Monday, January 10, 2011

Honoring Hestia/Vesta

For some time now, my culinary interests have leaned towards the following: homemade and healthy. I am only slightly ashamed of the recent investments I have made to promote those ideals.

Late in the fall, I purchased a food processor, which I've always scoffed at as a useless device...until I realized I could use it to produce my own hummus, sweet potato/pumpkin puree, applesauce and mashed potatoes...and, because of its slicing/shredding capabilities, perfectly sliced mushrooms, cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc.

I suspect I have only touched the tip of the iceberg potential with this appliance.

Mid-December brought the purchase of a rice cooker...again, another appliance I once surveyed with sarcastic disdain, perhaps more than the processor. However, after all the readings I've been doing about the Asian diet, I realized I was ignorant about rice...then I realized that rice could actually fit rather well into the health groove our family was trying to carve out.

I have since purchased and made risotto and arborio rice, and jasmine and basmati rice is on the bill of fare later in the month. With the steaming element, I have also been able to steam potatoes/green beans/fish/chicken in addition. In short, the rice is nice.

And, finally, two days ago, I finally boarded the bread making machine train. We owned one many moons ago when they were quite en vogue; however, being an issue of bad timing, we found we did not use it as much as we thought.

Knowing that the Mediterraneans and Asians honor grains, especially in the form of bread, revamped my thoughts about the great loaf. But, bread prices run the gamut at the supermarket. The store-brand will run nigh to $1.50...and there are about that many ingredients in it as well. Up the bread chain, prices go up, but ingredient lists do not go down. I was disappointed in the lack of bread choices that did NOT contain HCFS or similar...and the ones I did find without, I recoiled at the price.

Solution? Make my own. While the notion of hand-kneading and baking my own loaves was seductive, the practicals of it left me a bit wanting. So, the Oster bread machine was lovingly brought home like an orphaned child. We’ve tried a Light Rye and White bread recipe, both of which have been immensely enjoyed by all members. Yes, the breads get drier faster that store-bought but that’s because of the lack of preservatives…kind of refreshing, really.

My kitchen counter is becoming happily cluttered – thus, commence with Kitchen Goddess Training!

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