Tuesday, March 30, 2010

An Easter gift

Hi everyone ,I've been crazy busy lately and neglecting my blog.I'm sorry about that.Easter dinner is at our home and between that, work, and garden planning I just can't seem to put 5 minutes together.Also, we have daylight saving time in these parts.Just when you least expect it someone takes away 60 whole minutes of your sleeping time, and I'm getting too old to adjust as quickly as I use to.Alright enough excuses.I want to tell you a little story.
Once upon a time I bought a beautiful painted egg at Christmas time ,1986 to be exact.I thought it would be a lovely tradition to start with my family and the addition of one every year seemed like a good idea.

Of course I never found the artist again nor did I find anything close in quality. This is all painted by hand. The egg has been blown out and the top decorated so you don't even see the hole.

Well to make a long story short,I was talking to my friend Pam about egg decorating for this year. I mentioned how I like Martha Stewarts eggs and the different shading she had achieved.She sends me this link saying if you like that what do you think of these? I was in shock .The eggs that I had searched for the last 25 years were right there in my computer.Now that's an unexpected present. Thank you Pam you made my day. Pam and her daughter are an extremely talented family. If you are looking for a new craft or browsing for ideas check out daughter Diane's site. Happy Easter to all........................said the hobbit

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I love bread

Am I the only person using a bucket for my bread making?I can't remember exactly when I bought this but,let me tell you it was a BIG deal.Maybe 1970?Obviously pre-Cuisinart.This replaces the need to knead.Your proof is done in the bucket then other ingredients are added and you just crank that baby until everything is well blended and comes off the sides and bottom. I'm not ready to give it up yet.It's a slow methodical way of kneading which gives you ample time to ponder your product.

I'm always favoring recipes that sound interesting and every other week I try to get to one of them or at least have someone else give it a try.This one has been on the list for awhile and finally made it to the top. Do you ever visit this blog I have so many of her recipes favored that I'd have to live to be 100 just to even come close to trying them all.This time I tried her Russian Black Bread

Tired of the same old same old?This recipe was sooo good. I remember seeing the list of 17 ingredients and thinking "wow that has to be special "especially the chocolate and espresso coffee and the shallots.Worthy of gift giving.

After the first rise you can deflate it divide in two and let rise again as a boule. In my excitement I missed the GENTLY DEFLATE part and was giving it the kneading of its life when I read those words. I'm not sure if that was a problem,I'll know better when I've done it a second time

Anyway I opted to place in 3 4x8 loaf pans.It's just the 2 of us and although someone is always willing to take home samples,they're not here when I'm baking.I cut each loaf in half,it is so hearty and tasty that I didn't want to lose a crumb.If you're thinking of giving home made bread for a gift of any kind,this one is a winner........................said the hobbit

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Nothing could be finer

There's nothing better than hanging with my girls at Tuesday night Stitch & Bitch.There is always lots to talk about and we never run out of ideas to discuss. Our follow through needs a little work but, we are making an effort to improve on that. Soon we are taking a road trip to Webb's.I have never been there,it's a factory with yarn and yarn and more yarn. We are going on April 17 however if I talk about it now I can believe it will happen. If you have made the trip before let me know what you thought, if not, than I'll have lots to tell you when it happens.

I might have mentioned this before,but,if you sew,my friend Cynthia
makes the best seam rippers going. The handle is long,like a pen would be. No stubby little
plastic vial to try to hang on to. I have given these as gifts and after using them the recipient always comments on how great it feels in your hand. Cynthia recently moved from the West coast to the East coast to help her parents deal with illness. She feels like a fish out of water here sometimes but we keep telling her she did the right thing. So head on over to her web-page ,check out her hand crafts and just say hi.

This little scarf is something I've been working on. Isn't it a cutie?Of course I'm thinking it needs an old fashioned button on the cross tie.This pattern is VERY simple and I would encourage my beginners to give this a whirl.

Of course if it isn't quite right you can always use it as a ROSIE THE RIVETER bandanna.Thanks Michelle,your a sport........................said the hobbit

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Gone Crackers

I know, you might think this is going too far,but,Making your own crackers is a very satisfying thing to do. It's right up there with baking bread,only not as time consuming or as difficult. I like the fact that once you have a little practice and imagination, you can have a different cracker every time you make them. So let's get cracking,sorry, I couldn't help myself.

The recipe is very simple. I found it in my Mary Jane Book Oct/Nov 09.
Start with 1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teas cream of tartar
3/4 teas salt
3/4 teas baking soda
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup water
1 medium egg
2 teas sugar
1 teas balsamic vinegar.

Mix flour,cream of tartar salt and baking soda in a bowl. I just run everything through a sifter and call it mixed.Add oil and stir until mixture resembles coarse meal . Add water till dough is formed. The remaining ingredients are used as a wash on the crackers.Just whisk everything together and paint on as you would an egg wash on a pie.pop in the Oven 350 15-20 minutes.Time will vary ,depending on how thick or thin you roll out your dough. You can just roll it in pie shape and cut in wedges or use a cutter or just tear into pieces.

When the dough is formed you can fold in anything you like into the dough or you can sprinkle it on after the wash.The rectangular ones are sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. The heart shaped ones have chopped rosemary in the dough and sea salt sprinkled on the wash.I've also done dill and garlic in the dough and plan on doing lemon zest /black pepper. Oh I also tried sun dried tomato and basil. Like I said,It's all up to you.The rosemary crackers were centered on my chicken noodle soup for Valentine dinner. It was a nice touch.

On the crafty end , my friend Betty and I have been putting our heads together to fund our addiction to wool and yarn and fabric. You know how it is . There are only so many things a girl can give up in these hard times and knitting and sewing are not one of them.Our first venture together are dishcloths. We are fortunate that the Barn has taken our efforts in and placed them right next to the Mrs Meyers dish washing liquid. I'll let you know how that works for us. Well ,I must be going.Today is soup day and my people are waiting for there lunch so I'll be back soon with a report on our efforts ..............said the hobbit

Monday, March 8, 2010

Just a little bit crazy

You often hear a phrase in New England . If you don't like the weather just wait a minute and it will change.The past few week have proved that to be true.

Going in to work last week,you had trees blown down everywhere.This is the driveway where I do the cooking for the farm .

We only had about an inch of snow but,we had 90 mile an hour winds which left many of my neighbors without power for days. We were the lucky ones this time around. We lost power for 4 hours and we were snug in our beds at that time so we hardly noticed.

I thought that wind might have down damage to my newly planted blueberry bushes. I went out to see if the branches where intact. Of course being just 1 year in the ground and having a bit of snow to protect them they did just fine. Then something caught my eye in the far end of the garden.

Look what was growing!!!A teeny tiny head of broccoli. Last year I struggled with grampy woodchuck,who constantly ate anything that made an attempt to grow on the broccoli stalk. I finally gave up and thought he had eaten anything edible to mankind. I decided to take a picture because I haven't found anyone with a 22 who will actually come and attempt to do grampy in. I have a shotgun in the attic but,I think that's a little too much power for me............said the hobbit

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Everybody is doing it

Have you noticed that everyone is making their own granola? Do you think that the $6.00 a bag for approximately 2 1/2 cups of healthy cereal has anything to do with it?

So, this month I turned to the trusted Quaker Oats man to venture out on my own and create a personal granola. What was I thinking when I paid those outrageous prices for my healthy snack. I quickly googled granola and took the first recipe from "the New York Post"It was a disaster.Although the recommended ingredients all sounded wonderful,the recipe called for no oil,which I quickly discovered was essential to making a good granola.They suggested cooking the mix of fruit nuts and grains along with honey or maple sugar at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.Within 20 minutes smoke was pouring out of the oven and I had a burnt mess on my hands. Okay,scratch Mark Bitten off my list of knowledgeable chefs. In all fairness I was told he is a critic and not a chef.

So, I returned to my faithful cookbook The Barefoot Contessa,who suggested:
The oats coconut and almonds are put in a bowl ,the oil and honey are mixed and pour into the oats. Stir to cover and place on a cookie sheet. I suggest using parchment paper.
She suggested 350 degrees for 45 min.Already being a little gun shy with my last attempt I lowered my temp to 325 and decided to check after 25 minutes It was perfect at that time.
Allow to cool and stir in the remaining fruit and nuts.This is where the parchment paper comes in handy. Pick up the granola by forming a cone and pour into your container.No scraping with a spatula necessary .

And Voila a huge container of perfect granola there for the snacking.Of course I plan on trying other variations maybe a little spice like cardamom or orange zest mixed in with the honey and oil,chocolate chips and sunflower seeds should you have them on hand.The list goes on and on with endless possibilities.

For those of you following the ornament in progress,here is the latest attempt. OK but still not what I wanted. I decided the problem is my yarn. It's too heavy,4 ply,I'm use to making my ornaments a little more on the delicate side.
So off to the yarn store for a fingering weight. You wouldn't believe how many not quite right samples I have.............................said the hobbit