Preserving Bananas

PRESERVING BANANAS

Steve told me how to do this years ago. He discovered it by accident, trying to keep bananas from rotting so quickly. It works every time. I don’t know the science behind it, but the proof is in the result.

This is what you do: When you bring a bunch of bananas home from market, rather than let them set out to ripen too quickly, wrap the bananas in a plastic bag – the type the grocer packs your groceries in. Fairly snuggly. Place the bunch in the bag, then twist the bag, removing all air as you do, then wrap the bag around the bananas.

Now put the wrapped bunch of bananas in another bag the same way, and then a third bag the same way also. Place in the back of the refrigerator or crisper.

The bananas will last quite a while in case you forget to eat them as planned.






 

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Specialty Salts

Now that I’ve experienced them I’m always going to have them in my pantry, that is, as long as I can afford these high priced salts.

The two I’m talking about here are pink Himalayan salt and Celtic salt. I don’t really have a favorite, but I definitely use more of the pink, probably because the granulation is more similar to the table and sea salts I’m most familiar with. The Celtic salt has a powdery granulation that is nice but different.

I purchased Sherpa Pink Himalayan salt online – in both granulated and rock form. Sherpa refers to a member of a Himalayan people living on the borders of Nepal and Tibet. Both pink salt products are Kosher, but that didn’t determine why I bought them.

Celtic salt is actually a French sea salt from the Bay of Biscay, Brittany Isles.

I did a tasting of both salts along with Morton’s idodized salt and somebody else’s sea salt that I also had on hand, and did discern a flavor difference outside of the texture consideration. However, once in the food of a recipe I doubt that I could tell one salt from the next.

However, since both salts tout purity in minerals and mining processing, I will stay with the higher-end salts. In pasta water, because I use so much of it, I still use either the iodized table salt or sea salt.

With both salts I use more in a recipe per teaspoon than if I were using the standard variety. Not much. If a recipe calls for one teaspoon regular salt, just add a little more of any sea or specialty salt.

Some won’t care. Salt is salt. But for me, it is always nicer to work with a quality product – and these two salts: pink Himalayan and Celtic are quality.






 

WHOLE FOODS IN ROCKY RIVER, OHIO






 

SMOKED PAPRIKA

SMOKED PAPRIKA is the key ingredient added to animal-free recipes tasting of blood. Other additives that enhance the smoked paprika thus the blood taste are garlic powder, dry mustard, turmeric and sea salt.

~ Sharon Lee Davies-Tight






FENNEL SEED – the perfect plant meat spice

It’s not the same as star anise. It’s close, or should I say star anise is close to fennel seed – a cousin, seems like the same DNA, but is it really? I mean, do I really want to be putting licorice into my savory sauces? That’s what star anise is, basically, the taste of licorice – whatever makes licorice licorice, that’s what star anise tastes like.

Fennel on the other hand – a whiff of something like licorice, but until somebody pointed it out decades ago, I never connected the two – fennel with licorice. I connected it with Italian sausage. Pizzelles (an Italian pastry made on something that looks like a fancy waffle iron), now that’s made using star anise.

Fennel is a savory spice, not a dessert spice. Though now that I’m thinking about it, I think I will make a dessert out of fennel seed. Some day.

There’s a complexity to fennel seed that star anise lacks. Umami is what I’m talkin’ about here. Fennel seed and allspice – yeah I couldn’t leave that other mami out. Team those two and explosions occur in the kitchen, in the pot, in the sauce, in the plant meat…whoa.

Sorry Asians, but soy sauce doesn’t hold a candle to fennel and allspice in the umami department. I don’t know why cooks are putting soy sauce into everything they make. Cream soups even. Take it out.

Of course allspice is not exactly considered a savory spice. Sweet as in dessert is where it is most often used.

I use ground fennel in sauces, soups, salad dressings, plant meats, appetizers, veggie dishes and on and on.

I buy fennel seed in bulk and grind my own. If you live near an Italian grocery store, they’ll probably sell it finely ground, which is just as good as you doing it, since they do it from the seed just like you would. And they only grind what they know they’ll sell.

I use a coffee grinder with good results. It’s best to have two grinders, one for spices and seeds and one for coffee.






 

HEINEN’S GROCERY STORE

Lots of vegan options in this beautiful store with beautiful people!

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LIQUID SMOKE

Liquid smoke is one of an animal-free chef’s greatest friends.

Use to add a rich smoky dimension to dips, spreads, salad dressings, soups, sauces, main dishes.

Always keep on hand. Buy in small bottle in grocery store, or as I do now, a larger bottle from GFS (Gordon’s Food Store).






 

GARLIC: POWDER vs GRANULATED

Garlic powder textures like cornstarch. Granulated garlic textures like salt, but doesn’t melt or dissolve. The finer the granulation, the better. Shop around.

Most markets now carry only the granulated, yet label it as garlic powder. Ninety-nine percent of the time I use granulated labeled as powder. I know it’s confusing, but that’s what manufacturers do.

If you shop at a specialty market or wholesale food store, you’ll be able to buy granulated labeled as granulated, and powdered labeled as powder.

If you want extra smooth, then use powder. If it doesn’t matter, then use granulated labeled as powder, or labeled as granulated. The powder is white and the granulated is tan.

* The same is true for onion powder vs granulated onion.






MINOR’S MUSHROOM BASE

I buy Minor’s Mushroom Base at Gordon’s Food Store.

It can also be purchased online at amazon.com and elsewhere.

It’s a great product that enhances the mushroom flavor of whatever dish you use it in.

It’s salty, because it’s highly concentrated, so you don’t need much. It’s also gluten-free.






 

Santiago Dried Vegetarian Refried Beans

Santiago Dried Vegetarian Refried Beans

The package recommends 1/2 gallon boiling water per package of beans, to let set covered for 25 minutes. If you want a thinner refried bean, then increase the amount of boiling water.

It’s a great product. Use wherever you would traditionally use refried beans. Or get creative by adding herbs, spices, oils, varying thickness, adding sauteed veggies, roasted garlic and on and on.

Upscale refried beans, dressed in new garb, could become the new hummus. And Santiago Dried Whole Refried Beans could become the bean the world wants.

Whole beans set these refried beans apart from other commercially prepared beans. I’ve never had a reconstituted product that tasted so good!

RECIPE FROM SANTIAGO REFRIED BEANS - Edited

Seasoned in the pan with smoked paprika, garlic, rosemary, extra virgin olive oil and salt. Topped with pan-fried veg breakfast sausage, an added olive oil drizzle and spray of smoked paprika and cracked pepper. Kalamata olive garnish. Serve with salad of greens dressed with a tart citrus vinaigrette.


  • The vegetarian style refried beans contain no animal products.

SANTIAGO DRIED REFRIED BEANS OUT OF PKG. - Edited

SANTIAGO DRIED REFRIED BEANS - Edited

Check out their website. BASIC AMERICAN FOODS

https://www.baffoodservice.com/






 

MAKING SOY WHIPPED CREAM

SOY WHIPPED CREAM — DELICIOUS! Continue reading →