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What do you make from scratch &, if you had the time, what WOULD you make from scratch?

Michelly Mar 14, 2011 10:45 AM

I thought of this when I saw last week's Los Angeles Times Food section article on grinding your own flour. While an avid baker, I first thought "Jeez, who has the time to do THAT?", then I thought about what I would make from scratch...if I did have the time, and what do I do make from scratch, whether I have the time or not. I didn't include in the first list obvious things like "most of our meals" since, as a CH, I obviously make most of our meals).

WHAT i DO MAKE FROM SCRATCH: (THAT MOST PEOPLE JUST BUY OR USE A MIX)
Cookies, cakes, pies, and desserts such as mousse, rice puddings, etc.
(including Tres Leches cake, NY-style cheesecake, and Sans Rival)
Mac and cheese
Hummus
Salad dressings (homemade blue cheese - you gotta try it!)
Dips (onion, and pimento cheese -ditto!)
Pancakes

WHAT I HAVE MADE FROM SCRATCH (& WOULD CONTINUE TO DO SO, WHEN I HAVE TIME):
Bread
Yogurt
Pasta

WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE:
Doughnuts
Beer
Root beer
Ricotta cheese

So what's on your lists?

  1. caseyjo Mar 14, 2011 11:13 AM

    I'm suddenly reminded of the Carl Sagan quote, "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe." I make pie crust from scratch all the time, but I don't grind the flour, mine the salt, or render the lard. I guess you can always get more homemade!

    I make tortillas from scratch quite often, even though I could easily buy quality tortillas at the store. I would never even think about using a mix for mac and cheese or pancakes, since it's just as easy to make them from scratch (and tastier). I always make soup and sauces; maybe a little more work, but the prepped stuff pales in comparison.

    Pita chips and tortilla chips are usually made from scratch in my house, croutons too.

    I refuse to buy pre-made salsas, since they never seem to be spicy enough for me. I like to include habaneros in mine, and I don't skimp on the cilantro. And don't even get me started on the pre-made guacamole; I won't even eat that stuff.

    I've had a lot of fun making flavored liquors, especially limoncello. I'll be making a lot more of those over summer; I'll be making more jam as well.

    My half/half thing is stock: I love making stock (usually do it once a month or so), but I'm okay with using boxed broth in some preparations. I save my really good reduced chicken stocks and demi-galces for sauces.

    If I had the time, I'd love to make tamales, and maybe sushi. But the thing I'd most like to make from scratch is wine, which seems like a lot of fun.

    Things I do not enjoy making: puff pastry, phyllo dough, and pasta. Give me a box any day!

    1. chefathome Mar 14, 2011 12:29 PM

      I scratch bake/cook nearly everything, from seasoned oils and vinegars to seasoning blends to rubs to mustards and ketchups to salsas, sauces, preserves, creme fraiche, tortillas, chips, doughnuts, cheeses, some charcuterie (that is one thing I need to make more of from scratch), breads, perogies, buns, pasta, pestos, dips, stocks, lefse, etc. Don't recall when I last bought any vinaigrettes or dressings (several years). Have even made Worcestershire sauce and sriracha. We used to make our own butter from our fresh cow's milk! Make vanilla extract. Grow lots of herbs and veg, too.

      So, I do not make my phyllo any more, and as mentioned I want to do more charcuterie.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chefathome
        k
        Kelli2006 Apr 10, 2011 11:35 PM

        Im very impressed by your skills and effort.

        Ive made creme fraiche and dounuts and breads of every sort by the hundrends nightly when I worked in a bakery but Ive never made yourgurt or ricotta.

        Ive made strudel dough so I wouldn't dream of trying to make phyllo at home because I have warm hands and its not worth the stress.

        I've made wine, beer, champagne, soda pop, vinegars and even made moonshine once.

        Id love to have the room to try charcuterie at home.

      2. chef chicklet Mar 14, 2011 03:45 PM

        Pizza
        Chinese & Asian food, bbq pork, Kimchee
        Jams
        Stock
        Bread/rolls/pie crust/biscuits/cookies/ custards/ creme brulee
        ice cream -smoothies, coffee drinks like frappes, and hot coffee drinks
        Cookies
        Salsas, dipping sauces, bbq sauce
        Pestos/hummus/ spreads
        Tamales/chile rellenos
        Salad dressing - the best blue cheese dressing, ranch, thousand, green goddess, etc.
        all my own soups
        This list could grow quite long actually..there's very little that I don't make.
        Would love to make dynamite ravioli and dehydrated fruits and veggies. oops and mozzarella
        all this year!

        1. t
          tastesgoodwhatisit Mar 15, 2011 02:15 AM

          What I do make pretty much all the time (ie, I never buy packaged)

          Cakes, Cookies, Pie crust and Filling, Bread Pudding, Rice Pudding, Custard...

          Salad dressings and Dips (vinaigrette, cream dressings, Hummus, baba ganouj, guacamole, salsa, tatziki)

          Soups (vegetable, noodle, cream-of, miso...)

          Anything pasta or riced based (ie, Mac and Cheese, Noodles and Sauce, tuna casserole, tomato sauce, cream sauce, pesto sauce)

          Granola

          Yoghurt, Ghee, Paneer, flavoured cream cheese

          ---

          Things I sometimes make and Sometimes buy, depending on time and inclination

          Crackers, bread, pasta, ravioli, perogies

          Pickles and Jams

          Fish and chips

          Breadcrumbs

          Hot sauce

          Flavoured vodkas

          Things I haven't got around to trying, or would love to make if I had the space/had the time/wouldn't get me arrested/could buy the ingredients

          Kimchi and Sauerkraut, lime pickle (haven't got around to)

          Beer and wine (not legal)

          Real cheese making (live in the wrong climate)

          Sausage making & Smoking (no place to put a smoker that wouldn't get me evicted)

          1. s
            smartie Mar 15, 2011 04:57 AM

            I have made but it takes hours, Spanakopita and Baklava - that filo is tough to work with but I would do them both again.

            1. Samuelinthekitchen Mar 15, 2011 06:23 AM

              From Scratch always:
              Curry pastes
              Jams
              Soup (but that's pretty normal i guess)
              Gravy
              Salad dressing
              Flavoured liqueurs
              Mayonaise

              If I've got time / prefer home made but can live with substituting a high end bought product
              Pasta
              Bread
              Mustard
              Flavoured oils and vinegars
              flavoured salts
              stock

              Would love to, but never have and seem disinclined to on the basis that I've always bought it and never been particularly curious in where it comes from and some other things that just seem way more trouble than they're worth

              Fermented anything (sauerkraut, sourdough starter etc)
              Flours (I do actually know a person who does, but they also store their shoes by colour and season so...)
              Smoked fish
              charcuterie
              Stuffed mushrooms

              1. viperlush Mar 15, 2011 06:34 AM

                That I make:
                Bread (basic sandwich and banana)
                Tomatoe sauce and pesto
                Hummus and guacamole
                Beer (still buy some)
                Cookies and cakes
                Waffles and pancakes
                bbq sauce and marinades
                Mac and Cheese
                Stock and soups

                If I had time/counter space I'd make:
                Other breads
                Jams and other preserved foods
                Cheese

                1. o
                  odkaty Mar 15, 2011 06:39 AM

                  Normally make:
                  canned goods (sauces, jam, pickles, salsa, etc)
                  cookies, cakes, pies
                  gnocchi
                  ricotta and mozzarella
                  ice cream
                  tamales
                  all dressings, dips, etc
                  creme fraiche (does this really count? I'm not milking the cow!)

                  Would like to make/make more often:
                  pasta
                  aged cheese
                  hard cider
                  bread (awesome local bakery ... I should take classes so we don't have to suffer my 50/50 results.)
                  new recipe for tortillas (last one was a dud, haven't tried again in years)

                  I'm planning to make sauerkraut for the first time this summer.

                  1. b
                    Basiorana Apr 10, 2011 05:02 AM

                    Pizza, onion rings, fries, chicken nuggets
                    Chinese food, including dumplings (also Indian, but that's not really involved)
                    Yogurt
                    Pasta and ravioli
                    Any baked goods including cakes and breads
                    Pickles and jams, ketchup
                    Tomato sauce
                    Tortillas
                    Nan, pitas, bagels and other specialty baked goods-- until I got a job that gave me free baked goods I hadn't purchased anything flour-based for home use in 6 months
                    Spices-- I will dry and grind my own, especially something like chili or peels where I might have some old stuff lying around to be thrown out

                    Did once or twice but lack the time:

                    Mayo
                    Croissants
                    lobster bisque-- shelling the lobsters was killer

                    Want to try:

                    Sushi
                    Sausage
                    Cheeses
                    Sourdough
                    Stock
                    Sauerkraut

                    1. saltwater Apr 10, 2011 10:40 PM

                      What I make by hand:

                      sourdough bread, naan, pizza dough, etc.
                      salted (fermented) red chiles
                      pasta
                      fresh cheese
                      stock (though I will also use boxed stuff)
                      sauces, dressings, salsa, pesto (I can't sell anything but homemade to my family now)
                      pancakes, quick breads, cakes
                      dosa (like a crepe, I guess)
                      soups (again, can't sell anything from a can to my family now)
                      spice blends and curry (but I cheat on the Thai type)
                      pie crust (so worth it)

                      What I have made, but don't regularly, but would if I had time

                      sausage (I need to do this more, it is so good)
                      home ground meat
                      yogurt
                      mayonnaise
                      dumplings (like pot stickers)
                      tortillas
                      sprouts (if I could figure them out better)
                      ravioli (yum, but is rather tedious)
                      spaetzle
                      pretzels

                      What I have made but probably won't again:

                      sauerkraut
                      coconut milk
                      lard, schmaltz

                      Surely I'm overlooking some obvious ones, but this gives the idea. Thanks for asking, I've got to make sausage again, soon!

                      1. missclaudy Apr 11, 2011 12:25 PM

                        preserved lemons

                        1. g
                          giorgionadi May 16, 2011 11:36 AM

                          Can I have your tortilla recipe...I have some rendered lard and a tortillero I just picked up and would love to start making them.

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