"Made my own" Success Stories
When I have a good "putter around in the kitchen" day, I have this thing for trying to make my own versions of foods you can buy already made, just to see if I can do it. I'm getting pretty good at the basics like stock and pasta. This week, I tried making one of those edible fruit arrangements (cookie cutters for flower shapes, etc, skewered into a watermelon base), mostly because the ones for order online are so pricey. Recently, I didn't have any French's onions called for in a savory bread recipe once, so I tried to make my own (my cooking friends think I'm crazy to try stuff like this instead of drive 2 miles to the store). I'm probably going to tackle cheese or tortillas next.
What are your "tried my own version of" triumphs?
PS: As a newer CH, I apologize in advance if this thread has been done again and again.
re: Becca Porter
"If it can be made instead of bought, I want to try it!"
My philosophy exactly! I don't always repeat the experience but I want to have it once at least.
Things I regularly do:
jams -- whatever fruit I've got
Things I have done or occasionally do:
goats milk cheese
baking mix aka Bisquick
bread and butter pickles
vanilla extract & extract of vanilla bean + coffee beans
I also do spice blends but all that is is mixing various spices.
Rainey, I love your list! I want the baking mix recipe. We buy Bisquick (hubster loves it) and it pains me to do so!
I've tried the vanilla recently and was very pleased. Also liked my applesauce results when I was given fresh apples from "Grandpa's" tree. (Though it was better for recipes than for eating straight).
Would also be interested in making vinegar. Did a little research on it a while back but haven't been brave enough (yet).
So excited to find like-minded home cooks. Kicking myself for not becoming a CH long ago.
I make my applesauce because it's so much better than commercial and you don't get a kitchen with that heavenly aroma from opening a can. Besides, it tastes like apple pie without the trouble or fat calories of making pastry.
I use a variety of apples so I get a variety of textures from the ones that cook down to liquid to the ones that hold almost all of their shape. And I cut the apples into generous sized chunks and DON'T mash them in the end.
Vinegar couldn't be easier. There's a ton of info on the web -- most of it contradictory. But if you've got a mother, some leftover wine and some patience you will end up with vinegar.
Here's the baking mix. Don't remember where I originally got it. I usually keep my references and try to be diligent about crediting the right people but this is just one I've had a long time and don't have any information.
Homemade Baking Mix
Yield: about 6 cups
• 6 cups all-purpose flour
• 3 tablespoons baking powder
• 1 tablespoons baking soda
• 1 tablespoons salt
• 1 cup vegetable shortening
Put all the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
Add shortening by spoonfuls and cut in with a pastry blender until it is thoroughly incorporated and the resulting mix has a uniform consistency that resembles Bisquick.
Store it in a container with an airtight lid (to discourage weevils) on the shelf.
Oh, yes! I've gone through a phase in the last few years, trying to make anything I possibly could. Not too many flops and a few surprising successes!
I haven't bought plain whole wheat bread in years, so that's a success. Nor bread crumbs. I never buy shortening or lard -- I use "cleaned" bacon grease. Yogurt is one I avoid buying as well. Crackers, stock, hummus, jams/jellies/marmalade, mustard, pickles, whenever the urge strikes. I've done english muffins, granola, baking mix, pita bread, and naan, but not regularly.
re: bon oeuf
"Better than Store-Bought" is one of my favorite cookbooks. From it I have made:
Chinese Duck Sauce
Hot Fudge Sauce
It wouldn't be Christmas without the candied fruit rinds, almond buttercrunch and caramel corn from that book.
I also make my own stock, demiglace, ice creams, cookies, jams & jellies, marinara sauce, spaghetti sauce, applesauce, raspberry chipolte bbq sauce, tomato bbq sauce and rib sauce etc.
I was thrilled in my 20s to make homemade marshmallows and Graham crackers-still makes me happy :).
My latest favorite is French onion dip. Husband has been brewing beer and just this week tried making his own cream soda-it'll be ready in a few days and I'm very curious about how it will turn out.
Fruit leather is fabulous and we make that all the time.
Infused alcohols and flavored syrups for drinks.
Mozarella-easy and pretty good.
The Fly Lady Web site (devoted to helping people declutter and streamline their homes) had a write-in topic a couple of years ago about "What is the oddest thing you ever threw away?" There were some pretty strange items, like grandpa's prosthetic leg found several years after grandpa himself passed away. But the best entry was from a woman who decided when her youngest son went away to college it was time to really clean out his room. In the back of a closet she found his school lunchbox, which he stopped using in the sixth grade. Apparently he hadn't eaten his lunch that last day, nor had he emptied it out. She found several completely unidentifiable heaps of mold but sitting proudly and only a tiny bit collapsed were two Twinkies.