Friday, May 30, 2014

Milling lupins with a pasta maker machine

In an earlier post, I hypothesized that soaked lupin beans could be effectively dehulled with a pasta maker. Turns out, one of my co-workers has a pasta machine, so I finally got the chance to test this hypothesis. And it does in fact work, particularly after the beans have sprouted a little bit.

As is, the pasta machine is an improvement over hand de-hulling, but I think it could be improved. Set to maximum, the gap on this pasta machine is 2.5 mm, I'd like to try one with a 5 mm gap because this one kind of crushed the beans (although, I still think they'd make decent tempe in this state). The rollers are not grippy enough, (this would be less of a problem with wider spacing), you have to apply gentle pressure to the beans to get them to go through. The pasta machine lacks a hopper so beans have to be fed through fairly slowly and can't be piled up very high on the machine, if there were a hopper, the pressure of beans on other beans might be enough to make extra grip on the rollers unnecessary.

I don't think I'll actually end up using this method, because I suspect that dicing with a food processor will turn out to be cheaper and more effective, but it's certainly a viable strategy, and much preferable to hand hulling.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Exporting diagrams from Dia into Microsoft Word or Powerpoint

Short answer: on Windows, export to "emf" format, then add the image to the document like you would any other image.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Lupin tempe and fried lupin hulls

Lupin tempe is highly touted, and apparently one of the most promising possibilities for expanding the presence of lupins in the human food supply. Tempe (or "tempeh", if you prefer the crude anglicization) is made by growing fungus, usually Rhizopus oligosporus (sometimes also with Rhizopus orzae and other minor components) on beans (usually soy beans, but a wide range of substrates are possible). Tempe is a traditional food in Indonesia and is recently becoming popular in Europe and North America. I've made soybean tempe several times and it's turned out well, so I was excited to try to make lupin tempe. Differences between soy and lupin that may make the process different are that lupins are tougher (more fiber, less oil) than soy beans and have a much thicker hull.

Monday, May 19, 2014

lupin sprouts

Sprouting lupins is not much different from sprouting any other kind of bean. In this post, I'll relate the sprouting method I used for Australian sweet lupins (which I purchased from Lupina), and highlight some differences I noticed between sprouting lupins and sprouting mung beans. Lupin sprouts are bigger and a bit tougher than mung sprouts, and their cotyledons are much more prominent. The sprouts don't have a strong flavor, but the cotyledons seem to have a faint cucumber taste to them. Any thing you can do with mung sprouts, I think you can do also with lupin sprouts. I made a salad from fresh sprouts, which was good. I also cooked some of them and put them in a stew, which was also good (although you can't really taste them in the stew...).

  1. Sort seeds to pick out rocks and remove any obviously damaged seeds.
  2. Soak seeds. 1-3 days. For most beans, 12 hours is sufficient. After 12 hours, more than half of the lupin beans will be nicely swelled, but a pretty good portion will still not be. The longer you soak for, the more beans will be swelled and ready to sprout. 3 days seemed to be long enough for 95% or more of the lupin beans to become swelled (I plan to look at this more scientifically in the future). I don't think over-soaking will effect germination rate, but it might be a good idea to change the water and let them breathe for a little while every day. Also, if you happen to have a wire mesh with about 0.6 cm between the wires, it should be easy to screen the unswelled beans from the swelled beans.
  3. After soaking, drain and put in a pot, or a large bowl, or any other large container with a cover. Put the cover on (I usually leave it open just a crack, the idea is to keep the humidity high, but you also don't want to suffocate them).
  4. Rinse and drain at least once every day. You need to be gentle with lupin sprouts, blasting them with water (as I do with mung sprouts) will cause the cotyledons to snap off which will prevent the sprout from growing any bigger (the cotyledons are what gives them the energy to grow).
  5. Do this for about 7 days, or until they are the desired size. At 7 days, some of them will have started making their first little leafs.
  6. Rinse, drain, eat, or refrigerate
  7. Do not attempt to remove the hulls. Sometimes with other beans, I remove the hulls by soaking the beans in a big pot of water and using my hands to agitate them so the hulls fall off, then just pouring the hulls off. Lupin hulls seem to be attached more firmly than the hulls of other beans. It's definitely possible to slip them off, but the only way I could find to get them off without also knocking the cotyledons off was to individually pull them off of each sprout. That was way more work than I was interested in doing, so I just left them on. The hulls are a bit chewy, which maybe some people won't like, but, it's good fiber, so you might as well just eat them...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

lupin rejuvelac

Rejuvelac is a lightly fermented beverage with two ingredients: sprouted seeds (usually grains), and water. Making rejuvelac is really easy. All you do is soak the seeds over night, sprout them for 1 or two days, put them at the bottom of a pitcher, fill the pitcher with water, and let the pitcher sit on the counter for 2-3 days. If done well, it has a mild, refreshing, taste, which I can best compare to diluted lemon juice with a pinch of salt (this is a pretty crude approximation of the taste though, if you want to know how it tastes, I recommend making some yourself). It has a unique, but not unpleasant smell. The flavor seems to vary depending on the kind of seed used. It may also vary depending on the water used, but all I've ever used was local tap water, so I don't know.

Grains are by far the most common seeds to use as substrate. I've made it with spelt berries, and barley (the unhulled kind with a thick hull still on it). The spelt rejuvelac turned out better for me than the barley rejuvelac. The original version uses wheat berries. Sprout people recommend rye. But I've also seen references to people using legumes such as lentil or mung. So in the spirit of Dennis Moore, I figured, why not try lupins, and it wound up working ok. I use tap water exclusively because it's convenient, but other recipes I've seen, including the original, recommend using "purified water".

Lupin Rejuvelac
  • Soak 1/3 cup of dry lupin seeds for 24 hour
  • Drain off water and pick out unswelled seeds (if you soak these longer, they will actually swell eventually but in the interest of time, just take them out)
  • Let remaining seeds sprout for 24-48 hours, rinsing and draining every 12 hours or so (I sprouted for 36 hours, but I think that whenever the tails are at least as long as the bean, you should be ok) (the original recipe also specifically says not to rinse, so you can probably get away with skipping that step and it may give you a stronger brew)
  • Take out any seeds that didn't sprout
  • Cover sprouts with 2 quarts of water
  • let sit at room temperature for 4 days (I swirl it around about once a day, but that might not be necessary), or until the rejuvelac is as strong as you prefer.

I drain the finished rejuvelac off into another pitcher, then I refill the first pitcher and make another batch. After the second batch, I cook up the sprouts (which probably causes Ann Wigmore some postmortem restlessness, for which I apologize) and eat them with rice or quinoa.

Conclusion: Lupin actually makes decent rejuvelac, nevertheless, I drink it with a squirt of lemon. It's not as good as spelt rejuvelac, but better than barley rejuvelac. I'm sure the process could be optimized to make a better brew: for example by increasing the amount of sprouts, the sprouting time, or the rejuvelac incubation time. For the purposes of a dinner to be served to guests, I would be hesitant to include this on the menu, at least the current version of this, because it has a taste and smell that I think are too unfamiliar to most people. For myself, I may make it from time to time because it's an interesting flavor and I can cook up and eat the beans afterwards, so it's not as though it is a waste of good lupins.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Lupin hummus

I have found that sweet lupin makes a fine substrate for hummus. The point of this post isn't to present an optimal hummus recipe, but merely to show that lupin can be used instead of chick pea, and the hummus will still be pretty good.

I made one batch of raw sprouted hummus, and one batch of cooked hummus.

Raw sprouted lupin hummus:
Soak seeds over night.
Remove unswelled seeds (I'll post later on how to deal with these)
Sprout the swelled seeds for 36 hours (put them in a bowl with a lid set lightly on top, rinse and drain every 12 hours).

Put in blender:
3/4 cup sprouts
2 tsp olive oil (or any other kind of vegetable oil)
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp fresh diced chives
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
pinch of salt

Blend, enjoy

Cooked lupin hummus:
Soak seeds over night.
Remove unswelled seedsboil swelled seeds for 2 hours (after 2 hours, they were still kind of tough, but it didn't seem to matter)

Put in blender:
3/4 cup sprouts
2 tsp olive oil (or any other kind of vegetable oil)
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp fresh diced chives
1/2 tsp of salt

Blend, enjoy

You'll notice that I put lemon juice in the raw hummus, and additional salt in the cooked hummus, but there's no reason you couldn't make a saltier raw hummus or a lemony cooked hummus. I was just experimenting (and you should too!). Both recipes worked. The cooked hummus is a bit richer, and the raw hummus is a bit fresher, which are the effects I was going for.

My hummus ended up being pretty coarse, and a little chewy. I think this could be solved by more thorough blending, possibly in the presence of additional oil. I was using a fairly inexpensive blender, and not filling the chamber all the way, so it didn't blend very well.

An issue with lupins is that they have a tougher hull than most other edible beans, and there isn't an easy way to remove the hull, so if you don't thoroughly cream the hummus, the hull fragments will contribute to a texture that is a bit unusual for hummus (although I personally don't find it unpleasant).

Sprouted lupins, ready to blend

Raw on the left, cooked on the right. The raw is a bit lighter color, but other than that, they looked the same to me.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Ten Pounds of Lupins

So... I bought 10 lbs. of Australian Sweet Lupins from Lupina LLC. I intended to only buy 5 or 6 lbs, but they offer free shipping on orders more than about $40. Each pound of lupin is $4, and shipping was otherwise going to be $12, so by buying enough for free shipping I ended up with 3 lbs of free lupins (right?!). My 10 lbs was divided among 7 lbs of seeds, and 3 lbs of flour.
When I opened the box, there was flour everywhere (maybe 1/2 teaspoon total but well spread out so it looked like a lot), but none of the bags seemed obviously damaged. I immediately cut the flour bags open and dumped them into a big plastic container.

Friday, May 2, 2014

printing print-locked pdfs

software needed: ghost script, ghost view, foxit reader (or any other pdf reader, the print options in foxit seem to play better with my printer for doing things like printing multiple pages to one sheet).

open pdf with ghost view (GSview).
File->convert->device:pdfwrite->ok (default options seem to work fine)

open the generated file with foxit.
print the file

There are lots of other ways to do this also...

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Betel leaf tea: like drinking a dental office

I had the opportunity to eat some betel leafs today. My first impression was that it was like chewing on a spicy local anesthetic with a hint of black licorice. Which turns out to be pretty close to the truth. Betel is related to the plant that is the source of black pepper (hence the spiciness?), its oil contains eugenol (which is the major component of clove oil, is used as a local oral anesthetic, and is the source of the typical smell of dentists offices), and its oil contains anethole, one of the components of licorice root extract.

The initial chewing not being wholly unpleasant, I decided to make tea out of the betel leaf. The tea was much less strong than the leaf itself. I think from dilution and because the oil in betel leafs is held in glands in the middle of the leaf and the leaf is pretty tough and waxy, so the oil probably doesn't extract very well. The tea wasn't spicy at all, and had a much less powerful anesthetic effect. Drinking the tea gave an overall sensory experience similar to what I imagine one would experience if eating licorice in a dental office.

In 1999, there was actually a study published about how people associate the smell of eugenol with either positive or negative emotions depending on their attitude towards dental offices. Personally, I'm pretty indifferent towards dental offices, although I generally don't associate them with food, which is probably why I thought the betel leaf taste was pretty odd for a food. Also, I tend to prefer that my food not make my tongue go numb. However, given the huge popularity of betel leaf consumption in certain parts of Asia, I guess this is a cultural phenomenon. I wonder if people who spend more time chewing betel leafs than sitting in dental offices associate dental offices with betel leafs, and start getting cravings when they're having their teeth looked at.

Checking md5 sums for lots of files from Windows

I run a lot of local BLAST searches on Windows machines. When you download a blast database from NCBI, you should also download the md5 file so you can check that the downloaded file is exactly the same as the one on the server (sometimes there can be fidelity issues when transferring data). Linux has a handy tool for comparing md5 sums, called md5sum. Example.