21 February 2010

This was my snack/late lunch today.

These sort of came about by accident. We needed milk for our coffee so I bundled up and walked over to Marczyk's. I picked up cream-top milk, heavy cream, house made mozzarella (I've not purchased rennet yet to make my own), and 2 oranges because Nate had mentioned both wanting some citrus and more fruit in his diet.

When I got home I decided that scones would be awesome to make.

WHY?!?! I never eat scones. I'm not partial to them in the least bit. In fact most of the ones I've had turn me off. Chalky and dry are not words you ever want to use to describe food.

I have this large jar of local organic flour. If you know me at all then you probably know how happy that makes me and how long I've been searching out locally grown and milled flour (and how inconceivably hard it is to find!).

I've also got this large jar of raw local honey. This stuff is delicious. I wanted to put the two together for some sort of super local baking extravaganza.

And for some reason scones popped into my head. So I went a-recipe-diggin. Which usually consists of me googling several of my favorite cooking blogs. Which is exactly how I stumbled across this recipe.

And of course she got the recipe from America's Test Kitchen.

So here's my recipe run down. I made a few changes from the recipe.

2c local organic unbleached flour
1T baking powder
3T local raw honey (I got mine from Lee's Bees)
3/4 t flaky sea salt (I pulled out the fancy stuff for this, fleur de sel de guerande)
5T chilled, unsalted butter (if you've only got salted, leave out the salt above)
zest from 2 oranges
1c heavy cream (mine was from Morningfresh dairy, it's so thick I swear it's already whipped cream)

First I turned the oven on to 425F.

Then I mixed all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

First the flour.

Then the baking soda.

And the salt.

Then I zested the oranges.

But I decided that the orange zest shouldn't go in with the dry ingredients. Zest has a bad habit of drying out fast. So I measured out the 3 T of honey into my glass 2 c measuring cup and dumped all the zest into the honey as I was going. I think you'll get the most flavor out of your zest if you don't dry it out.

And I poured the slow as molasses heavy cream on top of the honey and then whisked it all up.

Now, it's time for one of my favorite parts. Toss in the 5T of cubed and chilled unsalted butter and grab your pastry cutter (or a knife and a fork) and cut the butter in. [side note: the pastry cutter was my all time favorite kitchen tool to play with when I was a kid. Especially if we were mixing butter and sugar or shortening and sugar. Then I would lick it clean. Gross, I know.]

Next, pour the heavy cream-honey-orange zest mixture into the dry stuff. Look at all of that yummy orange zest! Mix it up real good. Use your hands. Get all of the goodness mixed in.

Then, I dumped the dough onto my 1/4 sized sheet pan and smooshed it until it was square. I then cut it into 8 triangles.

Place the wedges on an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 425F for 12-15 minutes.

Your house will smell amazing, by the way. Try not to drool.

Also, don't do what I did. I set my timer. Then I started to smell the awesomeness and took a peek. My oven thermometer read 550F! WTF?!?! I snatched the scones out of the oven. Fortunately, I was putzing around in the kitchen and mixing up some no-knead bread dough and was there to pull them out.

But, in the end, disaster was averted. And, I got to eat this. Perfect scone, perfect cup of coffee. The scones turned out light and flaky. Not too sweet, and lightly orange flavored. Sitting in my comfy chair, drinking coffee, nibbling on a scone, and watching the snow fall out my window was the perfect way to spend my afternoon. And, these scones changed my mind about scones in general. They took me all of 20 minutes start to finish to make. Remind me why I'm not baking these several times a week so that I can eat them for breakfast every day?

I'm not sure why my oven was running so high. It's always been right on. I'll have to check things out. I really don't enjoy burning things.

20 February 2010

local lunch

I totally scored fresh local arugula this morning at the farmer's market. I was so excited. It's snowing and there's this bucket of fresh, local green stuff. AND it was only $1 a bunch. I bought 2. I may regret not having purchased more. Berry Patch Farms brought it and it sold out in about an hour. 

I also scored some eggs, potatoes, and onions from Kiowa Valley, and some cheddar from Twin Mountain Milkhouse (I love their cheddar entirely too much).

For lunch today I had an entirely local meal. I made a cheddar-arugula omelette. 

The ingredients:

butter from Robinson's Dairy

eggs from Kiowa Valley

arugula from Berry Patch Farms

cheddar from Twin Mountain Milkhouse

The salt and pepper were the only non local things in this meal. But really, is there salt or pepper from Colorado that can be found?

Tomorrow I'm going to experiment with 100% local baking. I've got local raw honey and local flour now. Can I bake something delicious with that? I sure hope so! I know I can at least get some delicious no-knead bread, so that there'll be no need to go to the store for sandwich bread this week.

This afternoon I'm going to attempt the boatneck t-shirt from the Build by Wendy Sew U: the Home Stretch book.

It's going to be magenta/purply colored with yellow buttons and yellow top stitching.


[sorry about the pasty white expanse of knee and thigh you have to look at. It's still snowing here. I can see snow coming down outside my window as I type this.]

I finally finished my green alpaca leg warmers that I started like 5 years ago. I bought the yarn at a random yarn store we came across on a family ski trip in Colorado. It was seriously about 6-7 years ago. I planned on making leg warmers. I started one leg warmer. But I put the project down and forgot about if for several years. Then, I moved to Colorado. It's a lot colder here for a lot longer than it is in Tennessee. So I pulled the project back out and knocked it out. I'm in love with these leg warmers right now. So warm. So comfy. So gorgeously green.

To knit your own pair:

I used 4 skeins of alpaca yarn (I lost the tags so I don't know exactly which kind). I used size 8 double pointed needles.

Cast on 51 stitches. Divide evenly on 3 dpn and join to work in the round. Work in a 1x1 rib (k1, p1) until they are the length you desire. I knitted until these would reach from the floor to mid thigh with out putting them on. They stretch out so they won't be that long once you put them on. And I like them scrunchy so I wanted some extra length to scrunch.

Make sure you cast on and bind off loosely. You're going to have to slip these over your feet and calves. And you don't want to end up with a newly knit pair of leg warmers that you can't get on!

I ended up using almost 2 whole skeins of yarn for each leg warmer.

19 February 2010

Pickled Carrots

[and beets, and turnips, and parsnips]

I decided to pickle my carrots. But I went a bit overboard and then just dumped everything in a can and pickled it.

I used this spicy garlic dill pickle brine (from Marisa at Food in Jars).

The good thing is that they turned out amazing. Spicy, garlicky. Crunchy. Everything you could want from a pickle.

The bad thing is that we ate them all, before I remembered to take a picture. I've got more carrots that need to come to a vinegary fate. When I get those pickled I'll get a picture up.

But seriously, if you like pickles with a kick, I'd really really really recommend you try that brine from Marisa. It's my new favorite pickle brine. We also did cucumbers back in the summer with this brine. They were amazing. My absolute favorite.

And I know most people have had pickled beets. But pickled turnips are one of my new favorite pickles. The parsnips weren't bad, just not my favorite.

Also, I really liked the sweeter veggies with this spicy brine the best. I really like the contrast of sweet, spicy, vinegary.

[I'm sorry I forgot to get a picture! I'm still getting the hang of remembering to take pictures constantly.]

18 February 2010

Garden Planning

I'm so excited, I get to have a garden this year! It's not at my apartment because I clearly have no where to put a garden in a 600 square foot apartment. My friend Erica shares a house with her sister and they are putting in a vegetable garden. I get to be a part of it!

The bad thing is that I want to grow everything. I also want to eat it all, but that's a different problem. We had a garden planning meeting last night and we all want to grow everything. And can everything. And eat everything. We're a bit over the top I think.

I really want to order seeds from Seed Savers. They have some amazing looking vegetables. I want to eat them all.

Here are some of my top picks:

Romanesco. How amazingly gorgeous is this vegetable?!?!?! It's supposed to taste like the best broccoli you've ever had. I want to eat it. I want to know what it tastes like. And there's always the Fibonacci connection to geek out over. If you count all of the spirals that go in different directions you'll end up with consecutive Fibonacci numbers. Math is everywhere. Even in my food.

Tomatoes. There are over 70 varieties!!!!! How's a girl to decide? There are so many colors and shapes. And they all look delicious. Who would have known from shopping at the grocery store that there are so many different kinds to choose from?! I want to can tomato paste, ketchup, tomato sauce, and salsa this summer.

Mexican Sour Gherkins. Yep, miniature watermelon looking cucumbers. Marisa at Food in Jars had a run in with these and pickled them. I'm dying to try them.

Also, take a look at all the cucumbers at Seed Savers. I want to make pickles out of all of them. That's really the only way I actually enjoy cucumbers, but some of these may change my mind on that count.

Chiogga Beets. Gorgeous. And, I love beets.

Melons. Lots and lots of melons. I really really really want all of these actually. And don't forget the watermelons, too!

All this food is making me hungry. I can only imagine how awesome this summer is going to be when we are eating meals that we grew. Wow.

17 February 2010

It's a BOY!

My littlest sis is pregnant for the second time, and she's having a boy! I totally called it, too. 

But, I'm totally enjoying MADE right now. The month of February they are focusing on boy crafts. I want to make so many things from there for my new nephew. Go check it out!

16 February 2010

New Lunch Bag

I made my own lunch bag almost 2 years ago. It was amazing and cute. The only problem was that I didn't have much foresight and made it out of white and pink fabric. Now, the inside and outside bottom panels were both made from a cute pink and white oil cloth. But the rest of the bag just got gross after 2 years of spills. I washed and washed and washed the thing. No luck.

The other day I was out at Fancy Tiger Crafts. Man, that place is dangerous. I'll take one of everything! Thanks! But I found this amazing laminated fabric. I don't know if you've seen laminated fabric, but it's what the cheap oil cloth is supposed to be. I love this stuff. I also realized that making the entire bag out of the laminated fabric should solve my stain woes. So far, it has.

I've been using the bag for about 2 weeks now. It really encourages me to pack a healthy lunch each day. I love pulling out my cute new bag and putting food in it. It just makes me happy. It's so bright and cheerful and makes me think of spring. It's just what I needed in my life right about now.