Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble

The Topping:
1 1/3 c flour
1 t baking powder
3 T sugar
3 T Demerara sugar
Zest from one lemon
1/4 lb butter, melted

The Filling:
1 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 pint strawberries – cleaned and quartered
the juice of one lemon
1/2 c sugar
3 to 4 T cornstarch
Pinch of salt

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Topping: Combine flour, baking powder, sugars and lemon zest and add the melted butter. Mix until clumps form. Refrigerate.
  3. Filling: Toss rhubarb, strawberries, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch and salt  together in a deep-dish pie plate.
  4. Cover fruit evenly with chilled topping. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet, and bake until the topping is golden brown in places and fruit is bubbling beneath, about 40 to 50 minutes.
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Foraging for Foods

Over the last couple of days I’ve been taking advantage of out lovely spring days to learn about making food with some of the plants growing on the property.

Spruce Tips – I made a batch of Spruce Tip Salt this afternoon. I also started a batch of Spruce Tip Syrup by steeping the tips overnight in a simple syrup.

  • 1/2 cup spruce tips
  • 1/2 cup salt
    • add the spruce tips to the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped
    • add the salt and continue to process until well blended
    • lay out on a plate or tray to dry

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Lilacs – Yesterday I made a Lilac Syrup and today I added some layered lilac sugar to the pantry.

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup lilac flowers
  • 5 frozen blueberries
    • heat the water and sugar together until the sugar has completely dissolved.
    • add the lilac flowers and blueberries and simmer for 6 minutes
    • strain and bottle

12993327_623581834466842_3136635407237609948_nCedar Tips – I made a second batch of salt to see if I could tell any differences between it and the Spruce Tip salt.  They smell very different.

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Posted in April 2016 | Leave a comment

April Weekend

It’s just about noon on Sunday and the clouds are thickening – looks like the rains are coming in.

I was able to get a number of small chores taken care of this morning…..

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I used my new sourdough starter to make a batch of pancakes – they were yummy.  The sourdough is a strain that was started in about 1918 in California and uses milk and bread to feed the culture. Thanks Gary Z.

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Kenton Puppy and I spent a little time, before the rains come, planting a few purple and red potatoes in the raised bed in the backyard. I only left them out a day and a bit after cutting them so I hope they work out.

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The Kombucha scobys are doing really well so I bottled Kombucha today and started some new batches. One is English Breakfast and Zen, the other is Earl Grey and Zen. The big bottle is a mix of both.

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The local grocery is going out of business so I was able to pick up a 20 pound bag of rice for 40% off. I put it into canning jars to help keep bug out. This should keep us in rice through the summer (?).

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I found this great little water cooler at a thrift shop in a nearby town yesterday on my way back from coaching our “Battle of the Books” team. The valve wasn’t screwed in very well so it was a little leaky, but I tightened it up and it seems better now.

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I’ve been trying to start a vinegar mother and haven’t had any luck. I tried again this morning using a scrap from the Kombucha scabby, some Bragg’s cider vinegar and some apple cider. Hopefully this time we’ll get better results.
The milk is looking lovely again this week. The cream is so yellow from that nice spring grass that the cow is grazing on. It makes such beautiful butter.

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I’ve been trying to start a vinegar mother and haven’t had any luck. I tried again this morning using a scrap from the Kombucha scabby, some Bragg’s cider vinegar and some apple cider. Hopefully this time we’ll get better results.

Posted in April 2016 | Leave a comment

Spring Holidays – – – Lazy Days

I love Spring Holidays.  I get to sleep in.  I get to tinker around the house….

Today I woke up around eight and went downstairs to check the chicken incubator.  The temperature had jumped up to 105 over night – way too high.  I’ve spent the rest of the day getting it to settle back to 101, but it still is doing a little too much fluctuating.  I’m hoping tomorrow will be a little better.

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I finished up the kiwi jam later in the morning.  The kiwi had been harvested from our vines in January, after the first freeze.  The mixture I made on Sunday had jelled pretty well without the addition of any pectin so I just gave it  a quick blitz with the hand blender to break up the big chunks and then set it back on the heat to boil.  I used my steam canner and some really pretty Weck tuple jars.  I ended up with 6 half pint jars of some really tasty, slightly tart preserves.

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I did take one shopping trip today to pick up some herbs and onion sets at the local farm store and a few nice things at the thrift shop.  My favorite was a 1953 edition of Wild Flowers of America.  It has 400 beautiful, full color plates, descriptions and an identification key.  I also found a wonderful old basket with a hand-carved handle.

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In the afternoon, I straightened up the living room, watched a couple of episodes of  Monarch of the Glen and took a little nap.  I really love vacation naps.

 

Posted in March 2016 | Leave a comment

Spring Holidays Continue…..as does the rain.

The rain began in ernest today, marking the start of our Spring Holiday Week.  We spent the day in Vancouver, WA visiting thrift shops and picking up our eggs to hatch.

The eggs will go in to the incubator this evening. They should be ready in about 21 days.  We’re hatching at 101 degrees with a damp rag in the incubator to help with humidity.

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The thrift stores didn’t yield much but it was fun looking.  We picked up a few canning jars, a wooden cone to make krumkake cones, a cookbook and a small pottery platter. It was a nice day…..and now a nice evening with a lovely fire.

Posted in March 2016 | Leave a comment

Pork Roast Braised in Milk with Sage and Lemon

Pork Shoulder Braised in Milk

  •  1 boneless pork roast (about 2lb)
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 25 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Zest from 1 lemon, peeled in wide strips with a vegetable peeler

Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C).

Season the roast generously with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven and add the olive oil. Put in the pork, searing for 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer the roast to a platter and pour off the fat from the pan.

Add the sage leaves. Cook for 1 minute then slowly pour in the milk and cream. Return the pork to the pot and add the bay leaves and lemon zest. When the liquid begins to steam, partially cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook the pork, turning it every 30 minutes, until it reaches 140 degrees. Transfer the pork to a platter and let the pan sauce settle.

 With a sieve, remove the curds from the sauce, and transfer to a small saucepan with a little cream to make a sauce. The juices work well for thinning mashed potatoes.

Posted in March 2016 | Leave a comment

The beginning of the Spring Holidays

It’s been a busy start to the Spring Holidays this weekend.  We started Saturday morning with a drive out further in to Beavercreek to pick up a gallon of still warm goat milk.  At home, I added a few drops of rennet and wrapped up the pot in a quilt to hold the heat.  After six hours I still had no curd so I got impatient and added some calcium chloride and a bit more rennet.  I finally had enough curds to scoop at about eight in the evening and let it drain overnight.

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On Sunday, I flipped the cheeses, salted them a bit and left them to drain a bit more.  By afternoon, Decided to put a light weight on one and just continue draining the other unweighted.  I’ll leave them overnight and then pop them into the refrigerator.  I even made a little ricotta with the whey.

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While the cheese was draining, HH and I ran in to Portland to do a little shopping.  After breakfast at Toast (good, but not great) we stopped at the Goodwill Thrift Store where I found a sweet little pottery piece and a display unit for my school library.

IMG_1418On the way back out to Beavercreek, we found an estate sale that was close to sold out.  I picked up several Franklin Mint edition copies of some classics for 50 cents each as well as a wooden drying rack and a 1907 copy of Natural School Geography – Oregon Edition.

IMG_1419 IMG_1420 Our last stop was my favorite Goodwill Thrift Shop in Milwaukie where I found a hand made pottery colander, a fireplace grate, a wool pillow and a trumpet mute that was hiding among the pots and pans in the kitchenware section.

IMG_1423This evening I baked off the sourdough loaves I had started Saturday morning and made a big pot of chicken noodle soup and started turning some kiwi I had peeled into jam.  Now we’re hanging out watching movies – the new Bond movie (not very exciting yet).

IMG_1427Tomorrow, we’re off to Washington to pick up some fertile eggs for the “chickabator”.  We hope to get a mix of Olive Eggers and Easter Eggers.

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Posted in 2016, March 2016 | Leave a comment

Sourdough Bread – Take 2

I made two more batch of sourdough on Saturday.  I have never had such great luck with a starter.  It’s just lovely.  I used the recipe from Emilie’s Sourdough Beginners Guide at the Clever Carrot again and the dough was beautiful.

I again tested my starter – it floated beautifully.  Then I and added filtered water, olive oil and flour called for (see the site linked above for the recipe).  I let that autolyse for 30 minutes and then added the salt (kosher). Every 30 minutes I pull the dough up and fold it over on itself.  Pull and fold four times – with a ninety degree turn of the bowl each time then cover it back up and wait.   The folding and turning happens during the first two hours, then it’s just a wait until the dough is about 150% of the original volume.

IMG_1392 IMG_1391I left for a few hours to pick up the milk at the dairy and when we returned, I put each batch into a vintage bread tin to proof.  I baked it at 400 degrees for 10 minutes and then I lowered the temperature to 400 degrees for another 25 minutes.

The side blew out because I didn’t score it deeply enough, but overall I am pretty happy with the results.

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Sourdough Bread – Take 1

I finally decided that I needed to take the plunge and make a loaf of sourdough with my new starter.  I was a little anxious about it, but thanks to Emilie’s Sourdough Beginners Guide at the Clever Carrot I am feeling like I might be able to pull this off.

I tested my starter – it floated (a little?) and added some to the filtered water, olive oil and flour called for (see the site linked above for the recipe).  I let that autolyse for 30 minutes and then added the salt (grey fleur de see).  I’ve rigged up a little proofing area on the counter with a lamp and 60W bulb to see if I can warm things up a bit.

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Every 30 minutes I pull the dough up and fold it over on itself.  Pull and fold four times – with a ninety degree turn of the bowl each time then cover it back up and wait.  The folding and turning happens during the first two hours, then it’s just a long? wait until the dough is about 150% of the original volume.

I left it overnight in the refrigerator to proof.  It was puffy and lovely in the morning and  I left it until about the afternoon to bake.  I preheated the cloche to 450 degrees then side the dough in and popped on the cover.  It baked for 20 minutes and then I lowered the temperature to 400 degrees for another 20 minutes.  Lastly, I removed the top and cooked another 5 minutes.

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Posted in Baking, February 2016 | Leave a comment

Countryside Wandering & Thrifty Finds

Yesterday, we went out to Abbey Farm to pick up our milk – such nice people and such wonderful milk.  It’s a beautiful drive out past Molalla.  We asked them if there was a bakery nearby and they recommended a little Mexican-American bakery in Molalla called Las Delicious.  They didn’t have any loaves of bread, but we picked up some really tasty chicken tamales for lunches this week. We were still looking for bread so we stopped by Tammy D’s Cafe and Bakery in Mulino and picked up a nice loaf of sourdough.  Then a quick stop into Milk Creek Produce next door for some fruit and veg and back home for a Saturday house cleaning.

Sunday, I made my favorite outing to the two local thrift shops.  This week I found some wonderful things.

IMG_1344 I found a really nice antique lab measuring cylinder with a set of glass stir rods at the first shop and two raku tumblers at the second.  I also picked up a nice 1909 copy of The Pony Boys in the Rockies by Frank Gee Patchin.

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The second shop also had several lovely handmade quilts; an Easter theme, a Sunbonnet quilt and a butterflies quilt.  They are all beautifully made and will make great baby gifts.  I do need to remove a few buttons and replace them with a little embroidery.

IMG_1346I also picked up a cute little hand thrown jam pot. It’s small size is nice for leaving jam out on the table without getting too old.

 

 

Posted in 2016, February 2016 | Leave a comment