"Piehole" in Midwestern means "mouth," as in "Shut your piehole." Preferably we shut it on some tasty home cooking. We love to grow, market, buy, cook, bake and grill so we can feed our faces, chow down, pig out, scarf & whatnot. I'm a born Midwestern home cook posting foods and recipes that show up in front of me, because like all Midwesterners I eat what's put in front of me. Pull up a chair. What can I get you?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dairy-Free Ice Cream with No Ice-Cream-Maker

All you need is a blender to make your own dairy-free fruit ice cream. This easy recipe is from How It All Vegan, by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer (1999) and the photo is of the recipe made with frozen unsweetened strawberries. But any fresh or frozen fruit goes. Try peach!

"Anything Goes" Fruity Ice Cream (4-6 Servings)

2 cups soft tofu (or 1 aseptic nonrefrigerated package)
1/2 cup soy milk
1/3 cup oil
1 cup sugar (or 1/2 cup packaged sugar-stevia blend)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1-1/2 cups "Anything Goes" fresh or frozen fruit (your choice)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
dash of salt

In blender, combine all ingredients except 1/2 cup of the fruit, and blend together until very smooth and creamy. Place in a sealable container and freeze. Remove from freezer and defrost for 20-40 minutes. Place back in blender and blend again. Spoon back into the container and add the remaining fruit. Re-freeze. Remove from freezer 5 minutes before serving.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Kitchen Tool Review: The Lamson Mini Potato Masher

Here is my new favorite kitchen tool, designed in the 1800s, that works great today.

My 20-year-old nylon potato masher had a circular "waffle" head 3-1/4 inches wide, looked dishwasher-battered and maybe toxic. At the local kitchen store I saw only a small masher with an oval 2-1/4-inch head and blades set like fish bones. That's a fey little avocado masher, I thought, when I'm a serious masher of big pots of potatoes, apples, squash, turnips and beans. I complained to the store owner. She actually uses her merchandise and I trust her. She said a food magazine had reviewed and praised this mini-masher, made by Lamson of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, as the best all-purpose masher. The store had ordered a couple of dozen to keep pace with demand. They were very cheap, too, about $8.

I thought the Lamson Sharp Mini Masher was too small and too different. Its steel tines are sharp-edged, and it won't stand on end because the tines are set on a slightly convex curve. The owner reassured me and said to return it if I didn't like it.

As it turns out, this Mini Masher was copied from a kitchen tool used in the 1800s. Surprisingly, its smaller size is a plus, not a minus. Advantages:
  • Fits better in the kitchen drawer
  • Oval head design is a super-efficient cross between the circular head and the serpentine-wire head
  • Sharp edges mash the foods quickly and thoroughly
  • Potatoes are extra fluffy because the tines act like a ricer
  • Reaches into the corners and sides of pots or bowls
  • Unlike a larger masher, it is as usable in a one-quart saucepan as in eight-quart kettles (see photo)
  • Forceful mashing won't bend or break it
  • Stainless steel is non-toxic for sure
  • The handle is comfortable
These traits combined make it one of my favorite kitchen tools, superior for potatoes. Lamson & Goodnow, established in 1837, manufactures knives from vintage designs and also a line of walnut-handled "Granny Tools." I appreciate USA-made items. My only complaint about the LamsonSharp Mini Masher (my model has three rivets in its handle that look like brass, but aren't) is that its edges are TOO sharp. Although not enough to cut flesh, the tines could scrape pans. The steel is stamped, not forged. Elegant it's not. A good tool it is.