Monday, April 29, 2013
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Monday, April 15, 2013
Sunday morning is our family breakfast. This week we had some fresh eggs that a friend gave us, so I decided to make a soufflé, because Ella has never had one before and she likes to try new things. I don't have a soufflé pan, so I used some individual casserole dishes that one of my sisters gave me, and when I ran out of those, I used some canning jars. And we have so many delicious herbs in the garden that I just snipped a few and put them on the table so that each of us could garnish as we wished.
The keys to an airy soufflé that rises and doesn't fall are
- whip the daylights out of the egg whites
- butter AND crumb the sides of the dish so the batter has something to hold on to as it climbs
- Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Whip the daylights out of the whites.
- Make a white sauce: melt some butter in a pan, sprinkle an equal amount of flour on it, stir and cook until it is starting to turn color.
- Take the pan off the heat, gentle stir in the yolks and some grated cheese.
- Let the yolk mixture cool a little while you butter and crumb your pans.
- Fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture. FOLD--not stir, not blend, not anything else. FOLD.
- Spoon it all out into your prepared pans, put them in the oven at 400ºF, close the door and DON'T OPEN IT AGAIN UNTIL THEY ARE DONE! This is why God put a light bulb in your oven. If you don't have a working oven light, like "some" people who write a homemaking blog, use a flashlight to check on them.
- Small pans take about 8-10 minutes. Large pans take twice that long. They are done when they have doubled in height and are lightly brown on top.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
|Violets that grow in the garden where our dearly departed pets lay.|
In Nashville there is a small window of opportunity opening right now and that is violet season. The pretty little blossoms fill up our backyard and turn the whole place into a fairy den. This window doesn't stay open long--it won't last long where you are, either--so now's the time to get out there and pick flowers if you intend to enjoy the first sweet delicacy of the season: violet jelly.
There are many recipes for making violet or other blossom jelly. This is the one I use. It is pretty simple and follows the guidelines set forth by the USDA for food preservation safety.
Violet Jelly2 heaping cups of violet blossoms
2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup clear lemon juice
1 package powdered pectin
4 cups sugar
When picking the violets choose pretty flowers--the ones that are pretty enough for a bouquet are the ones that are good enough to eat. :) Do not include stems or leaves but the green part holding the blossom together is OK to leave on.
Pour the boiling water over the blossoms and let them steep at least a couple of hours, but overnight is better. Strain the liquid and put the blossoms in your compost pile. If you can't make the jelly right away, put the liquid in the fridge. Make the jelly within a couple of days, before the liquid goes bad.
Making the jelly is pretty much like making any other kind of jelly. Measure the violet liquid and add water if needed to reach 2 cups. Put the violet liquid, lemon juice, and pectin in a pot. NOTE--the acid from the lemon juice will turn the violet liquid from a deep blue/purple to bright pink! (it's the same thing that happens when you acidify the soil around blue hydrangeas). You can add food coloring at this point to return the purplish color if you wish. Heat the mixture until boiling.
Add all the sugar at once, then stir constantly until the mixture is at a hard boil that cannot be stirred down. Keep the jelly at a hard boil for one full minute. Remove from heat.
Skim the jelly (I like to set aside the skimmings for tasting while I wait for the jelly to set). Ladle the mixture into hot half-pint jars, clean rims and threads, place lids, and process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes. Set upright on a towel or hot mat and allow to cool for 24 hours.
The jelly will store on the shelf for at least one year. If you don't wish to process the jelly for canning, you can store it in the fridge for a few weeks, or in the freezer for a few months.
And a little tip for the beginners: if your jelly doesn't set up, you call it syrup. ;) Add it to a little soda water and you have the most ladylike Spring drink ever invented.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
|Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
Those techniques call for some advance planning and at least a little know-how. But there is one simple way to save money on food that every single person can do TODAY, using what you have in your kitchen right now:
By this I mean don't leave behind anything that can be used to feed someone--not a grain of rice, not a drop of batter, not a crumb or a drip of anything that has been prepared for eating.
It's just simple math:
1 teaspoon of food left behind in the pan is hardly anything--you'd need a rubber spatula to get it. Leave a single teaspoon behind at every meal, three times a day, and in one day you'll have left behind 1 tablespoon of food.
1 tablespoon of food left behind is hardly anything--you'd still need a rubber spatula to get it. Leave a single tablespoon of food behind every day and in four days you'll have left behind 1/4 cup of food.
1/4 cup of food left behind is hardly anything--you might still need a rubber spatula to get it. But in eight days you'll have left behind a full adult serving that could have fed a member of your family for no additional cost to you.
Sure, the bit you leave behind isn't going to be the same from day to day, but waste is waste and in a year it comes to over 22 cups of food--that's more than five and a half quarts of food in the trash.
So--go get yourself a rubber spatula.
Friday, April 5, 2013
We're out of town visiting my parents on short notice and I'm posting from my phone so I can't link the picture ( must learn to do that from my Droid!), but I had to share this link with you as soon as I saw it. I'll be testing this meal plan when we get back home so I'll report on results in a few weeks.