Eating on the edge

My pantry is generally well stocked and we are eating our way through it. This week was a little iffy. I opened a can of sweetened condensed milk that expired in 2017. It was tanner than usual but seemed fine in my coffee. I froze some with a batch of yogurt that had failed and called it ice cream.

Today I opened a jar of peach jam from 2018. Lid was sealed, delicious.

I have been making all sorts of bread; I may have recreated the soy linseed bread that is sold as a mix in Australia but is impossible to buy here. White bread, english muffins and yesterday, no knead bread.
Soil sprouts are doing well indoors and I added some to lunch.
Polenta in the instant pot, is easy, creamy, cheesy, and delicious! This recipe alone makes the instant pot worth its weight.


Yesterday was a trifecta. The aforementioned bread, apricot almond scones and apple pie.

Since I have a lot of root vegetables, potatoes and carrots are often on the menu. The other night was gnocchi in a butter herb sauce. Made half a batch and froze half of that batch. Well worth it and only used 2 potatoes. Plus they are fun to shape over your thumb with a fork.


I have an old mixmaster from the 1970’s ( I found the same one we used on Deal Island on eBay) and have souped it up with many accessories. I use it to bake cakes and cookies, juice oranges and for the first time I made a batch of chicken sausages with the grinder. I was intimidated before I started but it was easy and fast. What I did not have was a sausage stuffer, although I had the the casing from a local grocery that sells it during hunting season. A stuffer is on the shopping list. I spiced it up for breakfast patties and they were great.

Tim has a mouth full of sweet teeth, which takes a lot of baking to satisfy. I made cinnamon buns for easter, 8BA1C499-C93F-41A3-ABF1-C7245F4579CBchocolate chip cookies, coffee cake (again from a less than satisfactory batch of yogurt), stovetop vanilla custard ( a recipe from my daughter who is the newest cook in the family since she has been home – in DC).

Dinner sometimes suffers when I have exhausted my cooking mojo with desserts and the like. This weekend it was hotdogs (uncured, thank you very much) and last night French toast. Latvian piragis have been requested, maybe tonight.

On a more serious note, I am grateful for what we have and worry about the long term economic effect for others. So far I have contributed to two local food banks, and if you are able, I encourage you to do the same in your community.

Shopping list

I passed my board recertification exam with flying colors and my thoughts turned to the food list. I prepared it today, heard back from the market, and we are good to go.

Here it is.





I’m having trouble with the link to Google Drive. It seems to work if you download the document. Here is the butcher order on Google drive. Did I forget anything?

Now I’m winding 3000 yards of merino cobweb yarn into balls so I can knit a shawl so fine it will slip through a wedding ring.

Is your child a picky eater or are you a bad cook?

I’m serious. Think about it. I heard a discussion on NPR yesterday about managing picky eaters. They even had a new phrase to replace “picky eater” but I forget what it was. The conversation got me to thinking.

I was labeled a picky eater as a child. I was left to sit at the table with an unfinished plate before me. I don’t remember how long I was left there, but it felt like an eternity. I softly singing a song with my dog’s name in it to keep her nearby. Then I would feed unwanted scraps to her under the table.

BUT I am NOT a picky eater. I love and will eat almost anything- anything! My mother, however, was a terrible cook. She hated cooking and it showed. We had broiled meat, leseur petit peas from a can (which I loathe to this day), powdered mashed potatoes almost every night. I wasn’t a picky eater, I was a discriminating eater. To make matters worse, it was my job to scrub the broiler pan after the meal and it was never lined with foil or anything to make the job easier or more palatable.

The first time I baked cookies was at a friend’s house in fourth grade. It was an awakening, the smell of toll house cookies baking in the oven was something I still love. Who doesn’t.

At age thirteen or so I became a vegetarian (largely because I was sick and tired of broiled meat) and began to cook all my meals for myself. Suddenly no one thought I was a picky eater, even though I was a vegetarian. The food I prepared and ate was good. I still had to scrub the broiler pan though.

So I ask you, when you think your child is a picky eater, take a good look at yourself and what you are serving. Or offer them the opportunity to cook for themselves.

My northern CSA provides international experiences

Our farm share continues all year. During the winter months, we eat food I imagine Russian peasants have always eaten – beets, cabbage, onions, carrots, potatoes, parsnips, turnips and rutabaga with some kohlrabi and celeriac tossed in.

I make borscht, stuffed cabbage, roasted vegetables, soups and stews.

This week hominy, or dried corn, was added to the share with suggestions to make tortillas. I gathered my corn and culinary lime and headed south of the border.

Lime is calcium hydroxide and is called “cal” in Mexican recipes. It softens the corn, boosting its nutritional value and helps remove the husks. Water, hominy and cal are heated and then left to soak overnight. Next the corn is ground into masa, traditionally between two stones. Since I live on an old sand quarry, I opted for my food processor.

I may have been better off with two stones. I ground the masa as fine as I could then made a dough with some salt and water. Next I flattened the dough with a spatula and peeled them off the board and tossed them in the hot griddle. The flavor was perfect but they were too thick and a little soft. I tried to pass some dough through my new pasta maker but that was too cross cultural and didn’t work.

Next time…

My knitting is well under way for the year. I already knit three mittens, a hat and wove a scarf. Next is to start a quilt and weave some new placemats.

These are the thrummed mittens waiting to get felted by the wearer.


This is one of my new mittens. I made a pair last year for one of my daughter’s friends a coveted a pair for myself.


Next up is a scarf I wove with alpaca, my handspun merino and silk and a little novelty boucle alpaca and silk. Sweet.


Snowed in

Not exactly but it does make crutching more challenging. We had about six inches yesterday and expect the same today. It’s quite pretty but I’m disassociated from it since I won’t be able to play. Loki enjoyed sitting on the porch to watch it come down and Shirley sat by the fireplace or in my lap in her new sweater based upon a few design modifications from my daughter and her friend. Who knew that hairless cats like to wear sweaters?

Loki and the snow

This picture tells me Loki enjoys watching the snow but not walking in it and my windows need to be cleaned.

My latest cooking adventure was pasta. I happened to have some semolina flour, mixed it with white flour and a few eggs and voila! I don’t think I rolled it thin enough because it was pretty chewy and I wasn’t sure if I should refrigerate it or let it hang dry. I opted for drying because it made a prettier picture.

Rolled pasta

Pasta highway

Just hanging

Lastly, I am enjoying my adventures in tea and have a made a variety of the flavors. The strawberry lemonade is a mild, already sweetened lemonade and so pretty!

Strawberry lemonade

My head is still in the clouds

I can’t believe we’ve been home a month already. We’ve been busy organizing and getting reacquainted with family, friends and our lovely home in the mountains.


I made my first batch of cream cheese from a batch of yogurt that I heated too high and killed all that good bacteria. It was delicious on home made toast with jam. ‘ve got bread, bagels and, almost, english muffins perfected, I still need to get those nooks and crannies like Thomas’ does. Now that I’m discussing food, I imported ten boxes of Tim Tams and gave them away to a select few (and ate a couple of boxes myself with a little help from Tim). I was shopping in Brooklyn, NY and right at the checkout counter my son discovered Pepperidge Farms Tim Tams. Apparently they are an affiliate of Arnott, the original Tim Tam baker and sell them in the United States from October to April. So we can all enjoy the Tim Tam slam next winter and fill the void when the Girl Scout thin mints are all gone.

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We’ve got a new visitor too. This pheasant seems to enjoy our house, walks up to the window and pecks and cleans up after the birds at the feeders


If you want to learn to cook, go some place beautiful where there is no food

I guess it could backfire, but it has worked for me. I’ve enjoyed figuring out what to eat and trying new recipes to expand the menu. The other day, I wanted something different to drink and made a batch of ginger ale. It was a little nerve wracking because it carbonates and makes its fizz in the sealed bottle. If you let it go too long, the bottle explodes. I found myself testing the plastic bottles for fullness a lot. The recipe came from a Google search and worked well.



My techniques for making bread, yogurt, bagels, pizza and english muffins have been refined and perfected over the past three months. And I have had a good workout to boot. I don’t have any power appliances, so I knead, stir, cream and mix all by hand. Sometimes, I even work up a sweat. How nice if you could burn off the calories before you actually ate the food!

Often, I just look at the provisions and figure out what I have a lot of and need to cook. So I made gnocchi from potatoes; creamy tomato soup, sloppy joes and lots of sauce from tomatoes; oatmeal cookies and scones from oatmeal, chicken curry from the large tin of curry powder; beet soup, carrot cake, semolina pudding, and risotto.

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Things really become interesting and unpredictable when I have to substitute ingredients. The other night, I tried to make an icing from yogurt and thought I would counter the acidity with baking soda like you do when baking. Instead, I had an acid-base reaction in bowl and inedible icing. I tried again without the baking soda and it was fine.


Now where is that recipe for roast goose?

The Universe delivers


Only a few days ago I posted about our lack of snacks. We have eaten our way through the crackers and chocolate. We aren’t going to starve, or even lose weight, but the occasional treat is always nice.


Then yesterday, two boats, who had been here about a week ago on their way north, dropped anchor and spent the night. They were on their return trip, headed home. We enjoyed a barbecue with them on the pier. Both boats were built by their owners, who weren’t boat builders but just wanted to build their own boats to their own specifications. They each took about thirteen years to complete and the hulls are made of steel. They look like beautiful, seaworthy vessels. Back to food. I made a little apple plate cake for dessert and brought it down. It was a hit. The next day, before departing they stopped by the caretaker’s house and asked if we could use any fresh lettuce or tomatoes. They were going to make an overnight passage home and wouldn’t need most of their food. The garden is doing well but the tomatoes aren’t quite ripe and I said sure.P2090134.JPG P2090144.JPG


They hailed us on the VHF radio after they dropped it on the pier and I went down to pick up the booty. Initially, I was only going to pick up the perishables because we were going back down to the cove to shovel sand off the road. But the bag wasn’t too heavy and I lugged it back up the hill. It was like Christmas.


I felt around the outside of the bag to try to figure out what was inside it. Then I lined up all the contents on the table. We are no longer snackless. We have potato chips, crackers and chocolate, carrots, cabbage, potatoes and lettuce, and a bottle of wine. At least for today. How nice. They radioed back that they enjoyed the apple cake and wanted to reciprocate since it seemed like we were shipwrecked here.

No coincidences? Ask and you shall receive.