Homemade Polish Pickles!

One of my favourite things about summer is getting the chance to can and pickle various local produce for the winter. It’s a lot of work, but if done right, can give me access to less expensive, healthier, and more environmentally friendly food all year round.

I learned how to can and pickle from my mother. She used to do it every summer and, though not always willingly, I used to help her. I still use the recipes she taught me, though the specific measurements are what I remember and so may not be exactly the same. Some recipes I discovered and created myself.

Polish pickles are something I always want to do, but often only manage to do a few jars when I manage to do any at all. It’s a shame because these pickles, which are fermented and use no vinegar, are really the only ones I truly like and that don’t hurt my stomach.

They have a wonderful slightly spice taste, they’re salty, garlicky, and just perfect on a rye bread with some liverwurst and salami, and a slice of tomato. They’re also the base for Pickle Soup.

This year, through sheer iron determination and buying small batches of pickles at a time, I managed to can more than ever before. All told I currently have 19 jars of pickles, and I’m pretty sure I gave away 3 jars.

Some I canned the old fashioned way, but the rest I put through a water-bath canner. I’ve never done that before so I look forward to seeing what that does to the overall process

Continue reading “Homemade Polish Pickles!”

Homemade Polish Pickles!

Arroz con Salchichas, Alyssa Style

I had a very special experience last night. I cooked for Ania’s parents for the first time, as part of her father’s birthday festivities. I made a point not to cook something elaborate and time-consuming, though, as one might expect of a holiday meal. Instead, I went with something simple that shows off Puerto Rican cooking techniques that is also very special to me: arroz con salchichas. I look forward to arroz con salchichas every time a visit to Miami is in the offing, and after long, tense absence, I missed it profoundly. As tensions with my parents continue to rise and fall like so many narcissist tides, bringing this dish to a family that accepts me with enthusiasm is an emotional coup. As I come to recognize my belated mastery of this dish, that I had tried to learn how to make intermittently since I moved to Ottawa, I am ebullient.

Continue reading “Arroz con Salchichas, Alyssa Style”

Arroz con Salchichas, Alyssa Style

Guava and Passion Fruit Creme Brulee: Grade A Bula-shit

2 Cups of lactose-free whipping cream. (If you can handle lactose ok, regular is fine too)
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup Sugar
½ cup Passion Fruit juice* (Purple skinned passion fruit pictured 2
½ cup Guava juice *
¼ cup Guava paste
Brown or white sugar for topping

I used Ceres Juice. While the process should work with other juices, changing the concentration on sugars or other fruit used as sweeteners can change the taste. I highly recommend experimenting with different juices if you want to find the best taste for you.  Watch out as well for different types of passion fruit – there are different varieties, some of which are sweet and some of which are incredibly sour.

Continue reading “Guava and Passion Fruit Creme Brulee: Grade A Bula-shit”

Guava and Passion Fruit Creme Brulee: Grade A Bula-shit

Last Chance to Stretch the Twisted Ladle Cookbook

Ania the chef

Hi Readers!

Ania here.

It’s the last day of my IndieGoGo for the cookbook I am writing. I’ve been working hard on it already and have quite a bit already written. I’m fundraising to give me a chance to make the cookbook better by being able to exactly measure proportions for each recipe and take pictures of the process.

I’ve made my base goal, which is awesome! I’m hoping to be able to reach the stretch goals, in particular, the one related to the Video Cookbook.

I’ve been trying to make videos for a while now and have done some work towards that, however, I don’t really have the right equipment. My camera is pretty old, and so the video quality is pretty low. It is nearly impossible for me to be able to zoom in and get the detail necessary to really show how to do things.

If you have a chance, consider donating to my fundraiser. $10 gets you a copy of the eventual ebook, while higher donations get you access to secret early release recipes, and the chance to have a recipe named after you.

If you cannot donate, please share my fundraiser on Facebook or Twitter. Thank you so much.

Credit to Jade Hawk
Credit to Jade Hawk
Last Chance to Stretch the Twisted Ladle Cookbook

Spaghetti with Kiełbasa, Alyssa Style

This one’s a little different.

I grew up in northern New Jersey, the oft-maligned region of an oft-maligned state that has, more-or-less, New York City’s demographics. Centuries of immigration have pressed people from all over the world into this tiny piece of America, and with long shoulder-rubbing comes culinary interchange. When Puerto Ricans, Italians, and Polish people meet, magic happens, and some of that magic is spaghetti with kiełbasa, Alyssa style.

Continue reading “Spaghetti with Kiełbasa, Alyssa Style”

Spaghetti with Kiełbasa, Alyssa Style

The Twisted Ladle Cookbook: Splain You a meal?

I’ve been coming up with my own recipes for a few years now. I love to play in the kitchen: from combining strange flavours, to trying to make things as much from scratch as possible, to canning my own food and making my own spices, and more.

The last few years of living in difficult financial circumstances has also meant that I have learned several tricks for as many parts of whatever ingredient I use. Thrift led to the creation of my tomato powder, which has added an entire new dimension to some of my sauces and rubs. Thrift led me to figure out how I could make three separate meals with one roast, and the prep for all three involved just one slow cooker.

All of my recipes have to work within the limits dictated by my crohn’s. Not just ingredients, but also textures and smells. The wrong combination of any of these can lead to an unpleasant day or even series of days. It can mean that my symptoms get worse.

I want to share all the things I’ve learned with other people like me. Other people with crohn’s and gut issues, other people who need to know how to make great tasting food on a limited budget, and other people who want to learn how to do some really interesting things in the kitchen.

My stretch goals also include goals that could bring me to a community center or classroom near you! You could get the chance to have me cook you dinner.

If you are able and willing to donate to help make this the best cookbook ever, please do.

If you can’t donate but want to help, help me spread the word by sharing my Indiegogo with your friends on Facebook, on twitter, on Instagram, anywhere where people might see it and want to donate to help make it happen.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Twisted Ladle Cookbook: Splain You a meal?

Homemade Lactose-Free Ricotta

I’ve known for quite a while that one of my trigger foods when it comes to Crohn’s is dairy that contains lactose. I’ve been able to switch to lactose-free milk with success, and occasionally I can find lactose free sour-cream, but when it comes to things like butter, soft or creamy cheeses, I haven’t had nearly as much luck.

Because of my arthritis and prednisone, it is pretty important for me to do what I can to include calcium in my diet, however, many non-dairy sources are also a problem for me digestion wise.

I was fiddling around on Pinterest looking at interesting recipes as I am wont to do, when I found some recipes on how to make homemade Ricotta cheese. Curious I decided to give it a try with Lactose-free milk and whipping cream.

Continue reading “Homemade Lactose-Free Ricotta”

Homemade Lactose-Free Ricotta

Arroz con Gandules, Alyssa Style

We return to the subject of Latin American cooking with Alyssa. This time, we visit my grandmother’s signature meal, arroz con gandules. Puerto Rican Spanish for “rice with pigeon peas,” this is a hearty meal on its own or accompanied with meat or a salad. It follows the Puerto Rican tradition of “one-pot meals,” making it relatively simple to learn and a staple when my grandmother entertains guests or contributes to holiday platters. I look forward to tasting hers again…if I am again welcome there.

Continue reading “Arroz con Gandules, Alyssa Style”

Arroz con Gandules, Alyssa Style

Tortilla de Papa, Alyssa Style

I’ve decided to follow a common request from my readers and share some of my cooking with you all. Ania is by far the better chef between us, as seen on her cooking blog, but I have some skills of my own, and a bank of recipes I save for when Ania is away and I must again cook for myself.

Today’s entry is tortilla de papa, usually known as “Spanish omelette” in English. Understanding what I just wrote there requires a little etymology lesson.

Continue reading “Tortilla de Papa, Alyssa Style”

Tortilla de Papa, Alyssa Style