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Category: How Tos & Tutorials

Homemade Butter: How To

I read about this in my doctor’s waiting room in – I shit you not – a women’s magazine. Mediterranean/French style easy homemade butter! They adressed several different seasonings and further uses in the article, but the basic procedure is always the same. All you need is a food processor and half a liter of heavy cream (get the real enchilada: 30% fat). After having my TBE shot, I knew what I had to do…


How to: Prepare Sauerkraut…

… the traditional german way – or not?

Sauerkraut is so german it even gave us our name 🙂 , it’s very widespread in the nation, very regionally diverse and versatile. It is part of the traditional german cuisine, mostly eaten as a side dish but also as a full meal when made with the appropriate ingredients. It’ very healthy – for example for it’s contents of vitamin C which even increases when cooked.

There’s what feels like a gazillion ways of preparing sauerkraut in germany alone (and I bet there are even more recipes all over the world). To condense these down to some kind of a standard formula that everything else can be built upon, here’s my way. BTW: We’re talking fresh and unprocessed Sauerkraut here, not the pre-cooked, canned version from the supermarket.


Home Made Sauerkraut Tutorial

Update october 2020: New sauerkraut, substantially more information added 🙂

Sauerkraut

Since I happen to be a “Kraut” by birth, I decided to home-make my own Sauerkraut. Fermentation using wild lactobacillus is an ages-old and easy way of preserving almost every reasonably hard/crunchy vegetable you like. It’s easy and for our grandparent’s generation it was a perfectly common thing to do.

So what is this “fermentation thing” all about? Fermentation is latin and means the decomposing of carbohydrates in foods by various bacteria or yeasts with no oxygen around. Besides improving digestability, this produces a wide variety of distinct aromatics and other substances, the most important one being acid (lactic acid in this case). Harmful bacteria cannot thrive in an oxygen-free, acidic environment, thus, our food becomes preserved.

 


How To: Use a Charcoal Chimney

I have an acquaintance who has never used a charcoal chimney. He’s not particularly a BBQ-type of person anyway, but he wanted to know how it works. So I dug out my trusty old chimney, fired it up and used it right away to try out my recently made indoor grill.


How To: Make a Roux

Roux - Stolen Image (allrecipes.com)

Roux – Stolen Image (allrecipes.com)

I was asked by a member of the extended family circle about a recipe requiring a roux.

So let’s make a “Roux“… Ahh… yeah, right. Sure. Of course. This is french. It’s pronounced ( /ˈr/ ) and this sounds sooo much better than the german Mehlschwitze, which – honestly – sounds more like a sore throat 🙂 .

A roux is used as a basis for things like heavy sauces, soups or stews. It thickens them up and makes them creamy and rich. Since it’s a base-ingredient, it is very versatile and can be used for a wide variety of cooking tasks from the standard french cuisine mother sauce Béchamel up to New Orleans Gumbo. Google “roux usage” and you’ll see what I mean.

Some people find making a roux a little intimidating because, yes, you can absolutely screw it up, but if you follow these simple steps here, I promise you’ll nail it every time. It’s no magic.


Tutorial: Knife Care with a Sharpening System

I had a friend of mine over these days with two well-used and now dull knives – this inspired me to write this article. At a certain point of knife usage, just honing a blade’s edge won’t do the job anymore and you will have to re-sharpen your knife and give it a nice clean edge again.

This is how I do this with all my knives, kitchen or outdoor, in this case using a Lansky knife-sharpening-system (which I know is discussed controversially on the internet). With a little training and devotion you can achieve excellent results with it – and in a much easier way than with a traditional whetstone. This is my way to do it and it works absolutely satisfying for me.


Tips on Cold Smoking

I plan on smoking some meat again shortly, so I find it’s a good idea to gather and sum up my experiences on cold smoking a little. I will not describe the actual processes and mechanisms of smoking foods here, but if you’re interested, read on on wikipedia. It’s worth the time.

There are three types of smoking:

Hot smoking (60 – 110 °C / 140 – 230 °F):
This is what you do in a BBQ smoker. More delicious cooking than actual smoking.

Warm smoking (25 – 60 °C / 77 – 140 °F):
The intermediate thing. Some Proteins begin to denaturate at these temperatures.

Cold smoking (10 – 25 °C / 50 – 77 °F):
The “original” way of smoking, used for centuries to conserve goods. The only method discussed here.


How To: Anti-Rust Bubble Bath

 

I’ve got a lot of rusty old tools lying around here that I thought were a reasonable winter project to clean and restore. So the first thing was to clean off the heavy “crust of rust” on them and the easiest way to do this is with an electrolysis bath. This is how it works and what you’ll need to do this by yourself. It’s cheap, easy and effective.


How To: Blade Hardening

I’m not a professional knife maker, let alone a blacksmith, but I have read lot on the subject and I have made some knives in the past (up to now, none of them even broke or hurt anybody…) and I have gathered some experience. So here’s what I do, what worked for me and what I have an eye on.


How To: Setting up a Hammock

I’ve got a lot of trees here in the northern germany refuge and now I also finally got a hammock (Amazon) again! I’ve set up hammocks many times before – as a boy scout – but it’s about 25 years since then… so here’s how I used to set up a hammock:


 

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