Author Archives: Mark

Fourth lunch set for a number of days

So this set of lunches is a little unbalanced. Two dishes are spicy! The first is a somewhat of a grab bag stew. I browned onions, poured in vegetable broth and beef broth, cooked black eyed peas until tender, threw in New Mexico diced chilies, added corn starch to heavily thicken the stew (I’m not a fan of soupy liquids along side the two other sides in the one dish), and tossed in mustard greens.

The second dish was a macaroni and cheese dish. This was my first time making the cheese sauce and I think it came out okay. I cooked a roux of melted butter and a couple of tablespoons of flour until light brown in color. I then poured in about a cup or so of half & half and cooked it until thickened. I then grated 8 ounces of cheddar cheese and stirred until blended. But it wasn’t cheesy enough, so I added pepper jack cheese. Which helped it out considerably. I then added diced roasted Hatch chili peppers. And then poured in whole wheat macaroni.

The last dish was roasted root vegetables (consisting of one sweet potato, one beet, one butternut squash, one carrot, and two cloves of garlic). The only surprising thing about it is how much everything shrinks after roasting in the oven. I was a little short after I put together the sixth container.

More lunch for a number of days

For the first side, I experimented with a pickled dish. I fell in love with the pickled beets at Jack Allen’s Kitchen. So I tried recreating it at home. I sliced up beets and parsnips. I then marinated them in apple cider vinegar. I should have added some nutmeg and clove. They were good, but they fail as a frozen dish, I think. Too bad I can’t figure out a way to fit in the frozen dish, but only be defrosted and not cooked.

For the next side, I created a spinach and artichoke dish. I mixed one package of frozen spinach leaves, one sealed package of sliced artichoke hearts, roasted garlic, 4 ounces of Crema Agria, 4 ounces of cream cheese, 4 ounces of shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano, smoked sea salt, and pepper. This turned out excellent!

For the last side, I wanted to create an onion sauce and mix it with miso paste. I sliced up a large onion and poured 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda on it. The baking soda will break down the cellular walls of the onion and turn it into a soup. I then browned it in a pan and added miso paste to taste. The only problem with this dish was with the garbanzo beans. I had soaked them overnight with split peas, but ran out of time to make the dish. So I put them in the fridge (still in their water). Then, when the next weekend came around, I dumped them into this dish. However the garbanzo beans were still a little tough. I wonder what went wrong? But otherwise, this was not a bad first attempt.

Kombucha bottle bomb

I came home to this nightmare. A bottle of home brewed kombucha exploded sometime during the day. There was dried sour cherry kombucha covering the entire ceiling, cabinets, walls, and floor of my kitchen. It even spurted out onto the carpet if there wasn’t something blocking the explosion.

All I can say is OMFG!

I have placed “buying a blast chamber for bottles undergoing secondary carbonation” to my todo list. I wonder if The Container Store employees would look at me weird if I ask them how blast proof a large plastic box of theirs is?


Three weeks ago, at the Whip In, I bought a pint of Kombucha on draft for $4.00! It was the seasonal brew called Tart Cherry Melon from Buddha’s Brew. When I looked at their web site, I saw that they filled corney kegs! How awesome is that?! Unfortunately, when I contacted them, they quoted me a price of $80 for 5 gallons. This is more expensive than the beer I buy at Black Star Coop! Crazy.

So I investigated brewing my own…

Continue reading

Apple cider

I am considering brewing Kombucha and had an idea. I needed a 1 gallon fermentation chamber for the kombucha. What if I could use the one gallon container that the apple juice comes in for the kombucha? And before I empty the juice, why don’t I make some apple cider with that juice? Maybe I can use the same equipment afterwards for the kombucha.

So I went to Austin Homebrew Supply and bought three items: Fermentis Safale S-04 Dry Ale Yeast, 3-Piece Airlock, and Drilled Number 6/5 Stopper.

The process was pretty easy. I sanitized the airlock and the stopper with Saniclean Sanitizer. I then uncapped the lid, poured less than half of the yeast in, and the placed the airlock on top. Now the waiting begins…

Missed lunch for a couple of days

It seems that I’ve missed this set of lunches. So I will retcon an entry for it.

On the menu are three dishes I thought up. The first was a black bean succotash. It was easy to make. I rehydrated some black beans and cooked them up. And, to that, I added a bag of frozen corn, and I diced up some poblano peppers. The only problem with the dish is that the sauce from the black beans hides the other vegetables.

The next dish is a sweet potato au gratin. This dish was even easier to make. I thinly sliced sweet potatoes and shallots and layered them in a pan. I then poured heavy cream over them. And topped the mixture with cheese. I was going to use Manchego but came across a more interesting cheese at the supermarket (which I sadly forgot what name it had). The potatoes turned out surprisingly sweet! Next time I will use half & half instead.

The last dish was quinoa with apples and pecans. This dish was easy to make as well. I cooked the quinoa according to the directions on the package and added a diced Granny Smith and a Red Delicious apple. And topped it with salted and roasted pecans. Mmm!