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Posts Tagged ‘baking’

There’s never a dull moment here on Protection Island. We combine our island chores with our own hobbies and interests every day.

Today for instance, I wanted oreo cookies. We won’t be ashore for a few days and didn’t buy them on our last shopping trip but luckily I found a great recipe on the internet. You can see it here. I just happened to have all the ingredients, mostly, on hand. A well stocked larder is the key to life’s pleasures. We don’t have a mixer or beater and we don’t even have a wooden spoon in our kitchen. But my hands and a strong, long handled, metal serving spoon did the trick. Although I overcooked them a little and shaped the cookies too big, they are delicious and satisfied my craving. I may let Tim eat one or two as well.

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Yesterday I reached a milestone. I finished knitting a lace shawl I started for my daughter in 2015 while we were caretakers on Deal Island, Tasmania. I wrote about it here. I knit the body of the shawl, which measured 60 x 30″, during our 3 month fall season there and brought it home to  “just” finish the edging. I could knit about 3 inches of edging a night, there were 17 feet of edging to knit, or 204 inches, which basically would have taken 3 solid months, every night. But other projects intervened. So with some devoted knitting time here and the courage finally to rip out my provisional cast on, the shawl is complete. The pattern was recreated from a lace stole made in the Shetland Islands by Mrs. Jane Thomasina Williamson and was a joy to knit.

Here’s my version.

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I’ll wait until I get home to wash and block it in our pristine well water.

The other activity I obviously enjoy is taking photographs. The scenery and wildlife are inspiring. Sometimes unexpected, to me at least, results occur. I took a few photographs of sunset when we went out for a walk after dinner. I must confess, I almost always only use my iphone these days for photos. I am sooo lazy. I even gave away my SLR camera.

Anyhow, when I looked at the photos, they were marred by a green dot. Not the rumored green flash seen at sunset. A distinct dot off to the side. A quick google search revealed it happens commonly with the iphone camera because…well the reason eluded me. Something about not having filters and a reflection off the lens. It may be prevented by aiming the camera so the green dot ends up in the middle of the bright light. Or it can be edited from the photo. Since I already had the shots I chose to edit them.

Here is the original photo, I was trying to catch a silhouette of a cruise ship leaving the Strait of Juan de Fuca near the New Dungeness Lighthouse.

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Notice the green dot. Next I tried to edit it with Snapseed. This was my first attempt with interesting results. The area I “healed” ended up in a different place and two ships appeared.

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Interesting but not what I was aiming for. Here’s the final version.

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See how the day flies by?

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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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Sometimes you have to follow the rules.

The first batch of pignolli cookies I made, from this recipe turned out perfectly. I followed the instructions to the tee.

As I cook more and more, almost 3/7 (that’s three meals, seven days a week) I take liberties, improvise, create. Not with these babies. When I didn’t make the correct size they sunk in the middle. I tried beating the egg whites first – no good; tried lowering the oven temperature, nope. They have sunk in the middle for 5 years.

Not today though. I followed the recipe closely and it worked.

This

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Became these.

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The trick is to make them the right size! With pignolli cookies, and so many things in life, big isn’t better.

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Not spoken or written words – the game, Words with friends. As I write this, I have 6 games in progress. Several just get a word a day.

It’s sort of like Scrabble but its not. Nonsense words are accepted. There’s no opportunity to challenge an opponent’s move; if the computer doesn’t like it, they can’t play it. And the computer likes crazy words – luv, bens, jape, om, bo. These are desperate times. Z and Q words remain limited.

I’m sure this game leads to corporate waste because I see a few moves made during working hours. It’s a nice way to stay connected but I don’t want it to interfere with baking

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bread making

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cooking

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The first photo is the most amazing nutmeg and black pepper popovers from Bon Appetit magazine.
They went perfectly with short ribs cooked in the crockpot and kale and leeks. Hoo boy that was good!

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Or so it seems at our compost pile. I have somehow manage to dodge the trek to the compost pile since mid- December; I couldn’t carry the bin with crutches, the ground was icy, the driveway was icy. These excuses don’t work anymore and I ventured off yesterday after 6 inches of new snow fell. To my surprise, there’s been a a party out there. All sorts of tracks lead in from the woods and encircle the compost bin. I saw deer tracks, maybe rabbit, coyote and mice. But what are these claw like marks? They are linear in groups of four. Coyote scratches? I don’t see tracks associated with them, only claw marks. I’m thinking Adirondack bear paw, one of my favorite flavors from Stewart’s. But shouldn’t they still be sleeping?

party tracks

So we had our own little party. My son and BGFF are visiting and had the makings of a key lime pie. We debated whipped cream or meringue and as you can see, meringue won. It was a joint effort and delicious outcome. Today’s baking project is spinach pie and we may head out to tap some maple sugar trees.

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Lady of the river

Lady of the river

Today was a snow day. I remembered to take my camera with me on a drive to Lake Placid. It snowed softly in the morning, continued all day into the night. There will be an early easter egg hunt, in the snow, at our house this weekend. Tradition.

These pignoli cookies always look so promising. Alas, in the end I threw out the batch. I’ve been having a problem with them rising and haven’t had suggested parchment paper in the house for a long time. This batch rose fine but got stuck to the foil. Worse yet, some had a little piece of foil still stuck to them and left a metallic taste in my mouth. Out they went.

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I am a work in process.  I have started physical therapy, actually put a sneaker on my foot and used an exercise machine!  Yeah.  I was given permission to throw my crutches in the Lake and am walking about on my own two feet, with the aid of a walking cast.  This goes in the Lake in three weeks.  My mobility has enabled me to tackle and almost complete a myriad of projects and now I can cook and bake in the kitchen without the aid of a chair in the middle of the kitchen.  I am still not getting out too much due to the layer of ice over everything so all my recent adventures have taken place at home on the range.

On the knitting front, I am working on two Santa Cruz hoodies as an overdue gift for two young boys.  One is taking up a ton of yarn and I ran out of one color on the sleeve so did a sleeve-sleeve transfusion.  I used the yarn from the long sleeve as I ripped it out, to knit the short sleeve.  So while one shrunk, the other grew until they were even, then I had to add a stripe.  As soon as I finish them, I have given myself permission to begin work on a Aran sweater for my son.  He has approved the pattern and yarn and if I can stick to the pattern and knit the gauge, all should go well. (ha ha ha)

Circle of Loki

 

 

 

 

 

On the quilting front, I finished the cat quilt and Loki spends a lot of time sleeping on it curled into a tight ball.  Once that was finished, I tackled the machine quilting of my kaleidoscope quilt.  I had to   wrestle the queen size quilt through my sewing machine but now have only the borders left.  I devised a quilting pattern that avoids dragging the whole thing through the machine again.  I am having mild panic that the marker I am using – now like an artist’s paintbrush all over the quilt- won’t come out as easily as the manufacturer says it will.  Why do I always ignore the suggestion to try a test patch first?

 

 

Quilting

Weaving has had mixed results.  I was able to use my walking cast to work the treadles of the floor loom but felt a bit like Herman Munster.  So my twill scarves remain on it.  I have been weaving with my rigid heddle loom and am trying to master a table runner for my daughter.  The first was a disaster.  I used rayon, which looked so pretty and shiny, but didn’t stretch – at all – and wasn’t able to hide my weaving errors.  Now I am using recycled cotton and applying the lessons learned from the rayon disaster.

Weaving in progress

 

 

Baking is going well.  I used my new crumpet rings with great success, make sandwich rolls regularly, have found a source of rennet to continue making mozzarella cheese and think I may have perfected the art of bagels.  More about that later because it involves broiling, boiling and baking.

Crumpets

 

Rolls

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