Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Homemade Instant Beans and using The Heat Retention Cooking Method

Tuesday's Tutorial is one I have been working on for a long time. I think a lot of times it easy to get caught up in my mind with a "this is how we cook" mental state. In the last few years I've studied and applied the use of  
Solar cooking , including the building of several different Solar Oven cookers.  I've come a long way since My first solar oven   

In that process I learned a lot. Number one, first and foremost...I can learn something new everyday.  Second...I should learn something new about how to cook food.  I'm a chef and as food is hard wired in my brain so is the absolute desire to see that people all over the world are blessed.  I have a vision of seeing lives changed every day through my efforts...and I hope you do too. I know that together, we can make a difference.  Wow. I just got really sappy right there.  {Insert suave eyebrow raise} I know.  I don't do that often.

So today's tutorial has come to pass after being so excited about instant beans! After the last few classes on  Convenience Meals  and cooking with them, I've had a lot of requests for this tutorial.  I found some instant beans from THRIVE that can are already made, but I also wanted to see if it could be done at home.  Yup. Totally can be done.  Highlighted today are the ever amazing beans from Colorado. All hail the farm-folk up there! Dang it. There's a lady who lives in my house Granny who grew up with those bean folk...and a gal named Elsie who almost cried when she saw her beloved Bolita beans from CO come home once again. Thanks folks. Awesome beans!  I found these at our local 

 These are the Zuni Gold beans. I think they're pretty. I'd hot glue them to my favorite funky-purse and wear them as a snazzy accessory...but I think today we'll just cook them instead. Right?{ I'm secretly stuffing some in my pocket of to my right side. Now I'm mystically waving my hands in front of your face. You didn't see anything.}
 Our Heat Retention cooking class starts NOW.  For more on this amazing cooking method look HERE. It's not, in fact, a new method!   I've used my solar cooker as a sun-less cooker! Yes...it can be done! You can cook without the sun too! It's been particularly off-n-on sunny the last bit so I wasn't sure if I could pull it off...but I did. So I'm showing you. I did the post on Using Your Sun Oven as a Slow Cooker 101
 but failed to mention what to do should the sunlight be intermittent or it get cloudy shortly into your cooking. Heaven forbid! Well...there is salvation.
 Soak the beans in water overnight. Drain. Add 6 cups more water.  Bring to a simmer and cook 15 minutes (or in the solar oven, cook 20 minutes until at 350 degrees.)
 At this point, let's hypothetically say that the sun goes behind the clouds. In Arizona we've had several days like this lately. Annoying. But...I've found this out...I can sitll cook the beans.
 Cover the pot with towels, tightly fitting them around the bottom and sides of the hot pot. If you don't have a solar oven, this method will also work using a hay basket lined with blankets.  For more on this amazing cooking method look HERE. It's not, in fact, a new method!
 Close up your solar oven and allow beans to cook for 1 1/2 hours or more. Up to 8 hours.  Now. To make them into Instant beans that cook much quicker I made use of my method for Solar Dehydrating using my Bigger Bolder Sun Oven...big enough for 12 loaves . This has been an epic tool for dehydating and getting the food warm for things like beans.  At any rate. The cooked beans can go on a metal cooling rack in the solar oven and if the top of the oven is vented open by having a crack left unclosed, they will start as this...
 12-15 hours later they will be dry and shelf stable like this:
These can be cooked in as little as 20 minutes! Take one cup of instant beans and 3 cups of water. Simmer...or heat for 10 minutes over boiling water and use the Heat Retention method we talked about here. Either way will work.
I have enjoyed using them in my Convenience Meals in a Jar.
Personal favorite...the Bean and Rice Fajita Casserole using the Heat Retention Method.
There you go! Some awesome new tips for cooking without power and making instant beans!

 Again, if you want to learn more about the heat retention method I also recommend this e- book: Retained Heat Cooking ... the Wave of the Future Again . 
It's only 55 pages and under 10$ and I learned A LOT from reading it. xoxo! Special thanks and hugs to author Leslie Romano!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lemon Blueberry Sponge Pudding Cakes

 For starters...I'm  very excited to offer this Spice Deal to those who shop me through Identity Magazine here ! Smoking great deal on shipping! Now on to the Lemon-blueberry happy land...
 A few weeks ago I started a cooking project with these glorious blueberries in mind. Aren't they the most plum, mind boggling, berry? I could eat them until my eyes are blue. {You know what I'm talking about right?} Mmm. Blueberries...I wish I was a Smurf. I'd use this as a hat. 
 Combined with this flavor I adore...
What's not to love about a lemon-blueberry light-n-fluffy cake? Mmmm.
 I wanted it to be a dessert that was individual size...and delightfully fresh and light for the summer. I wanted to be able to seriously impress too. It was for a big party I was doing soon. So...I started with these...baking ramekins.
So, when I saw Pat Sinclair's Cookbook share a recipe for Lemon Sponge Pudding Cake I was instantly converted to the idea of using the blueberries in the bottom of the cake and use the recipe for individual cups! It was perfect!  Pat's recipes have been spot on--every time! This is my recipe adapted from her original:

You will need:
10  1 cup baking ramekins
1 cup fresh blueberries or blackberries (freeze dried work, rehydrated with orange juice)
3 large eggs
1 cup milk or almond milk
1/4 cup lemon juice (2 lemons) and zest
3/4 cup sugar ( I used cardamom infused sugar 2 cups sugar 1 tsp ground cardamom)
1/4 cup all purpose flour (Gluten free use quinoa flour or rice flour)
1/8 tsp salt
3T melted butter
1/4 tsp Chef Tess Wise Women of the East Spice and Floral Blend

1/2 tsp lemon zest

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. {Solar oven works amazing for these!}
Generously butter the ramekins and sprinkle with some additional infused sugar.

Add a few blueberries or blackberries to cover the bottom of the dish.
Combine the sugar, flour, salt spice blend, and zest in a small bowl.
Get the cutest kid you know and have them beat the yolks in a medium bowl until well blended. Add the milk and lemon juice. This boy also has an insane love for blueberries. When I told him the blueberries were for "something special" as he started eating them with vacuum velocity...he almost cried. So...I adjusted my day and remembered HE was the reason I was home in the first place...Thanks Face. You're my light!

It's a great time to teach the kiddos how to separate eggs too! Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture and beat until smooth.   Stir in the melted butter or alternate oil.
Line all your dishes on a metal 9 by 13 casserole with a lip.  
Beat the Egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form.  

Gently fold the whites into the pudding mixture, retaining as much air as possible. Pour into the separate baking dishes.

Place in the oven. Pour 3-4 cups boiling water to a depth of about 1 inch in the casserole so it surrounds the pudding cake ramekins. Bake 20-25 minutes until puffed and light brown.  Solar oven has no need for the water in the casserole. That's a perk.  Now after baking...carefully remove from the oven. Careful...we don't want that boiling hot water from the pan all over the floor...or kids nearby.
Dust generously with powdered sugar. I used a rose petal infused powdered sugar for some added sophistication...
Served warm it will be amazing. I for one could eat them all day...

There you go. Sponge Pudding Cakes of Glory.
Remember to see my latest

Also! Very excited to offer this Spice Deal to those who shop me through Identity Magazine here ! Smoking great deal on shipping!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Real Painting--Bread of Life

I came across one of my "Real Paintings" when we were moving some of our furniture from storage. I'd almost forgotten how much I loved it until I saw it again. Usually you all see the painting I do on bread. So I thought I'd share this piece here on the blog. It's not food...but ya know what? It's still my soul. Sunday is that day I share a little of my soul. Enjoy.

At one point, painting this picture I remember thinking, "I don't want this picture to end. I want it to go on forever and ever. I wish it could trail off the canvas and into eternity." So I laced the leaves around the sides of the canvas and just sat back wishing I could do more. It was a quiet afternoon in late July. The only reason I remember that is because it was a day my kids had gone for a solid 8 hour block. Mom's don't get that often when the little ones are super small. It had been a long week.

 Now, several years later I looked at this painting again in a new light.  I grew so much when I painted this. At the time I didn't have a garden so I didn't literally grow things...but I was creating something spiritually. I was giving my creative mind some solid form. I was expressing the deep yearnings of my soul to create depth and light. I wanted to see textures and shapes and I wanted it all pure on white...I wanted to take something ordinary and make it beautiful.  

It also made me wonder why I ever put it away in storage instead of on my wall.  Isn't life like that at times?

Why do we as humans sometimes start something and then end up not keeping that thing, whatever it may be, near and dear to our hearts? Especially if the thing we started brought us great joy and personal satisfaction? I'm not sure. All I know is that today...I'm taking it out and hanging it up.  I'm not saying I will always have time to paint on canvas...but I'm remembering that at one time in my life, there was hours of silence. I'm remember that those days will come all too quickly when that isn't the "exception" but the "rule"... and that the times I have now are just as precious as the bright white. The depth, the texture, the color and the shapes...all have a place on the canvas. My life, imperfect as it is doesn't need to be more...it just needs to be taken  out and appreciated now and then for what it really is. Real Life. I want it to run over the edges today. I want it to go on forever...but it won't. It will change. 

I'm reminded to be a Pioneer now, as my Ancestors were before me. I'm reminded to not be satisfied with one blank canvas but to touch every life I can wherever I can...for as long as I can.

“Truly the Lord encourages us to walk in faith to the edge of the light and beyond—into the unknown,” M. Russel Ballard.

There it is. Light up the darkness.  

Friday, July 22, 2011

Best Friends, Finds and Food! Wow what a week!

BFFF for those who don't know, is my news of Friday. It's my day to shout out to my best Friends, Finds and Food! I encourage you to share with me what you're doing and creating! I want to share it here on the blog! Remember to pop over to my latest Giveaway!

Let's Start BFFF!
Today I'm especially remembering my Friends across the globe in India! Gingham Project...you guys are changing lives and I salute you everyday!  Exciting news!  this week is that I was able to partner with the most amazing gal to head up my spice sales online that will benefit the Gingham project. More details to come on that here . 

One of the biggest highlights of my week okay..YEAR...was being asked by Chris Petrie over a month ago if I would come teach is wife Andrea Robinson (Petrie) at a private cooking class in their home as a surprise for her birthday! It may have killed me not saying a word...but I'm telling you she was so excited Friday when I pulled up to her house.  The other perk was seeing and hearing all the new squeals when a new dear old friend would arrive that she wasn't expecting! Spice class was outstanding...but truly the best part for me, was seeing my sweet friend Andrea have a remarkable day.
  Andrea Robinson is one of the morning anchors on Fox 10...and may I just say, having known her for almost 3 years...that she is every bit as real and sweet in person as she is on TV. Alexis Vance was also there...another kindred spirit and dear friend who happens to be on Fox 10. She's a doll! Love you Alexis!
 The food was crazy amazing! However, my favorite part was making the cupcakes! Since it was an herb and spice class the final course included these spiced chocolate cupcakes with rose petal white chocolate fondant and painted pearl embellishments. Truly vintage and just cool!  Look at this album on Facebook for more pictures of this event: Surprise Party for Andrea Robinson
Amazing friend and find of the week:
 Laura Sokol Photography ! Laura does outstanding work and is totally great to work with.  She's also way pregnant!  Laura came to my home and took a lot of amazing pictures. These are three of my favorites...

Okay...um this may be my favorite of all time...
After pictures, we sat down to warm bread and honey at my kitchen table. Talked. Laughed. I LOVE you Laura! It was a great time had by all! Awesome gal! Great professional work.

So, this next find and Friend are not food...but Creative non-the-less. It's the blog of my creative genius brother John who has written two amazing Books! Composite Materials: Fabrication Handbook #1 (Composite Garage Series) and 
Composite Materials: Fabrication Handbook #2 (Composite Garage Series). Both amazing!  Well...today I was looking at John's Blog and Wow if he didn't have the coolest tutorial on how to make one of these i phone stands...
John is now the master-genius. I called him this week and he is totally on board with helping me develop a dough mixer design that will be able to be adapted and used in third world countries and in emergency situations around the globe. John. You are the beloved.  What do you think? I  think he needs a t-shirt made." Johnnie 5...Master Genius. Yo!". 

Food! Okay. Foodie food from my friends on Facebook

Ann Gregorio-Thomsen told me 
"I'm making tortellini with grilled chicken, tomatoes and fresh spinach"
I had to share. Look how pretty it is!

Another friend I've known since High School and who's culinary talents have made me drool often...
Kathrine Hansen shared this recipe with me and sent me to this awesome Mongolian Beef recipe here at Favorite Family Recipes . Freak YES! This was awesome!

So...that's been my week! Wow what a whirlwind of Friends, Finds and Food! What are you creating? Feel free to keep me in the loop! I love sharing your success with food and I love visiting your favorite "Finds". Send me a note anytime! stephanie@cheftessbakeresse.com or Facebook everyday! Xoxo! Smooches!

Your Friend,
Chef Tess.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Spices, Aprons and Towels Oh My GiveAway!

 Big happy news! I'm so excited to announce that the entire Chef Tess Spice Line will now be available in retail stores! It's launching August 6th with  the amazing Honeyville Grains {Have you seen these guys?!} My spices will be on the shelves in their retail stores (find one near you Here)! Honeyville Grains  is, in fact, sponsoring the whole grand venture so their name will be on my jars! Guys this is HUGE! Eeek! I'm so dang excited!! EEExcited!!  Now...I'm going to also be available at other stores as well...Preparing Wisely in Mesa AZ will be carrying them and I'm working on a few other big chains! Dizzy-Happy!! So...let's get this going guys! If you have a store or know someone who does...send me a shout. I'd love to come to your town!
 Next up...The Aprons. My thought with these started when reading the story of Honeyville's founder Lowell Sherratt Sr and what he did during the turmoil surrounding Japanese-Americans in California during WW2. We live with a veteran of that war (you all know him as Mr. Putt Putt ) and I think there is indeed some kindred blood running through our veins. True compassion. True respect for people based on their value as children of God.  Especially when it comes to thinking that as they say at Honeyville, "People can make a difference." Seriously. It's an idea as old as time...but why don't more people keep on trying to make a difference in a big EPIC way?! So...that's where my apron idea started...the whole, "bring it back to the values that seem vintage" idea. The whole..."we're in this together so let's really pull together idea..." Let's get back to basics!
Honeyville is looking at carrying some frilly cute aprons and Vintage towels. They will be carrying my Tutorial Cookbook CD's Too!  As for the aprons... I ran some ideas by my design friend Heather Lamps (you gotta see Her blog) and she did a few this weekend. I'm sure we'll have a better idea when time goes on what will actually be available. Here are a few. The country gal's...with a vintage removable clip for washing.

 Flared...because we should always have some flair...
 Cuter-than-heck-fire...washboard or 50's kitchen ready aprons...with Vintage crochet roses...
 I think they're ding-a-dang cute. The roses are hand crocheted by a mom. So they're personal...and they help a good family.
 Okay...now I think these towels are a cross between my grandma and myself. She'd have them in her kitchen because the were practical and stuff.  I'd have them because they reminded me of her but now they are totally NEW with some upgraded twists...and they were just adorable! Not the buttons! OH yes...even the polk-a-dot fabric covered buttons!
 Remember these?! The ones that grandma would crochet and hang on the stove?! Or milk pail...This is what they look like in basic form and function. They'll all be different though...and make you remember all the love that you felt at grandma's and that you want your family to feel with you.
 Case in point...we'll be adding some MoDerN flair. So...it's Vintage...but Modern.
 Ironically...my gal who makes these is in her 20's. So it's a totally crazy deal that they are so freakishly Vintage and yet made by someone so young! Did I mention Heather's Etsy Shop?
 Heather also made this one...and I squealed! Really loud.
 Isn't it Yummy?! Lucille meets Chef Tess...and lookie lookie...It's just perfectly ruffled and girlie...and...{I passed out}.
So...if the aprons come to town too...that would rock! We'll have more details as they unfold in all their splendorous glory! In the meantime...let me know if you want the spices near you. I'm all over this! Smooches and hugs! OH...did I say Giveaway?! YES! So I've decided to do a giveaway with this frilly pass out apron, 50's washboard apron, crochet's towel and then 12 winners will get a bottle of my All Purpose Spice blend! So...that's like 15 winners right?! So...plenty of chances to Win!

 Leave a comment first entry. Second entry...shout out on twitter (tell me here). Third entry..."Like me" on Facebook here and Share my page with your friends telling about the giveaway tell me back here on the blog. The more who join my page the better it is (I'll be doing a giveaway with the Country girl on my fan page! At the end of this giveaway I'll be randomly picking a winner from one of my followers there!)  So you can enter the giveaway up to 3 times! You just have to share the love. Is that fair?  I think it's fair. I'll choose the winners randomly on August 10th at midnight. Let's get the word out folks! Xoxo and Smooches forever!

Your friend,
Chef Tess.