Friday, February 18, 2011

Romantic Pantry Shopping

If your anything like my husband Woodsrunner & I then you will think that this is a very romantic way to spend a Valentines Saturday running the streets of Rochester. K, maybe not so much romantic but enjoyable. We were sans children, had no real timetable and no one expected us at an appointed hour so we were on Hawaiian time so to speak.
Our federal tax check had come so not only did we have gas money ($3.38 per gal.) and had spending money. Did I mention that there was no teenagers in the back seat ?  

First stop was @ the Genesee Valley Regional Market out in Henrietta, New York a burb of Rochester. It's warehouses with loading docks. No frills bulk & specialty shopping at it's best. You have to know your price points if an item can be a better deal @ a retail store on sale with coupons, but we were here for items to stock our primarily scratch cooking pantry. Items that are hard to find @ Tops or Wegmans. More long term storage staples.
First store that we visited was Nibblack Foods a primarily dry goods store that stocks an unbelieveable amount of spices & extracts along with flours. The store itself is about 500 or 600 sq. ft. with shopping isles made up of heavy duty green metal shelving ten feet high. On this Saturday afternoon the store was staffed by two very helpful & knowledgeable women. We spent over an hour shopping  ... well I actually shopped, Woods stood drooling in the hot sauce section followed by canoodling with the woman who was handing out sauce samples. He's a Dutchman with a hispanic tongue.

Baking Powder Double Acting 1lbs./$3.25 - slightly cheaper than @ Aldis.
Farina 1.75 lbs./$2.50 (bought 2) - a.k.a. Cream of Wheat. Eating a small bowel reminds me of mi Abuela.
Flax Seed Meal 1 lbs./$3.50 (bought 2) besides sprinkling over hot cereal (omega 3 heart health) it is also a binding agent in my whole wheat bread recipe.
Gluten Flour Wheat Vital 1 lbs./$4.7 - helps bread rise. 
Lecithin Liquid 32 oz./$10.50 - used as a binding agent in place of a fresh egg in bread recipes, health benefits.
Orange Extract Pure 2 fl.oz. $3.25 - baking.
Powdered Buttermilk 1 lbs./$6.75- although u can always make a version of buttermilk by adding lemon juice or vinegar to milk then let stand until it curdles, I really want to be less dependent on fresh milk.
Powdered Eggs 8 oz./$4 - this is for when fresh eggs are unavailable.
Powdered Malt 1 lbs./$2.75 - this was an impulse buy simply because the label read, "helps bread rise better". Now to figure out how much to use.
Tapioca Starch - 1 lbs./$2.96 - thickening agent for pie fillings.
TVP Soy Unflavored 12 oz./$3.50 - again this was sorta an impulse buy. I have been thinking about adding this to our diet for over a year now.
Quinoa Grains 1 lbs./$4.0 - again a bit of an impulse buy in that I hadn't researched price but had decided to add this to our diet. High in protein.
Vanilla Beans Whole 2 beans/$4.75 - for homemade vanilla extract. Also plan on putting white sugar in the plastic bag that the beans were packaged in to make vanilla scented sugar.

Total $65.96

We also went across the lot to Lori's Natural Foods Center an organic grocery store. Another place on our "been meaning to visit" list. Bought 49 cents worth of organic lentils for an upcoming new recipe, a couple pounds of raw buckwheat groats for grinding (buckwheat pancakes !) & Colloidal Silver (working on alternative health care). Oh bottle of H2O my blood sugar was up extremely parched.
Total $18.22

Next we headed in to Palmer's Market, meat, poultry, & seafood. Apprently we were on a time table as the bulk food section of their biz closes @ 1600. Was hoping to score whole fat powdered milk. If it was economical enough then everyday use if not as an emergency back up when there is no fresh milk for drinking.
Bought 5 log rolls of 80% lean ground beef & 5 log rolls of pork sausage which were a buck a piece.
Haven't tried the sausage yet but the ground beef was good. Should have bought more.
Total $29.85

~~ pelenaka ~~

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Stove Top Oven

One of the many ways that I had planned on increasing the return on our wood stove investment was to use a stove top oven ($30 on gift card) for baking. Easier said than done apparently. My first few attempts were on the cold side with the oven only reaching the 250 degrees when the stove was @ a full fire.
Woods, believes that the poor quality of the wood we have been burning is to blame.
Neither here nor there as I still need to bake.
And we all know that not using the free heat to bake with was driving me crazy Lucy, crazy.
Red silicone baking mats ($15) paper & butterfly clipped in place increased the oven's heat retention.
And yes it took me a good day to figure out what I could use to hold the mats in place.
Stove top oven holds one pie, one 8" cake pan, or two regular loaf pans. It also holds my cast iron muffin pan - 6 small muffins.

Blueberry pie (grew & canned the filling), took over an hour and half to bake. Not as browned on the top crust as I would have liked but the filling was bubbling out so I pulled it. Not as pretty as I would have liked. Only two hearts are perfect.
Whole house smells like pie.

Stove top oven with an added oven thermometer as the door gauge is about 100 degrees too low. I really only use inside thermometer (borrowed from ice box) when I first place a pan in. After that we gauge the baking time by the given bake time then by the scent.
Not an exact science but then wood stove cooking & baking isn't.

Practice practice practice.

~~ pelenaka ~~