On miso, caffeine and the search for a morning brew

Mrs. Homegrown here: I am a caffeine addict. Erik is too, though he doesn’t admit it. Actually, he was only a casual user until he met me, and then became habituated to the morning brew, and eventually graduated into the 3pm pick-me-up brew. In general, I think mild caffeine addiction is not very worrisome, and pretty much built into the fiber of America. However, my own addiction has always been demanding. And recently I had to go strai...

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Prickly Pear Jelly Recipe

k at makinga batch of Tiswin, the sacred beer of the Papagos Indians of central Mexico (usually made with saguaro fruit but prickly pear fruit will do in a pinch). This August we’re making jelly. Here’s how to do it: 1. Taking reader Steven’s (of the fine blog Dirt Sun Rain) suggestion, burn off the nasty spines by holding the fruit over a burner on the stove for a few seconds. Using the non-cutting edge of a knife held at a...

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Hoshigaki Season

Astringent persimmons (such as Hachiya) are in season now which means that it’s time to make hoshigaki, a Japanese delicacy made by hanging peeled persimmons up in a window to dry. Hoshigaki are chewy and subtly sweet. The texture of hoshigaki is different than what you would get if you just put persimmons in a dehydrator. And if all goes right the sugar comes to the surface making it look like the fruit has been dipped in powdered sugar....

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Kevin West’s Saving the Season

217;s jams. I teach a bread making class at the Institute of Domestic Technology. After my bread demo West does a jam making session and I stick around to watch and, hopefully, filtch an extra jar. Those West jams are coveted items around the Root Simple household. What makes Saving the Season different from other preserving books is West’s masterful use of aromatics and alcohols. As he explains in the introduction, “My goal is for th...

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Saturday Linkages: A Mega-Reference for Homesteaders

...legal in Pasadena CA! http://www.change.org/petitions/let-s-really-make-backyard-hens-legal-in-pasadena-ca?share_id=QwPdcnLXHr&utm_campaign=twitter_link_action_box&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=share_petition … Is it better to bike or run? http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/29/ask-well-is-it-better-to-bike-or-run/ … How Chris McCandless Really Died http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2013/09/how-chris-mccandless-died.html?m...

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Tips on growing great garlic

...unless you know an heirloom garlic farmer, the stuff you buy at the supermarket is one of just three bland varieties. According to garlic expert Jeffrey Nekola, who spoke yesterday, garlic has twelve times more information in its DNA than we humans do. Meaning, that garlic is a plant capable of vast biodiversity. Cultural needs When I asked a garlic farmer I met yesterday how to grow garlic he said, “It’s like giving a credit card to your wife ....

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Choosing the Perfect Tortilla Press

When we moved into our house back in 1998, we used to frequent a neighborhood Mexican restaurant down the street. The decor in this place had accrued like barnacles over the many years it was in business: dusty paper flags, Dia de los Muertos trinkets, waiters with pompadours wearing toreador outfits, and mirrors, lots and lots of mirrors. When you had their stiff margaritas (the strongest in town) the room would spin. Combined with those mirror...

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Saturday Linkages: Gourds, Cats and Cider Bread

The Mukombe. Image: Afrigadget. The Mukombe–a hand washing station made out of a gourd:  http://www.afrigadget.com/2014/04/06/the-mukombe/ … Farine: Mike Zakowski making cider bread http://www.farine-mc.com/2014/04/mike-zakowski-making-cider-bread-video.html?spref=tw … 6 Methods for Harvesting Rainwater – Homesteading and Livestock – MOTHER EARTH NEWS http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/6-methods-of-harves...

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Chicks, Mayonnaise and Personal Responsibility

actory farm footage of dead chicks jostling down conveyor belts. The website says, Most of us don’t consider the treatment of baby chicks when we purchase mayo. And we shouldn’t have to: we should be able trust companies when it comes to preventing cruelty to animals. Best Foods and Hellmann’s use millions of eggs each year to create their products. Since only female chickens lay eggs, Best Foods and Hellmann’s don’t have any use for the male bir...

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Worth Doing From Scratch: Corn Tortillas

We do a lot of experimentation here at Root Simple Labs. Some things work out and others fail miserably. I thought I’d periodically look at the projects that have worked in the long term, specifically from scratch. Call this the first blog post in a sporadic series about stuff that’s easy and economical. Now you should be suspicious of any tortilla making advice dispensed by a gabacho. Let’s just say it’s easy and the re...

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