Cooking Bread in a Dutch Oven and Alternative Steaming Techniques

Commercial bread ovens have a steam injection system. The steam keeps the surface of the dough supple so that dough can expand gracefully during baking. Jim Lahey’s popular no-knead bread recipe uses a dutch oven to emulate steam injection. The Dutch oven method seals in the moisture contained in the dough during the first half hour of baking. It works great and I cook all my bread this way. That being said it can be tricky to plop a loa...

Continue reading…

How to make a Calendula oil infusion

...ine the strainer with cheese cloth or muslin. Strain the oil into a fresh, clean jar. Pour off the oil first, then press the dried matter to squeeze out the remaining oil as best you can. You’ll never get it all back. Label it  Make sure you label it with the type of oil and the date it was made. Believe me, even if you only make one jar, you’ll forget what it is and when you made it, and a year later you’ll be standing at yo...

Continue reading…

SurviveLA Visits Simparch’s Utah Compound

...ield on land leased by the Center for Land Use Interpretation, Simparch’s project proves that self-reliance is possible in what must be one of the harshest climates in North America. Clean Livin’ features a set of solar panels, batteries, a solar shower, a refrigerator, and a composting toilet all housed in and around a repurposed WWII era Quonset hut. Water is biked in with specially adapted cargo bikes. Solar power pumps the water...

Continue reading…

Made in the shade- Passive cooling

We just survived another major heat wave here. People and plants were positively melting. The sidewalks were veritable solar cookers. I’m sure I could have fried an egg on the sidewalk outside my house. I prefer not to crank the air conditioning, so I have been thinking a lot lately about simple ways to cool ourselves and the spaces we inhabit. Air conditioning is the main mechanical means by which we cool buildings these days. However, t...

Continue reading…

Saturday Linkages: Goat Wars, Dinites and a Sanitary Pad Revolution

...opia-in-the-oce/ … Pay phone booth re-purposed as a tiny library – Unconsumption http://disq.us/8hkfz6  Avoiding pollution, drought’s evil twin http://chanceofrain.com/2014/02/avoiding-pollution-droughts-evil-twin/ … A Simple Solar Water Heating System for the Tropics… http://www.builditsolarblog.com/2014/03/a-simple-solar-water-heating-system-for.html?spref=tw … A Solar Heated Loo http://www.builditsolarblog.com/2014/02/a-solar-heated-loo....

Continue reading…

Saturday Linkages: Keeping It Cool

Watering the roof. One of the low-tech home cooling tips on the Build It Solar Blog. Tiny Home in Italy made out of pallets http:// bit.ly/NGWlPS Build-It-Solar Blog: Cooling Without Power http://www. builditsolarblog.com/2012/07/coolin  … Build-It-Solar Blog: DIY Solar Water Heating for 7 Unit Apartment http://www. builditsolarblog.com/2012/07/diy-so  … Measure for Measure – Beth Schaleben’s Yardstick Table http:// bit.ly...

Continue reading…

My Trip to Maker Faire

...ng elsewhere. To add to the low tech/high tech irony, I was not able to use my PowerPoint and had to speak extemporaneously. This worked out for the better, as I was able to pull up a member of the audience to demonstrate her solar cooker–much more fun than showing pictures of solar cookers. And, after all, maybe it’s time we retire PowerPoint. Some of the things I spotted at Maker Faire: Long lines for the tiny house. I’ll re...

Continue reading…

Prickly Pear Fruit Chips

...ich are barbed and much more painful than the spines on the pads). I disarm the glochids by burning them off over a burner on the stove. Cut the fruit into thin slices and hack off the skins. Place in a dehydrator. We have a solar dehydrator, but a commercial one will also work, of course. If you live in a dry desert climate you can dry fruit in the sun under screens, but here in Los Angeles the air has too much moisture in it. Fruit would mold...

Continue reading…

Return of Bean Friday! Chickpea, Pasta and Tomato Soup

...lled Pasta e Ceci alla Toscana. The quantity made by the recipe was pretty small, and when I make soup, I make a lot, so I doubled their quantities. This is my interpretation. ———— Allow three hours of cooking time You need: 2 cups dried chickpeas. Please don’t use canned beans for this recipe–I don’t think it will work. I also doubt other types of beans would work quite as well.1 28 oz. can of chopped to...

Continue reading…

The Pressure is On

My pressure cooker is my new best friend. Especially when I’m not in the mood for cooking, I can toss a few ingredients in, lock the lid down and come back to a healthy, nutritious supper in just a few minutes. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a pressure cooker cookbook up to my standards. All of the ones I checked out from the library, even those newly published, seemed stuck in the 1950s tuna noodle casserole era, when pressure cooki...

Continue reading…