Snapshots of life on our little homestead

Archive for the ‘Homestead life’ Category

Time for ferments

It is time to start  vegetable fermentation today. Each year a portion of our veritable are set aside to be fermented. This process provides very healthy products that require little or not refrigeration.
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I wanted to try a different flavor profile for sauerkraut so a small batch taster was started. If we like the flavor I will start a large stone crock of the flavored sauerkraut, if not we will make a large batch of a more traditional flavor. A jar of spicy green beans was also started. It is to bad that we have to wait three months to dig into those lovely green gems.

Tomorrow I will start carrots and korhabi fermenting. What type of vegetables do you ferment?

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Spicy eggplant and tofu

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We have finally arrived at the Time in the growing season hat we can eat mainly out of our gardens. This morning I picked eggplant, sweet peppers, green beans, tomatoes and onions. A number of the fresh veggies noted earlier, and a block of tofu made by a local farm were used to create a Sriracha-spiced Stir-Fried tofu with eggplant and  red bell peppers for dinner. There is nothing quite like the taste of garden ripened produce to make a very memorable meal.

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If you would like to try this dish the base recipe can be found on Kalyn’s blog.

I made some minor adjustments to her recipe to fit what I had available in my gardens. I replaced the Thai basil with fresh Italian basil, the green onion with a freshly picked shallot, peanut oil with canola oil, and stevia with maple syrup. I also sliced the fried garlic and added it back to the dish at the same time as the sauce was added,

Cranberry hazelnut rainforest crackers

4898A25B-E41E-448D-A467-32AB0557DE90Between other cooking and canning projects I restocked the pantry with some speciality crackers. These cranberry hazelnut rainforest crackers are full of protein and fiber and have some rich flavor in every bite. I like to make these crackers when I have to be in the kitchen because they take two days to complete from start to finish. Not that they are difficult to make, but there is a fair amount of wait time between the mixing of the batter and the actual production of the cracker. 

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Generally a batter is made, poured into mini bread pans then baked. The cool beard is then placed in the refrigerator over night so that it easer to slice. The next day the bread is sliced very thinly and placed on dehydrator trays. The slices are then dehydrated on the jerky setting  until Crisp (in my dehydrator this takes about 4 hours).

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These crispy, slightly sweet treats are wonderful served with almost any type of soft cheese. The recipe that I use can be found on the Wives with Knives blog. This recipe will makes a little over six dozen crackers.

One of the things that I like to to do is package the finished crackers into appetizer size packages and store them in the pantry so they can be brought out when unexpected guest arrive or for that special family meal. If you would rather have small batches of crackers on hand, then just freeze the baked breads and defrost and prepare the crackers on an as needed basis.

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If you try the recipe noted above I strongly suggest that you use a dehydrator instead of the oven to dry the crisps. This will reduce the time needed to watch an oven, address any uneven thickness in the slices, and do away with any possibly of the sugars in the crisps burning. 

New start

26FDFFF6-8E9A-4754-B9E1-A2093316661ENew project start. Shades of Plum by Northern Expressions Needlework. Stitching on a gray 20 count fabric using Threadworx threads. 

Fruity Oatmeal Cookie Bars

My wonderful honey volunteered me to make a desert for the monthly community choir board meeting. So I made one of my standby deserts that is always receive well, fruity oatmeal cookie bars. Not only is this desert quick and easy to make but it uses few ingredients and allows me to use up some of the jam I can each year. 

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Today I used a cherry pie jam I made and canned last year as the center in the bars. Please excuse the plastic Christmas tray in the first picture. Over the years I have learned to only send food items on trays I don’t mind loosing, since the love of my life often forgets to bring them home from events.

The recipe I use is:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt (omit if you are using salted butter)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 small container of homemade jam or 3/4 cup of store bought jam

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease an 8 inch pan and line it with parchment paper
  3. Combine brown sugar, flour, baking soda, salt and rolled oats. Rub in butter with your hands to form a crumbly mixture
  4. Press 2 cups of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan

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  1. Spread the jam to within /4 inch of the edge
  2. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the top, and lightly press it into the jam

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  1. Bake 35 to 40 minutes in preheated oven until lightly brown
  2. Allow to cool before cutting into bars

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Based on recipe at Allrecipes

D51F51F5-DE62-4C2D-BEFD-65EBCF83732EThis morning I needed to stay in the kitchen while the pressure cooker processed our first batch of green beans for the season, so I baked a gluten-free double chocolate banana bread. The bread is easy to make and allowed me to use some of the almond pulp in my freezer from making almond milk and a couple of overripe bananas.  An added bonus to this recipe is that it is only about 155 calories per slice and contains very little fat.

Point your browser to  http://thetoastedpinenut.com/double-chocolate-banana-bread/ If you are interested in trying the recipe.

Herbal salts

Basil
The herbs gardens are starting to produce well, so I started making herbal salts today. The salts tasty and very easy to make. Today basil salt was on the agenda — it is wonderful on sliced tomatoes.

To make the salts add a large bunch of your favorite herb to a food processor and add an equal amount of sea salt to the herbs. Pulse the mixture until the herbs are finally chopped and well incorporated with the salt. Spread the mixture out thinly on dehydrator sheets and process on herb setting until dry. Run the the dried salt through the food processor again to break up and store in an air tight container.

A bit frustrated…

Frustrated
I am starting to get a bit frustrated with the nome that lives in one of the sets of raised vegetable beds in our back field. When I went to check on the gardens after the rains yesterday the zucchini plants had been pulled up and all the flowers eaten. There fences around the gardens so I know it wasn’t deer or any of our animals. Today I went to pick some green beans for dinner and found that all the jalapeños had been pulled off their plants and thrown to the ground — guess the nome doesn’t like hot. This is the first year we have had this problem so I am not sure what to do about the issue. Have any of you had this type of problem? If so, how did you handle the situation?

Enchanted Gardens update

A day full of summer rain gave me the encouragement I needed to finish another row on my botanical WIP instead of doing some long overdue house projects.

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Truly love the combination of cross stitch and blackwork in this piece.

Back to basics: Egg Custard

This time of year our chickens start producing a lot of eggs and there is a lot of milk avalable, so I make a lot of old fashioned recipes for family and friends. One recipe that I make often is egg custard. It only takes about five minutes to prepare, uses simple ingredients, and if made in single serving container can be pulled out and dressed up for guests.

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My family likes the custard plain with a healthy sprinkle of nutmeg on top. For guests it can be pulled out of the refrigator, topped with fresh seasonal fruit and some fresh whipped cream. Some of my favorite fruit toppings are blueberries, raspberries and strawberries in simple syrup.

The custard recipe that I use is:

  • 4 cups milk (room tempature)
  • 6 large eggs (room tempature)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • fresh ground nutmeg

Cooking Directions

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  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Place all of the ingridents in a blinder and mix until will incorporated.
  3. Pour mixture into 8-one cup baking dishes or a 9×13 inch pan. Place in a large pan with enough water to reach about 1 inch  from the top of the custard dish(s).
  4. Sprinkle a bit more nutmeg on the top of each dish.
  5. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the custard has just set. Be careful not to over cook.
  6. Cool custard then cover and refrigerate. Will keep for 5-7 days in refrigerator.

 

Bread day

Got up early this morning to bak off a large loaf of 7-seed bread before the promised 90+ tempatures of the day set in. The bread was baked in a covered clay pan in a very hot oven, so the bread has a lovely, crispy crust all the way around the loaf. This loaf will make for some yummy grilled sandwiches this week.

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Time to can the cherries

To welcome in cherry season I spent the morning preparing and canning a dozen pint sized jars of cherries in light syrup for cold washer treats. Should have been able to can more, but many of the lovely sweets got eaten during the process.

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Early July Garden

Living this far north I get a little inpatient waiting for the vegetable gardens to start producing. Regardless of how I feel the gardens have a mind of their own and provide eatables when they are good and ready.


So far:

  • the radishes have matured and been harvested
  • Snow peas have basically played out for the season, but will leave the plants in to see if any more develop as the weather cools
  • spinach has been planted in the radish bed
  • asparagus is just about done for the season, time to do a bit of cleaning of the bed and laying new straw
  • tart cherries have matured but the small critters and birds have eaten almost all of them
  • The deer have been keeping the strawberries and ground artichokes well trimmed
  • pears, peaches, and on a limited basis apples and plums are maturing nicely
  • Have been able to pick some Swiss chard and kale to go with meals
  • tomato plants are loaded with fruit just waiting for them to ripen
  • have even able to harvest small amounts of broccoli and cabbage so far, but there is a promise of much, much more in a few weeks
  • will be able to pick the first offerings of bush and pole beans in about a week for canning
  • Eggplant, peppers, summer squash, onions, carrots (had to plant these twice since an unseasonable heat wave fried the first batch), and various hers are coming along nicely
  • Ground finally got warm enough for the cucumbers and witnter squash varieties to start growing well and producing flowers of promise

Homemade lemon curd

Now that the days are longer our birds have been providing us with a large quantity of eggs. Some have been sold, dozens are frozen for the fall when the birds molt, and a number have been used in various baked goods. Today I used  a dozen of the duck eggs to make a batch of lemon curd for cakes and toast in the winter months. We will really enjoy this liquid sunshine during the cold months…

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2018 Garden Starts

Our gardens are just starting to come to life after a long cold winter. The fruit trees and berry bushes are covered in fruit starters, the vegetable gardens are starting to show promise, and the flower beds are displaying some wonderful colors.  I truly love this time of year when each day has something new to show.

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