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Misfits, I am blown away at the response I’ve received to this vegetarian, mayo-free pasta salad.

I mean, I invented it on a whim.  In the kitchen.  Just, on the fly.  Without any magic sauce (mayo).  And oh.  Wow.  My inbox/voicemail/motherfucking carrier falcons have been flooded with requests for the recipe.

And it’s a pretty risky thing to overwhelm a carrier falcon.  They have those badass talons and shit.  So that tells you how good this stuff must be.

It’s guaranteed to please, impress, and save lives.  Pretty much a sure thing in an uncertain world.  So basically, I’m like the Red Cross.

Exactly!

So I recommend that you use this pasta salad to mitigate the risk in life’s various tenuous moments.  That barbecue your lover’s boss is throwing?  Bring this.  Your friend’s casual patio potluck wedding shower but oh my god no one I mean no one likes the guy she’s marrying he’s such a mama’s boy you know it’s going to be an uphill battle against her witch MIL for their whole marriag–

Where the fuck was I?

Oh, right, bring the pasta salad.  Your first date picnic?  Stow this in your basket, snuggled safely between the sparkling wine and the contraceptives.

What?  WE WERE ALL THINKING IT.

So to let tomato and basil (and pesto) season pass us by and keep this recipe all to Bad Mama Genny’s self?  Would be unthinkable.  I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I’m too much of a cupcake.

And you’re just too adorable when you flash me those big, sad, misfit eyes.  Yes, you are!  Ooooh, YESH YOU ARE WHO’S ADORABULZ PEEKABOO YOU ARE YESH YOU ARE!

Let’s never again speak of this moment we’ve shared.

So here you go: BMG’s Caprese Pasta Salad.  Make it and be just like the Red Cross!

Apparently.

My Most Requested Recipe of the Year: BMG’s Caprese Pasta Salad


Go Get:
1 lb. pasta (Campanelle is a great, dramatic shape for this, I used farfalle this time)
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved (or several large tomatoes, diced, with extra tomato juice squeezed out for another use)
1 lb. small, fresh mozzarella balls, halved (or if you’re using one large mozzarella ball, cut into 1/2 inch chunks)
1/2 red onion, diced small
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground pepper (a little coarse is best)
2 lemons, juiced
olive oil (about 6-8 Tablespoons, give or take)
a generous handful of fresh basil, chiffonaded finely; if it’s out of season, use 2 pesto buttons
3/4 to 1 cup grated pecorino romano cheese, depending on your tastes (parmesan works, too, but the flavor will be different)

Go Do:
Boil the pasta, keeping it pretty al dente. Rinse under cold water, toss with a bit of olive oil, and leave out about 2-3 cups for another use (otherwise it’s too many noodles).

Toss the tomatoes, red onion, basil strips, and mozzarella balls with the pasta.

In a large bowl, use a fork to smash 3 cloves of garlic into the salt and some freshly ground pepper.

When it’s a chunky paste, whisk in the lemon juice.  Now, while still whisking, drizzle in the olive oil.  Taste it.  Is it too sour?  Add a little more olive oil.  If you’re using pesto sauce instead of basil, whisk it in until evenly distributed.

Now use that fork to incorporate the pecorino romano cheese.  This dressing will be thicker than your average vinaigrette–kind of like a runny paste.  Add until you like the taste and texture.

Now toss the pasta stuff with the dressing stuff.

Taste it.  Adjust the salt, pepper, or cheese if necessary.  Refrigerate until serving.

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What did you think I was talking about?

Happy weekend, misfits!

Hugs and big red kisses,

Bad Mama Genny

By Mila Zinkova. Edited by Alvesgaspar

Heya, moonshining misfits!

It’s time to hike up your fishnets and…

clean.

I know.  That doesn’t sound badass at all.  But if you want to make your own beer, wine, and spirits, you need to know how to do this stuff.  This post will be my resource for you

Whenever you’re making alcohol and dealing with the long-term process of fermentation, you’ll need to first cleanse, then rinse, then sanitize any equipment that isn’t getting boiled.  The results if you slack off could be grody, unsafe, and unpredictable.

Sometimes grody, unsafe, and unpredictable conditions make for good times!  Not in moonshining, though.

The Boy brews beer professionally, and he turned me onto a simple system that I love and use every time I make beer or wine.

Get three 5-gallon buckets from the hardware store.  Label the first “Cleansing,” the second “Rinsing,” and the third, “Sanitizing.”  Now let’s talk about the mixtures that go into each–you have “best” options, and you have “cheap-ass” options:

Cleansing
The best option: PBW or B-Brite diluted per the manufacturer’s instructions with HOT water.
The cheap-ass option: A bit of dish soap dissolved in HOT water, though it may leave a residue that can affect the finished product.

Rinsing
Fresh, HOT water.

Sanitizing
The best option: BTF Iodophor diluted per the manufacturer’s instructions with COLD water.
The cheap-ass option:  A mixture of unscented bleach and water –1 ounce bleach per 5 gallons of water.  After doing this, you should rinse with water again and again AND OH HOLY HELL AGAIN to eliminate any remaining chlorine smell.  For obvious reasons, I’m not a fan of the bleach method, but it works.

If filling buckets in your sink seems a bit unwieldy, do like we’ve done and buy a new garden hose and sink adaptor that you can attach to your faucet.  This gives you the flexibility to work anywhere in your kitchen, and prevents you from having to do so much lifting and spilling.

The Process (you may need to do this in batches):

1) Fill the three buckets with their appropriate mixtures (see above).

2) Put items into the cleanser solution, being sure to hold any hollow items under the surface until they expel enough air to sink.  For hoses and tubing, slowly insert one end into the mixture, then gradually drop its length into the bucket, snaking around the sides-this prevents air bubble formation and ensures proper coverage.  All sides of all pieces, including the insides, need to be in contact with the cleanser for at least a minute, 2-3 minutes being preferable.

3) Move the freshly cleansed items into the rinse bucket in the same thorough fashion, agitating the items until the cleanser is off (items won’t have that slippery soap feel anymore).

4) Drop the items into the sanitizer, again taking care to coat everything and prevent air bubbles, and leave them there for at least 3 minutes.

Whoohoo!  Now you’re about as clean as you dirty, dirty misfits are gonna get.  Who knew sanitizing could be such a turn-on?

Ready to make some booze-o-hol?  Okay!


Some misfits think they need a super-productive garden to make canning possible or worthwhile.  Not so, my spicy little dumplings, not so!  At least, not with pepper jelly.  Just a few cups of chopped peppers is enough to make a baker’s dozen of pepper jelly half-pints.

Now these half-pints are different from the half-pints that your Bad Mama Genny normally enjoys around here because they will not get you drunk and they do not possess bubbles.  If you’re doing it right, that is.  (Pepper jelly that gets you drunk is probably dangerous.  And a lot of fun.  But dangerous.  But, you know, still fun.)  But in any case, pepper jelly half-pints are still joyful half-pints indeed.

In fact, they got me so excited that I had to go play with those little fake baby bottles for dolls that you turn upside down and the orange juice and milk disappear and make it look like Baby drank it.

They’re very soothing.

So how would a misfit use pepper jelly?

I’m glad you asked!

Eat it with cream cheese or goat cheese and crackers, stir it into a sweet and spicy stir fry, baste grilled meats and sausages with it, make a totally different kind of PB & J or grilled cheese with it, melt it down and use it as the base for a KAH-razy cocktail, put it on a cheese plate alongside these pickled grapes, stir some into deviled egg filling, put it in tuna or chicken salad, load it into your kids’ water guns for playtime with higher stakes, bring it to parties, give it as gifts, mail it to other misfits…

BUT NO SEX PLAY.

Y’all hear me?  Pepper jelly is not for sex pla–

NO!  Bad misfits!  BAD!

No sex play.

A public service announcement from Bad Mama Genny.

Movin’ on.

(No sex play.)

Sweet and Hot Pepper Jelly (No sex play)
Makes 13 half-pints (if it’s too annoying to buy an extra 12-pack for a thirteenth jar you may not need, just plan on putting the extra in a cup or bowl for eating right away)

Go Get:
2 1/2 total cups minced sweet and hot peppers (for medium heat, I used 6 large jalapenos, no seeds or membranes, and the rest sweet peppers) (The mincing is best done in a food processor, once you’ve done the bare minimum at chopping and de-seeding them while wearing gloves or little plastic baggies on your hands)
12 cups sugar
3 cups white vinegar
1 cup liquid pectin, somewhere around 2 and a half pouches
6 drops green food coloring, optional

Go Do:
Get your jars heating and sterilizing–the dishwasher is ideal for this.  And start your boiling hot water bath in a large canning pot on the stove.

Okay, now:

Mix the peppers, sugar, and vinegar in a large pot (Dutch Oven size is just right).

Turn the heat to high and stir occasionally until the mixture comes to a full boil and sugar is dissolved.  Don’t breathe in the vinegar/pepper vapors if you can help it.  They are a perfect storm of pain and suffering.
Remove it from the heat, give it another stir, and add the pectin.  Now is when you’ll add the food coloring, if you’re using it.  You totally don’t have to.  I considered not, but the jam was a sickly yellowish color that, frankly, made me think of plasma in a jar.  In went the food coloring.

Now ladle it into those hot and ready jars (what?) and leave about half an inch of headspace.  Tap the jars onto the table to bring any air bubbles to the surface, where you can pop them with a wooden chopstick or something.

Put on the lids, screw the rings on just a wittle tight, and process them in the canner for 10 minutes (you may have to do this in two batches, depending on the size of your canner).  Let ’em sit for a day before putting them in your pantry, and I’d say give ’em two weeks before eating to let the pepper flavor really permeate.  But NO SEX PLAY!

These are your BMG’s half-wheat sourdough cookies–rolled in cinnamon sugar, and then stamped as “HOME MADE.”

Because apparently, nobody would suspect it if I didn’t tell them in ALL CAPS.

Want yer own overly enthusiastic cookie stamp?  Come and get it, misfits!

So do y’all remember the BMG’s cabbage patch?

Oh, come on, sure you do!

Precious!

Anyway, well, most of those got harvested, and while a few made their way into dinner, the vast majority were turned into homemade, naturally vegan, lacto-fermented kraut.

<Homer Simpson drooling sound>

Yes, that’s right–we’re up to no good with live cultures yet again in a new series I’m calling “FERMENTING IS FUN!”

Not really.  That makes it sound like one of those puberty videos you have to watch in your fifth grade science classes.

“Getting Down with Gonads!”

“Engorgin’ Sex Organs!”

“Chillaxin’ With Childbirth!”

“Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Menses.”

“A Peculiar Thunder Down Under.”

“Congratulations! As if Your Status as a Female Didn’t Already Disadvantage You Enough, You’re Now Both Fertile and Alluring and That Is About As Good for Your Future as Mixing Valium With Everclear Okay Have Fun Bye Bye!”

Right.  Back to fermentation.

This requires no vinegar, injects you with sexy, sexy probiotics, and tastes phenomenal.  The Boy and I like it as an appetizer with a little sharp cheddar, homemade sourdough, and homebrew.  But really, now, you misfits are creative.  You could do a whole host of things with it!

Said Whole Host of Things, if A Metric Whole Host Equals Ten

1. Grilled Cheese and Kraut

2. Pork Chops, Kraut, and Pink Applesauce

3. Hot Dogs and Kraut

4. Put it on your cat.

5. Make sauerkraut pierogi!

6. Best. Corned Beef Sandwich. Ever.

7. Put it on your mom.

7. Serve an unconventional pickle plate: pumpernickel, fermented kraut, smoked salmon, yogurt cheese, briny olives, pickled mushrooms

8. Bring a jar of it to a high school reunion.  Insist on introducing it to people and following up with vaguely German slurs and raucous laughter.  Bonus points if you never even went to that high school.

9. Kraut plus Shredded Swiss Cheese plus Potato Chips = Nommiful Nachos

10. Put it on your archenemy.

So really, you get the idea–eat it, enjoy it, or just put it on the stuff and/or people in your life.  Mmm…tangy!

Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut
Makes 1 half-gallon crock/jar of tightly-packed kraut

Go Get:
2 small to medium cabbages
1 large white onion (optional: carrots and beets are fun additions, too)
1/4 cup whole Dutch caraway seeds (optional)
1/2 cup whey extracted from yogurt (instructions here) (wanna do this the vegan/dairy-free way?  See this post.)
2 Tablespoons sea salt

Go Do:
Shred the cabbage, either with a food processor or a sharp knife and cutting board.  Put it into a large bowl, then finely chop the onion and add it to the bowl.  Add in the caraway seeds, salt, and whey, and toss everything to combine.

Let mixture sit for 20 minutes, then start pounding it with a potato masher.  Pound until you get tired, then set it aside to rest for a few minutes.  Alternately pound and rest until the mixture is much reduced in volume and is yielding a lot of water.

It’s ready when you can pack the kraut down with the masher or a wooden spoon and liquid comes up to cover it, usually an hour.  When it’s ready, pile it into a half-gallon crock or jar, packing tightly as you go.

Press the top down.  If there’s enough liquid to submerge the vegetables, you’re golden.  If not, add some filtered water until they’re covered.  Now place an open Ziploc bag over the jar (open side up), and fill with enough water to weight the kraut down and keep it submerged.  When you have that right, seal the bag, cover the whole thing loosely with a towel, and let sit in a dark, room-temperature location.  Check the kraut for sourness each day.  Mine is usually at optimal sourness in 1-2 weeks, but your results will differ based on temperature and environment.  Once it’s perfect, refrigerate the batch to slow fermentation.  It’ll keep for about a year, and usually longer.

Note: If a little mold develops on top, you misfits shouldn’t worry about it–this is normal.  Just skim it off, rinse and replace the bag, and keep fermenting.

Lalala, what a beautiful day, and what a nice tree, and WHAT THE HECK IS THAT ORB IN THE TREE?

OH DEAR GOD IT’S A PUMPKIN.

Apparently this wasn’t the only pregnant punkin action happening around here.

So I guess while things in Bad Mama Genny-land were busy storming and flooding and flaming and crying and power outaging and Xanaxing and funeral-ing and repressing and all kinds of oh hellz bellzing, your BMG’s fantastical mystery blue pumpkin plant was all, “Screw you guys.  I’m climbing a tree.”

What can I say?  Even my plants do their own weird, twisted, unnatural thing.

But, uh, if the following photos are any indication, this pumpkin won’t exactly be an anomaly:

And, uh, by the looks of this healthy leading edge, Destroyer Pumpkin has absolutely no intention of slowing its roll:

OMG LOLZ HI GUYS!

I will be picking pumpkins from a tree this year.  And, no, your eyes weren’t deceiving you–those WERE indeed tomatoes and cucumbers intertwining with the tree’s foliage.  That tree, man.

I’m just waiting for the rom-com version of this to come out.  It will, naturally, be titled, “There’s Something About Tree.”

UPDATE: Since this went live a few hours ago, I’ve gone back outside to stare at my pumpkin tree whilst grinning stupidly.  And have discovered that the pumpkin has sent out vines in another direction and CLIMBED A SECOND TREE.  There are also 7 additional pumpkins on the vine that I failed to count the first time.

Misfits?

If this works?

I will be the happiest BMG in all the land.

That is all.

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