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Ski
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PostTue Jul 30, 2013 9:28 pm 
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well, I suppose you could, if you wanted to.
the package label says the net weight is 10 ounces- over half a pound and far too heavy to carry on a multi-day backpacking trip.
the price at Costco is about seven bucks for four servings.
for seven bucks, I can probably cook up an entire pot full.

but more to the point: I have far more confidence in my own cooking abilities than I do any manufacturer of pre-prepared food.

cooking the lamb stew right now- been simmering the last hour. will post the report when finished.

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"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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sarbar
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PostWed Jul 31, 2013 9:11 am 
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And home cooked tastes sooooo much better!

I find commercial meals dried get a weird heavy salt taste, where as home ones don't smile.gif
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Ski
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PostWed Jul 31, 2013 3:30 pm 
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Knowing you all have been sitting on the edge of your seats waiting for the next episode of my adventures in the kitchen, here you go:

Again, let's review the ingredients in a bit more detail:

lamb_stew_ingredients
lamb_stew_ingredients

pound of lamb, trimmed of excess fat and cut up into small pieces
one large onion (I used a big Walla Walla Sweet)
three skinny carrots, sliced (smaller than I would normally for this dish)
8 cloves fresh garlic, minced fine
1 teaspoons salt
teaspoon black pepper
quarter cup olive oil

in a hot pan, heat a little olive oil and brown the lamb (with bones!)

remove the lamb from pot and drain on paper towels:

lamb_browned
lamb_browned

in a little hot oil, cook the onion until soft. add the garlic, salt and pepper:

onion_garlic_sauteed_until_soft
onion_garlic_sauteed_until_soft

add the lamb to the pot, add about two quarts of water:

add_lamb_and_two_quarts_water
add_lamb_and_two_quarts_water

simmer about an hour and a half, then add the carrots.

simmer until carrots are cooked and lamb is soft:

simmered_two_and_a_half_hours
simmered_two_and_a_half_hours

spread on parchment on drying rack:

spread_out_on_drying_rack
spread_out_on_drying_rack

dried fourteen hours at 135 F:

fourteen_hours_at_135_degrees
fourteen_hours_at_135_degrees

there was a fair amount of oil left behind after dehydrating:

residual_fat_left_behind
residual_fat_left_behind

about 1 cups yielded just under 1 cup dry:

dry_yield_just_shy_a_full_cup
dry_yield_just_shy_a_full_cup

reconstituted in bowl with boiling water for 10 minutes, covered:

reconstituting_with_boiling_water
reconstituting_with_boiling_water

served over Basmati rice:

lamb_stew_over_basmati
lamb_stew_over_basmati

end result: fail

after perusing various "food" threads here, I noted a point which was raised repeatedly was that most food dehydrators (like mine) continue to cook the food, which probably had a lot to do with how the finished product turned out.
the result was kind of a chewy, overcooked mess.
I took three bites and dumped the rest out in the alley for the crows.
they're lovin' it!

I can't imagine this would have turned out any better if I had increased the drying temperature or increased the drying time. My guess is that it would have been even more rubbery and (doubtless) more overcooked.

I might try this again with ground lamb, but after the roaring success with the spaghetti sauce I think I'll try the pork/tomatillo stew first, using ground pork, which Emma in the meat department at Albertsons says they have on the shelf every day.

oh well.... at least I can still make decent pie, even if I can't figure out how to dehydrate it.

blueberry_pie_073013
blueberry_pie_073013

stay tuned.

smile.gif

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"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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sarbar
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PostWed Jul 31, 2013 7:50 pm 
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Bummer! If I showed all my failures, we'd be here for weeks  lol.gif Hopefully better luck on the next one!
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Ski
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PostWed Jul 31, 2013 9:48 pm 
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well... funny thing is: it was excellent last night when we had it for dinner.
kind of glad I only had enough left to dehydrate one serving. hate to see good lamb go to waste.

from poring over various threads here, it sounds like chicken is a bad choice for dehydration, so I'm left with pork, veal, lamb, or beef.

from this last experiment, it would seem that ground meats might work better than meat cut up into pieces, no matter how small.
is my conclusion there correct?

time to whip up some veal scaloppini ala marsala here. don't think I'll be using the dehydrator this evening.

bk

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"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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sarbar
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PostWed Jul 31, 2013 9:49 pm 
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I have always preferred ground to whole for drying. Just seems to work way better!
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Ski
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PostWed Jul 31, 2013 9:53 pm 
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okay... another question:

I've got an antique meat grinder here someone gave me. out in the living room in the original wooden box. believe all the pieces are in there- various "grate" things.

if I went over to East Asia Supermarket and found a nice piece of lean pork loin and ground it myself, would I end up with a better end product than I would if I just used Albertson's packaged ground pork (which doubtless will have a high fat content)?

I'm still not clear on the fat thing: does the amount of fat affect the quality of the end product, or the dehydration process, or is it more a matter of affecting storage life?

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"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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sarbar
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PostWed Jul 31, 2013 10:21 pm 
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Storage life. Fat (and oils) can go rancid - it is what turns first in food. So lower the oil, and it lasts longer. Having said that...if you freeze your dried food after and then use it up within 3 months - and only take it out of the freezer at trail time you will do OK.

PS: old meat grinders are the best. Traditionally you would grind with some lard or tallow.....
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Wolfman
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PostWed Jul 31, 2013 10:33 pm 
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Ski, you might just ask the store to grind a select cut or two for you.  If it is during the day before everything is cleaned up, it should not be a problem for them.  Or another option if they only use the grinder on select meats per day, ie. Beef then Pork, then ?? is to select a cut or two and have them ground and pick them up the next day.  If Albertson won't do this, any of the smaller butcher shops will.  Yes there are several of those still around! 

One thing to check on the old meat grinder, make sure none of the silver coating is lose or flaking, this is zinc (i think) and not at all good for you!

To bad on the lamb, that looked like a great dish.  By the way, when are you going to start taking PIE request!!??

doh.gif

Wolfman
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Ski
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PostThu Aug 01, 2013 10:39 am 
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The lamb was excellent before I dried it out and turned it into little hockey pucks. Don't know if I'll have time to try it with ground lamb. The clock is ticking.

I take the pie requests when Tom schedules the nwhikers calendar deal at the end of the year.
smile.gif

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"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Wolfman
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PostThu Aug 01, 2013 10:48 am 
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Good to Know!

I wanted to do the Calendar event last year, but just could not make it with work, which sucked!

Keep Hiking!
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Ski
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PostSat Aug 03, 2013 2:00 am 
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okay, here's the results on the pork/tomatillo thing. I wanted to make a bigger batch and tweak it a bit and add a little heat, so here we go:

pork_stew_ingredients
pork_stew_ingredients

two pounds ground pork
one large onion, minced fine (I used a Walla Walla Sweet)
14 tomatillos, peeled, washed, stems removed, and cut up
6 roma tomatoes, cut up
one small can El Pato mild tomato sauce
one head garlic, minced fine
two tablespoons ground cumin
1/3 cup oregano leaf
1 teaspoons salt
one small jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and minced fine
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
olive oil

in a dry pan, heat the cumin a bit to bring out full flavor. do not scorch.
remove from pan and set aside.

brown the ground pork in a pot. remove and drain on paper towels. for purposes of dehydrating, I cooked the pork until it was quite done.

ground_pork_browned
ground_pork_browned

in a little oil, saute the onion, garlic and add the herbs and spices.
I ground all the herbs, salt, and pepper into a powder with a mortar and pestle to bring out the flavors.

onion_garlic_herbs_sauteed
onion_garlic_herbs_sauteed

add the tomatillos, tomatoes, jalapenos, and tomato sauce. add water to the top of the pot.
I had to split this batch in half and use two pots.

everything_in_the_pot
everything_in_the_pot

simmered for five hours, until reduced to a thick consistency.

simmered_five_hours
simmered_five_hours

spread out on parchment on drying racks.

spread_out_on_drying_racks
spread_out_on_drying_racks

dried for fourteen hours at 135 F.

fourteen_hours_at_135_degrees
fourteen_hours_at_135_degrees

one measuring cup of stew yielded just over 3/4 cup dry.

dry_yield_just_over_three_quarters_cup
dry_yield_just_over_three_quarters_cup

reconstituted with 1/2 cup boiling water.

reconstituting_with_boiling_water
reconstituting_with_boiling_water

served over Basmati rice.

pork_stew_over_basmati
pork_stew_over_basmati

end result: pretty good.

I let the dry mix reconstitute in boiling water in a covered bowl for five minutes.
The texture of the meat was still a bit... dry? not rubbery, but not soft either.
I don't believe I overcooked the pork at first, because we had it for supper last night and it was fine. I think if I had let it stand for ten minutes instead of five it would have been fine.

My mother suggested I try this over polenta, but that sounds kind of mushy, and corn meal isn't much nutritional value for the weight.
I think orzo might be a better option than the rice.

That batch was enough for dinner for two of us last night, and I got four full measuring cups plus just shy of a fifth measuring cup of stew, which I used for this test. So I have four bags, which don't seem to weigh much more than the four bags of spaghetti sauce. In my haste to make sure I had all the stove stuff earlier, I forgot to grab them out of the freezer to check on the triple-beam.

But I did remember to pull the pie out of the oven on time.

blueberry_raspberry_pie_080213
blueberry_raspberry_pie_080213

smile.gif

Sarbar- feel free to use if you so wish.

Thanks!

bk

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"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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sarbar
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PostSat Aug 03, 2013 12:06 pm 
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I love the pie.,...lol!  lol.gif
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ldyblade
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PostSun Aug 04, 2013 12:00 am 
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Ski wrote:
in the field I wouldn't use Farfalle (bowtie pasta). takes too long to cook.

You could cook it at home until el dente and dehydrate. Then, you could just rehydrate it FBC style.  up.gif
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Ski
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PostSun Aug 04, 2013 1:13 am 
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I got some Cappellini (Angel Hair) and am going with that, even though it took nine minutes to cook earlier this afternoon.

and now, boys and girls, for our next adventure at bk's north end grill:

pork chops with rice and orange

pork_chop_ingredients
pork_chop_ingredients

four pork chops, trimmed of excess fat
one half cup basmati rice
one small navel orange, peeled and sliced
one quarter cup raisins
quarter teaspoon black pepper
half teaspoon salt
quarter teaspoon ground cinnamon
butter
olive oil

preheat oven to 300 F
sprinkle the pork chops with the pepper and a little salt.
in a little hot oil, sear the pork chops quickly. one minute each side.

pork_chops_seared
pork_chops_seared

remove the pork chops from pan and set aside.

in a teaspoon of butter, cook the rice a bit to coat and put on a little color.
stir constantly to prevent scorching. add the remaining salt.

cook_rice_in_butter
cook_rice_in_butter

add just a bit over one cup of boiling water, the raisins, and cinnamon.

add_water_raisins_cinnamon
add_water_raisins_cinnamon

add the pork chops

add_pork_chops
add_pork_chops

lay the orange slices on top

lay_orange_slices_on_top
lay_orange_slices_on_top

cover and simmer in oven for 20 minutes. remove and let stand (covered) for ten minutes.

twenty_minutes_at_300_degrees
twenty_minutes_at_300_degrees

enjoy!

pork_chop_with_rice_and_orange
pork_chop_with_rice_and_orange

I'm short time now, and really don't have time to learn how to cook Indian Cuisine before I want to leave. Stopped at Trader Joe's this
afternoon for some things and found Trader Joe's Indian Fare Punjab Choley. A 10.5 ounce package sells for $1.99. Looks very similar to the Tasty Bite Channa Masala I began this thread with.

renegadepilgrim wrote:
Can't you just take the Tasty Bites and dehydrate them?

I'm going to try that with the TJ's Punjab Choley in just a few minutes and will let you know how it works out. The list of ingredients looks pretty much the same, although the proportions of the main ingredients differ, making TJ's the clear choice between the two.
Will know tomorrow evening how it turns out. When I get time later, I'll learn how to cook it myself.

Enjoy!

smile.gif

bk

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"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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