Friday, September 30, 2011

My other new neighbor

Thanks to my courageous and protective son, the previous neighbor is no longer with us. We do  have a much larger and MUCH friendlier neighbor to share with you all.

Please say hello to Octavia Barr!

Stay tuned for stories and pictures:)

Friday, September 23, 2011

My New Neighbor

E.B. White graced the world with the adventures of Wilbur and Charlotte. I don't know how friendly our new Mississippi neighbor will be, but I will be fine as long as she stays on her side of the glass!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What is a blog for...

if you can't post a video of your daughter's voice recital? On a very rainy Sunday afternoon, we went to hear SG and 22 other amazing young voices at the Cincinnati Museum of Art Auditorium.  SG's voice teacher, Lynne Miller, has been a delight and SG has really enjoyed everything she has learned this year. 
P.S.  It has only taken me 4 days to figure out how to post this...not sure I want to know if it doesn't work:)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Blame it on a lack of green...

      EEEEKK! It has been over a month since I have posted!  In my defense, February was a busy month(I will post some pics tomorrow). March started with T home from college for Spring break, then I had the flu:(  I am back, but definitely suffering from a lack of anything green in my life.
     February in Cincinnati may be the grayest experience of my life. The sun does not shine. Is it a river effect?  Is it that Cincy is on the western edge of the eastern timezone? Rick and I lived in San Francisco's "Fog Belt". As the name implies the rent was cheap and  it was foggy all the time, but never cold.Cold is not such a problem for me as it means I actually can wear the sweaters that I love to knit. No kidding, there was one  slightly sunny day the whole month. Between the snow blanketing the ground( white) and the temperature that barely made it above freezing, I felt the lack  of color.  The combination of the  gray and the  cold  makes me desperate for color.
      I have been canning marmalade and champagne jelly just to see the color in the jars!  The instructions and recipes in this book are fabulous.

The marmalade has not lasted long...
Today I swung by the grocery and saw ...cabbage.  Green, glorious cabbage!  Green in shades from bright to  so pale that it is almost almost buttery in  appearance.  I don't know how to cook cabbage so anyone will actually eat it, but again my canning book came to the rescue.  For 66 cents, I bought a one and a half pound head  of the Spring GREEN veg.  I was so excited to start the recipe, that I didn't take a pic of the intact head.  Instead, I slivered it up, dumped it in a bowl, sprinkled on 4 teaspoons of kosher salt and played in it by squeezing.  Do you know what happens?  I had no idea... The salt draws out the water, and before you know there is an easy 2 cups of brine.  You have figured out where this is going, haven't you?


This is Krissof's small batch recipe which fills  one two quart Ball jar.  You use a water filled baggie to gently press the kraut down in the brine while allowing the brine to trickle out as the cabbage compresses.  That is the reason for the bowl.  The green leaves are from B's pottery class, just liked the way they looked with the kraut.  The best part of all is that it the sauerkraut will sit on my kitchen table for ten days while it pickles.  By the time I put a lid on the jar and put it in the refrigerator,  hopefully there will be green outside:)!!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Funnel Cakes

SG had some delightful friends to spend the night  Saturday night.  They were polite, enthusiastic, and the perfect group to sample the latest sensation to hit our kitchen! 

Need I say more!! Funnel Cakes...who knew?!  Tom Hudgens knew and is now elevated to  genius status in my mind and the minds,hearts, and stomachs of hungry teenagers!

As a family, we have never been able to pass any funnel cake stand.  The state fair, the rodeo, any major league ballgame, a major part of the fun is the "scald your mouth" hot twisting, twirling mass of freshly fried dough.  Watching the  cream batter hit the grease, see it sink in a pile, then pop to the top and float around the vat a silky brown mass.  Then the glorious moment when the vendor flips it on the paper plate to both drain and carry.  While the powdered sugar  absorbs onto the cake, you are practically tossing the cashier your money. Then comes the moment when one of the children says "I want to carry my own."  For a split second you are torn, as this is a moment of independence for your child, you should let him or her carry it.  "Tell you what, you carry the cokes, and I'll carry the cake." Really, who cares if cokes are spilled , the worst is when the funnel cake hits the ground, lost forever! Well fear no more as homemade funnel cakes are here!
Tom Hudgens doesn't assume you have a deep fat fryer. I do own a "Cool Daddy" fryer  but please don't tell as so many people believe a deep fried food held in your hand will extend evil tentacles grabbing your throat and choking the life out of you on the spot!  Please people, this is an OCCASIONAL treat and treat it is! He recommends using a narrow deep saucepan with about 3 inches of  vegetable oil. Heat the oil to 375 degrees.

While the oil is heating, mix the flour, eggs, milk, butter, baking powder and vanilla in a bowl.  The batter was  slightly thick, but dripped from the spoon.

Using you kitchen funnel, plug the hole with your finger, and fill it  with batter using a ladle.

Holding it over the oil, move our finger, and voila!!

There it goes slithering into  the oil.

After cooking on one side, use a slotted spoon to flip it to the other.

Ok, so I might be showing off a little with two in the pan:)
Drain them on paper towels.

Into the delish powdered sugar and flip,  A small  wire sieve would work as well but this way the powdered sugar is on both sides.  Might as well go for broke...

Here are some of the remaining ones. Sorry I don't have pictures of the girls eating them.  Teenagers refuse to be photographed early on Sunday morning in pajamas with bedhead  eating deep fried foods.  I might have negotiated with them, but I had already played my trump card by making the funnel cakes!  The only thing missing were the paper plates.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Queso Blanco

After the milking, I had lovely whole milk.  It is hard to see in the picture, but there is a faint line as the fatty cream rises to the top and the milk sinks to the bottom.

Now I just had to figure out how to separate them.  I headed to the local DEAL$ (the girls hate the  dollar sign on the end, but agree it is better than DEALZ).  I am on the lookout for a glass jar with a metal spigot, but this will have to do for now. For $5, I did get 4 matching drinking cups:) Two other flaws in my plan, the pitcher was green and  hard to see the line, plus after pouring it into the new container, I needed it to  sit for 12 hours rather than 6 to fully separate again.

All the recipes I have been using have come from this amazing cookbook.  I found it in the library and was so impressed that I asked Santa for my own copy!  The instructions are clear, the recipes delicious, and it is a great resource. He even has a recipe for making soap using 61/2 pounds beef kidneys and a picnic cooler...I am desperate to locate kidneys and make my own soap!

The recipe calls for fresh milk, vingegar, and salt-that is it! The  8 cups of milk  are heated  to 180 degrees. 

                        Meanwhile line a strainer with wet cheesecloth and place over a bowl.

Here I added the 1/4 cup vinegar and you can see the clumps or curds forming and separating from the whey.

 I dumped all of it in the strainer, then I put the curds back in the pan to salt it and then back into the strainer       to finish draining.
               It is draining  and has a consistency at present of a lumpier ricotta.  The whey is very warm                     below in the bowl-more on it in a minute.
  Wrap the cheese and place the strainer over the bowl.  Place saran wrap over the whole thing and let it sit in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days, turning it once. In a million years, I would never have thought of the use for the whey, but it is in the cookbook.

I poured the warm whey into a pitcher and added a cup of sugar stirring to dissolve it.

                                                          I added the zest of a lemon.
 Then I added the juice of 3 lemons.  As warm milky lemonade, it was different but ok.  After the whey lemonade chilled, it was really good.  It might be good for a glaze as well, either  with powdered sugar on baked goods or on meat...hmmm.
After the cheese sat for 2 days, I crumbled some of it in a pan with olive oil and heated it, browning it slightly and then put it over a salad of winter grown greens, almonds, radishes, and carrots!  It was so good that Rick and I started to eat and forgot to take pictures!

Friday, January 21, 2011

What I wear everyday...

This is what I wore this morning to brush off the 6 1/2 inches of snow and ice off the car.  The  temperature at 8:30 was 6 degrees and with the windchill it was -5degrees.  The hat, gloves and boots all contain thinsulate. My jeans are flannel lined and my coat might as well be a sleeping bag!
SG made the indoor snowflakes out of coffee filters...Aren't they awesome!?