Saturday, April 27, 2013

Strawberry Syrup for Strawberry Milk

I think I was 12 when I first had strawberry milk.  I don't know why I never had it when I was younger but it was at the ripe old age of 12 that I first had strawberry milk.  I was babysitting and the kids wanted strawberry milk with their lunch.  I thought strawberry milk sounded odd but I made a small glass for myself as well.

Then I made another.

Then a third glass of strawberry milk.

It was only after glass number three that I realized that it was sloshing around my stomach and maybe I should stop.  Who knew how good strawberry syrup would end up being?  From then on whenever I babysat for the Wilkinson's strawberry milk would be a regular part of my diet.

I asked my mom to buy the strawberry syrup explaining to her that I would drink more milk if it were strawberry milk.  It was all about getting more calcium.  Really.  My mom's response was that she wouldn't buy it, but I was free to make it.

Make strawberry syrup?  Huh?

Turns out my mom had a recipe that is every bit as good as they stuff from the store and only costs pennies to make.  You can make almost any flavor you want to.  The flavoring comes from a packet of kool-aid.  I bed grape would be awesome.  Try whatever flavor you want and let me know how you liked it.

Strawberry Syrup

1 package kool-aid (strawberry)
2 cups sugar
1 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan.  Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute.  Let the syrup cool and then combine about a tablespoon of syrup with your milk.  Use more or less depending on what you like.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How to Make Homemade Lemonade Concentrate

I just picked the last lemons from my lemon tree. I am busy juicing lemons, freezing the lemon zest, and making lemon treats.  I think lemon cream tart is first on the list.  While I am enjoying Phoenix's spring weather, I wish lemons were in season when it is 100 degrees out.  That is when you really want lemonade.  Last year I tried an experiment to see if I could get fresh lemonade in the summer.  I made two batches of lemonade but left out half the water.  I froze this lemonade concentrate to see if I could get it to last until summer.  I froze one batch one month and the other 3 months.  Both came out perfect.  This year I will try a six month batch to see if the quality will maintain for that long.

To make lemonade concentrate you are going to have to start with a good lemonade recipe.  Here is the thing about lemonade recipes.  Lemons are not a one size fits all sort of thing.  A mild meyer lemon will require twice as much juice as most lemons.  And if you happen to get an especially tart lemon you will need more sugar.

The best base recipe comes from Mark Bittman (your grandmother probably has the same recipe) and it is very simple.

3 cups of water

1 cup  fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup sugar*

Combine all ingredients and serve over ice.  Remember to adjust ingredients as needed.

When making lemonade to freeze only use one cup of water.  When you are ready to serve add the other two cups.  Freeze concentrate in quart freezer bags with instructions on how to reconstitute on the bag.

*I prefer to use a sugar syrup made by combining one cup sugar and one cup water.  Heat in a sauce pan until sugar is dissolved.  Use more syrup than you would sugar or to taste.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Rouladen (Little Mice)

I was born in Germany.  My Family lived there for a couple years but left when I was only a few months old.  Obviously I have no memories of Germany but since I was born there everything German has always been cool to me.  Knowing that it should come as no surprise that one of my favorite dishes growing up was Little Mice.  The name might not be the most appetizing but the food certainly was.  Fork tender beef wrapped around bacon (Yum!) and onion.  It took me a while to recreate this dish in my own home because well, my Mom's recipe was a little lacking.  Here it is

1 1/2-2 lb round roast sliced very thin-arranged flat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika. Spread w/ small amount prepared mustard. Place thin sliced bacon and slice on onion on meat. Roll and secure with toothpick or string.

Brown in a little oil. Cover with water and 1/2 can tomato paste. Simmer slowly until tender. Add sour cream 1/2 hour before serving.

Measurements aren't very exact so I looked around for other recipes for rouladen.  There are a lot of variations out there and some of them shocked me with the inclusion of dill pickle!  It sounded so weird to have pickles in there but the idea intrigued me too.  So when I finally made rouladen myself I added the pickle.  It was even better than I remembered.

I think with recipes rules are made to be broken so I have also tried the recipe with a more gravy like sauce and it was fantastic.  I like it both ways  Try it yourself and see which way you like it best.

I tried my best to get a more accurate recipe but a lot of it has to be eyeballed.  If you think you need more of less of something, go for it.  Save yourself a lot of trouble and ask your butcher to slice the meat for you.  Grocery store butchers do this free of charge.  I ask for about baloney thickness. 

1 1/2 -2 lbs round roast sliced thin. 
one yellow onion sliced into thin wedges (and broken apart if large)
1/2 lb bacon sliced into thirds
dill pickle sliced about 3 inches long and only a half a centimeter wide.
Beef broth or bouillon
about two tablespoons flour mixed in a half cup of water.

Take one slice of meat and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika.  Add a small squirt of mustard (about a half teaspoon) and spread it around.  Place one small slice bacon, a sliver of dill pickle,  and a few slices of onion.  Roll it up and secure with a toothpick.  Repeat with the rest of your meat.  Brown in a little oil and then barely cover the meat in water and a little bouillon or beef broth.  Simmer for about an hour.  Remove meat and add a slurry of water and flour to thicken broth into a gravy to serve over your rouladen and mashed potatoes.
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