Friday, October 21, 2011

Sauces and Gravies

One of my favorite parts of any meal, food storage based or otherwise, are the sauces or condiments that accompany any meal. I love sauce or gravy with most of my food. One thing I have learned as I have worked on food storage is that you can totally raise almost any food storage item to the next level if it is accompanied by a good sauce or gravy. Not only that, but you can make a meal of good whole wheat bread covered with gravy. Or pancakes and waffles covered with jelly or syrup.

Gravy, Sauces, syrups & dressings add delicious flavors to meals made from basic food storage and food from your garden. Making sauces from scratch can also save you lots of money as you won't have to rely on prepared food or sauce mixes! Here are some basic sauce and gravy recipes. I know you all have your favorite homemade sauce too. Feel free to share it with the rest of us so we can all have a good assortment of recipes in our files.

Meat Drippings Gravy
8 T. fat or meat dripping
4 c. Milk
6 T. Flour
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fry the meat and drain off the fat. Use an ample amount of the fat and drippings. Add the flour and brown it slightly. Add the milk and stir until well blended. Season and cook to desired thickness.

Milk Gravy
1 c. Powdered Milk mixed with 3 c. Water
1 T. Margarine
3 Heaping T. Flour
½ t. salt
Mix the water and powdered milk together. Add the flour and salt. Cook over medium heat until the gravy is thickened. Add the margarine and stir until smooth.

Chicken Gravy

1½ T. Butter or Margarine
1½ T. chicken bouillon
½ t. garlic powder
1¼ c. Water
¼ c. Dried Milk (Instant)
1 t. onion powder
¼ t. turmeric
1 T. Flour

Onion Gravy

¼ c. Butter or margarine
1 T. Beef Bouillon
2 T. Cornstarch
3 c. Chopped Onions
2 c. Boiling Water
¼ c. Cold Water
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Beef Gravy
1½ T. Butter or Margarine
1 t. Minced Onion or powder
1 t. Worcestershire Sauce
1¼ c. Water
1½ T. Beef Bouillon
1 T. Flour

Herb Gravy
1 Can Regular Strength Chicken or Beef Broth
3½ - 4 T. Flour
1 T. Parsley
Pinch of Thyme
Drops of Kitchen Bouquet
½ t. salt
Pepper to taste
1 t. chives
Brown the onions if using. Add all other ingredients except cornstarch (or flour) and cold water together in a pan. Cook until dissolved. Add the cornstarch (or flour) and water together. Pour them into the gravy base. Continue cooking until thick. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Basic White Sauce
Prepare Ahead Mix:
1 c. Flour
1 c. Margarine
4 t. salt
2½ c. Nonfat Dry Milk
Blend ingredients with a fork until resembles a crumbly coarse meal. Store in the refrigerator. To prepare: Blend 1/3 c. Mix with 1 c. Cold Water or Broth. Add liquid slowly. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly until thick.

White Sauce--thin, medium, thick
1 T. butter
1 T. flour
1 c. Milk
¼ t. salt

2 T. Butter
2 T. Flour
1 c. Milk
¼ t. salt

3 T. Butter
3 T. Flour
1 c. Milk
¼ t. salt
Over low heat, melt butter in sauce pan. Add flour. Blend until smooth. Add milk at once and cook until thick. Stir constantly so it won't burn. Add salt. To make a cheese sauce, add ½ c. grated cheddar cheese.

Cheese Sauce
½ c. Cheese powder
3 T. powdered milk
1 t. dried onions
1½ t. corn starch
1¼ t. salt
1 c. Water
Prepare the above recipe, stirring until thickened.

1 whole egg
2 t. sugar
¼ t. salt
1½ T. Vinegar
dash of pepper
1 c. oil
Put all ingredients in the blender, except for ¾ c. of the oil. Blend together well. While blending slowly, add the remaining oil until the mayonnaise is thick.

Tomato Sauce
2 c. chopped onion
3 cloves garlic
3 T. oil
3 ½ c. Bottled Tomatoes
2 small cans tomato paste
2 c. water
1 bay leaf
½ t. salt
¼ t. pepper
¼ t. oregano
¼ t. basil
Sauté onion and garlic in oil. Add tomatoes, paste, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Simmer 2 hours. Add more water if necessary. Add oregano and basil. Cook another 15 minutes until thick.

Tomato Sauce (from Dried Foods)
1 c. Tomato Powder
3 c. Water
½ t. salt
1 t. sugar
1 T. oil
1 T. margarine powder
¼ c. onion flakes
¼ t. garlic powder
1 bay leaf
pepper to taste
Simmer the tomato powder, water, sugar and salt on low heat for 20 minutes. Sauté onions in oil and margarine powder until tender. Add onions and remaining ingredients to the tomatoes and simmer another 15 minutes. Stir often, until thick.

Tomato Catsup
1 c. Tomato Powder
2 t. Sugar
¼ t. vegetable oil
½ t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
Dash of onion powder
1½ c. Water
Combine all ingredients. Boil; then simmer for 10 minutes until thick.

Mustard Sauce
1/2 c. tomato soup
1/2 c. vinegar
1/2 c. prepared mustard
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. salad oil
3 egg yolks
Stir together till smooth and cook till thick. Delicious on meat loaf or ham. Keeps well for a long time in the refrigerator.

Quick and Easy Sweet and Sour Sauce
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. cider vinegar
1 T. cornstarch
1 T. Catsup
Mix in saucepan and bring to a boil. It will clear and thicken.

Sweet and Sour Sauce
2 c. pineapple juice
3 T. vinegar
1 c. Water
¼ c. Honey
¼ c Tamari
2 - 3 T. Corn Starch
1 t. ginger
1 large tomato, cut in eighths
1 pineapple, cut in chunks (3 c.)
1 large green bell pepper, sliced
Put juice and vinegar in a large sauce pan and heat. Add honey, tamari, and ginger. Remove some of the juice, add cornstarch to it. Mix to a smooth paste; add to sauce. When sauce thickens, add tomato, pineapple, and bell peppers. Cook one minute, remove from heat.* Serve with fried rice, egg rolls or vegetables. * If sauce is too sour, add a little more pineapple juice and honey. Yield: 4 c.

Quick and Easy Teriyaki Sauce

2 T. brown sugar
2 T. Soy Sauce
3 T. rice wine vinegar
Heat till sugar is dissolved and mixture boils. Cool It will thicken slightly as it cools. Double or triple recipe as desired.

Quick and Easy Enchilada Sauce

1/4 c. vegetable oil
2 T. flour
1/4 c. chili powder
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 1/2 c. water
1/4 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. onion salt
salt to taste
Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Stir in flour and chili powder; reduce heat to medium and cook until lightly brown, stirring constantly to prevent burning flour. Gradually stir in tomato sauce, water, cumin, garlic powder and onion salt into the flour and chili powder until smooth. Continue cooking over medium heat about 10 minutes until slightly thickened. Season to taste with salt.

Basic Dessert Sauce and Variations
Prepare ahead mix:
½ c. corn starch
1 c. Margarine
4 c. Sugar
½ t. salt
Blend until mixture is uniform and crumbly. Store this in a jar in the refrigerator. Label it. Pack the mix as you would brown sugar. Blend 1/3 c. mix with 2/3 c. cold liquid. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.

Cherry Sauce: Add juice from red sour cherries and water to make 2/3 c. Add ½ c. red cherries and red food coloring after mixture has thickened (optional: add ¼ t. almond extract)

Orange Sauce: Use orange juice to replace the cold liquid

Lemon Sauce: 3 T. lemon juice and water to make 2/3 C liquid

Raisin Sauce: Water and ¼ c. raisins

Chocolate Sauce: Melt ½ square of unsweetened chocolate

Pineapple Sauce: Juice from crushed pineapple and water to make 2/3 c. Add ½ c. Crushed pineapple.

Strawberry Sauce: Add ½ c. Fresh Strawberries and a few drops of red food coloring.

Barbecue Sauce
4 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. mustard
1 c. vinegar
1 c. water
½ c. Sugar
1 c. Catsup
4 t. chili powder
2 t. accent
4 t. minced onion
1 t. seasoned salt
Heat to dissolve all ingredients. Simmer 15 minutes.

Taco Sauce (dried foods)
2 c. Tomato Powder
4 c. Water
¼ c. Minced Onion
½ t. garlic powder
1 t. cumin
1 t. chili powder
¼ t. nutmeg
2 T. vinegar
1 T brown sugar
dash of salt
1 T. salad oil
¼ t. pepper
Combine all ingredients and simmer until done.

French Dressing
1/8 t. onion powder
1 t. dry mustard
¼ c. sugar
¼ c. vinegar
1½ t. salt
1 ½ t. paprika
¾ c. vegetable oil
Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Chill before serving.

Ranch Dressing
1 T. parsley flakes
1/8 t. garlic powder
1 c. buttermilk or sour cream
2 t. minced onion
½ t. salt
1 c. mayonnaise
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Blend until smooth. This can also be used as a dip for vegetables.

Thousand Island Dressing
1 c. mayo (or Miracle Whip)
3 T. ketchup
1 boiled egg, chopped fine
1 1/2 T. finely chopped onion
1/2 t. salt
2 T. sweet pickle relish
2 T. finely chopped tomato (Optional)
Mix together well and chill to blend flavors.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Dehydrating Canned Fruit

One of the interesting new concepts that is fascinating to me is to dehydrate canned fruit; specifically canned pineapple.

I’m sure one of the first things that comes to mind when you first hear about this is the question, “Why?” I know that is what I asked when I first heard this idea.

There are several reasons why dehydrating canned pineapple or other fruits might be a good option:

First is the reason of rotation. If you have pineapple that you are not using up fast enough, you can always dehydrate some of you pineapple storage to make room for fresher pineapple. One pound of canned pineapple chunks will dry to about 2 – 3 oz of dried fruit.

Second is because of space concerns. Most of us only have a limited amount of storage space for canned goods, but still want the option of having fruit in our storage. Storing dried pineapple takes up little space and enables us to use the room for other things.

Third is because dried pineapple is an awesome snack and it is expensive and time consuming to dehydrate fresh pineapple, which can take many, many hours to dry, not to mention the time it takes to cut it up and prepare it for drying. The dried canned pineapple is very sweet and makes a delicious treat which is healthy and readily available. Remember, as the fruit dries the flavor intensifies and becomes even sweeter.

Drying canned pineapple is easy to do. The only stipulation really, is that you cut your pineapple in small enough pieces that they dry evenly and don’t take quite as long to dry as larger chunks. The ideal pineapple for drying is the tidbit size as opposed to the chunks. The chunks or slices can be easily cut into uniform chunks however, which will dry quicker and more thoroughly. When cutting pineapple for drying, remember that ¼” thickness is about right. Any less and your pieces will be too small, as it does shrink quite a bit.

Just drain the pineapple well. The juice can be used immediately for drinking or frozen for later use in cooking if you wish. If you have a temperature control on your dehydrator, dry at 135º. Spread the pineapple on your drying trays and dry for between 8 and 16 hours, or even longer depending on the size of your chunks, how juicy the pineapple pieces are, how many trays you are drying at one time and how thinly the pineapple is spread. It may be a good idea to try a can or two first so you can see how your dryer will work and how much time it will take. Watch your first batch carefully and dry only until the pieces are bendable and no juice remains.

I am so grateful that I found this idea because we love pineapple and, other than canned, have never stored any. I’m drying a couple of cases for our storage which I know will become a favorite snack. I understand that fruit cocktail and mandarin oranges also dry well. Has anyone tried these?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Whole Wheat Wednesday - Zucchini Bread

A good way to introduce your family to whole wheat is to use it in things they already like and then DON'T tell them. That sounds funny but the minute you mention you are serving something that is new or unusual to them, you may have already lost them.

This recipe is a great variety of Zucchini Bread from my Aunt Pearl. She was such a good cook and I loved everything she made. You can add nuts, chocolate chips or raisins depending on what your family likes. If they don't like any of those, leave them out. This bread is made more moist with the addition of crushed pineapple. People who won't eat zucchini will eat this bread. Try it with whole wheat and enjoy!

Zucchini Bread
2 c. sugar
1 c. vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 t. vanilla
2 c. grated zucchini, unpeeled
1 small can (8.5 oz.) crushed pineapple, well-drained
3 c. whole wheat flour
1 t. salt
1 ½ t. cinnamon
½ t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
½ t. nutmeg (optional)
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)
1 c. raisins (optional)
1 c. chocolate chips (optional)
Combine sugar, eggs and oil in a large bowl; beat well to combine. Mix in vanilla. Fold in zucchini (drained if frozen), and well-drained crushed pineapple. Combine all dry ingredients together. Add to sugar and oil mixture and blend thoroughly. Fold in nuts, raisins or chocolate chips if desired and mix until well incorporated. Pour mixture into 2 greased and floured 4½” x 8½” bread pans and bake for 60 minutes at 350º or until toothpick comes out clean.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Establishing a Family Medicine Cabinet

There are many “home Remedies” which can be used to prevent or assist in treating illnesses and sickness. These may be used as a preventative or for relief of symptoms from the common cold to the flu to stomach aches and other simple annoyances.

Part of being self-sufficient is learning how to treat symptoms and provide relief from aches and pains without having to rely on a doctor for every little thing. Being prepared to take care of our family in an emergency is paramount to being successfully prepared for whatever kind of emergency may arise. Do you have a medicine chest that is filled with things that help your family’s personal needs?

I’m not talking about drugs or necessarily prescription medicines I am talking about home remedies or other substances that will help you treat minor sickness or the symptoms that arise from being sick or even injured. Such things might include a good quality Vitamin C, Kelp for radiation protection, Digestive Enzymes, Emergen-C packets, Air Bourne, decongestants, melatonin as a sleep aid on occasion, peppermint oil for sinus problems and many others. Take stock and see what really helps you when you don’t feel well. It’s important to experiment and find some things that work for you.

Let me give you an example; for years our family struggled with pneumonia or other lung infections and were forced to be treated by a medical professional. Now there are some things we do to prevent sicknesses from getting to that point and treat the symptoms ourselves. I have mentioned before how rubbing oregano oil rubbed on the chest over the lungs causes the lungs to expel any mucus and reduces the chances of pneumonia. Peppermint oil dabbed on the sinuses helps to prevent excess sinus drainage and relieve sinus pressure. There are many other home remedies which we have tried; some worked and some didn’t. Regardless, we know what basic things we need to have on hand to do our best to stay healthy. Because we have family members who are allergic to penicillin and other antibiotics, we don’t rely on that as a basic treatment for illness.

This doesn’t mean you will never have to have the help of a Doctor, but it is reassuring to be able to treat the small things ourselves without having to run to the doctor for every little thing.

I want to share a story told by the Paratus Family about their experiences with onions. This was inspiring to me to read of how they were able to treat emergency situations on their own. This is good information to know and retain for similar Emergencies. Here is their story:

“We love onions. We love to sauté them, dice them and use them in onion rings. We like them fresh, we like them dried and we like them in powdered form. But, the humble onion is far more than a tasty addition to your evening meal. An onion can be the difference between a major reaction to a bee sting and a harmless little red bump. An onion can loosen congestion and be the main ingredient in a soothing balm for a hacking cough. Dried onions are the most powerful anti-histamine known.

Many years ago, when our son was a little tyke, he was toddling around the perimeter of our garden as my husband and I were pulling weeds. Suddenly, he fell to the ground, screaming, while yellow jackets, from an underground nest, stung him repeatedly. His dad sprinted, plucked up our son and kept running.

When we got our little boy into the house, he was a mess. He had been stung 17 times on his head alone. Angry red welts dotted his tummy and back and he had more than a few stings on his arms and legs. Wasting no time, we slathered his head with Benadryl cream and then started cutting onions. Over every welt, we placed an onion piece, slimy side down and taped it into place. It took almost an entire onion to place one on every sting, and he looked like something out of a horror show. We watched him very closely for signs of anaphylaxis, but his breathing remained clear. Within 10 minutes, our little boy quit crying, said it didn't hurt, and returned to playing.

After the onions had been in place for about an hour, we tenderly removed each onion piece. Where angry welts had been, there was nothing. No swelling, no redness - nothing. The onions had drawn all of the poison out of our son’s body. We were hooked.

The onion's drawing power is not limited to venom. It works for infections and slivers alike. Onion is also a particularly effective expectorant. Back in the day, onion poultices were used to treat pneumonia and Typhoid fever, with relatively good success.

Our recent illness (Whopping Cough) has caused me to further investigate the onion's medicinal attributes. Before we were aware that we had Pertussis, a friend suggested that I make "Onion Syrup" to help alleviate the cough. Already a great fan of onions, I didn't hesitate to give it a try. The syrup, while effective on the cough in the beginning, wasn't enough to keep the Whooping Cough at bay (apparently, you shouldn't use an expectorant with Pertussis). The short time that we did use, I was very impressed. The kids actually like it (mostly) and it did encourage a very productive cough.

In addition to the onion syrup, I made an onion poultice to use on our son. He was having a really hard time getting goop up with his cough, so I thought he would be a good one to experiment on. Within 15 minutes of putting a poultice on him, he was sitting up expelling large green chunks. He was immediately clearer and slept without coughing for almost 7 hours. The onion poultice was unequivocally an effective expectorant.

As we see the rise in health care costs and the very real potential for limited access to modern medicine, learning to use what we have may well one of our best preparedness assets.”

Onion Syrup (for coughs)
1 C Chopped Onion (fresh)
1/4 C Lemon Juice
1 tsp. Ginger Root (optional - fresh is best, but I used powdered)
Enough honey to cover
Place onion, lemon juice and ginger (a friend used garlic too - I think it was a wonderful addition). Cover with honey. Stir to remove the air bubbles and cover. Let sit overnight or 8 hours.
The honey will suck the juices out of the onion. After sitting overnight, strain out the onion solids (or you can munch on them if you prefer). Dosage: Child (7 - 11 years) 1 tsp. every 3-4 hours & Adult 1 T. Every 3 - 4 hours

Onion Poultice
Cut onion up in rings.
Sauté in cast iron skillet, with a little olive oil, until transparent (not caramelized)
Add enough flour or cornmeal to make a thick paste
Using a clean piece of cloth, cover your patient’s chest with two layers of cloth.
Spread moderately cooled (just cool enough not to burn) onions over the chest.
Cover with another layer of cloth.
Place warm (not hot, to burn) hot water bottle over the poultice.
Let sit until poultice cools.
Repeat if necessary.