen dme (see? weird).

At 60 minutes, we add an entire oz of hops before beginning the cool down process. (I think those brew scientists at Northern Brewer may have been oversampling their wares when they thought up this one).

Now is the time to prepare for the cool down. Get the carboy ready (6 1/2 gallon). Get aireator, and check on ice supply.

I have put a gallon of bottled water into the freezer to aid in expediting the cooling off process.

I have also decided to put the beer in the carboy and move it to the spare room before topping off with the water. That sombitch is too heavy to carry across the house with a full batch. I will also aireate the beer in there before pitching yeast. Will also take gravity at that time.

All kidding and joking aside, this has been probably the most frustrating beer I have ever made. Everything was going smooth until I was straining the @!X$*& hop pellets. Guess what? My funnel strainer, which I have been using fifteen years, would not strain the hop pellets because they are ground too fine.

That’s great. Now I have 4.9 gallons with beer with the rest as hop sludge. Wait! There’s more! I have to add two more ounces in the secondary fermenter.

It’s gonna be hell to filter out those hops.

OG was 1.050.

I can only hope that someone from Northern Brewer reads this.

See you in a week or so when I rack to secondary.

I’m anxious to put this one behind me. The only consolation will be if the beer is any good.

One more thing; the yeast looks like paste; you remember the kind you used to eat in kindergarten?

I saw my yeast chunks floating in my beer when I gave it a shake and watched them go round and round.

I misplace my dual line aerator which kinda set me off on this ran. I cannot imagine where it is. It should have been with the aquarium stuff…not. That leaves, well the whole world because I have no idea. I did have a cheap Whisper 200 that barely works.

Well shit. Now time to clean up.

Update: next day

At least it’s fermenting

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Update: 11/20/15

The ferment has stopped so I racked the beer today to the other 2 ounces of pellet hops. The gravity was 1.012 which is excellent.

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Right on target.

The instructions say to let sit two weeks in secondary, then bottle. This method of putting hops in secondary is called ‘dry-hopping’. It will give the beer a stronger hop aroma.

12/5/2015 Bottling Day

This day we have been anticipating for two weeks now. As you recall, we racked our primary onto 2 ounces of pellet hops for two weeks and we call this ‘dry hopping’.

I’m sure I will have another name for it like “another way for X to discover new curse words” as I have indicated it will be difficult to filter out the pellet hop granules. We have a plan of course, but no backup.

First of all, we must calculate the number of bottles we need. 5 gallons of beer is 640 ounces.

I have 16 fifteen ounce flip top bottles which is 240 ounces which leaves us with 640-240=400 ounces. I am also going to fill 5 1 liter bottles at 33 ounces each which comes out to 165 ounces leaving us 400-165=235 ounces. I could use another 16 flip tops which would take up the rest of the beer. However, I do not have room in my fridge for 2 cases of 15 ounce flip tops. So perhaps 4 two liter bottles will do as I can give those away; some are destined to be shipped.

Will have to make that decision by bottling time.

A decision has been made. I went with the 4 two-liter bottles instead of the extra case.

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Note the sediment which is mostly hop pellets. Will use a hop bag on the end of the siphon to filter. Beyond that, the bottles will just have sludge in them.

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12/4/2015

I bottled today to 3/4 C corn sugar and 2 C water.

I thought I had a small hop bag…I don’t. So I did not filter the hops. I set the racking cane in the center of the bottom (the bottom is slightly convex in the center). The standoff on the end of the cane kept the bulk of the hops from getting into the siphon. It also cost about a liter of beer I had to leave behind…seems all I do is sacrifice.

I did not check gravity.

I bottled to 16 16 oz flip top bottles, 5 1 liter bottles, and 3 2 liter bottles: one only half full which will be my sample bottle.

The beer has a nice color. Now we’ll watch for the carbonation. I’ve been kinda snakebit in that department in recent brews, having only one batch that carbonated correctly (Blue Moon).

Update: 12/9/15

Snakebit no more. This stuff carbonated overnight (not quite). I put it all in the fridge this morning for sampling tonight. The plastic bottles were rock hard. Time to refrigerate.

Opinion:

I am not a connoisseur in anything, I just know what I  like.

This is good beer.

It is a hoppy beer as defined by a pale ale style.

Not a lot of hop nose, but definite hints of pine in the beer itself.

 

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Coming Soon: Another batch of beer

Azacca single hop pale ale. Have i already posted about this one? It seems familiar. Anyway, I was toying around with brewing a Holiday Ale and decided to do this kit instead. It sure looked good. Just under $60 with the White labs yeast and shipping.

I will probably brew this coming Monday as the beer is supposed to take six weeks before it’s ready. That would put it right after Christmas.

This will be very different from any beer I have brewed before; at leoast the technique will be, if I decide to follow it.

This brew uses cracked grains, no big deal.

It uses two types of extract syrup; 3.3 lbs each. One is called golden syrup, the other is pilsen malt syrup (shrug). The golden syrup is called to be added at the last fifteen minutes of the boil. WTF?

There are four ounces of pellet hops as well. The pain in the ass about pellet hops is that they are very fine and clog up the screen in the funnel. The recipe calls for 2 ounces of pellet hops in the secondary fermenter with no provision for ridding the beer of them say for “don’t pour the hop sludge into your mug when serving”. Not kidding.

If I’d have know this, I would not have purchased it.

The only way to sidestep the pellet hop issue is to use a hop bag in the secondary. It should contain most of the hops. Will do separate recipe post for the brew when I do it. Should be tomorrow, the 15th.

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Honey Wheat Bread

4 3/4-5 3/4 C all purpose flour

2 C whole wheat flour

2 pkg dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp)

1/3 C honey

1 C milk

1 C warm water

3 T butter

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 T salt

1 tsp sugar

Add 1 tsp sugar to warm water with yeast; stir and set aside.

Put butter in milk and heat for about 40 seconds in m/w until butter melts.

When yeast is proofed, add mixture to mixer bowl with milk. Add eggs and salt and honey.

Add 2 C whole wheat flour.

Add rest of AP flour until dough sticks to hook and cleans side of mixing bowl.

Knead for two minutes, and place dough into greased bowl. Let rise until doubled in size.

Place into greased loaf pans and let rise again until double.

Bake at 350° for 35-30 minutes.

Brush tops with butter when removed from oven.

Proof your yeast and your patience will be rewarded.

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X doesn’t mess around with piddly 5 lb bags of flour.

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I’ve had this for 30 years. Worth every penny. X used to do it by hand but he graduated to the Kitchenaid.

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Ready to rise

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Doubled

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I shaped the dough into three loaves…yes, that is a cast iron loaf pan

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Rum Cake

I got this out of a little pamphlet the local liquor store gave out many years ago. It’s still the best one I’ve used. Use a bundt pan for this. From Bacardi.

1 box yellow cake mix

1 3 3/4 oz Jell-O Vanilla instant pudding and pie filling

1 C chopped walnuts or pecans

4 eggs

1/2 C cold water

1/2 C oil

1/2 C dark rum

Glaze:

1 stick butter

1 C sugar

1/4 C water

1/2 C dark rum

Preheat oven to 325°.

Mix cake ingredients together and pour into greased and floured bundt pan. Bake for 60 minutes or until done.

Let cool completely and invert onto platter. Prick top  to allow glaze to penetrate. Drizzle glaze over top.

Glaze:

Melt butter in small saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Bring to boil and do so for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool before stirring in rum.

Note: be sure the Jell-O is Instant.

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Fresh Apple Cake

This recipe calls for the use of a bundt pan. If you don’t have one, go get one and don’t be cheap about it. I’ve had mine for thirty years. It’s worth it to get one that lasts. I haven’t tried other pans with this as the bundt is the way to go.

3 Cups chopped apples; peeled and cored

3 C AP flour

2 C sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

3 beaten eggs

1 1/2 C oil

1 C pecans

2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325°.

Mix flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Add oil. Add eggs. Add vanilla. Add apples. Add pecans.

Grease and flour bundt pan.

Add batter evenly to pan. Bake 80 minutes.

Glaze:

1/2 C butter, 1 C brown sugar, 1/2 C evaporated milk. Mix and bring to boil. Remove from heat and add 1 tsp vanilla.

When cake is cooled, remove and place on platter. Drizzle glaze over.

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Strawberry Bread

I was leery to make this as it was the first and only recipe for fresh fruit bread I have seen (except for my fresh apple cake).

2 C fresh sliced strawberries

3 1/8 C AP flour

2 C sugar + 1 tablespoon

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/4 C veg oil

4 eggs, beaten

1 C pecan halves

extra strawberries for topping

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour two standard loaf pans.

Place sliced strawberries in medium bowl. Sprinkle 1 T sugar over top; set aside.

Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda together. Add oil to eggs, then to dry ingredients. Add pecans. Mix but don’t overdo. Stir sliced strawberries, then fold into batter.

Pour into pans evenly, and bake for at least 45 minutes. I used the toothpick test for doneness.

Let it on cooling rack for 10 minutes before turning out to cool.

Notes:

This is very liquidy and mine took an hour and twenty minutes before they were done.

Remedies:

Use 1 C  softened butter instead of the oil

Substitute whole wheat flour for the AP flour.

Doing this will decrease baking time so start checking at 40 minutes.

It was delicious.

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Dutch Oven Chicken and Rice Casserole

5 bone-in chicken thighs; use what you have

oil

large onion chopped

1 1/2 C rice uncooked

3 C chicken broth

1 can cream mushroom soup

1 can cream chicken soup

1 large can mushrooms or use 1 1/2 C fresh chunky chopped

1 1/2 tsp thyme

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp season salt

pinch ground ginger

1/4 tsp garlic powder or a couple of minced cloves

Mix thyme, salt, pepper ginger, paprika, and garlic powder to coat chicken pieces.

Meanwhile, put soups, broth and canned mushrooms into separate saucepan and heat to boiling by the time Dutch oven goes into oven.

Heat oil (I used 1/4 C) in Dutch oven

Brown chicken pieces 4-5 minutes each side until all done. Then put chopped onion into oil for about a  minute.

I used a baster to remove excess oil. Add fresh mushrooms (if used).

At this time add rice, chicken, and pour soup  mixture over all.

Bake about 50 minutes at 350°.

This makes a very creamy rice mixture.

You can leave out the soups for a less creamy rice mixture without adjusting anything else.

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Blue Moon Clone

I am looking at making a clone of Blue Moon; a variation of a style called Belgian Wit.

Here’s the recipe and where I got it:

6.6 lbs light wheat extract (syrup)

1 lb Belgian candy sugar

1 lb two row brewers malt

1 lb white wheat malt

.75 lb flaked oats

1 oz Hallertauer leaf hops

3 oz dried sweet orange peel (last 10 minutes of boil) too much?

1.5 tsp fresh ground coriander

Wyeast 3942 yeast…a Belgian Wheat style yeast or Wyeast 3944, a Belgian Wit style yeast or White Labs WLP400 or Wyeast 1056 American Ale which is what I chose for this batch.

priming sugar

Here where I live, the room where I ferment my beers peaks at about 85 degrees during the day. It may get down to very high seventies at night, but I am concerned that I will end up with phenolic flavors if the temp is too high.

I am considering using a wheat lager yeast; Wyeast Bohemian Lager 2124. With that, I could just pop the fermenter in the garage fridge, and I wouldn’t even have to use my external temp controller. That fridge is a side-by-side, and wouldn’t affect the freezer at all.

I am still pondering, or just take my chances and go with American Ale yeast.

Still, even the ale yeasts I looked at recommend a max temp of 65 degrees. I could put it in a room closer to the a/c return, but it still won’t get below 75.

I have posed a question on the above link to the recipe source to see if a lager yeast would work. I will await what he suggests.

Ed Kraus, the gentleman that handles the Q & A on this site said that  lager yeast would be OK but the beer would not be as fruity. Good to know.

I went with the Wyeast 1056. It was very fresh, and made a strong starter. The OG was 1.058.

I used 2 oz of the sweet orange peel, and 1/4 oz of the bitter orange peel. I read that stuff is pretty potent, and didn’t want orange beer.

It’s been a while since I used extract syrup, so I still used a blowoff tube on the primary ferment…just in case.

I put the fermenting beer into our spare room which stays cooler; around 75° as it is closest to the a/c return.

The yeast smack pack

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Sterilizing the Erlenmeyer flask

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Liquid wheat malt extract…7 lbs..looks like honey

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A couple pics of stages in the yeast starter progress

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Rockin’

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This pic taken this morning about 21 hours after setting beer in this room. Notice the krausen: only about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Remember past batches? It filled the entire cavity and blew out the top.

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The temp is 77°, according to the thermometer. It is still cooler in this room than the kitchen and dining by at least 5°. The slightly cooler temp will make a difference in flavors that develop in the beer while fermenting.

I have considered just bottling when the target gravity is reached, instead of racking off and waiting another week to clear, but decided what’s my hurry? nuttin’.

10/3/15

Racking day…check out the racking operation

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Going into a 5 gallon carboy from the 6 1/2

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Can you see the marking on the hydrometer?

You can see the 1.000 mark. The specific gravity is at 1.013 +- which is 1/4 of our OG…which is our target.

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When racking is completed, I moved the carboy back to the spare room which has been staying at around 75°.

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I put a t-shirt on the jug to keep out the sunlight. The window has curtains and foil on the glass, but a small precaution could keep our beer from getting skunky. The oils in the hops can react badly to direct sunlight.

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On a side note: one can reuse the yeast on another batch, I have done it. Timing was critical but I racked on batch off the yeast, and had a separately brewed batch ready to add to the yeast. The big brewers do that doncha know to save bucks. You don’t think they buy fresh yeast for each batch, do ya?

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The dregs, also known as trub, have viable yeast in it. There are ways to “scrub” the yeast as well.

Update: 10/9/15

The beer has cleared but also has begun fermenting again. I noticed bubble around the top of the beer yesterday. Not ready to bottle yet.

Update: 10/13/15

I bottled today to 2 C water and 3/4 C corn sugar. I used 6 1 liter bottles, and am shipping three to my cousin. North Texan if you want in on this, this is the time.

10/31/15

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I decided to try a sample tonight. It’s been just over two weeks since the beer was chilled. I have one clear Corona bottle that I use to see what’s happening to the beer when it’s been in the fridge. Most of the time, when it clears, it’s very close to being ready. It had a decent head and was carbonated nicely.

It tasted tart, and not too much orange. I did not put a slice in it as I fully expected it to be orangey…not. Will continuing to age improve the flavor? I don’t know. It is drinkable now, and it’s not bad at all.

I’ve had the beer now for a couple nights in a row. A quarter wedge squeezed into the frozen mug adds a little orange twang as the beer does not have much orange flavor. It has carbonated nicely and has nice head.

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Black Bean Salsa

So what’s the difference between pico de gallo and salsa? one may ask.

As I understand it, pico de gallo is made with fresh ingredients only.

Salsa involves one or more ingredients that are cooked.

This recipe is a pico de gallo with some cooked ingredients.

4 medium tomatoes

1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped (I use the sweet variety)

2 serrano peppers, finely chopped with seeds

bunch of cilantro

juice of 1/2 lime

1 can of corn rinsed and drained (15 oz)

1 can of black beans rinsed and drained (same size as corn)

1 can of Herdez salsa verde

1/2 tsp salt

1 avocado

I remove the seeds and membrane from the tomatoes then chop them. I soak the tomatoes in the salsa verde with the serranos. Soak for several hours then drain.

Two whole serranos may seem too hot, but next time I will use three.

Mix ingredients and let chill.

I use it as a dip, and it can be used on a variety of tacos as well.

If you can’t find the salsa verde, you can make your own with tomatillos. Take six half dozen tomatillos, cut them in half, and put them under your broiler for 5 minutes, then turn them over for 5 more minutes. You can also roast an onion quartered and a couple of serranos. Save the juices and run them through a food processor.

If you cannot find tomatillos, just add a couple more tomatoes.

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Salsa Verde and Tomatillos

If you’ve never had fresh made salsa verde from tomatillos, then you’ve missed something.

Salsa verde makes a great dip for chips and even an addition to enchilada fillings.

Tomatillos are a special variety of tomatos that are grown in husks and stay green.

Tomatillo.jpg Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Basically, you take your fresh tomatillos, remove the husks, and cut in half. Also quarter an onion, and a serrano pepper if desired (course you do).

Put on butcher paper and under broiler for 5 minutes. Turn all over and roast again for another 5 minutes. It’s OK if parts turn black. Save the juices too and put into food processor and grind until desired consistency. You can salt to taste and some fresh cilantro leaves if desired.

The tomatillos will make your salsa verde surprisingly sweet.

There are dozens of recipes out there.

 

 

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Chili con Queso

My failsafe cheese dip is as follows:

2lb brick of regular Velveeta: no substitutions

2 cans of undrained Rotel diced tomatoes with green chiles, original…they offer hotter versions

1 can jalapeño bean dip

Cut cheese into squares of more or less equal size. I stand my cheese brick on end after unwrapping it, and slice down into quarters, then take each quarter and whittle chunks off into a large microwaveable bowl.

Pour in your two cans of Rotel

Add your bean dip

Mix coarsely and put in microwave for 7 minutes.

Stir for a couple minutes, melting the larger chunks.

Microwave for three more minutes.

Stir until chunks are melted.

It will try to “skim up” on you as it cools. Leave it on the counter and just stir it once in a while. The “skim” is the cheese on top cooling before the rest. Just stir it back in.

You can brown a pound of pork sausage and add it after the dip is prepared and warm.

Browned ground turkey with cumin could instead be a meaty addition.

I have used both. I prefer the basic recipe above. You can also do without the bean dip. It just adds some structure.

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Pico de Gallo

The difference between salsa and pico de gallo is that salsa is cooked; pico de gallo is  made from fresh ingredients and stored fresh.

My personal recipe for pico de gallo goes more or less like this.

3-4 lbs fresh tomatoes

2 serrano peppers; more if you like it hotter, you can add several de-seeded for the color

1/4 C minced onion

1 T vegetable or canola oil

juice from a fresh lime; 1/2 lime if you use Persian lime

1-2 bunches of fresh cilantro, leaves removed and chopped

Cut the ends off your serranos and split in two. Depending how big they are, you may or may not want to de-seed one of them (it’s the seeds and inside that add the heat). Oh heck be brave and finely chop both of them, placing them in large bowl. NOTE: it’s easier to add more serranos later to add some heat, rather than get it too hot early…

Place your finely chopped onion with them.

Add your oil

Add your salt

set aside

Blanch your tomatoes if you like; I used to but it was too much work. Cut your tomatoes into wedges and rinse and removed the seeds and the slime. If you don’t remove the seeds and slime, you will have a watery messy pico de gallo.

Set aside to drain while you cut the rest of your tomatoes.

Then, chop them up finely, and add to your container.

Pull the leaves off your cilantro. I know it’s a pain, but you can just chop it up stems and all, but you will have “chewier” pico de gallo with the stems.

Mix your ingredients well and chill for several hours…nothing wrong with a sample…chef’s privilege.

This will last about a week in your fridge.

Remember, you want this thin enough to dip tortilla chips into and scoop out large amounts piled on your chip. Too many big pieces will break your chips.

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Various Tacos

One of my favorite breakfast foods are tacos. There are more kinds of tacos than I could possible name. Usually, tacos contain two to three ingredients.

One of my absolute favorites is guisada tacos. Guisada is basically slow cooked beef with a thickened sauce…slightly spicy. I like mine with cheese; preferably cheddar.

This is the spice I use. This brand is out of San Antonio.

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One can use many kinds of meat; I usually use boneless shoulder, but sirloin would be very good, round, chuck would all work. Cut meat into chunks about the size of the last joint in your pinky finger…a couple pounds at least. Brown with some oil, then add enough beef broth to cover meat, and simmer for two hours; covered. That will make the meat very tender. Then mix 5 tablespoons with 1/3 C water, and add to beef. Leave lid off, and cook off water until desired thickness is reached.

Grated cheddar, jack or even American cheese works.

For tortillas, I use the raw uncooked ones. Sure, you can use store bought; fresher is best. I have not yet perfected making tortillas from scratch.

Raw tortillas are cooked on a very hot pan for about 45 seconds per side.

I like to put the taco in a toaster oven in foil for about ten minutes to assure that the cheese gets gooey.

My other favorite is egg, tomato, and cheese. I scramble three eggs (no milk) and put into two large prepared tortillas, top with cheese, and put into toaster oven for 10 minutes, then put about half of a fresh chopped tomato. Ready to eat.

Combinations include and are certainly not limited to

eggs

chorizo

cooked potato

avocado

lettuce (good with guisada)

beans, make your own pintos or Ranch Style beans are excellent

Of course, fajitas cooked on the grill excellent tacos with cheese, lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream…the list goes on.

 

 

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Sacred Heart Hospital Diet

This recipe was designed for patients who need to lose 10-17 pounds in a week, in preparing for surgery. Supposedly, if you follow this to the letter, it will cleanse your system of impurities. If you maintain it for several weeks, you will be a new person.

I followed this diet once to the letter, and I did lose twelve pounds in seven days.

Day 1

All the fruit you can eat except bananas. Cantaloupe and watermelons are huge because of their water content. If you stuff, stuff, stuff your chances of losing three pounds the first day are great. Apples, berries, peaches, nectarines, oranges…

Day 2

All vegetables. Again, eat until you are stuffed with all the raw and cooked veggies you can eat. Try to eat green veggies, and avoid dry peas, dry beans, and corn. You can also eat a large baked potato today with butter.

Day 3

Fruit and veggies all you want of each…no potato today.

Day 4

Eat as many as eight bananas today, and drink as much as eight glasses of skim milk, along with the onion soup.

OR

tuna fish and two bananas with the milk.

Day 5

You may have 10-20 ounces of beef or chicken along with 6 tomatoes on this day. Drink at least 8 glasses of water to flush the acids from your system.

Day 6

Fish, beef, chicken and veggies. Eat until content of meat and vegetables. No potatoes.

Day 7

Brown rice and unsweetened fruit juice and veggies. Again stuff, stuff, stuff.

Supplement every meal throughout the day with the onion soup.

For me, the roughest day was Day 2. My mouth was very sore from eating all the raw vegetables. I ate mostly raw cauliflower and broccoli. I cannot stand either of them cooked. So I suffer. I guess one could eat carrots too.

Plan ahead. Buy what you like that fits and go for it.

You’re not supposed to have any alcohol on this diet because of the calories/carbs in the alcohol. I cheated by drinking margaritas, and still lost weight. Exercise helps too, but not required.

 

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Onion Soup

This recipe is a supplement to the Sacred Heart Hospital Diet.

You will need a large pot; a couple gallon pot will do.

1 head of green cabbage

25-30 green onions

2-3 green bell peppers

2-3 tomatoes

1 bunch celery

2-3 bouillon cubes

Chop all the veggies and put them into your pot. Put in just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and turn down to gentle simmer for 15-18 minutes…no more.

I eat this as a supplement when I am dieting. Eat as much as you want.

Your body will burn up more calories digesting this soup, than the caloric value of the soup itself.

It will change your bowel habits as well because of all the roughage.

Don’t add salt to it.

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Corn and Cream Cheese

A quick and easy veggie recipe.

1 8 oz brick cream cheese

1/2 – 1 C milk

2 cans corn rinsed and drained

Jalapeño (black pepper may be used if you’re squeamish)

Chop the jalapeño and combine all ingredients in sauce pan on the stove on low heat. Add  milk as needed…not to thick or it will burn…not too thin. Heat through.

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Herb’s Quickie

I got this recipe from my Aunt Gladys. I don’t know who Herb is. This is a quick and easy recipe for a last minute dessert.

3 eggs

1 C sugar

1 C graham cracker crumbs

1 C chopped nuts

pinch of salt

Bake in 9″ buttered pie pan at 325° for 40-45 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

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Holiday turkey

I have been putting my turkeys in brine for the past several years with a lot of success. The bird is juicier and has more flavor.

I usually cook 20 lb turkeys. You may have to adjust the amounts of salt and sugar based on the size of your turkey.

2 C salt

1 C sugar

3-6 cloves garlic

whole onion, quartered

1 T black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

pinches rosemary and thyme

I have a 5 gallon pot that I brew beer in. I dissolve the sugar and salt in about a gallon of water before putting the rest of the ingredients.

Dissolve your salt and sugar add some water. You can put the rest of the ingredients after you get your turkey in the pot. Cover and soak in fridge for 8 hours.

Removed bird from pot when ready to roast. Rinse well and pat dry. Stuff bird with X’s stuffing. Also stuff neck cavity and secure with skewer.

Rub butter or olive oil on bird.

I use a Reynolds brown n bag…in a roaster…on a cookie sheet for support. Preheat your oven to 325°. If you have a meat thermometer, use it. There is no substitute. Heat until internal temp is 165°.

Remove from oven. With some help, I usually snip the end of the bag and drain the contents for the gravy.

Gravy

1/4 C fat from your juices or butter or oil or combination

1/4 flour

juices from turkey or broth

little bit of whole milk

In saucepan, heat your oil or fat until hot. Add your flour and cook over medium heat until flour starts to brown. Remove from heat and add 2 C broth, juices and heat until it boils and  thickens. You can add a little milk to lighten if you like. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Basically, 1/4 C oil and flour with 2 C broth will yield about 2 1/2 C gravy. I always make double for holidays.

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Chimay White Clone

I have successfully cloned the Chimay Red and Blue. My next attempt will be the Chimay White, known as a Belgian Trippel; or is it Dubbel?

Trippel it is

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Too bad it’s not 5 cents. A bottle this size from your local store is about $13. A five gallon batch will have about 30 bottles this size for about $60.

See? Homebrewing is not only fun, it’s economical.

There are lots of recipes out there and some are way off…like the one I was going to use. Further research caused me to change my plans and the following is what I came up with.

8 lbs Light DME

2 Wyeast 1214, one for priming

1 lb Belgian clear candi sugar

4 oz special B malt

4 oz torrefied wheat malt

4 oz caramel wheat malt

1 oz Styrian Goldings pellets

1 oz Hallertauer leaf hops

I boiled 2 C water and 1/2 C DME for minutes and let cool the night before.

I smacked the yeast and added it to the cooled starter at bedtime. It was ready the next morning.

First, I heated 2 gallons of water to 160°. Putting all the grains in a grain bag, I put them into the heated water and set a timer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another pan, I heated a gallon of water to 160°. I will use this to rinse (sparge) the grains when they are done steeping.

Try to maintain your steeping temp around 160°. It’s not going to hurt if it drops a little below, or a little above. Be sure it does not get over 170°, as this will bring out tannins and other undesirable flavors from the grains. Likewise, do not let it go below 150°, or all you have is hot cereal.

After the allotted time is reached, I use a large colander over the pot, and put the grain bag in it, then rinse the grains with the other pot of heated water. No rush.

When rinsing is done, I put the colander into the other pot and let it finish draining. I will add those few ounces of mash later in the  boil.

Also while this was going on, in yet another pot, I put the candi sugar with just enough water to cover it over low heat. Stir occasionally to keep from burning. Keep this warm and add the dissolved mixture at 50 minutes into the boil. It’s better if it’s boiling too or you will stop your main boil.

Now heat our now 3 gallons of water to close to boiling, and remove from heat. Add and dissolve all the DME. Be absolutely sure that every morsel is dissolved or it will burn, ruining the whole batch.

Return to boil, start the count up timer, and monitor closely until hot break is reached; about 4-5 minutes. After that, we can relax a little.

I use a yeast fuel and I add that capsule now.

At 30 minutes into the boil I added the Styrian Golding pellets; 1 ounce. (St. Celiena).

At 45 minutes, I added 1/2 ounce German Hallertauer whole leaf hops.

At 50 minutes, I added our dissolved candi sugar. Watch for boilover.

At 53 minutes, I added another 1/2 ounce German Hallertauer whole leaf hops.

At the end of the boil, I put the pot in the sink with ice water. I further added two ziploc gallon bags with ice in them (I make my own cubes with bottled water).  It took fifteen minutes to drop the temp from boiling, to 80°. Not bad.

I realize this particular beer is supposed to ferment at around 65°, but here in south Texas, the only way that would happen is if I cranked the a/c down to 60…not happening.

I poured the wort through a funnel strainer into a 6 1/2 gallon carboy. I added bottled water to make 5 gallons. I used an aerator for a few minutes, checked the OG, then pitched yeast starter.

The OG was 1.070.

For this particular style of beer, we’re not looking for an FG of 1/4 the OG. This beer should finish out almost to zero, as that is the style; a champagne like beer. It should be very dry with a light hop flavor and nose.

Now we wait.

Update:

It took about six hours for the ferment to begin. 24 hours later, it’s really going nicely.

Update 4/7

I racked today. The gravity is at 1.012.

A little CO2 activity when I tested the gravity.

I’ll probably let it sit at least another week to finish and clear, then bottle at that time.

Update 4/16

Bottling day today. I  have been rinsing and sanitizing the Grolsh bottles this morning; 30 of them at 16 oz each, a clear glass fliptop bottle that holds around 28 oz, and several plastic bottles that hold at least 32 oz.

I have boiled my 2 C water with slightly more than 3/4 C corn sugar, and it’s been cooling to room temp since early this morning.

I smacked my other Wyeast 1214 last night, and it has expanded successfully.

We are ready to bottle.

Update…all done. The FG was 1.010. I did not check it until after the corn sugar and yeast was added.

Update: tasting

This recipe does not taste like the commercial Chimay White. As I mentioned above, there were several recipes out there that varied greatly between them.

If I made this again, I would do without the caramunich and special B malt.

The beer tastes pretty good, and it is very strong. I suppose I should take a picture and post it. Will get back to you on that. It has a strong head and a mild hop aroma.

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Blueberry Bread or muffins

All ingredients work better together if they are at room temp. I have not attempted the muffins, but a downward adjustment in baking time would be necessary…probably around eighteen minutes, give or take.

2 C AP flour

1 C sugar

1 T baking powder

1 tsp fresh grated orange peel

1/4 tsp salt

1 C whole milk

2 beaten eggs

3 T oil

1 1/2 C blueberries…I recommend fresh, but frozen can be done

Preheat oven to 350°

Mix dry ingredients first, then add wet ingredients. Stir just until moistened, then fold in blueberries.

Pour batter into greased and floured pans. Flouring is not absolutely necessary, but removal from pan would be easier. Bake for one hour if using one pan. If using two smaller pans, start checking at 40 minutes.

Muffins: grease muffing pan or cups if desired. Fill halfway. Start checking around eighteen minutes.

I haven’t tried, but you could sub one C of the flour for whole wheat flour and melted butter for the oil.

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It tastes as good as it looks.

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Crispy Onion Rings

I forgot where I got this recipe. I think it was on You Tube somewhere. I have tried this and these are the crispiest damn onion rings I have ever had.

½ C flour

¼ C cornstarch

2 T instant mashed potatoes

pinch cayenne

1 C cold club soda

2-3 yellow onions ¼ slices; no thicker

2-3 C panko bread crumbs

350 degree oil for 2 ½ – 3 minutes

These will stay crispy for twenty minutes after they are done frying.

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X’s quick brisket

I do have a water smoker, but do not have the time or money to “experiment” with expensive brisket.

When X was a single man, I smoked  many a brisket in the water smoker, and it was a little work. Had I the money, I would get one of those ‘wood box’ cookers, and go into business.

smoker

smoker1

smoker3This is one like I have. What the heck; someone gave it to me. I have used a similar one with much success. The problems are these: the charcoal pan is at the bottom of the unit and must be completely filled twice to cook a whole brisket. One must removed both grills, the water pan, and then the charcoal pan to to this. The door in the side is just helpful to add water. It’s hard to fill the charcoal pan through the door. They sell this same type with an electric element to provide the heat. They work well, but have their own idiosyncrasies.

Remember when you could buy a cryovac for around eighteen bucks? Those days are gone.

The family likes BBQ beef and I have found another way to cook brisket with a very comparable taste and texture to smoked brisket.

First, you must make the sauce.

You can use market trimmed brisket, or a cryovac, which  you must trim yourself. I am a huge fan of Reynolds brown n bags. Get some for this; the ‘up to 8 lbs’ should suffice.

If you use a rub, now is the time to apply it and decide how long you want to marinade it…if at all.

Everyone has their own rub…this is kinda of what mine is:

3 T paprika

1/4 C brown sugar

2 T chili powder

2 T black pepper

2 T seasoned salt

2 T cayenne pepper

2 T garlic powder

I usually smear a little olive oil on the meat before putting on rub. Marinading is better, but not required.

Next you must sear your brisket. A cast iron skillet is preferable, but nobody’s perfect. Heat your skillet on medium  heat until it is, well, very hot. Give it 5 minutes to heat up. Sear your brisket on all sides…say a couple  minutes on each side.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 250°.

I use a cake pan for the meat. Put your brisket in your brown n bag with a good portion of BBQ sauce on top of your meat. About 1/4 C water won’t hurt either.

Seal bag with enclosed zip tie, but not too tight. You want steam to escape.

4-5 hours is usually enough, depending on how much your final chunk of meat weighs.

You can, if you wish, put chunks of onion on your meat before you put it in the oven.

Your meat should fall apart when you remove it.

X’s other method of cooking brisket is as follows:

A cryovac brisket is a must for this one as is a large  (6 qt) crock pot. Also a couple of onions and 2 bunches of cilantro, chopped.

Cut your brisket into chunks as big as your fist, and put them in the crock pot. Quarter  your onions, and put them on top of the meat. Lastly, sprinkle your cilantro on top of the rest. Season as desired. You may also put a cup of BBQ sauce over the top of all.

Cover and turn on high. Cook for seven to eight hours.

When done, remove chunks and shred with a pair of forks.

An alternative method, but not so quick.

I bought a 9.7 lbs market trimmed whole brisket. I coated it with the olive oil, then the rub.

I did not sear it on the stove. Instead, I put it in a brown n bag with about 1/2 C BBQ sauce, then tied the bag shut.

In a large roaster, I put the brisket. Mine sat in fridge over night.

Preheat oven to 350°. Put brisket in for 1 hour, then reduce heat to 250°.

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Don’t forget your tablespoon of flour in your bag

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Add meat, and close but not too tightly.

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It was delicious

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X’s Peanut Butter Cookies

This recipe, also from the Norwegian ladies cookbook, makes a chewy cookie.

2 sticks butter, softened

2 C peanut butter (I use creamy, use what you like)

2 C white sugar

3/4 C brown sugar

2 eggs

2 T milk

2 C flour

2 tsp baking soda

Blend peanut butter and butter, add sugars. Add eggs, milk, and soda. Blend in flour.

Roll into balls and place on cookie sheet. With a fork dipped in flour, criss cross the cookies to flatten them.

Bake at 350° for eleven minutes.

Seal tightly when cooled.

After they come out of the oven, you may shove a Hershey Kiss into the center of the cookie.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

C’mon! Who doesn’t like good old fashioned chocolate chip cookies?

This recipe also from the North Dakota cookbook.

1 C shortening or softened butter

3/4 C white sugar

3/4 C brown sugar (packed)

2 eggs

1 tsp hot water

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 C flour

2 C quick cooking oats

1 C chopped nuts, if desired

12 oz pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips

Blend sugars and shortening. Blend in eggs. Add soda, salt, vanilla, and hot water. Blend in flour, then oatmeal, then chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to 350°. Roll dough into walnut sized balls, and flatten slightly. Bake for 12 minutes.

If you use butter, the cookies will be moister. Shortening will make them crisper.

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Homemade Buns

Ahh. Who would argue that fresh homemade bread is a joy unbounded to the olfactory senses as well as the taste buds?

I have made many types of yeast bread over the years, and am always willing to try new recipes.

I have recently gotten into making buns. Hamburger buns, however, cannot be made with just any bread recipe.

My sourdough bread? buns are too hard and crusty

My Bert Porter bread? buns are too dense

My honey wheat bread? buns are too porous

Hamburger buns must be soft, and not too dense yet not to porous (IMO).

I have an old cookbook that my mom bought in the early seventies from a rural electric cooperative in North Dakota. I tell you, those Norwegian ladies know how to cook. For those of you who are familiar with this site, the cinnamon roll recipe is from this book as well.

I made these buns for the first time yesterday, and they came out the way a hamburger should be.

1 1/2 C hot water

3/4 C shortening or lard

2 T salt (I used only one)

1/2 C sugar

2 beaten eggs

2 pkg yeast (4 1/2 tsp) dissolved in 1/2 C warm water

7 C flour +-

Pour the hot water over the shortening, sugar, and salt. Allow to cool to lukewarm. Add eggs. Add yeast, then start adding flour. Mix until dough cleans side of bowl and sticks to hook.

This particular batch only rises once. I use sheet pans with parchment paper. Get the dough ready, and begin cutting out pieces of dough…about the size of a small orange. Pull the dough from top to bottom to tighten it, then press into your hand into a disc about the size of well…a hamburger bun. Use your fingers to help smash your dough into the round disc. Let rise as long as necessary until they double in size. Mine took several hours, but I changed the recipe for you. It should be more favorable and rise better.

Bake at 350° for about 16-18 minutes. Brush butter on tops when removing from oven. If you put butter on before you put them in the oven, they will have slightly crisper tops.

You can substitute up to 2 Cups of whole wheat flour if  you like.

DSCN0995

Just a few of the finished products.

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X’s Favorite Brownies

I wasn’t much of a fan of brownies…don’t know why… but I found this recipe, and it’s a hit around here.

3/4 C melted butter

1 1/2 C sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3 eggs

3/4 C AP flour

1/2 C cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 C pecan halves if desired

Blend sugar and butter. Add eggs. Add leavening ingredients and vanilla. Add cocoa, then flour. Add nuts. I have put pecans on top or blended with batter. Both will bake fine.

Preheat oven to 350°. Bake for 40-45 minutes. If you use a Pyrex pan, check it starting at 38 minutes. 8×8 pan works fine.

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Favorite Banana Bread

I have been baking banana bread for thirty-five years. I have tried many different recipes over the years, and I have now settled in on this one. It has many variations.

3 bananas, mashed

1/2 C oil or softened butter

1 C sugar

2 beaten eggs

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 C AP flour or WW flour or combination thereof

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

3 T milk

1 C pecan halves or walnuts

Mash the bananas; a pastry blender is right handy

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Mix sugar and oil/butter first, then eggs, then leavening ingredients, bananas, then flour then nuts.

Pour into greased loaf pans, and bake at 350°.

Now for the variations:

If you use the WW flour and butter, start checking for doneness at 45 minutes…perhaps earlier.

If you go with oil and AP flour, it will likely take an hour to bake. I use a wooden toothpick to check doneness.

I use the slightly smaller disposable aluminum loaf pans, and I only use the butter and WW flour method. This method also will not cause the top of the loaf to “explode” during baking.

This batch (my preferred) is with butter and the WW flour

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Baking time also will depend on the size of your baking pans.

This stuff freezes very well.

 

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Coconut Cake

I got this recipe from Food Network’s Tyler Florence

It is baked in 2 cake pans, then they are cut in half creating a 4 layer cake.

Rather than type all the recipe, I am going to drop the link. I have made this a couple of times, and people who say “I don’t like coconut” are asking “can I have some more?”

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/white-coconut-cake-recipe.html

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Chimay Red Clone

A few years ago, I made a Chimay Red clone. It was so close to the commercial version that only a connoisseur could tell the difference. What is the secret? The yeast. The commercial version of this Belgian abbey beer is that it has live yeast in it.

My brother and I splurged and purchased several bottles (about $35 worth), and as we drank them, we saved the last half inch of each beer. I poured the dregs into an Erlenmeyer flask. Over the course of the next few days, I boiled a little malt each day, let it cool to room temp, and added it to the flask until I had close to 1000 ml of starter.

The rest of the recipe is as follows:

Chimay Red

7 lbs extra lite dme

8 oz. caramunich malt

4 oz, aromatic malt

1 oz. chocolate malt

1.5 lbs dark Belgian candi syrup

.5 lbs clear Belgian candi sugar

2 oz Tettnanger 4.8%

.5 oz Herzbrucker 2.8%

Wyeast 1762 for priming

Cultured Chimay yeast

Irish moss

Brewvint yeast fuel

Culturing the yeast

Monday, October 4, 2010

I boiled ½ c water and 2T malt, and let cool.

My brother and I drank 2 large bottles of Chimay red, and two small bottles.

I flamed the tops of the bottles, and poured the dregs from the bottles into one bottle.

When my wort cooled, I poured it into the bottle.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I boiled 1 c water with 2 T malt, cooled and added to wort. I bought a 1-liter glass flask, so all went into that.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010. We have a little visible bubbling today. I boiled 1¼ C water and 3 T malt, cooled, and added to flask. The flask is covered with foil, and I have been shaking it whenever I pass by.

Thursday, October 07, 2010, I boiled 1 ½ c water and 1/3 c malt, and allowed to cool. There is much more yeast action today. I have also made another batch of wort consisting of 6 c water, and ½ C malt. When the small bottle cools, I’ll add it later. I’ll add the entire contents of the flask into the 1-gallon jug in the morning. That should give me a huge batch of starter. I may even make another small batch of wort tomorrow evening, and add it to the rest for an extra kick.

Friday, October 8, 2010

I boiled 700 ml water with ½ c malt, cooled and added to wort.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Brew day.

I steeped the grains in 1.5 gallons 160-degree water for 30 minutes. I sparged with ¾ gallon 160-degree water.

I brought the mixture to a boil, removed from heat, and added and dissolved the malt.

After the hot break, I added 1 oz of the Tettnanger, and started the 1-hour boil.

At 25 minutes, I added the other oz of Tettnanger.

I added 2 qt of boiling water to the wort.

I added the Brewvint yeast fuel at this time.

I brought 1 qt water to a boil, removed from heat, and added the clear candi sugar. When dissolved, I added the dark candi syrup. I returned the mixture to a boil and added to wort at 50 minutes along with ½ oz Herzbrucker pellets.

At 52 minutes, the wort boiled over, and I stopped the boil, and begun the cooling process whilst cleaning the stovetop.

I cooled the wort to 73 degrees, added 1-gallon cold water from fridge, and enough bottled water to make 5 gallons.

I aireated the wort for 30 minutes.

The OG before pitching yeast was 1.076.

The starter was in the temp controlled fridge…I am hoping it was around 70.

I added the yeast starter (3/4 gallon) and the OG was 1.066.

It took 6 hours for the ferment to begin.

The next morning, the ferment was very active.

I put it in the fridge on the fridge side with a temp controller, set at 70 degrees on the freezer side.

The fridge side heated up to 80, so I put the beer on the freezer side, and left the controller at 70.

October 13, 2010

I racked today. The gravity was an unbelievable 1.012! So much for the “slower fermenting Trappist Ale yeast”!

October 23, 2010

I bottled today to 2 C water, ¾ C corn sugar with an extra tablespoon, as there was a tad more than 5 gallons, and Wyeast 1762, Belgian Abbey II yeast, which was smacked the night before. The FG was 1.010.

This beer tastes so close to the original version, my brother cannot tell the difference. It is very good.

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Oven chicken thighs

Preheat your oven to 350°. I use a cookie sheet with a wire rack to allow juices to drain off.

Boneless or bone-in; makes no difference. Sprinkle seasoned salt on both sides of your chicken pieces. You can also put on BBQ sauce on both sides of your thighs.

Bake for 20 minutes, and turn over putting more sauce on thighs. Bake again for 20 minutes, and turn again adding more sauce.

An easy recipe that require little monitoring. Kids love ’em.

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X’s BBQ Sauce

I’ve used this for over thirty years, and have not changed it. It’s a sweet sauce.

1 8 0z can tomato sauce

1 tomato sauce can filled with catchup

3/4 C brown sugar

1/4 C apple cider vinegar

1 T Colgin Hickory flavored smoke sauce

Blend all ingredients in small saucepan over low-medium heat. Stir as necessary until bubbly. It will keep in your fridge for several months.

This is great for a condiment on burgers, brisket, or chicken in your oven see next recipe.

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Candy Bon Bons

This recipe requires a double boiler. It makes about 80 candies. It’s a long process so set aside a day for the chilling required for this.

1 can condensed milk

8 oz coconut

1 stick butter

4 cups finely chopped pecans

1 1/2 C powdered sugar

12 oz chocolate chips…more would be better

paraffin about 1/4 of a rectangle

Blend together condensed milk and butter. Then blend in powdered sugar. Then pecans, then coconut. Blend well and chill for two hours.

Remove from fridge and roll into walnut sized balls. Chill again.

In your double boiler, start your water and put in second pot. Put chocolate chips and paraffin. Stir until melted and paraffin and chips are totally incorporated.

Using toothpicks, dip each bonbon into chocolate, and put on cookie sheet.

Chill again. These must stay refrigerated or they will turn into mush in your hand. They will keep for months in your fridge. Ours never last that long.

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Chowder

https://extexanwannabee.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/xs-winter-chowder/

 

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Watermelon Wine

The basic recipe for this was gotten from here

http://www.thesteelibeam.blogspot.com/2013/11/bartering-bubble-bubble-toil-and-trouble.html

I used a couple of watermelons that I had grown up at my dad’s and a couple of cantelopes for my fruit.

https://extexanwannabee.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/homebrew-201/

Mine came out very sweet. In hindsight, I should have added at least one package of champagne yeast to eat up the residual sugars. Mine was very sweet; ie, too much sugar did not get eaten.

That is the idea of this recipe is to add so much sugar that it kills the yeast because of the high alcohol content.

 

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Apple Kuchen

A favorite of my wife’s.

1/2 C butter

1 box yellow cake  mix

1/2 C coconut

2 1/2 C apple slices

1/2 C sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 C dairy sour cream

2 egg yolks or 1 egg

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cut butter into dry cake mix until crumbly. Mix in coconut. Pat mixture lightly into ungreased 9×13 cake pan, building up slight edges.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Arrange apple slices on warm crust. Mix sugar and  cinnamon; sprinkle on apples. Blend sour cream and egg; drizzle over apples (topping will not completely cover apples).

Bake 25 minutes, or until edges are lightly brown. Do not overbake.

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Enchiladas

I wanted for years to make enchiladas from scratch. I asked some of my Hispanic friends, and as it turns out, they cheated by using canned sauce. This recipe is in a Luby’s cafeteria cookbook that my wife  has.

The cool thing about this recipe is that one can make either chicken or beef enchiladas with it. You will need:

The Sauce

1 1/2 lbs browned ground beef (or cooked shredded chicken)

1/2 C chopped onion

2 tsp garlic powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

4 C broth or bouillon

2 cans 15 oz diced tomatoes

3 T chili powder

1 T plus 1 1/2 tsp paprika

1 T ground cumin

1/3 C cornstarch

1/3 C water

Enchiladas

16 corn tortillas

cooking oil

6 C shredded cheddar cheese

1 C chopped onion

1 C shredded American cheese

Cook chicken or beef. Add to large saucepan with broth, tomatoes, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika. Adjust broth to thickness desired. 8 C is too much. I use four. Simmer for at least an hour. Use cornstarch to thicken mixture and set aside.

Heat half inch or three quarter in a skillet to 350. Fry tortillas for a few seconds on each side.

Add your chopped onion to the cheddar cheese. I don’t use a whole cup of onion. Half is plenty for me, but use the entire cup if you like.

Using a measuring cup, fill each tortilla with 1/3 C of the cheddar cheese and onion mixture. Save the American cheese for topping.

This will give you sixteen enchiladas. I use two 9×12 cake pans.

Preheat your oven to 350°.

Pour the sauce over the enchiladas. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Remove and add American cheese on top of enchiladas. Put back in oven without foil until American cheese is melted.

Goes good with Spanish rice and refried beans.

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Hard Cider

Wyeast 4184 sweet mead

6 gallons apple cider

5 lbs Tupelo honey get it here

lemons

acid blend

The cool thing about making hard cider is that it doesn’t have to be boiled. Just put it all together and add  your yeast.

Scrub your lemons and slice them as thin as you can. Put it with the cider just before you start the ferment.

The honey; you might heat that with a gallon of cider to dissolve it, and let it cool overnight.

The yeast we use has an eleven percent alcohol tolerance. Our ingredients won’t be enough to reach that high content, and it’s not a contest to do so.

We use the lemons to add some citric acid which will help the flavor of the cider. We can also add some acid blend before we are done with it. It will need some or the flavor will be ‘cloying’.

Cider is a joy unbounded if it can be both sweet and carbonated. This only can happen if we keg it. If we bottle it, it will have to be still; or not carbonated.

Taste and add acid blend if necessary at this time.

6 gallons of Louisburg cider

5 lbs of Sue Bee honey

2 lbs piloncillos

3 lemons

2 lbs raisins

Wyeast 4184 Sweet Mead

Can you see the manufacturing date? 1-15-15. It will take a little longer for the pack to expand. This yeast should go to 12% alcohol by volume…maybe a little higher

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These are half pound cones of Piloncillo which is pure cane sugar. First press of the sugar cane, I believe.

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I decided to keep my rare and expensive Tupelo honey and use this

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I poured the yeast into a starter  mixture this morning (9/28). No, it wasn’t expanded; I was impatient. I think I noticed the airlock starting its first bubble this afternoon. There is hope after all. I did buy some back up yeast; some champagne and some wine yeast (cote de blanc). I hoped I wouldn’t have to go that route as it would require addition of much  more sugar to have the yeast die off because of the alcohol content. Roughly, one pound of fermentables for every percentage of ABV. So if a yeast has a tolerance of 12%, then twelve pounds of sugar…in theory…is all it will ferment. It’s probably safe to assume that one could count on at least a point or two higher in the final ABV measure added to the specs of said yeast.

This particular yeast said

YEAST STRAIN: 4184  |  Sweet Mead™

Back to Yeast Strain List

Leaves 2-3% residual sugar in most meads. Rich, fruity profile complements fruit mead fermentations.

Origin:
Flocculation: Medium
Attenuation: NA
Temperature Range: 65-75°F, 18-24°C
Alcohol Tolerance: 11% ABV

This year I am going to boil 2 gallons of the Louisburg down until there is one gallon. The liquid will be gone, and the sugars will remain. When this is done, I will dissolve the piloncillos in that warm cider, and add the honey to get it a little thinner as well.

One could boil more cider down to have a super strong batch, if one has the time and inclination. One also has to be aware that boiling apple cider can release pectins. Not a good thing for cider. I was lucky last time. Perhaps I am still lucky. I know not how to combat this. An easy low boil was what I did a couple years ago.

Since we have fruits and raisins, we will use the plastic bucket for this batch.

Cider Day Today

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I poured two gallons of the cider into a 3 gallon pot and put it to boil. I added 4 cones of the piloncillo (2 lbs). They dissolved easily.

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It took two hours to boil from this to this

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Removed from heat and cool in ice water bath in sink. Add and dissolve honey too at this time.

Meanwhile, I sliced the three lemons wafer thin and added them to the now sanitized bucket, as well as the raisins.

I also poured three gallons of the Louisburg into the bucket and covered while the other cools.

I also had poured some cider into our starter flask, and that jug was in the fridge. I added that also to our just-off-the-stove cider to help cool it. When it reached 80°, I added it to the rest of the batch and added the yeast.

The OG was….1.100. Pretty impressive. The quick gage on the hydrometer indicated that the ABV would be at 13%, if it fermented out all the way.

As I mentioned earlier, this yeast shouldn’t live through that high of alcohol content, so we may very well have naturally sweet, strong cider.

Now we wait.

Update 10/3/15

On Thursday, the ferment seemed to have stopped…that would be way too early, so I added a package of Lalvin K1-V1116 wine yeast. I did not check the gravity but when I popped the top of the bucket, I could see it was fermenting so I surmised that the blowoff tube in the adaptor to the bucket lid, got wampa-jawed and was not making a seal.

In theory, the wine yeast will finish fermenting the originally pitched yeast. I was hoping the yeast would die off due to too high of an alcohol presence, leaving the wine sweet yet strong.

The wine yeast is much more tolerant of alcohol, so it may very well ferment all the sugar and leave the batch dry. If a sweet batch is still my goal at that time (it is), I will have to add more sugar to the batch to kick up the alcohol so it will eventually kill off the yeast. If I do this, all my specific gravity readings can be flushed down the toilet as they will be worthless to me now.

So what sugars? you may ask. We must be careful about adding refined white sugar. We could used brown sugar and/or honey. Corn sugar would be OK too, but not to excess.

If we go this route, it would be prudent of us to go ahead and add the extra sugars now; at least two pounds.

No harm to cider, and I added the wine yeast anyway. I now have a strong ferment going.

Will update.

10/13/15

I brought to boiling 1 C water and dissolved 8 oz of piloncillo in it. Then I dissolved 1 lb of honey. I cooled and poured that into 6 1/2 gallon carboy, then racked the cider onto it. It was too early as I had lots of CO2 bubbles in the siphon hose which caused me to stop the racking as the bubble buildup stopped the flow of cider.

I removed racking tubes and canes, and poured the rest of the  cider makings into a funnel into the carboy; mostly raisins and lemons but a good quart of cider.

This will take another week to see what it’s gonna do before I take my next step.

10/23/15

I moved the cider to the kitchen, fully intending to rack it today. In the move however, I shook it enough so it started fermenting again. You can see here the CO2 bubbles on the edge, and on the top forming little colonies.

See the sediment

Yeah, that’s me in the reflection. Hopefully, Abby Sciutto won’t be able to reverse render an image from the reflection.

I dissolved 2 piloncillos in a quart of boiling water. When cooled, I added a pound of Tupelo honey and stirred until dissolved. When rack the cider, I will rack it on this. 2 more pounds of fermentables. We should be seeing this batch of yeast die off.

Update: 10/24/15

I racked it this morning to the above mentioned extra sugar. I didn’t see any flurry of yeast activity. I moved it back into the spare bedroom and in doing so, it got sloshed several times. I’ll just have to watch it to see if it starts up.

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When done, it left the sediment behind.

update: 10/26/15

Here are a couple of shots showing the tiny colonies of bubbles on top and you can see there is more sediment forming. I had not the patience at this particular observation to watch the airlock.

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10/29/15

I racked today to 1 tsp of potassium metabisulphate. This chemical will kill off, or slow down any yeast that are still alive.

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I dissolved 1 tsp into about 1/4 C water, poured it into empty carboy, and siphoned the cider onto it. The other package you see there is chitosan, which is a clearing agent made from fish guts. The particles are charged positively and attract free floating particles in the cider and fall to the bottom. I am not using it at this time as I want to be sure the ferment will not start up as we will add some more sugar before we bottle. More on that later.

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Siphoning in progress. See the difference in the amount of sediment compared to the last racking?

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I pulled a shot for sampling. It’s very clear already.

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I can feel some carbonation, and it’s sweet as it is. My guess is that the yeast has died or is dying due to high alcohol content.

I’ll wait a few days and check it for sediment.

At that time, we could add chitosan, which would definitely speed up the clearing process, but it may not need to be cleared that way at all. If the yeast is truly dead, then it will clear. Patience.

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Notice the end of the racking can in the above picture. It has a standoff on the end so we won’t siphon trub into our cider. The idea is to leave it behind to clear our cider. It’s a small sacrifice, but necessary for clearing.

Below is a picture of the carpeting by the wine rack. A few years ago, the batch of cider had not fully stopped fermenting, but I corked it anyway. Over a period of maybe two weeks, I lost probably 2 gallons of cider onto the carpeting as the corks popped out. I didn’t even notice and the mess even dried up before I caught it. It was tragic because that stuff was so strong that if you got up to fill your glass a third time, you realized that your legs stopped working.

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Will update when the next racking occurs.

Update: 11/14/15

I bottled the cider today. It had stopped fermenting almost as soon as I added the potassium metabisulphate a few weeks ago and could have bottle any time. It had just a wee bit of sediment today. I added one can of frozen apple juice concentrate (Seneca brand) as I racked it and stirred it in well, then bottled. A few glass ones and the rest plastic for shipping. Yes several samples were made and couldn’t figure out why I got such a buzz, then remembered I had no breakfast.

Bottling setup.

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A bench corker is a must have if you are going to make a lot of wine bottles with corks. There are hand held ones, but you are required to have three hands and be an acrobat to use them.

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This was maybe 5 1/2 gallons. 5 2-liter bottles, 6 1-liter bottles, and 4 1.75 liter glass bottles. Comes out to 20 liters or so. There was enough left for about 6oz sample glass. It tastes better than last year. Tangy and not boring. Plenty of kick too.

Does anyone remember why we don’t take a specific gravity reading this time?

This batch is done.

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