August 31, 2011

Fresh Eggs




We love our eggs, and fully appreciate the girls who produce them. Finding fresh eggs in the nesting box is still exciting every time!  The yolks are brilliant yellow they taste just as rich as they look.  They're easy on the pocket book.  And they're loaded with more nutrition.  According to the 2007 Mother Earth News egg testing project, compared to commercial eggs, pastured eggs have:

  • 4-6 x more vitamin D
  • 1/3 less cholesterol
  • 1/4 less saturated fat
  • 2/3 more vitamin A
  • 2 x more omega-3 fatty acids
  • 7 x more beta carotene
  • 3 x more vitamin E

Downside?  It's next impossible to use them when baking a white cake.  But eating a yellow "white" cake is a small, small sacrifice.

August 30, 2011

Teens and Pickled Green Beans

Pickled green beans.  What a terrific idea...lots of beans from the corner farm, something a bit novel, and no pressure cooking or blanching required.  They might even taste good.  

Every teen that walked into my kitchen had one question as they politely screwed up their faces: "Why?"

I started in on a list of things that can be pickled, including beans, cucumbers, carrots,  and watermelon rinds.  And a long explanation of how good they will be.

They remain unconvinced.

August 29, 2011

Goodbye Em


The truth is we all love Emily.  What a gift she is, and how we will miss her as she begins her university studies!

August 26, 2011

Raspberry Rhubarb Jam


Now you know what I've been doing in my spare time.  :)  Tried an old-fashioned recipe that calls for cooking the berries and sugar without adding pectin.  Results:
  • Thickness:  So-so.  It doesn't run off the toast but isn't as thick as I'd hoped.
  • Nutrition:  Fresh from the farm and fabulous.  I refuse to use the regular pectin with all the added corn syrup and muck.  The natural pectin (Pomona) is great but just takes a little more effort.  Maybe this fall I'll experiment making my own apple pectin - will keep you posted!
  • Beauty:  Truly, I didn't photoshop this.  Is that color amazing or what?!  A+
  • Taste:  Oh, my.  This jam will be available every day in heaven.

August 25, 2011

Elsie Growing Up





You can see that Elsie The Great and Mighty Hunter is growing by leaps and bounds.  She enjoys helping Sir Bradley build the fence - and tipping her head every which way to try and make me forget what a little troublemaker she is.  Heavy sigh.

August 24, 2011

Drying Lavender


What is it about lavender that is so wonderful?  Royal Velvet is just the best - the color is spectacular and the fragrance is refreshing without smelling too soapy or astringent.   (And truly, I fell in love with it before I knew it was royal.)  

It would be nice if I had a red barn to dry my lavender in, but my clothes drying rack does a fine job for now.  

August 23, 2011

Watermelon


You know it's summer when watermelon graces your table.  This delightful Hermiston melon had those old-fashioned seeds and was unquestionably the best of the season. It also turned me into a kid again as I rather unsuccessfully tried to manage the drips and the seeds all at the same time. :)

August 22, 2011

Blueberry Lemon Galette



Blueberry season is just about over, so I headed out on the hottest day of the year for one last bucketful.  There was just enough to eat, freeze, and make another Blueberry Lemon Galette.  For lack of a recipe I made my own, and sheesh - I think this is a blue ribbon winner!  On a more humble note, I have to admit that these berries are so spectacular that it's nigh impossible to go wrong with them.

Blueberry Lemon Galette
Crust:
2 c fresh whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
3/4 c butter, getting soft but not room temp
1 egg
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp orange juice
2 Tbsp ice water

Mix flour, salt and sugar.  Add in butter and mix just until it's almost completely incorporated into dough.  Some small pieces of butter are good.  Add remaining ingredients.  Roll with hands into a ball using white flour as needed to keep it from sticking.  Then roll out with rolling pin into a large circle approx. 1/8" thick.  If you do this on parchment paper, your life will be a lot easier.

Filling:
4 c blueberries
Juice of 1 lemon
5 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp flour (add more flour if you are using frozen berries that have been thawed)

Carefully place the berry filling in middle of circle. (And if you can do that without losing any of them off the counter then you are very talented indeed.)  Fold over the edge of the crust so that it covers 2-3" over the berries.  It needn't be perfect, as this is supposed to look rustic!  Dot the berry part in the middle with a few small chunks of butter.  Move the galette, parchment included, onto heavy cookie sheet.  Bake @ 375° x 40 mins.

Notes about whole wheat:
1.  If your whole wheat flour has been sitting in your pantry for several months, don't use it unless you like the taste of stale cardboard.  :)
2.  Orange juice helps balance the taste of whole wheat.  No kidding.

August 18, 2011

We All Need Forgiveness



I'm on a roll, doing pretty well...but you know how life goes sometimes.  So I've decided to print these and give them out to all my friends in packets of five...so when I mess up, I have my own version of "Get Out of Jail Free" cards banked up. Whenever I blow it, I can ask them to give me one of my cards.  Hopefully they'll lose count.

I think this is a marvelous idea! Now I need to figure out what royal gifts would be appropriate.  :)

August 17, 2011

My First Paparazzi Assignment



The picture is awful, but it's kind of paparazzi-ish and cool in its own way, no?  I couldn't resist capturing a secret photo of Sir Bradley wearing MY leather nail apron, which always has - and will be - mine.  He somehow thought that the privilege of using it came with the marriage license.

I continue to let him make it up to me.

August 15, 2011

We interrupt this show for a word from our sponsor...

Ha, just kidding.  No sponsor.  Just a quick interruption to let you know that I have enabled the comment section due to popular demand. :)

Dog Days at the Fair



OK, the pigs were hilarious!  There were a kajillion of them at the fair and they hardly stunk at all.
I'm sure there was a relative of Wilber somewhere in the crowd.  :)    (Charlotte's Web, anyone?)

August 12, 2011

Cattails


At the risk of posting a lot about plants, I couldn't pass up the news that the cattails are out!  I just found a new bunch. No surprise, they are growing in the wetlands in the field down the road, with a pair of mallards nearby.

I learned that these are also called bulrushes.  (Who knew?) Makes me think of Moses in a basket. I also learned that Native Americans used the downy fluff for tinder and to line moccasins, bedding, and papoose boards.  How cool is that?  Now I'm wondering how hard it would be to jump the fence and feel the fluff...could it really be that soft?

August 11, 2011

Marshmallow Frosting


Emily's favorite birthday cake topping - marshmallow frosting!  Also good, I might add, as a dip for raspberries, strawberries, and peaches.  This wondrous stuff is better than anything you can buy in the store because it is fresh and contains no corn syrup, preservatives, additives, or colorings.

I started with a familiar Betty Crocker recipe, searched for something similar online, and then decided to change things up a bit and experiment...but voilĂ !  It worked!

Marshmallow Frosting
2 large egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. water
1/4 tsp cream of tarter

Step 1: Whip egg whites on high speed for 7-10 minutes until peaks are pretty stiff.  Add vanilla.
Step 2: While whites are whipping, mix sugar, water, and cream of tarter in pan.  Heat on medium high until bubbly and 242°.
Step 3: Here comes the magic.  While the whites are being whipped, pour the sugar mixture into the whites in the tiniest stream you can manage.  It will take another 7-10 minutes to complete this.  Now watch as it grows into a big bowl of smooth and creamy fluff.
Step 4:  Fight everyone off.  You will need to guard this with your life to finish frosting your cake.



August 10, 2011

Thistles


Enjoying the beauty and ignoring the thorns...  

Oh, the life lessons that can be extracted from thistles! 

August 9, 2011

Lunchtime Roses








In the City of Roses, there are roses of all colors and types everywhere.  Which means you yearn for the unbeatable combination of sunny weather AND lunchtime breaks!  Yesterday I enjoyed a neighborhood walk around the hospital, smelling every rose I could reach from the sidewalk. It was good for the soul.

August 8, 2011

Goat Dreams



This little Nigerian Dwarf goat lives at the farm on the corner and she likes to do things like climb on tractors and play King of the Mountain.  Talk about full of mischief! Someday she'll produce up to 2 quarts of milk a day and I will buy some of it to make my yogurt.  And I'll thank her profusely.



August 5, 2011

Bouquet


I love getting a bouquet from my fisherman.  Hand-picked near the Deschutes River.  Better than flowers any day.

Thanks, Sir Bradley. :)

August 4, 2011

A Good Laugh For Strawberry Tea!




It's a notion that tickled my fancy - homemade strawberry tea!  Think of the delicious and free possibilities!  I carefully selected several nice leaves, dried them on the counter for a few days, and then steeped them in boiling water for several minutes.  Don't see any color in the cup?  That's because there was no color - just a horrific smell.  The kind of smell that warns one of poisonous and noxious things and such.  But I was determined to find success in this, so I poured it into a prettier cup (as if that might help) and took a brave and healthy sip.  Hmmm.  Tasted like very, very bad green tea, without the slightest hint of anything related to strawberries.  Because I went to all the effort and was still thinking it might magically get better, I kept drinking.  Bluck.

You know, if I was a colonial woman back in 1773 and this was it, I could grit my teeth and adjust for the good of the country.  Maybe.

Thank the Good Lord for 2011 and Stash.

August 3, 2011

Return of the Eggs


The eggs are finally coming!  For some reason the girls decided it was time to stop laying... maybe the rain was depressing and they just needed a few days of sunshine like the rest of us.  Or maybe they sensed a big pot of chicken soup coming up.  Whatever the case, they changed their minds and are now going gang busters!

We know our chickens well and we can always tell which ones lays which eggs.  Some are more pointy, some are more brown, and some have more spots.  All make for a glorious breakfast.

And yes, you can get eggs without a rooster.  Before we started this venture we had to ask, too. :)

August 2, 2011

Flower Shop


            Now this looks like a fun florist shop.  I'd like to check out a few more.  In France.  :)

August 1, 2011

Sun Tea


So while the rest of the county is sizzling in heat, we're just beginning to enjoy the summertime rights of passage.  Time for sun tea!

Instructions:  Fill a large glass pitcher with cold water.  Add a single teabag.  Throw in a sprig of peppermint.  Cover with something to keep the bugs/kids/puppies/dust out.  Place in the sun and forget about it.  Remember it about 6 hours later.  Serve over ice - fancy glasses and curly straws optional.