Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Today's Harvest

Cherokee Trail-of-Tears Beans

This year's plants are the first generation from last year, so I think that means they've got all that great genetic information from the "survivors" of last year. In any event, they are producing twice as much as last year. I'm quite excited. They are mild, and taste great as snap beans or dried.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

Peach & Cherry upside-down Cake

I made this yesterday for a meal with my parents and one of my colleagues (which we all agreed was long overdue). I baked the cake in a Pyrex pie dish, which I have found to be the best for any upside-down style cake, or self-saucing cakes that are turned out after you bake them.

I used this recipe, which is skinny! I am all for lightened-up recipes, but they have to use all real ingredients for me to use them. No faux stuff here!

But what if you can't lay hands on buttermilk? No problem! Take a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup. Pour in enough milk to bring the liquid up to the one-cup line. Wait five minutes. Then, use whatever your recipe calls for.

Enjoy the holiday if you have it!
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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Montmorency Cherry Filling (for cake)

Cherry Filling 1 pound Montmorency cherries, pitted and halved* 1/2 cup kirsch liquor 1/3 cup sugar Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Continue to cook for about 15 minutes, until the cherries have softened and the liquid is slightly thickened. Skim any foam off the top of the mixture as it cooks. Let it cool completely. *if you cannot get Montmorency cherries, substitute another tart cherry, or sweet cherries and Montmorency concentrate, such as Cherry Bay Orchards, replacing half the liquor with concentrate.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Simple shouldn't be Boring!

Simple shouldn't be boring!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Bread is really very easy to put together, but I think that it seems unapproachable. My sister and I had the good fortune of a mom who had learned to make her own, so we never took to store-bought bread. I make my own now, too, and I promise, it's not hard. I do own a bread machine, but that's really so I can make bread during the school year when my workday starts at 7:15am.

You don't need a bread machine, you don't need a mixer with a dough hook, none of it. Try this one for a start:

You can even leave that one in the fridge for several days (!) before baking. Love it.

Here's my weekly loaf:

1.5 c warm water
1 heaping tb sugar or honey
2 tb oil or melted butter
1.5 tsp yeast (I love SAF brand)
0.3 c powdered buttermilk (you could sub nonfat dry milk)
2 c white whole wheat
1.5 c white flour
0.5 cup rolled oats
2 tsp salt

It's modified from King Arthur flour basic bread, and I cannot recommend that site enough if you want to play around with baking,

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The are American biscuits, not sweet biccies or anything like. I made some white chili last night, and biscuits (and cheese) seemed like they would be a good accompaniment. This is my go-to recipe. As the Joy of Cooking notes, they are remarkably good right out of the over, and I, for one, enjoy the craggy tops. Plus, they are VERY easy to put together.

Joy of Cooking quick drop biscuits - I use wheat flour, smart balance oil, and powdered buttermilk (adding water to the recipe).

Useful tip:
Yeast breads can be frozen after the first rise, but before the second, then just thawed, allowed to rise, and baked on demand! Biscuits and drop cookies can be frozen from the dough stage and baked that way-- they only need a few extra minutes. And pancakes! Cook as usual, then place any extra flat on a cookie sheet and pop in the freezer. Then store in a freezer bag until needed. Pop in the toaster, 5 minutes and viola! Noms!
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It shouldn't be a chore to sleep so thoroughly!

I've always loved those vintage (and retro) Days of the Week Chores towels. So, I got curious and looked for the original poem. And while there was a version commonly used in the 50s and 60s, there were variations going back well over a hundred years! I especially liked those older versions, where Thursday was for brewing. :D

So, what's it to be in the modern era? Funnily enough, I still like to leave washing for Monday. That leaves me free to go visit my family for Sunday dinner, without any rushing home. It's also a great time to change all the linens out.

This week, anyway, we're going to try out this routine and see what happens:
Monday: Wash Day
Tuesday: Cleaning & Grocery Day
Wednesday: Baking Day
Thursday: Sewing Day
Friday: Lazy Day
Saturday: ?????? Day
Sunday: Foodie Day (& Mixology!)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Let's try this again, shall we?

This started out as a blog to document hobby endeavors, and I got distracted along the way, as you do, and it...died off like an ignored plant. So, let's try a reboot. :) Including, but not limited to the following: foodies, mixology, gardening, herbs, painting, sewing, embroidery, and baking. What won't be here: personal stuff. That'll be on my personal journal, to which this is cross-posted. Rock on.