Entirely From Scratch..

I'm starting a new way of cooking. Everything from scratch. Time permitting of course. I don't know what has come over me, but I'm obsessed with learning to make things that we would normally buy each week from the grocer. I have to say, the taste difference is spectacular.
It's like having a pineapple in Hawaii ..then having a pineapple here. Doesn't compare.
A croissant in Paris..a croissant here. Not a chance.
Last week, I made perogies (which I will revisit with you), this week, I made black bean burritos entirely from scratch.
First up, the beans. My friend over at Pinecone camp told me she never buys beans. She makes large batches from scratch, then freezes them. So, the day before I soaked them. The day off, I cooked them a pot, then I baked them in the oven. I know have four bags of yummy beans in my freezer for next time - and the salt content is next to none! Another reason to make your own foods.
The day off, I made flour tortillas. Pretty easy I have to say. They would be excellent with Indian food too! The leftovers can be used for pizza the next day - so I'm ahead of the game for tomorrows meal.

Beans, homemade salsa (tomato, cilantro, red onion, lime and avocado) and four tortillas. Put them all together and..

Sweet Mary - Bloody Delicious!
Yes, it took some time. Yes, I could buy beans, salsa and tortilla wraps at the store - and yes, they are relatively cheap. But, that is not the point. I own an organic farm. I grow my own veggies. I make jam from scratch the old fashioned way (slow cook- less sugar -more fruit). I make pies from scratch - the only way pie should be enjoyed. I can my own tomatoes and peaches. Seems like this would be the next step for me to take. The taste is amazing. Lily and I enjoy cooking together, and I love teaching her to take her time and enjoy the process.
This is not my daily routine - lets be realistic. But if I can do this once a week, I'll be pleased with myself. I didn't post recipes as I didn't want to push it on all of you. I can add them in if anyone wants them.
What do you make from scratch that is simply delicious?

if you are looking for recipes..and many of you are.. please


Hand Rolled Flour Tortillas with home made Salsa and Black Beans.

Up first - Baja Baked Beans from Rebar Modern Food.  I love this book - it has very few images, which irks me, but the food is vegetarian and delicious!

Baja Black Beans

4 cups black beans
1/2 bunch of cilantro coarsely chopped
1 tblspn cumin seed ground
2 tblspn chile powder
6 garlic cloves - minced
1 yellow onion - chopped
1 tblspn salt
2 tblspn chipotle puree - I didn't have this but added a small tin of diced green chilles.
1/2 cup brown sugar - firmly packed
1 can tomato paste (196ml)
1/3 cup red wine vinegar

The day before, in a really large pot, soak the beans overnight.  Fill the pot up - they expand and suck up all the water!  I did not know this.
The next day, drain the beans, add the onion, cilantro, cumin, chile powder and garlic.  Cover with cold water - an inch higher than the beans.  Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for about 1 hour or till beans are soft.  Mine took about 40 minutes.  If your water starts to look low, add more so that the beans are always covered.  Add 2 tsp of salt in the last 15 minutes of cooking.  If you put it in before, it will prevent the beans from absorbing the water.  WHO KNEW?!
Pre heat oven to 350 F.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Have a taste - see how you like it, adjust for spice or heat.  I am a hot spice wimp. 
Ladel into a large glass baking dish and place on a cookie sheet to catch any spills.  Cover in tin foil and bake for one hour. 
After the hour, check them.  If they still look very runny, give them a stir and put them back in for another 15 minutes.  I did this twice.
Let them rest 10 minutes before serving. 
Or set them aside till you are ready for dinner.  It's nice to have them when they are a bit warm.

Flour Tortillas

2 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 baking powder
1 tsp salt
5 tblspn vegetable shortening
3/4 cup hot water

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.  Add vegetable shortening and cut into it with your pastry cutter or two knives till you get little pea size lumps.  Then get in there with your hands and mix it together.  Gently knead for two minutes till you have a nice ball.  Place in bowl and cover with plastic wrap for an hour.
Go out to the garden, watch a show, go for a jog, do a load of wash..
Come back after an hour, line a tray with parchment and sprinkle with flour.  Break the dough into balls - close to a golf ball size, but larger.  Place on flour and cover.  Let sit for another hour.
Watch the second half of a movie, have a bath, make your salsa, take a nap.
Come back after a second hour. 
You should time this to be done for supper time.  They are best served right out of the pan.  You can roll them out and lightly flour them for later too.
Roll out to as thin as you can get them.  I made these twice - second time was way to thick, but still good.  It takes a bit of practice.  Roll them out thin, then brush a bit of oil on them and drop them into a heated pan.  They will start to bubble up - flip them and you will see they have started to brown a bit.  It doesn't take long.


One small red onion - or half a large one - chopped small.
Half a bunch of cilantro chopped.
Two perfect tomatos chopped.  I use a package of small strawberry tomatoes.
The juice of one fresh lime. 
One avocado chopped.

Mix all this together and place in the fridge for later.  Easy peasy!

You're done!  I told you it was a lot of work, but it's fun and it's worth it.  I mix in chopped organic iceberg lettuce and shredded cheddar cheese. 


Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I only bake from scratch. And really, I try to cook that way as much as possible, although it is certainly easier in the summertime when so much more is available locally. You're right.... it makes a world of difference!

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

well, i have to say that i too have just jumped ship from the canned bead isle...been soaking black beans all night, the cooking them with a half onion in water all day. no salt till the very end...and wow..i am never buying canned refried beans again...

also...for the past 30 years i have been making pizza dough from scratch...i'm just glad you can't see how bad the cookie sheet is that they are cooked on..the're 30 years old too...if i have company for pizza..i have to hid the cookie sheet..somebody saw it once...the look on their face..still makes me laugh...

making pasta sauce for tonight...marcella hazan meat sauce..

pretty big on from scratch over here too....

can't wait for fruit pie time....

CBlanco107 said...

Please do post the recipes. I would love to have them so I can give it try when I have time as well.

I think we all wish we could cook from scrath more, it's definitely a worthwhile goal!

Sarah Elizabeth said...

It all looks so yummy! I'm trying to cook as much as possible from scratch. My fiancee's parents have a big field where they have a lot of vegetables, fruit trees and olive trees. They bottle their own tomatoes and make their own olive oil so a lot of my cooking is based around these ingredients. The taste of home grown, cooked from scratch meals is out of this world, my health and bank balance are benefitting and it also gives me a lot more satisfaction. I'd love to see some more of your recipes.

flwrjane said...

Lovely and hungry making. I cook from scratch as much as possible. And when I do use processed foods, they are the best I can buy. I always love a tortilla recipe so do please post. I'm still making your pizza dough.

Lisa T said...

It all looks so completely delicious. I spent the day yesterday cooking and getting ahead for the week. It would be wonderful to have more time and cook from scratch. I also dream of a big veggie patch. It would be lovely if you could share those recipes and it wouldn't be pushing it on anyone.

Thanks for sharing.

mise said...

Good for you, Heather! This meal looks lovely and worth the effort, with a side-order of the satisfaction it clearly gives to create it. My self-imposed rule lately is that I shan't buy any sugar products, but will make cakes, biscuits etc if we want them. It cuts down a lot on consumption as impulse-buying is no longer possible, and also it's possible to control what ingredients are used.

As for what we make ourselves, I occasionally bestir myself and make lovely cheese from whole milk and lime juice. Mostly to impress guests, to be honest.

Lindsay Road said...

That is fantastic - it is definitely one of my goals to cook more often.

Tayla B. Design said...

How funny! I'm in the middle of making some homemade flour tortillas myself! As I type they are sitting on my counter waiting to be rolled out. :)
I have been bitten by the made from scratch bug as well. :) Hope you're having as much fun with it as I am!

Barbara said...

I try to make most of my meals from scratch. And you're so right- they taste so much better. But I think the problem has always been...time. We are so often short of time which makes us turn to store-bought meals. Especially with busy families and jobs.
I just happen to have more time now and enjoy spending it in the kitchen.
Your black bean burritos are impressive! Good for you!

kate / tinywarbler said...

those look so good heather! i would love the tortilla recipe. as for the beans, david has been saying we should do that for years, but it has always eluded me. it's seems like alot of work.....
but what great memories for lily and speaking as a gal who never learned how to cook and now struggles with it, she will thank you for it when she's older!

Janis said...

would love to know how you make those yummy beans.....and salsa....heck I'll even try making the wraps.............it all looks sooooooooooooooooooo DELISH!!!

Beverly said...

Oh my gosh, it all sounds and looks delicious. My hubs is a fantastic gardener, and we have a very large garden. I do enjoy steaming all the veggies and make a wonderful homemade from scratch salsa every summer. Beyond that, I am a home economics failure. Although I do squeeze a mean OJ! My mother is a fantastic cook and does everything from scratch. She has stated many times that her genes must have skipped a generation when it came to me. Good luck with your cooking from scratch:)

Celestial Charms said...

I'm becoming very inspired here! Yes, from scratch is best, always. All my baking is done from scratch...muffins, breads, and cakes. Cooking is another story. I'm sorely lacking in that department. But, I do make all of our drinks from scratch. Fresh lemonade, and my favorite drink is Jamaica. Pronounced Hamaica...my Mexican Hubby taught me to make it. It is hibiscus flowers seeped in boiled water. Then cooled, mixed with some sugar and a squeeze of a lime. Such a refreshing all year long drink. And it is good for you, as hibiscus has some of the same healthy benefits as cranberries.
Have a great week.

Tara said...

Wow, everything looks so yummie and fresh...I wish I had the time to just cook, alas I don't seem to find it...maybe I need to try harder. Send some beans my way will ya! :)

Pinecone Camp said...

Isn't it easy soaking and cooking the beans? These tortillas look delicious. Tortillas are a staple in this household! Cooking from scratch is the way to go - I agree with you. Fun post H!

Catherine said...

Goodness ~ everything you made looks so delightfully yummy!

I usually bake from scratch, but sadly, for meals, I am a horrible cook and so it is safer for my boys if I make supper from a box or a can... :)

Lovely post!

AnnaVallance said...

I try to do the same thing - on my last day off I made gnocchi with roasted potatoes. They were the best.

Deb said...

Thanks for these wonderful recipes. We cook from scratch at our home too (even make all our dog's food & biscuits) :-D

Andrea - Faded Plains said...

That looks so good...I mean like...hop in my car and drive to Canada good. Thanks so much for sharing the recipes...now let's just see if I can make mine look as good as yours.

Luisa @ Dance in my garden said...

I try and make mostly from scratch..it's just cheaper, and yummier...tho not when I'm time poor...
I have done a post recently on from scratch cooking....it was a good week!



Annabanana said...

Oh would you please post the recipe for this one? I am drooling all over my keyboard - the tortillas look light as a cloud. I am a fellow BC-er, Lower Mainland-ite (?) and love your blog. I can't wait to come out and get some of your jam when your shop reopens. Cheers!!

Mahek said...

Its nice to see that you are cooking from Scratch, here in India we make our own tortilla or as we call it chapati or Roti from scratch everyday . Even beans or chickpeas and everything
else is chopped cut and used never from tins..
Its the best way to cook , the only thing i miss is my own garden as we stay in apartments which are quite tiny