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Food Crafting 101

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The Food Crafting 101 class at The Institute of Domestic Technology, began with bread making. Erik Knutzen of Root Simple, started off by sharing his thoughts on various flours and yeast, followed by a hands on demonstration for making our own Twenty-One-Hour Boule. Now, I know that sounds like an enormous amount of time to make bread, but it’s only about 10 minutes worth of work, the remaining time is resting & rising the dough.

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After we made our own dough, we stored it in a container to bring home and bake later.
Here’s my finished loaf I shared on Instagram

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From there we moved on to my favorite part of the day, jam making! We made a Strawberry Rhubarb Jam with Balsamic and Black Pepper. Holy smokes it is so good!

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We washed, sorted, and cut the strawberries and rhubarb. Then added them to an enormous bowl (10+ lbs of berries!) and mixed in the sugar. No commercial pectin was used in the recipe, as the natural pectin found in the fruit was all that was needed.
The fruit and sugar mixture were brought to a boil on the stove, and the balsamic vinegar and black pepper was stirred in just before it reached gel point.

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Here Steve Rudicel of Mariposa Creamery, and the Institute of Domestic Technology’s Director, Joseph Schuldiner transfer the cooked jam into a large pitcher. This makes it easier to pour the jam into individual jars. Much better than scooping the hot jam out of the pot for each jar!

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After adding the jam to the jars, the inside is scraped for air bubbles and the outside rim is wiped clean. From there, the lid is added and they go into the large canning pot of boiling water.

While our jam was being watched by their staff, we were treated to a beautiful luncheon…

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Next came our Mustard class. So many of the students were interested in this portion of the day. Have you ever made your own mustard? I hadn’t, but found it couldn’t be easier.

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The mustard seeds had been soaking in a mixture of red wine vinegar and Guinness Extra Stout for a day or two. All we needed to do was add our own creative “spice mixture”.

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I chose a combination of ground ginger, orange peel, saffron salt, black peppercorns, and honey. After tasting and stirring your mixture, it’s blended in a food processor for about 3 minutes, or until it reaches a consistency you like. That’s it.
I can’t wait to add mine to a smoked turkey sandwich or grilled fish entree.

Our last class of the day was to learn how to make chevre from the creamery’s fresh goats milk.

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This started with a milk tasting, which I must admit, was my least favorite part, since I don’t enjoy drinking milk. At all. But I still tasted it so I could observe the differences between the brands and varieties. We learned about rennet and starter cultures and how few steps there actually are to making really delicious chevre. And do you know how amazing homemade chevre is with freshly baked bread and Strawberry Rhubarb jam? Divine!

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Lastly, I thought I’d show you a peek of their open kitchen. I loved their subway tiles.

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The Institute is also a zero waste facility. Meaning, they encourage you to bring your own containers, and the majority of waste is either recycled or composted. Why, they even took the leftover milk from the tasting and fed it to their chickens. Natural recycling at it’s finest.

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The Institute of Domestic Technology

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A few days ago, on a whim, I decided to treat myself to a day of culinary adventure at The Institute of Domestic Technology. I’d been wanting to emerse myself in one of their classes, since the first time I read about them in the LA Times.

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The Institute was established in 2011 and their mission is “to reignite the passion of how we make food, the ingredients we source and the farms on which they originate”. They provide classes, workshops, tours and events all centered around the domestic arts.

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Although they hold classes and events at various locations, their headquarters are based out of the Mariposa Creamery on the grounds of the Zane Gray Estate in Altadena, CA, which is where I attended my day of classes.

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Let me just say, I was captivated by the creamery goats. They were very friendly and curious. The one above, named Ice Cream, walked right up to everyone for some attention, or possibly a treat. They were completely adorable!

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There are scattered plantings of edibles on the grounds of the estate. I noticed artichokes, rhubarb, citrus and nasturtiums, just to name a few.

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It’s also home to a large flock of happy chickens wandering about…

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And I loved the vines that climbed wildly up and over the top of the estates main house. It almost gave the feeling of being in another country and I appreciated the fact that the grounds were not neatly manicured like a theme park, but that the landscape seemed to be quite content to meander on it’s own.

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Tomorrow, I’ll take you inside the creamery’s kitchen where our classes were held and show you what I made. To give you a hint, they focused on the staples of a healthy diet (or a well stocked pantry)…bread, jam, mustard, and chevre. And it was all delicious fun!

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On My Nightstand: Culinary Tales

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I’ve been spending the few moments of free time I have, in the kitchen lately. Making more whole food recipes from scratch and savoring my quiet culinary escapes. To be honest, I find cooking from scratch is just simpler. There have been lots of egg dishes, baked pastas, morning muffins and grilled vegetables, all from fresh seasonal produce and a few pantry staples. Here are some cookbooks I’ve been enjoying as my companions.

Food in Jars – Love this book. I am obsessed with canning right now, and read this entire book in one sitting. Some of my favorite recipes are Three Citrus Marmalade and Ginger Walnut Granola. And I can’t wait for rhubarb to come into season at our farmers market so I can try her Rhubarb Syrup! She suggests adding it to Prosecco or cut melon. Yum!

An Everlasting Meal – This books is a lesson in feeding ourselves well. It’s beautifully written. The New York Times sums it up perfectly, “Reads less like a cookbook than like a recipe for a delicious life.” It’s now available in paperback as well.

Farm-Fresh Recipes – Possibly the best Blueberry Muffin recipe I have ever tasted. I’ve made them twice. I’ve long been a fan of Heather Cameron, and her book is interspersed with photos of her adorable daughter, simple, fresh recipes, and her witty commentary. It’s a fun cookbook to read. Next on my list is to make her Lemon Curd!

Vegetable Literacy – To me, Deborah Madison is the authority on cooking vegetables and plant based foods. Her vast knowledge and experience make this the definitive resource on how vegetables relate to one another and hundreds of ways to prepare them. It will make you see greens in a whole new way.

Do you have any favorites lately? Would love to get some recommendations from you!

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