Saturday, July 5, 2014

how to handle a rainy Independence Day

I guess the simple answer is to postpone celebrations until the sun comes out!  But, to make the best of a rather cozy day at home, pickles and jam were my remedy for any cloudiness of mood.

This recipe belongs to our friend Deb, though I use English cukes because something about the dark, slick skin appeals to me in a bread and butter pickle.  They are absolutely delicious.  I will be making these weekly while cukes are in season.

And jam.  Oh jam.  I didn't get to strawberry pick myself this year, but my dear friend Jennifer generously sent a few pounds my way.  It was just enough to make one delicate batch of jam using a mix of recipes from Canning For a New Generation, which you should just get right away if you don't already have it.  It's a combo recipe using mostly the "high yield strawberry jam" combined with the lavender recipe later in the chapter.  It's also a bit lemony, which I love.  It's floral in just the right way, enough to taste but not overpower.

Today we will celebrate the 4th right, with a family cookout and then the symphony and fireworks at East Park in Worcester in the evening.  I don't love celebrating holidays in this postponed form, but this year it will just have to do…and the tasty canned goods are certainly a consolation.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

what's cooking in the summer kitchen…or pickling.

This fantastic mechanism is a No. 4 bread bucket.  Have you ever seen one?  It was a convenience item invented around the turn of the century to save busy women time as they literally "cranked out" all of the bread they needed for their growing families.  It actually won a prize in the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904, which is noted on the bucket.  Let me tell you, this think is solidly built, and yet not over-heavy to use.  I can imagine it was a God-send to mother's across the growing U.S. of A.

I read about this handy-dandy machine in my January edition of "Backwoods Home" magazine.  You can read the article here.  As a collector of old kitchen items (because I USE them!), I knew I wanted to find one. I put my very talented yard-saling mother-in-law on the task, and sure enough, last weekend we got the call that she'd found one!  It's in great shape, as you can see, and today was it's maiden run in our homestead kitchen.  This little lady cranked out SO MUCh bread at once!  I'm really impressed.

I don't know about you, but while I love all of the various no-knead, wet dough methods of making artisan bread at home, it's just not what my boys want to make sandwiches with.  They want sandwich bread to be like grocery-store bread.  Fine.  Because this can sometimes be a bit of a hassle, I just don't often put the effort in to make this kind of bread at home.  Enter the bread bucket.

This process was as simple as dumping in the wet then dry ingredients, cranking a couple times to combine, and then cranking for three minutes.  I left my dough to rise, cranked it once to punch down, divided and transferred to greased pans.  One more rise in the pan, bake, done.  The recipe I used was an 18 cup recipe, and it made many (6 big loaves!)  This is the kind of sandwich bread the boys will like for PB&Js.  I'll just freeze them, and bring them out as needed.  It's awesome to accomplish so many loaves in one shot, without burning out the motor in my KitchenAid.  Awesome.

Also brewing in the summer kitchen…half sours!  These aren't our cukes yet, but it is my dill.  Ours will be along in a couple weeks I think.  We. love. pickles.   (those plates inside are to hold them down)

Next up are pickled peas!  There is a great recipe here (of course).  Yum.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

giving the mobile app a try...

I have no idea how this will appear on the blog, but it's been so long since I've posted...

Maybe a quick post from out in the world will get me moving again.  

Must. Start. Somewhere!

Today we're at the doctor on the north shore, an that's Peter looking very proud that he's a healthy almost-two year old.  

Now the fun begins...just a bit further north for a day on Plum Island!