Saturday, January 16, 2016

Frozen Wild Greens Recap and New! Liquid Carrots for Dessert

When Katie's out of town, as was the case this last week, the kitchen experiments around here tend to get a little more curious.  In particular, the opportunity exists to use up things from the freezer that aren't allowed in the kitchen at the same time as Katie.  Not that she's particularly picky, but it's been a busy week nonetheless.

First, the last of the frozen wild greens are now used up.  There were a couple quart bags of dandelions and one of sorrel in the freezer.

If memory serves, one bag of dandelions was blanched before freezing, and the other just soaked to extract the bitter taraxinic acids, then frozen without blanching.  Both seemed to be functionally equivalent to frozen spinach, except slightly bitter (in a good way).  In the future, we definitely won't bother with the blanching!

The sorrel also seemed to be functionally equivalent to frozen spinach.  This one we didn't blanch because heating the fresh sorrel makes it turn a weird green-gray color.  Interestingly, after it came out of the freezer, it stayed green in the frying pan.  There was only one bag of sorrel, though (no replicate in this experiment!), so we'll have to try again next year to try to reproduce the lack of color change on heating.

One staple dish around here for frozen greens is a a mix of the sauteed greens, potatoes, plain yogurt (or sour cream if you're trying to get some extra calories in), and seasonings.  Pretty good stuff.  The combination of bold flavors also makes it a good hiding place for odd cuts of meat that some of the Homestead Laboratory resident scientists would object to eating as a featured course.

...such as this delectable bit, which was just as tender and scrumptious as the Curious Coconut promised.  Any guesses what it is? (Hint: click the link.)

An approximate total recipe for this iteration of the dish is something like 10 oz greens, 5 cups cubed, cooked potatoes, 1 lb cubed meat, 2 cups plain yogurt, and salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, basil, and cayenne pepper to taste.  Topped with some melty cheddar, it's a dish fit for kings.  Or at least, the king of this castle when the queen isn't around.

We're also big fans of cramming vegetables into our desserts, although Katie tends to be less excited about untested combinations.  For example, the picture shows the makings of a carrot-apple cider-caramel ice cream smoothy.  It took about three medium carrots (which the kitchen scale said was 5.65 oz), about 1.5 cups apple cider, and three big scoops of salted caramel ice cream.  Carrots got chopped in the food processor with the apple cider, then ice cream jumped in and everything got processed until smooth.  Before you wrinkle your nose, keep in mind that carrot juice and apple juice are no strangers to each other in the juicing world (search 'carrot apple juice' to find a litany of recipes), and apples and caramel are one of the best flavor combinations of all time.  (And that is a scientific fact!)  It actually tastes mostly not like carrot.
That's a big, tall glass of yum, right there.  Yup.

What kind of experiments have you been working on in the kitchen?

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