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Archive for the ‘cooking’ Category

Adirondack fall is a brief lovely season. With six weeks until winter, we had our first light snowfall this weekend and the temperature dropped to 17 degrees f.

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My Irish Moss sweater is well underway. There’s a tiny chance I may memorize the pattern, but not yet. I love the alpaca-merino, soft, light and warm. So does Shirley.

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I got around to pickling the venison heart today. I boiled it for several hours with a carrot, onion and celery, then poured a brine over it and let it sit under a weighted plate all day. Next it’s to the fridge. Tasted yummy.

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We’ve received a bounty of winter squash from our farm share and I baked my first pumpkin pie of the season. My Oxo good mill did the hard work. Funny how the pie came out though.

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We’ve had a few picnic dinners in the cabin but haven’t screwed up the courage to sleep in it yet. Lots of excuses- have to get up for work, too cold, forgot my sleeping bag, etc. one day. Tim writes about it here.

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Once again the Universe delivers.  I traded a deer hat for deer meat.  I received a heart, three chops and two steaks and may have had the better end of the bargain.   Yesterday I made the chops.  I seared them on the stove,  put them in the crock pot with tomato sauce, brown sugar, onions, mustard, apple cider vinegar and cooked them forever.  They were delicious.  Lean meat, good taste.  I intend to pickle the heart, which Tim is too squeamish to eat.  I’m OK with any muscle, but draw the line at filter organs like kidneys and liver.

It’s good to be home and cooking and crafting here.  I made a mini apple pie the other night.  A friend is a potter and she made a small pie plate, which is just perfect for the two of us.  Besides, I only eat pie the day it’s baked.  I’m such a princess.

Apple pie

BFF 2013 (3)

 

I finished two children’s hats so I can finally begin my daughter’s next sweater.  I’m still a little concerned the pirate hat may be small but we’ll see.  I can always make another one.  The aviatrix hat is so sweet, I may need one for myself.  I made it with Koigu, nice and soft merino.

Gift hats

 

I wound wool and knit a gauge swatch (three times) for my daughter’s Irish Moss sweater, by Alice Starmore.  Apparently I’m loose.  I’m using a merino, alpaca blend, Mountain Vista by Classic Elite.  I think I’ll focus on this and spinning for a while.

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I was dismayed to learn from my quilting group that I can’t use the quilt I am quilting for a baby because it has a polyester, flammable fill.  So I’ll let the adults burn up.  They also pointed out my border fabric is POLYESTER and should definitely by ripped out.  Boo Hoo.

Hand quilting

Hand quilting

I think I may just hide it under the binding!

I’m not as upset as this cat, which was chased up a tree by my cat.

Loki and a cat up a tree

 

The interloper finally scrambled down the tree, they caterwauled for a while and then were off for a run.  Loki made it home unscathed and feeling pretty  proud of himself.

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This photo shows why I must exercise.

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On the left, is my latest loaf of sourdough bread. The recipe is loosely based on a PBS episode with Julia Child and the owner of La Brea Bakery, Nancy Silverton. .

From the episode, I learned three important facts about bread baking. I made my own sourdough starter with red grapes, flour and water, which sits on my counter and ferments away; keep one hand clean while kneading dough; and taste the raw dough and adjust.

I’ve made several delicious loaves and hope to keep the starter happy. This was my best one yet.

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Next to the bread is a fruit pie, not really one of my vices but dear Tim loves them and I go along for the ride. Any fruit will do. I only like pie the day it is baked. After that, I’m only interested in the filling.

Next up is white bread, albeit a bit overdone. I make two loaves a week (whether we need them or not). This is definitely not a gluten-free household.

Finally, pasta. I received an Atlas pasta maker for Christmas and love it. I roll out a batch of fresh pasta a week. Semolina flour, salt and water. Run it through the machine several times to get the right thickness, then put it through the cutting blades. Because it cooks so quickly, the whole process doesn’t take longer than boiling boxed pasta. And clean up is a snap.

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Other kitchen additions include an old fashioned, metal bread box with holes and a magnetic knife rack. Aah, domestic bliss.

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I’m waiting for my new hula hoop and jump rope to arrive so I’ll be able to exercise on that tiny rock of an island in Alaska.

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Memorial Day like November

This is why I am still eating root vegetables in May.  There was snow in the mountains today!

So while those of you downstate are munching on fresh lettuce and tomatoes, I am still eating the remains of cold storage.  Potatoes and kale are finished but beets, carrots and parsnips abound.  I started a hydroponic garden about a month ago and this weekend, we shared about 8 pieces of arugula, mustard greens and lettuce among four people.  And it was good.

image  There comes a time in mid spring, where I have to have fresh greens and fruit after a long winter of root vegetables.  I threw slow food to the wind and bought mangos, pineapples, oranges and cherries.  Don’t judge me.

 

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My kitchen is 36 square feet and I have to be very discerning about equipment I bring into it. Generally I am not a fan of single use gadgets because they have to earn their storage space. Presently my bread maker, pasta maker and soda machine reside outside of the kitchen! I rely mainly on manual labor. I don’t own an electric mixer, dough hook, fryer or toaster oven.

I’m a fan of, the critically acclaimed, Downton Abbey and am keeping current with the episodes as they are aired here. (My daughter has already finished Season 3 on the British Network.) Anyway, no spoilers here, but in this week’s episode, Mrs. Patmar advised Ethel to set timers while she prepared a meal. That got me to thinking. When did they invent timers? The hourglass had been in use since possibly the 8th century and was downsized to be used in the kitchen as an egg timer. But it was entirely visual and required the cook’s attention to realize time had run out. The only egg timers in my house are associated with board games.
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They wouldn’t work for me in the kitchen. I’m sure I would miss the end. I would look at the timer and wonder how much time had passed since the last grain of sand fell to the bottom. I rely entirely on bells and whistles. Is that a function of the our lifestyle? I generally multitask and get easily distracted by shiny things. I need multiple types of stimuli to follow time and this seems to be common. Bells ring, buzzers buzz and my iPhone does both. Even with timers, I forget things in the kitchen.

Mechanical timers were invented in 1926 by Thomas Norman Hicks and I think this is later than the third season of Downton Abbey. I don’t want to read too much about the season because I might find spoilers. This means Ethel prepared her delicious meal while watching sand fall. I couldn’t do it. Despite the gadgets and quality cookware I do own, without multiple timers ringing, my kitchen endeavors would be a disaster.

Timers 001Yesterday my timers were set to help me make a curried butternut squash apple soup and to roast a bunch of butternut squash in the oven. I wonder what I will have time for today?

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I took a trip across the lake today to the big city. Big, as in town with a grocery store where I can buy tarragon. It was a lovely day for a ferry ride, there was some chop, the boat was rolling and sea fog drifted across the water.

The view home was pretty sweet.

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During my last trip to the state liquor store, where the taxes and therefore prices are lower, I met a Mainer who sold lobsters. I don’t trust or eat much seafood in the Adirondacks and I had a hankering for lobster.

I picked up a couple of beauties and decided this time I would cook them humanely by pithing them first. Maybe it was good for them but it was a little traumatic for me.

Last year I bought a healthy chip maker made by Mastrad and wrote about it here. It was stuffed away in a cabinet and I had forgotten about it. I dusted it off, sliced and salted a potato and made a delicious, low calorie batch of potato chips.

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It couldn’t be easier and the key is the slicer, which cuts the veggie paper thin. Then they are laid out on a silicone cooker, zapped for 2 minutes and away you go.

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Don’t try it with kale though. I almost burnt the house down as outlined here.

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