Saturday, November 12, 2016

A little more weaving...

Once a month, I attend a very special hand-spinning group.  I had purchased some alpaca fiber from the friend who hosts our group and decided I wanted to make a little something for each of the women there.  So....  I spun some nice soft two-ply yarn and wove a little bookmark for each of them.  I happened to have some of my weaving labels left, so sewed one on the back of each.  Just a little remembrance.  I am the oldest person in the group, so maybe this will be something for them to remember me by.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

I try not to waste food...

I've talked to you before about making "Leftover Soup."  This morning, looking through the contents of our refrigerator, I found the following that needed to be used up:

1. One bowl of chili
2. A smallish amount of homemade pizza sauce
3. Some leftover green beans that I had frozen
4. A good handful of foraged oyster mushrooms
5. One-fourth of a can of evaporated milk
6. One-half cup of sweet peas

First, I chopped the oyster mushrooms and sauteed them in butter.  Then, I thawed out some frozen chicken stock.

I combined all of the above plus "enough" chicken stock in a saucepan and brought it to a simmer and simmered it for a few minutes. The rest of the stock went back into the freezer.  That way, if anything is getting close to being too old, it will still be safe to eat for about a week.

Next I put it all in my blender and pureed it.

So...  please say hello to "Cream of Leftovers Soup!"

By the way, it is absolutely delicious.

Next time you have bits of various things that no one is eating, give it a try!  I ended up with about 5 cups of yummy soup. It would freeze well, too.

Friday, October 28, 2016

A little weaving...

I have a 24-inch Kromski rigid-heddle loom.  A friend gave me a sheep's fleece, so I cleaned and washed some of it and spun one skein of walnut colored woolen yarn (that I dyed with black walnut leaves) and one skein of white..  Here is the walnut colored yarn drying.

I decided to weave a scarf on my little loom.  I learned some things, and will do better next time, but I am very pleased with the hounds tooth pattern.  :)

Isn't that pretty?  It is for a birthday gift.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Thinking ahead to Thanksgiving dinner...

Un-stuffed stuffing...

This is a re-post that might help you get thinking about your Holiday meals!

I realize that Thanksgiving is a few weeks from now (Except I think maybe Canada had theirs yesterday?).  I want to show you this and tell you how I do "stuffing".  After all, Christmas is not long from now (gasp!) and it might be helpful.

I have never used a recipe for stuffing and I don't actually stuff the poultry anymore.  "They" have scared me off with all the warnings about possible salmonella exposure, so now I roast the bird and bake the stuffing separately.

Here is a list of what I use:

Stale homemade bread (of course you an use purchased bread as well!)

Homemade poultry broth or stock

Chopped onion

Chopped celery


Salt and pepper

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (whole, dried and rubbed until small)

A small amount of ground poultry seasoning (be careful with this.  It is very strong.)

1.  Slice the bread, as much as you like (for 12 people I use 2 loaves) and lay it out in trays to get stale and dry out some.  You don't want it to be hard, just dried up a bit.

2.  Break the bread into small pieces into a large bowl.  Add celery and onion, as much as you like.  For this amount I would use 2 medium onions and about 5 celery ribs.

3.  For this amount, I pour on 1 cup of melted butter and enough broth to make it moist, not soggy.

4.  I never measure the seasonings.  I just put on "some" and keep tasting until I like the flavor.  Do the salt first and then start adding bits of the other things, the parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme and black pepper.  When that tastes nice to you, sprinkle on a little bit of ground poultry seasoning and stir it all well.

5.  Taste it a few times and pay attention.  You will know when it tastes right.

6.  Pack it all into an oven-proof covered dish and bake at 350 for about an hour.

7.  When it is time for your big dinner, reheat in the oven, just until warm.  Serve with gravy that you make from the drippings from your roasted bird, as follows...

Remove the bird from the oven and use your baster to take out the pan drippings. If you don't have a baster, with a little help, pour the drippings out. Put them all in a saucepan. Add enough of the aforementioned broth to make the amount of gravy you would like to have. You will have to gauge the amount of thickening by how much liquid you are now using. For 1 cup of liquid, use 1 Tablespoon cornstarch or 2 Tablespoons of unbleached flour mixed in a little warm water. When it all comes to a boil, then slowly add the thickening, stirring carefully to prevent lumping. Add any little bits of meat from the neck and dice the giblets too if you like. Simmer until thick, then taste it and see if it needs anything else, like a little more salt or pepper, but it probably won't.

Leftover stuffing can be frozen and reheated for future meals.  I like to make what I call "Thanksgiving pie."  Cut up some of the leftover turkey, mix it with some leftover stuffing, pack it into a pie plate and pour gravy over it all, then top with mashed potatoes and bake at 350 until the potatoes start to brown a little bit.  We love this!

I have even filled some pie plates, as above, without the potatoes, and wrapped them snugly and frozen them for later use.  All you have to do is add the potatoes and bake.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Glass Gem Corn...

A man on Facebook sent me 5 Glass Gem Corn seeds last winter.  In May I planted them in a circle in the garden.   Since there were so few seeds, sometimes if you plant them that way, you still get decent pollination.  It worked!  I picked 13 ears of corn this afternoon.  This is a kind of popcorn, and can be ground for cornmeal as well.  I am going to hang it up and let it dry thoroughly before I try to pop or grind it.  It's so pretty!  I've looked at other pictures of the Glass Gem Corn online and they are even prettier!  By the way, there really was no insect damage to these, whereas my sweet corn had many corn ear worms this year.  The plants are very tall, and since I only had 5 seeds and got 13 ears, obviously they are quite prolific. It is an open-pollinated variety.  Here is a picture of my little harvest:

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What to do with extra sourdough....

I don't wash out the jar I keep my sourdough starter in very often, but eventually, it becomes somewhat crunchy looking.  Here is what I like to do when I have extra sourdough starter.  I poured off the "hootch" that was in the jar (the dark liquid that accumulates after I neglect it for several days) and then dumped the remainder into a bowl.  After carefully washing the jar and lid, I added some water to it, because it was now too thick, and stirred that in and then took 1/3 cup of that and returned it to the clean jar.  Next, I added 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and about 1/3 cup water and stirred that altogether in the jar, put on the lid and returned it to the refrigerator.

What was left in the bowl was about 1.5 cups of leftover sourdough starter.  To that, I added:

1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
about 2 teaspoons of honey
2 Tablespoons melted butter

Then I stirred it all well.  In the meantime, I had my Belgian waffle-maker heating up.  When it was up to temperature, I baked the waffles by adding 1/2 cup of the batter each time.  On my iron, the device is heated enough when the light on the top goes out.  After adding the batter, the light will come back on and then turn off again when the waffle is done and I remove it and start another one.

Of course, this could also be made into pancakes!

These waffles are delicious and it is a good way NOT to waste that extra sourdough starter.

I serve them with butter and real maple syrup.

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