Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Camping We Will Go...

So, I just read an email from Jeanne (Hi Jeanne) who is going camping with me in January...come hell, highwater, or blizzards I'm going f'ing camping (can you spell "cabin fever"?).

I'm about sick of coming into the office, farting around, then going home. I work a bit but with the snow, and the overcast sky and having El Kid at home bored because it's grounded...well, I need a break.

Jeanne suggested we try some sourdough experimentation while we're there.
If people have hints or recipes, please send them along!
I used to have sourdough starter going but haven't done that for a while. It took too much babysitting. Perhaps next year while El Kid is overseas and I only have one home I can get back into the sourdough. I remember it being fun when I was in college.

I think I've been into this homesteader/self-sufficiency thing longer than I thought. What college student works two jobs and still bakes her own sourdough bread while taking 24 credits? That was before I needed sleep. And when I had an apartment in Ames, Iowa that was essentially unheated. The thermostat was in the front apartment for all three apartments in the building. The front apartment had about 2 windows and all the other walls were interior. I had the back apartment which had 2 exterior walls that were mostly windows (single insulation in any walls). It was COLD. The guy in the front apartment would never answer his door so sometimes those of us in the other two apartments would SHOUT through his door begging him to turn up the heat (old steam radiators) and he would mumble back something about being too hot and we would shout something like "then shut the f'ing valves on your f'ing radiators a$$hole" or something like that but with more foul language.
What that apartment (200$ all utilities paid...ah, good times) DID have was a little Roper (brand name) stove that went up to 750degs fahrenheit AND THEN had "broil". I would turn it on to about 600 and open the oven door. I'm sure the gas fumes would kill me eventually but at least my body wouldn't freeze solid quite so fast. There were many days when it was about 35degress in that apartment when I got up (I only ran the stove for about a half hour at a time and only when I was home). also help with heating the place (space heaters only blew circuits and I didn't have the $$ to buy them anyway...the stove was already there and the gas to run it was paid for), I would bake alot. Bread, brownies, cakes, broiled chicken breasts/jerky (same recipe only for jerky you make a phone call and forget you have chicken under the broiler...but you're poor so you eat it anyway).

The stove was in the kitchen which was a separate little room and thus didn't heat much of the apartment very well. But, it was next to the bathroom so sometimes I could get the bathroom up in the 40s before I had to take a bath and wash my hair (no shower).
Still, I loved that apartment. HUGE, cheap, and lots and lots of light.
It was plenty warm in the summer what with the windows being all south and west facing, no shade, and no insulation. If I had known about solar ovens, I'm sure I could have made something out of foil and a cardboard box and put it in the kitchen window in the summer.
As it was, in the summer I ate just cold food. It was too hot to light the oven.

Since then, I haven't had the time or inclination to do much with sourdough. But I got quite good at it back then. Sher was into sourdough when I was in junior high or so. Must have picked it up from her.
She also got food from a co-op in the 70s (a buying cooperative, not a store), and marketed rugs out of the house and tried several home based businesses along with having a HUGE garden, canning and freezing everything in sight.
As much as she finds my quasi-hippie was amusing, she totally started it!

Hey!...she also sewed many of our clothes (she's quite good...blazers, skirts, pants, etc), knitted, possibly crocheted, and braided rugs. Hmmm....I think she was a closet hippie! I'm going to look for roaches and seeds next time I'm home (and I don't mean bugs and garden supplies!) (you know....Fred does have those grow lights in the basement....hmmmm......nah. He'd be in a better mood if he were stoned).

Anyway, in my previous post I mentioned making a recipe from the mennonite cookbook once a month in 2009 (I think I did anyway).
I made a beans-n-rice recipe yesterday that was quite good. Here it is (my modified version):

2-3 cloves garlic
2 med onion
olive oil to fry in
28oz can of tomatoes (chopped, diced, crushed, whole, sauce...whatever)
1-2T spices
4-5 cups black beans
1-3T lime juice
Rice to serve it on

I boiled up the beans and rice the day before.

Heat the oil in a big pot (I used a 6qt soup pot..enamel ware with a nice lid...thanks Pam!)
Chop the garlic and start it frying
Chop the onion and throw in with the garlic (I used red onion)
Fry the onion until it smells good
Throw in the tomatoes
Add the beans.
Add the spices (I used a mix sent by Aunt Marcie, it was intended for chili).
Add the lime juice

Heat over medium heat for a while until it's heated threw and smells good. Stir it to help some beans squish up into a thick sauce and to keep it from burning.
Taste and adjust spices if you like.

I used chopped tomatoes with their juice. I added no other

Serve over rice.

We had a side of Kombocha squash with it.
Quite a healthy dinner really.

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