Lotion recipe

This lotion doesn’t need to be stored in the fridge, unless you will consume it slowly or you used ingredients that tend to go rancid quickly. The texture is light and quickly-absorbed, much like commercial lotions, so it’s a good option if you don’t like the greasy feeling of using oils straight.

This recipe is adapted from Rosemary Gladstar’s book Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. I learned about the book from a low-waste Youtuber who gushed about all the cool recipes in the book. This was the only one I was interested in; I’ve been looking a long time for a lotion recipe that produces something like commercial lotion.

Waters

2/3 cup water

1/3 cup aloe vera

1% citric acid by weight (optional, acts as a preservative for the aloe vera)

Oils

3/4 cup liquid oil (I use sweet almond oil. Other skin-friendly oils, such as sunflower or jojoba, will work, although shelf-stable ones are ideal. Hemp oil, for example, would necessitate refrigeration.)

1/3 cup solid oil (coconut oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, etc)

1/4 tsp lanolin (optional)

1/2-1 oz beeswax

  1. Melt oils together. Let cool to room temperature, until thickened.
  2. In a blender on high, slowly add the waters to the oils. It is done when combined, thickened, and fluffy. The blender will probably start having trouble!

Substitutions

If you are going to use this on your face, use only oils with low comedogenic ratings! That means don’t use coconut oil or cocoa butter. Shea butter, on the other hand, is non-comedogenic and is very unlikely to cause acne. Sunflower, jojoba, and hemp oils are all non-comedogenic, but there are many other liquid oils to choose from.

I haven’t actually made this yet, and I’m planning on whisking it by hand. It may not be possible, but wish me luck!

Tomatoes!

One of the vendors at the farmers’ market was selling “sauce boxes” of tomatoes for $20 each. Each box was about 20 lb, so it was quite the bulk discount! I also got 10 lb exra (for no extra cost) when I asked if I could add overripe and ugly tomatoes!! The vendor seemed to think they were worthless :<

Unfortunately, I forgot to account for the trip back home, about a mile. The 20-lb box seemed doable, but I got greedy with the overripe ones. J only agreed to buy the box of tomatoes on the condition that he wouldn’t need to help carry it… but that promise totally fell through. We ended up each holding an end of the box.

Dry-farmed (un-irrigated) Early Girl tomatoes. They might’ve been organic too.

But! We’ll have so much tomato sauce! And maybe salsa too.

We also got reject fancy apples for $1/lb. The plan is to make apple pie.

Pad thai

J and I made pad thai the other day. It’s pretty simple, but requires a few special ingredients that can’t be substituted for: fish sauce, tamarind paste, and rice noodles.

We followed a not-so-stellar Serious Eats recipe. It made too much sauce for the amount of noodles and veggies- we actually doubled or tripled the amount of noodles and still had too much sauce. Besides, the sauce wasn’t quite right. First of all, there was too much fish sauce, so it was too salty. The recipe called for honey in place of palm sugar in an attempt to make the recipe more accessible, which is a noble effort. Unfortunately, the honey added too much water, so there was a puddle of water at the bottom of the pan…

These changes should be easy to incorporate next time.

Pad thai plus pork “stew” (shoulder) that definitely needs to be pressure-cooked.

Ceramics class?

I’ve been thinking of taking a ceramics class. I got my feet wet during college, and really enjoyed it. It’s amazing to think that you can make all your cups, plates, bowls, and more yourself! You could even make your own toilet.

I’m especially interested, though, in making onggi, which are traditional Korean fermentation vessels. Here’s a video on how they’re made.

Apparently the type of clay is very important, and detailed information is probably only available in Korean. I’d be satisfied with something like these crocks, which are also pretty and functional.

From this site. Look at those weights! They help keep all of your ferments submerged.

I worked in a research lab in South Korea for a summer during undergrad. I’m thinking of contacting the grad student I worked with to see what he knows about traditional Korean food (and onggi!).  Maybe he’d be willing to do some research for me (:

I also could make a donabe (see Toiro Kitchen for more info. The cookbook by Naoko Moore on donabe cooking is also quite good).

And, well, a ceramics class just sounds fun. I like learning new crafts!

Elecom Huge Trackball

I just got the Elecom Huge Trackball. So far so good!

The box.
It looks like this.
There’s a scroll wheel and a sensitivity adjustment switch on the left side.
The underside.
Shown next to the Evolent Vertical mouse.
Shown next to the Kinesis Advantage 2.

Black Walnuts

We cracked open a bunch of black walnuts that N had collected from some nearby trees. The shells are so hard! We used a big hammer to smash them open.

It’s really hard to get the nut pieces out.
Our efforts yielded maybe two tablespoons of edible product. They taste like store walnuts, but more bitter.

Sake update

I think the chewed sake (kuchikamizake) is done. The liquid on top of the rice pieces is clearing up, which is a sign that there is no longer any fermentation going on. If I add more rice, I may be able to get the yeast going again, though.

After the fermentation is done, you’re supposed to strain out the rice pieces (sake lees or sake kasu, which can be eaten or used for pickling), then put a chunk of charcoal in to make the sake clear. In lieu of that, J suggested running the sake through a Brita filter. It uses activated charcoal, after all, and if we keep making sake, it may be useful in the future.

The koji sake doesn’t seem to be done yet.

Roast chicken and veggies

Roast veggies in the new 12″ skillet.
Huge (6 lb) and expensive ($40) roast chicken from our local farmer’s market. Fortunately, it had an organic, pastured, and sustainable life. The chicken’s not actually burned; the burned spots were an attempt to add flavor via mirin. That long skinny thing off to the left is the chicken’s spine.

We butterflied the chicken, which is supposed to help keep the breast meat from getting overcooked and dry. The meat has had many second lives, in soup, in tacos, and there’s a ton left over for future uses.

Sake update

Our sake has been fermenting for almost three weeks now. It’s looking pretty good! The remaining experiments smell strongly of alcohol.

In order from left to right: rice + koji + bread yeast + brown rice syrup, rice + barley malt soaking liquid + brown rice syrup, rice + ginger + brown rice syrup, rice + chewing + brown rice syrup.

As I discussed in the planning post, you can use different sources of amylase to digest the rice. Koji works really well, chewing/saliva is fine, barley malt is less than desirable, and ginger doesn’t work (at all, as far as I could tell). The brown rice syrup, which started fermenting unaided in the cupboard, was added to provide a wild strain of yeast.

A close up of the koji one. The bubbles of CO2 from fermentation push the bigger bits of rice up to the top.

After taking these pictures, I threw away the ginger one. It wasn’t rotting, but it didn’t seem to be doing the right thing either. A few days later, I also threw out the barley malt one. It had a weird skin on the surface, maybe kahm yeast?

So I’m left with the koji experiment and the chewed experiment. Fortunately, they both smell strongly of alcohol. I hope they’ll be done soon (how do I tell when that is?). I may add another batch of rice to each. Doing this can push the alcohol content higher than it would otherwise be, since having more food available can trick the yeast into fermenting more.

Friend V from college is interested in sampling the experiments, including the chewed one! Yay! I thought I would be the only one trying it- it’s my saliva, after all.