This year I decided to make Easter egg dye with materials we already have at home:
All of these dyes were made using the basic process of adding the sources of color to boiling water (1-2 cups), adding about 2 teaspoons of white vinegar, and letting the mix soak for a while. From left to right: red cabbage, dill seed, paprika, turmeric, frozen raspberries.
W only had brown eggs, from Innisfree on the Stillwater, naturally:
You have to let the eggs soak for quite a long time. Ours probably soaked for about 18 hours. But, the wait was worth it:
I think my favorites are the turmeric yellow ones.
While I was out, my husband and daughter turned these into egg-cellent masterpieces!
Homemade waffles using whole wheat flour, oats, blueberries, cane sugar, and real butter.
Seriously folks, do some research. Change your ways. Don't settle for cheap, processed, and easy. If we put in the same minimal effort at our jobs as we do for what we put in our mouths, we would get fired. Make it yourself. Use real food. Like a job well done, a project completed, I guarantee you will start to feel better, feel better about yourself, and experience satisfaction and accomplishment.
Don't make excuses like "I don't know how to cook", "I don't have time", "My kids won't eat it", "It's too expensive." To that I say: "Learn. Practice. Make time. You can make a decent meal in 1/2 an hour. Plan ahead. My brother and sister-in-law both work full-time jobs and still manage to make meals. Your kids will eat it if you get them involved, teach them to cook, and show excitement yourself. Make them try it. You are the parent, right?"
Listen, we are not independently wealthy, and we are insanely busy. We buy a lot of ingredients which require work to turn them into a meal. But those ingredients go a long way. We grow stuff and eat it. We buy directly from farmers. You can do a lot with flour and eggs and veggies. Just try. Can you honestly tell me you feel a sense of happiness and satisfaction over sticking some sugar-stuffed cardboard into the toaster? Um, no. Be honest. I feel really good about making them myself though, and knowing that I even made the preserves I put inside my hand-made pastry.
I've been trying to be more resourceful lately, both to save money and eliminate waste. Recently I learned that if you put scallion trimmings (the white bulbous ends) in water, they will hang out pretty much indefinitely, regrowing their tender green shoots which you can simply trim and use.
I also bought some beautiful local hydroponic lettuce a few weeks ago, and knowing that it was still "living", it seemed incredibly wasteful to simply toss it into the compost bed. So I threw it in some water too. Now I have growing scallions and lettuce with a truly lazy amount of effort.
Next I plan on trying the replant celery bottoms (Hee!). I'll let you know how they get on...
Sooo...this is what I worked on yesterday. Still a bit rustic in form, but you know they're homemade.
Scharffenberger bittersweet chocolate, house-made caramel with white chocolate and a Brookly Brewery Black Chocolate Stout reduction, and peanuts for salt and crunch.
They are so rich and have an incredibly deep flavor. These would pair so well with coffee, milk, or, obviously, a chocolate stout! Next time I think I will take the caramel a little bit further, but these will suffice for now.
Baking, baking, BAKING!!! Ugh, I don't even know who I am anymore! I am trying to put together a few products to possibly sell at farmers' markets this year, but due to the lovely food vendor constraints here in Ohio (and most places stateside), I am limited to baked goods, at least until I can afford to rent some commercial kitchen space...
So, I am baking. A lot. As those of you who know me well, I am a COOK. I would rather dice veggies any day than measure out some flour. But, rules are rules. To mix it up, I am working on some savory baked goods, meant to go with beer or meals, and some wholesome options as well.
Above you see what I have dubbed "Good Stuff" cookies, loaded with great ingredients like chia seeds, dried fruit, and oats. They are really quite tasty, and would be perfect in the morning with some tea or fresh-brewed coffee, or tucked in a backpack for a hike or bike ride.
Of course, to balance out the healthy, I am also working on homemade candy bars. We should strive for balance in all aspects of life, shouldn't we?
I have a headache. Maybe that accounts for this crappy photo. Maybe this ice cream will make my head feel better, but it certainly can't improve the photo quality. Jeni's Guava Cloverton, homemade balsamic and strawberry preserves, Zingerman's graham crackers.
The Smoking Goose Meatery (We took a trip there a couple years ago, and had amazing sandwiches.) hails from Indianapolis and they make fun meat products like this sausage, called "Kitchen Sink", which is full of fun pork parts: shoulder, belly, heart and liver, with some great spices and processed in natural casings.
I love how you can see all the tasty little bits in this sausage:
For dinner, I used it in a quick pasta dish with spaghetti and roasted broccoli:
The ingredients: whole wheat couscous, French lentils, baby arugula, herbs, peas, shaved rainbow carrots, hard-boiled eggs, bacon, goat cheese, vinaigrette. One is Gary's, one is Hannah's, and one is mine. Whose is whose? I think it's obvious.
I have been craving fish tacos, so I decided tonight's dinner was a good time to satisfy this particular hunger.
I picked up some hake at the market, a fish I knew nothing about, but the price was right. I Googled hake when I got home and discovered that is used to be considered a "garbage" fish, a member of the cod family, and is, well, kind of ugly.
Anyhow, I wasn't planning on entering it into any seafood beauty contests; I just needed it to cooperate in some hot peanut oil.
I made a batter of equal parts flour and cornmeal and whisked in a bottle of Founder's Porter. The result was delightful! I cannot wait to eat this fish again. It has a light and delicate flavor and cooperated quite nicely when fried.
The final product: beer-battered fried hake tacos, Thai style, garnished with DLM Thai cabbage slaw and a quick sauce I made using Seven Stars whole milk yogurt, Sriracha, cilantro, and lime juice. If I knew how to say delicious in Thai, I certainly would.
I am very excited for warmer weather. Mostly because I am so stinkin' tired of apples, oranges, and pears. I need berries, and melons, and stone fruit!
Anyway, I am trying to use up last summer's fruits that I have been hoarding in frozen and preserved forms, so I busted out a bag of frozen strawberries. We had smoothies the other night, and I left the rest of the bag in the fridge to defrost for near-future use.
So..today I opened the fridge to find strawberry juice dripping down the wall of the fridge and forming a sticky fragrant pool on the bottom. Sigh. So, out the drawers came and I got to cleaning. Good thing to, because this was happening in a dark corner:
These used to be zested lemons. They still are, but in, uh, slightly modified form.
Back to the strawberries. I made a quick jam with some Balsamic vinegar and pepper.
I've already tasted it, and it's pretty good. I still had some strawberries left, so it was time for strawberry muffins:
And here, friends, is a recipe:
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped fresh strawberries (If using
frozen, defrost and drain.)
1/3 cup organic pure cane sugar
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup fruity olive oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Raw sugar, for garnish (I used a bourbon smoked sugar)
Preheat oven to 400˚.
Grease the cups of a standard size muffin pan. Combine the strawberries and sugar in a bowl
and allow to macerate while prepping the other ingredients.
Combine the flours and other dry ingredients in a bowl and
whisk to combine. In a 2-cup liquid
measuring cup, measure out the buttermilk and olive oil, add egg and vanilla,
and whisk to combine.
Make a large well in the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk mixture and the
strawberries and fold in just until combined.
Using a scoop, fill the muffin cups evenly. Sprinkle the tops with the raw (or smoked)
sugar. Bake 15-17 minutes.
Cool for several minutes in the pan, then remove to a
cooling rack to finish cooling completely.
So I know I've had some lame posts lately... Things have just been frustrating. I didn't think I'd be making anything too great today, hence the "Hot Nuts" post. But I did manage to make this salad for dinner. I've been really craving vegetables and fruit lately; I think my body is so stinkin' ready for spring and growing things, for strawberries and fresh peas to replace root vegetables and apples and oranges...
Here we have a mix of spinach, mustard greens, and kale with roasted purple Brussels sprouts, dried wild blueberries, toasted pecans, shaved Manchego cheese, and a simple vinaigrette. That about sums it up.
Yep. This was dinner. After a very tiring (but successful) concert, the last thing on my agenda is going to the store or firing up the stove. So, smoothies it was. And some other numblies. There you have it.
Yeah. I know this is nothing glamorous, but I don't think there's need for apology. We all have days where even our interests and passions take a backseat to feeling crappy and well, really not caring. So it was tots for dinner. I'm ok with it.
Sitting in a booth at Bill's today, a seven-mile stare, mentally compartmentalizing and contemplating life-altering decisions. A cup o' coffee and an old-fashioned sour cream needed no thought, and I took comfort in their simplicity and familiarity. I also made sure to bring some home. It would be mean not to.
In a week full of lessons and rehearsals for our upcoming performance of J.S. Bach's St. Matthew's Passion, I am struggling to find time for recipe testing. But, I did manage to bake a couple loaves of stout bread with maple and oats. Wonderfully fragrant, great texture, and doesn't taste too bad either. Let's see of I can squeeze in any kitchen time tomorrow.
I spent my afternoon tackling this bag of salt & vinegar chips. It had to be done. My job as mother and teacher today required such an indulgence, as well as watching a couple hours of stupid television. Yep. See you tomorrow.
The problem with starting new things is that you have to start at the very beginning...
I always have this strange notion in my head that when I try a new thing it will somehow magically turn it exactly how I want it, no changes, no experimenting required. Than reality hits me on the back of the head.
Today I made these lovely cookies. Chocolate and stout cookies, with a lovely light texture, but...
They are missing that bitter chocolate stouty edge. I will have to take a trip to the beer store and try again. And probably again.