Homemade Beef Jerky Carob Chips and Other Food Prep Ideas

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Photo by Fotolia/JAY
Not many food prep ideas involve ambient heat, but one Oregon man uses it to cure beef jerky in his home kitchen.

Eating: you never get tired of it. You do it three times a day, every day, if you can. Is it any wonder so much human creativity is devoted to cultivating, gathering, and preparing food? Even if you think you don’t think about it that much, you probably have a lot of food prep ideas of your own. Our readers certainly do.

Homemade Beef Jerky

This winter, utilize the heat that invariably rises to your ceiling to make beef jerky! Beaverton, Oregon reader Ralph Kirkman ties a line, from one wall to another, about six inches below his kitchen ceiling, then hangs thin strips of meat to the line using “S-hooks” made from ordinary paper clips. The meat stays out of the way and dries quickly and inexpensively. [EDITOR’S NOTE: When following this procedure, you’ll have to keep an eye on your jerky-to-be; if the room isn’t hot enough, the meat could spoil before it “cures.”]

Homemade Carob Chips

Rebecca Blackburn makes her own carob chips by combining equal parts of peanut butter, carob powder, and honey. The Washington Stater heats the ingredients, then spreads the mixture about 1/4″ thick on buttered plates. Rebecca “solidifies” the carob treat by setting the plates in the freezer for about ten minutes. After that, she cuts the candy into 1/4″ squares for use in cooking and baking.

Mock Cheese Soufflé

Whole grain bread crusts are saved in the Carpenter household and turned into a “mock cheese soufflé.” Mrs. Bonnie Carpenter of Mt. Vernon, Ohio takes 4 to 6 slices of old crusty bread (the tougher the better, she says!) and layers them — along with 3 cups of any kind of grated cheese — in a buttered baking dish. Then, in a different container, Bonnie beats together 2 cups of milk, 3 eggs, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard, and a shake or two of pepper. This mixture is poured over the cheese and bread in the baking dish and allowed to soak in for at least 30 minutes. Finally, Bonnie sets the dish in a pan of water, then puts both into a 350°F oven for one hour.

Home Ground Coffee

“My husband’s 93-year-old grandmother always said that the finer a coffee bean is ground, the more flavor it’ll release and the less we’d have to use to brew our beverage,” writes Betty Sauntry of Blanchester, Ohio. “Nowadays, my husband and I grind our own beans daily, and we’ve cut our coffee bill considerably.”