Cooking

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Awhile back I purchased cream of tartar because I wanted to start making our own baking powder. Baking powder can get expensive if you use a lot of it and try to find a form with the least amount of additives, so I figured I could make a cleaner, cheaper version at home.

Well, I found the cream of tartar the other day and realized it had been probably a year-and-a-half since I stowed that bottle away. Not coincidentally, we just ran out of baking powder so I figured this was the day! And the process could not be simpler so I have no good reasons for procrastinating that long.

Baking powder is a leavening agent made with a combination of acid and alkaline ingredients which, when combined with moisture, produce the rise you want in pancakes, biscuits, etc. Baking soda is the alkaline ingredient and cream of tartar, an acidic byproduct of the fermentation of grapes, lends the acid. Together they produce carbon dioxide.

One interesting point of difference between this baking powder and the “double-acting” baking powder most commonly sold is that it does not contain calcium acid phosphate. This compound produces additional carbon dioxide when heated but I am more than fine omitting something like that from our food. And, after using this in pancakes, biscuits, and tamale pie, I am not convinced that this “single-acting” baking powder is at all inferior.

Homemade Baking Powder

Ingredients

  • 1 part baking soda
  • 2 parts cream of tartar

Directions

Whisk ingredients together until well combined. Transfer to an airtight container and seal tightly.

Use 1:1 in any recipe calling for baking powder.


It is sweet potato season and I am already considering more growing options for next year. We only grew them for the greens this summer, having gotten them in far too late. The pumpkins were the big producer and we are very grateful for the harvest and certainly enjoying them, but sweet potatoes plus pumpkins seems a good way to grow lots of calories.

With these you can make breakfasts, breads, desserts, soups, stews, stir-fries and, yes, tacos.

These are not, as you might assume, a seasoned sweet potato mixture folded into a tortilla. Rather, the sweet potato becomes the shell and the fillings are piled high. You can really fill them with whatever you have – beans, meat, cheese, sour cream, veggies. This time around we stuck with some longhorn we canned this past March along with broccoli, onion, and avocado.

Any kind of sauerkraut is always a welcome addition, of course, as is a fermented hot sauce.

Sweet Potato Tacos

  • 8 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1.5 lb. ground beef
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • pinch of ground cayenne
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 2 avocados, for serving
  • 1 broccoli crown, for serving
  • chopped onion, for serving

Directions

Bake the sweet potatoes at 400 degrees until they are fork tender, approximately 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the meat with the cumin, cayenne, and salt. Set aside for serving while you chop the vegetables.

Once the sweet potatoes are baked, split them in half and top with the meat, veggies, and avocado. Serve alongside a salad or fermented vegetable.