Monday, January 31, 2011

A happy ending...

Here you can see where my "Rescue" ended up. :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Greenhouse in January 2011

This is what it looks like outside right now. I am walking toward the greenhouse.

Do you remember the Egyptian Onions? ~ Here is how they look today! A little depressed, but still very much alive:

Here is a view inside the greenhouse from the door:

I've half uncovered the bed so you can see what's under the floating row cover:

Here is some mache (corn salad).

The little "bunching onions." I still don't know what a bunching onion is, but anyway, here they are and you can see plenty of happy chickweed growing amongst them:

One kind of kale:

And another kind of kale:

Now, look at the Swiss Chard. You can see it has been discouraged by severe cold weather we've had lately, but it is still strong and keeps producing, and it will into the coming Spring and Summer. When the hotter weather comes (and it will!) I will cut off any attempts of the Swiss Chard plants to "bolt" or go to seed, and will still have lovely chard for months to come:

See what's happening with the leaf lettuce? It is considerably more tender than the other plants, but hanging on and still trying to produce:

And here are the green onions. Messy! But still quite usable. I like them in so many ways... soups, stir-fries, omelets, in salads:

It is 34 F outside, and look how nice and warm it is in the greenhouse because the sun is shining today:

Here is what I picked. I will juice these pretties with some carrots and an apple. Oh, heaven!

A few days late, but I linked this up with Simple Lives Thursdays!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My "Rescue"

I have loved dolls ever since I was a little girl. A few times I have made dolls as gifts, and when it came time to give them away, it always tugs on my heart strings. Yesterday I was at our local thrift shop and found this very pretty 18-inch doll. Her hair was all tangled and dusty. She didn't cost much, so I bought her and brought her home. Then I carefully washed, conditioned and combed out her hair and let it dry.

Today I made a new dress for her. I will keep her until I find a young girl who will give her a loving home. :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Really Good Biscuits

I've been making biscuits for nearly 40 years. I've had some recipes that were ok, some that were less than ok, and one or two that seemed to be more than ok.

Today, I made biscuits and came up with a "new" way (for me) to do it and they were outstanding! Light, fluffy, melt-in-your mouth baking powder biscuits.


You will need:

a sifter
baking sheet
rolling pin
biscuit cutter


2 cups all-purpose flour that you sift FIRST before carefully measuring
1 Tablespoon baking powder (I use Rumford)
1 teaspoon salt (I use RealSalt)
1/3 cup real salted butter, cold
1 cup whole milk
Extra sifted flour

Pre-heat the oven to 500 F.

Sift a couple of heaped up cups of flour onto your work surface.

Place the empty sifter on a small plate.

Using a long spatula, carefully lift the sifted flour into your measuring cup until it is full, then use the spatula to even off the top. Do this twice, putting the flour back into the sifter.

Add the baking powder and salt to the sifter.

Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl.

Grate the cold butter onto the flour mixture.

Work the butter in with your fingers until it is well distributed.

Pour in the milk. Stir with a fork until all the flour is damp.

You will probably need to add an additional small handful or two of flour and stir that in lightly. You want to be able to handle the dough, so it mustn't be TOO wet, but don't add more additional flour than you need to.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead 3 or 4 times.

Roll it out to 3/4 inch thick.

Cut with biscuit cutter and place each biscuit upside-down on an un-greased baking sheet. They should be touching each other. Do NOT use the insulated kind of baking sheet.

Bake at 500 F. for 8 minutes, and then check the biscuits. When the tops start to turn brown, they are done.

Serve and enjoy! Keep the extras in the fridge. They reheat nicely for a day or two.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Making and Baking a Frozen Pie

If you know you will be needing a pie sometime in the near future, and might not want to make it at the last minute, do what I do... Here is an apple pie. I put it together several weeks ago, wrapped it carefully and froze it.

When it is time to bake, preheat the oven to 400F, place the unwrapped pie on a baking sheet to control any drips, and bake it for 90 minutes. I placed narrow strips of aluminum foil along and around the edges of the crust so they would not burn, and removed them just a few minutes before the pie was done.

You can also put together multiple pies at once and freeze them. It saves considerable time, as making several crusts at once doesn't take much longer than one at a time.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Kimchee - sort of

I check in the refrigerator often to see what needs to be used in there. I have been reading online recently about Kimchee. According to Wiki, one definition is "a traditional fermented Korean dish, made of vegetables with varied seasonings." If you look at the lovely picture they have of traditional Kimchee on there, it puts mine to shame. I probably shouldn't even call it by that name. Sigh...

Last week my husband and I were able to go to Bloomington, Indiana where there is a marvelous natural foods store, Blooming Foods. I knew that in our fridge was a small amount of whey leftover from making the kefir cheese, and so I bought some organic vegetables, planning to make Kimchee. Here they are - cabbages, carrots, garlic, ginger, onion, and a beautiful Daikon radish:

I chopped the onion and garlic by hand, but everything else I chopped up in the electric food processor. If any of you are from Korea, you might want to look the other way. Here are all the vegetables except the cabbage in my huge stainless steel bowl. Also, the crushed red pepper flakes are in here too:

Last of all, I shredded the cabbage and added it, sprinkling the salt between layers of cabbage:

Next, I used the end of a piece of wooden dowel to pound the vegetables. I pounded and stirred them until it was all quite juicy:

Then, I put it all into a gallon jar, covered with a few cabbage leaves weighted down with my clean rocks.

I let that sit out, covered, at room temperature for 3 days, then put it into the refrigerator. It should take about 2 weeks to really get going, but we are eating it already after about a week. I love it. My husband does NOT. He doesn't like sour things. Here is the recipe I used:

2 medium heads of cabbage (Korean's would use Nappa cabbages) cored and shredded
1 large white onion, chopped
6 good sized carrots, shredded
1 Daikon radish, cut into little strips
3 Tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 head of garlic (mine was really big, so I only used half of it) peeled, crushed and diced
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
4 Tablespoons RealSalt
1 cup kefir whey (any kind of raw whey will work, from cheesemaking, strained yogurt or kefir)

Prepare all the vegetables and put them into a very large bowl, crock or food safe bucket, or more than one container if you need to in order to have enough room.

When you add the cabbage, do it in layers, adding the salt as you go.

Pound and mix the vegetables until it is very juicy.

Pack firmly into a gallon-sized glass jar.

Cover with cabbage leaves held down by clean rocks (or some other arrangement you come up with.)

Cover jar. Let sit at room temperature, venting the jar occasionally, for 3 days. Then refrigerate.

When you are ready to eat some, either right away or after a week or two, remove the rocks and cabbage leaves and enjoy!

If you DO like sour things, you will love this. It is very spicy and delicious and being a naturally fermented vegetable dish, it is very healthy and good for you!

If you would like to see how to make REAL Kimchee, check out this site ~

I've connected this recipe to Wardeh's Simple Lives Thursday.

Friday, January 7, 2011

How to Slice an English Muffin

I keep my sourdough starter in a bowl, covered with a cloth and a heavy plate. That way, anytime I want to use it, it is ready. I feed it every day a little bit. I add a couple Tablespoons of flour and the same amount of water, and stir it in. Here is the bowl, uncovered:

I wanted to make sourdough English Muffins for breakfast this morning, so I started them last night using Erin's recipe at Gnowfglins. They are so quick and easy and we love them! They are good fresh and warm from the griddle, later in the day for a sandwich or quick "pizza" base, toasted for breakfast, and if you slice them, properly, and freeze them, they keep well. Here is the batch I made this morning:

Do you know the proper way to slice an English muffin? What you do is slice into the edge all around, and then holding both sides, one in each hand, twist the muffin and the 2 halves will break apart:

and then you'll have this lovely, crumbly texture that when toasted, grabs the butter and tastes and feels fabulous in your mouth!

Here are the muffins, sliced (properly) and stacked up, ready to be wrapped and frozen. These are the ones that were left after breakfast today:

We ate them warm with butter and this yummy honey which I buy here.

Here you can see it... butter and honey... yummy goodness!

Incidentally, the muffins look very very brown in these pictures. I assure you they are not burnt. I did not bake mine as long as the recipe states. You need to see what works with the cooking set - up you have. This is our second batch. The dough in the first one was not as stiff, but this recipe is very forgiving and it is hard to mess up. Truly. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Banana Cake

I had 4 smallish bananas that had gotten extremely ripe, and I did not want to waste them. So, I made:

Banana Cake - preheat oven to 350F

1 cup Sucanat (dehydrated cane juice)
7 Tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil
4 smaller or 3 large very ripe bananas
1 1/2 cup finely ground whole wheat flour (my wheat grinder has a "pastry flour" setting, but of course, it's not really pastry flour. It just makes it finer.)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon RealSalt
1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 2 Tablespoons hot water

Cream the coconut oil and the Sucanat thoroughly.
Mash the bananas well and add them to the creamed mixture.
Next add the egg, and the soda water.
Fold in the flour and salt and mix well.

Grease a square baking pan with more coconut oil. Pour in the batter and spread it evenly.

Bake at 350F for about 35 or 40 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.


Make some "powdered sugar" by putting a cup of Sucanat in your blender and add 1 Tablespoon cornstarch. Put on the lid and blend until it is very fine.

Place this sugar in a small mixing bowl. Stir in a pinch of RealSalt and add 1/4 teaspoon of maple flavoring.

Now, start adding kefir cheese just a little at a time until you like the consistency of your frosting.

When the cake is cool, spread the frosting on top. That's it!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mayonnaise - a method

I made some potato salad for dinner today. I needed to make some mayonnaise for it, and as I thought about it, it occurred to me that I didn't really need to measure everything. As to the amount of oil, since I make it in my electric blender, all I need to do is add oil very slowly until it's as thick as I want it to be.

The main ingredients in my mayonnaise are extra-virgin olive oil and raw egg. I also added some Realsalt, Eden raw red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and a little Sucanat. Those things can be added "to taste."

So, that's what I did and it turned out very nicely. The potato salad is delicious!

So, if "winging it" like this makes you nervous, start here:

Crack an egg into the blender container.
Add 1/4 teaspoon salt (to begin with.)
Add 1 Tablespoon vinegar.
Add 1 teaspoon Sucanat.
Add 2 teaspoons prepared mustard.

Place the lid on the container, and the container on the blender base and turn up to medium.
Remove the round handle thing on the lid and VERY gradually, as the blender is running, drizzle in the extra-virgin olive oil.
When it is as thick as you like, taste it and correct the flavors. You might need more of some or all of them depending on what you like.

Don't be afraid. It's very easy!

I am sharing this recipe through Wardeh's Tuesday Twister over at GNOWFGLINS, and at Monday Mania.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Kefir - Chapter 11 - kefir cheese, revisited.

Here is an easier way to drain liquid kefir milk to make kefir "cheese." This product works well as a substitute for cream cheese or sour cream. I love it on a baked potato, as well as with some sweet fruit in a bowl, or spread on a cracker.

All I did was line a stainless steel strainer with an unbleached paper coffee filter, set it in a bowl to catch the whey, and poured in the kefir milk. Then I covered it with plastic wrap so it wouldn't dry out or end up with dust bits in it, and let it sit on the counter for about 24 hours - until it was as thick as I like. Then it goes into a covered container in the fridge. Voila!

This was much easier than doing a large batch in a cloth hanging bag. I think I will just make the smaller batches more often now.
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