Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The best Oktoberfest Potato Salad I have eaten

Last year for a Oktoberfest party we hosted, I researched quite a few potato salad recipes and the one I thought the best way of serving this dish the German way was from Allrecipes: German Potato Salad with about 256 reviews.

The reason I strongly inclined towards this particular recipe is that it's served warm and contains bacon. Finding and using great quality bacon from Kocher's butcher shop was an essential key to the success of the salad I made.

But of course I dislike following any recipe exactly! So I also added eggs into my recipe for it's creamy, binding texture. You can add them to the dressing while the skillet is cooking on a low to medium flame.
And of course I had to throw in my favorite mustard dressings (one with horseradish and another sweet mustard dressing) and added more onions (finely sliced) for the sheer love of them.

If you are looking to make this warm potato salad a good highlight at Oktoberfest parties I am sure you will have a great dish and possibly, your own rendition of this deliciously comforting recipe!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Setting ourselves and our homes free - of chemicals!

In our quest to get rid of harmful chemical-based bathroom and household cleansers we have been able to successfully expunge Clorox like bleaches and Lysol like liquids and have introduced vinegar and baking soda instead.

Our latest trial is to expand this technique of chemical free cleansing to replace over the counter shampoos and conditioners - chemical laden products that we have known ourselves to have been using ever since childhood!

This is one of the pages that we will be looking at in our initial experiments:

I have used warm coconut oil, olive oil and almond oils in the past as a home remedy to nourish and moisturize my hair. It involved time and planning but yeilded a few good results. However I never formed a consistent habit of that routine, something that we shall hope to remedy this time around :) I would even consider adding a drop or two of fragrant oils like lavender for their soothing nature.

Out there, green homemakers and natural lifestyle enthusiasts are also talking about liquid castile soap which is a natural olive oil based soap cleanser (known to have originated in the Mediterranean region). It apperas to be avaialble for purchase on Amazon by brand names like Bronner's.

Knee pain, IT Band pain - Please no Orthotics!

I went to the podiatrist last week complaining of knee pain that mostly appeared during the work week while I am endlessly seated at my desk. Prior to that, earlier last year, the same pain (on the side of my knees) would crop up during my longer runs and road races. Other than these issues I feel healthy and lead a well-functional lifestyle.

The podiatrist advised that my legs were improperly pronating (diagnosed me with flat arches, overpronation) and that the IT band was rubbing against the side of the knee causing the aches. He advised that I not invest in shoes with minimalist designs (a thought that I had been inclining towards) and wear 'supportive' and well-reinforced shoes for stability and motion control everyday, everywhere and during any active outdorr routines.

He rushed into prescribing 'custom made' temporary orthotics that his occupational therapist quickly made and fitted me with. He asked me to try them on and come in for permanent orthotics. The damages were about a 100 bucks and a lifelong commitment to using these devices (read crutches) - the latter part I openly disagree to.

Short of a hundred bucks, I do not feel ready to allow myself to succumb to second part of the deal. I believe that it will severely damage my ability to use my feet and body naturally and cause me further not-so-easy-to-reverse complications. I am going to say that these orthotics seem more like a generic bandage or a mask on my problem than a custom-made soution to solving the root issues with alignment and strengthning of muscle groups in my body.

I am reading the following pages of alternate advice and will be further refering to techniques like minimal running, pose running techniques and strength training.



Saturday, February 2, 2013

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Recipe with homemade buttermilk

Making buttermilk at home started as a quest for fresh homemade butter. Just pour a cup and a half of heavy cream in a jar, seal tight and shake it vigorously for about 15-20 minutes. If you do not give up you will end up with smooth, yellow gobs of butter floating in a thick well of creamy, white buttermilk and maybe sore upper arms. Drain the buttermilk into a bowl and store the butter after addition of some salt. For prolonged storage (over a week) of the butter ensure that all the buttermilk has been drained from the butter.

This will give you about a little more than a cup of buttermilk. For creating the buttermilk ranch dressing add about 2 cups of thick whole milk yogurt (or greek yogurt) and blend it lightly till all looks smooth. Keep aside.

To the above mixture we will add the following (mix all these ingredients in a bowl before adding to the above buttermilk mix):
  • 3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup freshly and finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh dill (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped chives (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon flavorful olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed and mashed with kosher salt to extract the most flavor)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
  • Combine all ingredients in a quart jar. Stir well with a fork or seal tightly and shake. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. 
Inspirations for recipe and other salad dressings:

Next dressing I hope to try is called Green Goddess and this one will need anchovies & loads of parsley fro the green texture :)