Friday, January 11, 2013

Puttering about the kitchen

Over the past few weeks I've used my crockpot more than I had in the previous year or so of owning it. It's a tiny one with only one setting ("On") but it got us a good batch of Hoppin' John on New Year's day, some okay "baked" beans, and most recently I've used it for easy seitan!

I haven't eaten land animals in decades but I do like a chewy, "meaty" mouthfeel in food. So far, the best homemade seitan recipe I have found is from the now defunct blog A Veg*n for Dinner. It's the Seitan Fillet Mignon and I probably should have taken a peek at it before making seitan last night. Still, my batch, based on a ratio of 1 part vital wheat gluten to 3/4 part liquid, was pretty tasty. The biggest boon, however, was simmering it overnight in the crockpot. TONS of flavour and no hassle! I flipped it over in the broth once a few hours after putting it in but other than that I didn't touch it until this morning when I removed it and prepped the crockpot for it's next task of making beef stew for Spouse's lunch.  Given how easy that was, I think it's worth getting the vegan cookbook (so I don't have to keep searching for the site) to have that and her other seitan recipes onhand.


One other other things I've been eyeing in the kitchen is a bowl of bee's wax and oil that I made up to condition some wood. While I planned to use the rest of it to rub on the pantry shelves once we can clear the dishes off of them (when the cupboards are ready to go back up), it got me thinking about homemade cosmetics as it's also the basis for cold cream.

A few years ago Spouse decided to start wet shaving so I got him pre-shave oil, shaving cream, a brush, etc. Pre-shave oil, while sparingly used, is still incredibly expensive! When I checked the ingredients, basically essential oils in a carrier oil, I realized I could make it at home for much less. So now he only uses my oil, custom blended with rosemary, eucalyptus and citrus. Since Spouse is allergic to tree nuts, I use avocado oil rather than almond, which is usually recommended. I find the oil works beautifully for my cold cream as well, and does not have the heavy scent of olive oil.

Now we've decided to go one step further and try to make some aftershave. Spouse doesn't tend to use aftershave, but after I found these recipes for Bay Rum, heimmediately wanted to try. So tonight I shall be going on a booze and spice run and making up a first batch. I'm thinking orange, clove and allspice will be the main scents in this batch, with perhaps a touch of vanilla. If it works, the sky's the limit!


D Davis said...

I can't wait to see how your bay rum turns out. The scent always reminds me of my Grandfather. Hubby often leaves off aftershave as well, but if this is easy, I shall try some too!

Congratulations on your lovely pantry shelving, what a boon to the kitchen.

Teru said...

I've actually been stuck by a lack of bay leaves! The co-op was out of them on Saturday and I've not yet been able to get out somewhere else to find some. I think I'll break down and go to a regular supermarket near my office though just so I can get it started.