Category: My Kitchen (page 4 of 4)

It’s heeerrrreee!

I’ts evening now, and dark is setting in, and the rain has begun … um, but it’s not water, it’s tiny ice pellets.

Forecast/current conditions has us at 34 degrees F. right now with 27% humidity and a feels like of 20 degrees F. with winds from the East at 16 mph. They say rain/ice late tonight, low of 26 degrees.

Well, it’s icing NOW! Frank was just about to make a fast run to the grocery store so that I didn’t have to make a meal tonight (we can warm up frozen stuff, etc.). He’s gone anyhow, even with the knowledge that it’s icing. It’s just started. It’s constant, steady, but light. It melts eventually, but does sit on the ground, deck, etc for a little while before melting. The temperature is just so close to freezing, but just above it.

We also had no sun today, so no heating of surfaces for the purpose of melting the ice faster from heat-gain on objects.

It’s a three mile trek up the road to the store, then three miles back. Country road, a bridge or two … and you know about that “Bridge freezes before road …”

We have the entire wood pile in the house by the fireplace. It’s not that much, considering it’s our WHOLE stockpile of wood :shocked:

We’ve bought it in loads as needed this Winter. Two van fulls so far. It’s not been so cold but in spots here and there. We are flummoxed out of cash to get more wood right now. We DO have enough for tomorrow, then the next day should be warm enough, and it’s a Chuch day anyhow [we won’t be home really].

Sure it was cold in the house today. But conservation of fuel meant conservative fire today and conservative fire tomorrow: or none today, tough it out. Nice fire tomorrow, crowd around it and enjoy the heat on ICE DAY! We can be troopers. I am just that on many occassions when it’s called for, just that every occassion doesn’t call for that. Just some. Like today, I could do this. But not everything.

Funny, it feels a bit warmer in here since the pelting of tiny ice bits started. That’s really not funny, kind of a standard “natural house” thang that I can comprehend when it occurs. Continue reading

Fireplace in use

Last night it was supposed to get down to freezing, or lower, and indeed it did.

Right now, at about 8:21am EST it’s supposedly 28 degrees F. with a “feels like” temperature of 24 degrees F.

Suffice it to say, we have our first fireplace fire of the season πŸ˜‰

I must admit, as far as I can remember, this is the LATEST date of the late autumn season that we’ve had our “first fire”. We’ve had cold mornings this month, but not this kind of cold. The kind that may get into the lower 40’s as highs, and plunging down again soon after dark. Fireplace weather.

I’ve been longing for a fire, but hadn’t the total use for one, except perhaps to see it’s cheery face. Until today. Today it can be justified! πŸ™‚

Modest firewood stock, modest $, means: Must be modest in how one chooses when to build a fire. Dressing modestly affords ample opportunity for staying within the total modesty of all things here πŸ˜‰

With all that written, I will also say, modest or not, we didn’t really need a fire before today. I mean money stuff: If we were rich we COULD have had a fire earlier, but it would have been wasteful, something that we could have enjoyed, but didn’t need.

I see firewood as something that we can use as we see fit, but don’t use it “just to use it” –conservation is the key here. It’s not that enjoyment is wrong use of something, but when it is something that is natural –one sure will need to consider whether or not they are free to use as much as they desire. Firewood comes from trees. A tree must grow big –this takes years– before it can be cut down and split for firewood. Conservationist in me says: Fine to have fireplace fire when needed. Fine to use firewood. Just be reasonable about using it when it’s needed, and do something about planting trees where ever you go on this Earth.

I’d like to have a wood burning stove in my kitchen. But that would mean I’m not using electricity then, and so it balances out. Balance is necessity.

Turkey Scramble

      Turkey (Left-Overs) Scramble
  • Cubed Cooked Turkey, or chopped
  • Butter
  • Gravy
  • In large frypan melt butter and toss in the stuffing and move it around here and there until it’s hot, or how hot you like it: crispy or not, if you like it more crispy use more butter, or use less butter if you want, or no butter if you dare.

    Add the turkey to it and stir to mix well, heating the turkey, add some gravy to the mix, and when it’s all hot and mingled, serve and enjoy! With cranberry sauce on the side, of course πŸ™‚

    That’s the basics. You make it how you want. It’s a great alternative to all the “turkey recipes” out there, it’s easy to make, mixes all the good parts of the meal together, and is something to look forward to for the day after Thanksgiving every year.

    More Turkey Ideas

    Another thing to do with the Turkey then is to grind it in a food grinder, or chop it up fine by hand, or in a food processor. Mix that with finely chopped onion, garlic, sourcream, salt and some grated cheese like cheddar, or monterey jack [or another mexican cheese] make it a sandwich spread … or take it up a notch and make that an enchilada filling: [Put more cheese in the filling –if you want– for this version of the leftovers] make or buy small corn tortillas and make an enchilda sauce from a recipe, made up in your head, or from what you have in the cubord and fridge, or buy it. Heat it up, dip the tortillas in it as you fill each one like: dip tortilla, fill, roll, put in dish side-by-side. Pour extra sauce overtop. Bake in hot oven. Take out, put more cheese on top, put back in oven until cheese melts. Serve and enjoy! Bien! :laugh:

    Turkey Aftermath

    Dinner is over, left-overs put away, some of the dishes washed, some not. πŸ™‚

    It was a hard afternoon. I didn’t get the turkey in the oven until later than I wanted. It took until after 5pm for it to be done. Then it had to sit, of course, while the stuffing was taken out and put in a covered bowl, and the turkey had to sit to retain juices … and that’s also when the other stuff had to go into the oven since I had very little space for anything earlier.

    So I really don’t know when we started to have dinner. It must have been after 6pm. I’m bushed though. And we still need to have Birthday Girls birthday tonight. πŸ™‚

    We have pumpkin pies in the fridge, but won’t have it tonight, tonight it’s cheesecake for B-day. I’m not ready for it, I want to enjoy the cake! I’m too full from Thanksgiving Dinner still. At any rate, we’ll have the pumpkin pie for breakfast tomorrow.

    I’ve got the bones of the birdy in a stock pot with water, and by tomorrow some time we’ll have some extra turkey broth.

    The cats got the neck and such earlier. I simmered them for the broth to go with the gravy, then picked the meat off for the cats. Earier I gave them the raw liver, but Scarlet took that away for herself. Piggy that she was.

    Dog got plate left-overs and boy did he enjoy them. Piggy himself.

    We have lots of turkey left. It was a 19 pound young turk. Bell and Evans, the best we could do with this year. We had some of one breast and part of one leg. That leaves most of the bird for:

    Turkey Scramble
    and what-not-else.

    Turkey Scramble will be tomorrow. That’s another post. :laugh:

    Thanksgiving Eve

    Today is, as Russell desires me to call it “Thanksgiving Eve” since there is a “Christmas Eve” :laugh:

    I’m currently making Victoria’s Birthday Cake for tomorrow, a New York Cheesecake. It’s in the oven with less than 40 minutes to go.

    I’m seriously thinking about making the Turkey and Stuffing today, but I’m not sure I can. We have some more running to do for Birthday Girl, unfortunately.

    In any case, if I can’t do that today, I’ll do it early tomorrow. I’ll be chopping up the celery and onions and nuts and such for the stuffing ahead of time, and the bread too. It’s my signature stuffing: that and apples and raisins and butter, eggs, stock/water. Into the bird it will go. It’s devine!

    I have pumpkin pies to make too, and then the other things will be: mashed potatoes, gravy, cauliflower with cheddar cheese sauce, green been casserole, chill the cranberry sauce (I just used the jellied canned variety, I like the smoothness of it: Ocean Spray; a nice accompaniment to the other Turkey Delights) and hmmm. I have to get out my Palm and check out the menu again. Ah, yes, the rolls I’m working on.

    I made a French Bread dough yesterday, and saved part of it in the fridge. I’m taking it out on occasion and punching it down, and rolling it out and folding butter into it. By tomorrow hopefully I can affect some sort of croissant-ish rolls.

    For the dough it started out as a sponge of “unbleached flour: 4 cups; water to make it a sponge; and 1 Tablespoon of Active Dry Yeast”. Mix that up and cover, allow to sponge for several hours to overnight, or longer. Stir down as desired throughout that time. (Make sure you are using a large bowl!)

    When ready to make the dough, just stir 1 Tablespoon of salt, and then also more flour until the dough is formed, using a machine of some type, or by hand, and then knead it in the machine or by hand until elastic, adding in more flour as needed.

    Form a round and put it in an olive-oil-oiled bowl to rise, covered


    Take the dough and form it into the shapes you want, and let double then bake.

    If you let it proof in the bowl you can punch it down as long as you like until ready to make the shapes and baking.

    Put it in the fridge and take it out again to slow mature it. The more it sits around rising and being punched down the more French it is and good tasting cultured artisan-y.

    Bake it at 400 or 450 (F.) until golden brown. Put a pan of hot water in the oven with it, so that the oven is moist, the way to get crusty artisan breads that is easiest. To do it, put the hot water in a pan, put in oven that is turned on pre-heating. When over hot, put bread in quickly and let it bake for 25 minutes, then start watching it for doneness, as any bread you might. It’ll get a nice crusty thick crust the longer it’s left in. I love it very brown.

    So that’s what I’m doing now, messing around with dough for crusty melty rolls with dinner tomorrow, and baking the cheesecake, and wringing through thoughts of what else to cook today or not. πŸ™‚

    We have tons of rain, lots the last few days and lots more today. It’s been dreary, but the holiday is keeping me perked up. Usually this kind of weather really punches me down (no sun at all for days and days, just dark and dismal)

    Today we had Flash Flood Watch and Tornado Watch, yesterday just Flash Flood Watch. With the stuff today we have Severe Weather of heavy rain expected and gusts up to 60 miles per hour possible, and penny size hail possible too.

    We had some big gusts, but not that big. We had no hail. We had tons of rain. We had a river running down the side yard, under the gate to the backyard and forming a small lake that had an outlet beyond it’s vast expanse … water, water, everywhere, no where to go but UP. We are saturated. It’s a good thing though. πŸ™„

    Whisper Mill Dead

    My Whisper Mill just died this morning.

    I was grinding Spelt [to make the bread I needed to make today], the WM clogged up the shoot, and instantly shut off itself, fuse throw. Fine, that happens sometimes with spelt. No biggie. It happens so fast.

    I cleaned the flour shoots all out, dumped out the grain left in the “hopper”, re-set the fuse switched, turned it on, voila, it worked only to within a few seconds start sending up black whisps of smoke and flipped off again.

    Or course this all happened in a split second time frame, hardly any time between things happening. No time to react any faster than the machine itself died as doing.

    I am totally deflated over this.

    At least I have enough flour for a couple loaves of bread … but I can only hope my lifetime warranty will cover what happened.

    I think, hope, hope, hope, it’s just the fuse.

    But it means sending it away to Utah to be inspected/fixed.

    This has reinforced the idea that I love my WhisperMill, but would love to have a CountryLiving motorized mill too.

    My old standby is a Kitchen Aide Grain Mill attachment. I am too spoiled to ruin my Kitchen Aide by grinding rough flour out of grain to make a measly small loaf in 100 times the time it takes to get enough fine flour to make 6 loaves or more with the WhisperMill. Grrr.

    I figured this day would come sometime. Just wasn’t hoping it would be so soon.

    Some people don’t seem to have trouble with their WM’s … well the old models seemed to have worked better, so I’ve heard. I didn’t get into the market for a mill until WM had changed manufacturing to Korea. I then waited until the supposed bugs were worked out of their new facility manufacturing of WM’s. So I’ve had it for … over 3 years, I think. Years are running together for me, and I can’t distinguish time periods of some things :veryshocked:

    It figures this happened today too, feeling so dull myself, full of words that I write and delete, rain, overcast weather, blahs.

    Henry Watson Bread Baker

    I obtained a new kitchen item via eBay this week. I was looking at auctions last week and found something I’d been considering wanting: Terracotta baking and tableware pottery.

    What I found was Henry Watson Pottery, Wattisfiled, Suffolk, England.

    There is some of this on eBay, though not a whole lot. I started comparing pieces and prices, and looked at the one US Distributor’s web site, and figured out that most anything on eBay for this company would be a good deal.

    I got my bread baker for $5.50, plus $8.00 S&H. A good, good, buy at $13.50 total! It’s brand new, in a box and has instructions.

    Here it is, as it’s about to come out of the oven after it’s inaugural seasoning earlier today.

    Henry Watson Pottery is nice stuff. From having just one piece now, in hand, I do think I’d love the rest of their Original Suffolk Collection, as well as the blue glazed tableware of their Suffolk Tableware Collection. Since we aren’t well-to-do, I’ll have to totally piecemeal these items into our home as they become available on eBay and elsewhere for reasonable amounts.

    This is the catalog for UK operations, and here you can see the different collections and what they offer in pieces.

    Kitchen and Beyond is one of the USA Distributors, the only online comparison here for such. Compare the price of my bread baker dish to this place, mine was $13.50 including shipping, this place charges 20.99 — before shipping. I like finding stuff through alternative sources, so I’m glad to have found this stuff on eBay to some degree.

    I’ll be baking some bread in this tomorrow. It’s a french bread type recipe, but it’ll just be a nice rustic loaf in this pan, good for french toast, or dinner bread. I usually make a long loaf free form on a sheet for this recipe, but this is a nice pan to try something different with. I’m glad to add this terracotta bread baker to my kitchen utelizational stuff. πŸ™‚

    Fireplace, Movies, Bread

    Well it’s fireplace day for us. It was very cold in the house yesterday, with enough wood for that day or this day. So we held out. Today I also held out as long as we could, so now the fire is started.

    The morning wasn’t so bad really, but by 11am cold toes were beginning in my boots. I’ve been making bread, so that kept me busy (not as busy as most of you probably think though πŸ˜‰ ) as well as doing some more looking for movie stuff online.

    Frank wants to see Master and Commander at the theatre, and he’s away today, so I thought I’d see what stuff is on their website and get a Desktop for him, or make one if need be. I found that their trailer is one that is only stream-able … pooh to that. So then I saw on their front US interface something about “broadband users” and clicked on it. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is a channel in Maven, a tool that different companies can utilize to distribute content. Maven is a light install, and then the “channels” are downloaded behind the scene. Content is richer than is on the website. And it’s on ones own computer en total when desiring to view it. Nice.

    The movie clips are all Windows media player files, seemless in the Master and Commander “Maven” interface. But if you know where to look for them on your computer, you can snag them to view in Windows Media Player. .wmv files.

    There are other “channels” you can get … but nothing I’m interested in yet. There is a National Geographic one that may be coming soon, that’ll be interesting to check out, not knowing what IT’S content may be, and seeing if it’ll be available to just “anyone”.

    OK then, my bread. I experienment with bread whenever I make it for the last couple of years. This time I’m using a 2-cup 2-day-old sponge … flour and water and 1-teaspoon of active dry yeast in a widemouth jar. I shake or stir it everyonce in awhile and just let it do it’s thing. It was really smelly this morning, as expected. Very much what I was looking for this time. It’s a sourdough taste, but using modern yeast. Something that’s not “really sourdough” but it’s a nice flavor.

    I use that then with other ingredients and a few pinches of active dry yeast to make the dough. It’s resting/proofing in a bowl in the oven right now. I’ll put it in pan in less than an hour, and keep them in the oven too. I wet papertowels and place them over the loaves while they rise, replenishing the wetmenss as need be. I put the oven on warm for a few minutes, then turn it off. This is a decent environment for the bread.

    Well I’ve left this post for a bit, and since I don’t feel like editing it, I’ll just say, time has past, the dough is in the pans and proofing.

    What recipe do I use? None. I worked out developing my own “from memory” kind of recipe. So I just add stuff like:

    Fresh ground Wheat Montana Prairie Gold flour
    Black Strap Molasses

    I usually start out with some kind of culture or sponge. In the Spring, Summer, Fall, I used Piima cultured milk in my sponge, but this colder house this winter has had me stop making it. So I’ve adapted to making odd cultures instead … not actually trying to make a wild yeast culture, it’s too cold for that. Instead I use teeny tiny amounts of yeast to get a little bit of flour and water to start bubbling, then feeding it as one would a real sourdough culture. A few days of that and I hold it in the fridge, bring it out beforehand to warm it up if going to use it. I take part, then feed it and a day or so later back in the fridge it goes.

    It adds flavor and helps to rise any dough I make, and I only then add a tinier bit of fresh active dry yeast to the dough recipe.

    This probably sounds confusing to y’all, of course. I am doing this in my quest to do thing olde world style, for the reason of getting out of modern methods of cooking some things. Bread is the first and foremost. We have advantages of equipment that grind flour fast, so I’m trying to get WHOLE GRAINS done in an olde world style, utilizing no store flour at all.

    Sometime I do use store flour, only unbleached regular flour. About two-cups of that in a bowl, some water to make it goupy and two-teaspoon of yeast, stir well, in fact, beat it. Let it sit in a warm place, covered for a few hours, then add more water if you want to, or not. Salt, and more flour to make a nice soft dough. Let this proof, punch it down, let it proof again, punch it down, at this point let it proof again or form a long loaf, just whatever time tells you is right.

    This is basic bread making. Add olive oil to the recipe and it’s pizza dough. Add yogurt and it improves flavor and texture. Add something of a flour culture or sponge and get better flavor and texture. Use part whole grain, but only if using a long proofing -punch down phase of making it. Using cultured things in it helps to break down the whole grain to be much more palatable to mouth and body.

    My goal is only to be able to make any kind of bread with the most pure ingredients, and without using a book. When I say “most pure ingredients” I mean simple whole foods kinds of things. Nothing fancy manufactured-only.

    I do use black strap molasses, but only sometimes, and it’s not something I need to use. I use it to add color, or flavor, particularly if my honey supply is low.

    I make french bread as described in the basic way above. My sandwhich kind of bread is the main bread I make with whole grains only, and that’s my biggest experiment. I use steel pans, and coat them well with butter before adding the dough.

    These kind doughs must rise and be slashed in some manner before baking, to keep the top from separating from the body of the bread — or making smiley face bread, as you may know it.

    Well, this is a mis-mash post. It’s what life is usually like here, many things going on in and out, over and under, weaving, forgotten, remembered … πŸ™‚

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