Saturday, September 28, 2013

Black Death

Well, that's the current favorite name for tonight's creation.

I finally broke down and ordered a jar of squid ink.  We love squid ink pasta but hate paying the super-expensive prices they ask for in the store- if you can find it at all.  And, since we have lots of ghost chili peppers from the garden. I decided to make a ghost chili/squid ink creation.
The dough rests.
 I do have a hand crank machine. But for quick work, I use the pasta attachment for the stand mixer.
 And, yes, I wore gloves during the process.  I do have to take out my contact lenses tonight and am wary of ghost chile peppers.  Ghost chilis are the Naga Jolokia (rated at about 1,000,000 on the Scoville scale!)  I used only a half of one in this recipe.
Mmm.... Black Death Pasta with alfredo sauce and chicken.  Awesome!!!

Pasta recipe for Black Death Pasta:
Blend in blender:
Half of a ghost chile and a scant 1/4 cup water
Add 3 eggs a teaspoon of squid ink, a tablespoon of olive oil and give a quick blend.
Sift 2 1/4 cups unbleached flour (can also use some semolina) with 3/4 tsp salt.  Make a well in the center and add liquid ingredients.  Mix and then knead until silky.  Let rest for 20 minutes and then roll to desired thickness with pasta roller and cut into noodles.
This can be used fresh or dried and/or frozen for later use.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

A busy weekend

We had a busy, busy weekend. This weekend, we finally replaced our leaky kitchen window.  Hurrah!
 The trim comes off!  Justine's boyfriend came over to help, even though she is half the country away.  (we think he's a keeper!!)
 Masks on, the siding comes off.  We were really worried about how much rot there would be in the wall since the window has been leaking longer than we've owned the house.  We were relieved that it wasn't as bad as we had feared.
 The old window comes out.
 Why, oh why, didn't we get a big picture window?  The view is wonderful!
 New window goes in.
Finishing installation
 Roughed in from the inside but too dark to continue outside
 Today new siding goes up.
 The last piece in place.
 And the vent pipe for the kitchen and downstairs bath is back in place.  Finally, I can do laundry again.
And time for a nap!  The final trim has been purchased.  The outside trim will go up tomorrow. The inside woodwork will take a bit because it has to be finished.

This is the last part of the kitchen remodel that we did a few years ago. Finally, the kitchen will be DONE!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fall foraging

While on walkabouts this afternoon I made a discovery... the fox grapes are ripe!
 Of course, the best ones were high up a tree.  So, I returned with pails, shears and taller companions.
 For being wild grapes and a dry year, they are pretty decent.  And we got them before the birds.
I foresee wild grape jelly in the near future....

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Sunday check in.

Wow!  Has it really been a week since I posted?  It has flown by!
We had the hospital inspection people at work all last week so work was crazier than usual.  Everything went well and at least now we can all relax.
Otherwise, things have been busy.  We finally had rain today.  1.6 inches!  And we most desperately needed it.  We haven't had rain for probably 7+ weeks and everything was so dry.  The garden is already looking better.
Of course, we're thankful for rain while people in Colorado are struggling with flooding.  My sister is safe on high ground.  My ex-sister-in-law (who V and I are still in contact with) got an evacuation notice this afternoon but it was cancelled not long after.  She has been posting lots and lots of photos on facebook. The destruction is amazing.... now they're saying 19,000 homes destroyed or damaged.  I can't even imagine that kind of destruction.   Here's hoping for all the best to all out there.
Yesterday I spent a while canning more tomatoes.  I really think I need to be done.  I've barely got any jars left and I'm out of space on the shelves in the basement.
So, there were tomatoes canned and Danish apple bars baked today.  This is one of my mother's signature dishes but I think I've only made them once before.  They're quite tasty!

Otherwise, nothing much going on here.  Life is flowing on.  

And I know I owe you all a feed sack to tote bag tutorial....

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The local plate contest- the last day and other nonsense

Today was a busy, busy day.  We picked apples- probably about a bushel.  Not bad from a neglected and totally unsprayed tree.  And the apples are huge and delicious.
 K13 and I wrangle the big pole apple picker.
 V climbs a tree.
 Look what we've got!!

And today is the last day of the local food challenge.  Here is my submission of the day:  Lunch
Bread from the New Pioneer Bakeshop.  Chipotle chevre from Triple Creek Dairy and fresh tomato slices (German Pink) from the garden.  Plus one of our fabulous apples.  I could get away with a light lunch because V and I went to the food co-op (the one's sponsoring the local food contest) for the local vendor's fair.  They had lots and lots of vendors of local produce and products there handing out samples.  Yum!

After lunch, I froze some tomato sauce I cooked up yesterday and worked to process some of the dropped apples since I knew they wouldn't keep.  An apple crisp was baked and a pot of applesauce made.  These really aren't cooking apples as they hold their shape too well to make good sauce.  But it is tasty anyway.
And finally, my favorite creation of the day.  I used some of my frozen raspberries to make raspberry/ghost chili jam.  Oh My!!!  This may actually be he most delicious thing I have ever made.  It is the perfect blend of sweet, fruity and HOT!  Definitely not for the faint of heart but oh, so yummy.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Eating local- day 6

So, even though wine is involved again, I'm managing to get tonight's meal posted.  I'm particularly proud of this one.
Marinated and grilled grass-fed round steak from Mr Hochstetler in Kalona. We're getting down to the last of our beef and don't have much selection left. But marinading it for an hour and half made it ever-so tender.
Spiced fried potatoes.  Red, gold and blue potatoes from Buffalo Ridge Orchard at the farmer's market. onions and jalapeno from the garden.  Cayenne, salt and olive oil.
Green, yellow wax and purple beans steamed with rosemary.  Beans from Oak Hill Acres (farmer's market), rosemary from the pot on the front porch.

One last day in the challenge. I wonder what tomorrow will bring....

Eat local- I missed a day

So...Yeah... I didn't post my photo from yesterday.  I was distracted... and my laptop battery died... and... there was a bottle of wine and...  well, you know.  It just didn't happen.
But, here is yesterday's submission to the Eat local contest.
A simple Caprese salad.  Classic summer yumminess!
Heirloom tomatoes (Amana Orange, German Pink and Black Krim) and basil from the garden.
Cheese curds from Twin County Dairy, Kalona, IA
Basil and sun-dried tomato infused olive oil from Pickle Creek Herbal

Absolutely delicious.

Ian and I went to the farmer's market this morning and picked up a few things.  A few potatoes for dinner tonight since I didn't plant any this year, a few beans since mine are done and some chevre.  Mmm....

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Eat local- day 4

A southwestern themed quiche.

Eggs from the ladies in the back.
Corn frozen in July- from a local farmstand
Jalapeno peppers and onions from the garden.
Kalona White Cheddar from Twin County Dairy, Kalona, IA

Isn't this fun??

But I don't have anything planned for tomorrow... any ideas??
My brother suggested local melon slices wrapped with La Quercia Prosciutto.  An idea- if I can find the prosciutto- it's hard to come by.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Eat local- day 3


A rustic apple/raspberry tart with a honey glaze.
Apples and raspberries from us.
Unbleached and whole wheat flours and butter sourced from Stringtown Grocery in Kalona, IA.
Honey from Mr P's Bees- Solon, IA.

I'm having fun with this.  It looks like quite a few more people have started posting photos for the contest so my odds of winning the gift certificate are dwindling.  But every post brings more the the Field to Family program so that is a good thing.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Eat local- day 2

A ghostly experience!
Pasta withGhost pepper/tomato/meat sauce.

The grass-fed beef is from our lovely Amish farmer, pasta from a local bakery, sauce from the garden.  Yes, I know I can make my own pasta but it just wasn't happening today.  And we purchased it from a lovely old Mennonite gentleman at one of the newer farmer's markets in town this afternoon.  One thing I love about this area is that there is a market somewhere nearly every day of the week so if you don't grow it yourself, you can get it from someone who does.

Baking in the oven is tomorrow's entry.  Going with a dessert this time.  But you have to wait....

Monday, September 2, 2013

Eat local week- day 1

So... our local health food/organic store is having an eat local contest this week.   For every day you post a photo of a local dish on their facebook page, you donate $1 to Field to Family and are entered to win a $100 gift certificate.

I'm all in!  Here is today's entry:
A lovely brunch omelet featuring eggs, peppers, onions, peppers and herbs from us,  Herb and garlic infused olive oil from Pickle Creek Herbal and aged gouda cheese from Frisian Farms.

More tasty photos to follow this week.  I plan to enter every day this week.  So far there are only 8 entries for today. So if this keeps up, my chances are good for that gift certificate.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday already?

Oh my, where has the week gone!  And I only worked 2 days at my paying job last week!

Things have been going well here.  V arrived home safe and sound.  He is currently doing some repairs on the window at the bottom of the stairs.  Well, I guess when I say repairs, I mean he has removed it and is re-installing it.  It was put in really badly so he's trying to make it all right again.
The boys have been in school all week.  Although they had early release every single day since it was so unbearably hot and humid.  Justine is settled into her dorm room and started classes.  She has also restarted her blog about college life. If you're curious, you can check her out here.
I've been doing a little of this and a little of that. You know the drill- laundry, managing the garden and house.  I promise I'll do a feed sack to tote bag tutorial soon.  I just haven't had time.
I did go gather some jewel weed and am trying something new- a homemade itch balm.  I saw it at The Homesteading Neophyte.  And I've got everything on hand.  I'm trying to get it done today and tomorrow so I can send some out to Justine.  Her boyfriend will be out in Pennsylvania on business next weekend and is going to see her and deliver a few things to her.  So, itch balm and an aloe plant will wend their way eastward.
Otherwise, I've been wandering with the camera and having fun.  I'll leave you with a few photos of the week.
 Look at that clear blue sky!  But I do wish it would rain.  We have just finished the driest August on record. We had only 0.1 inches of rain all month.

 The greenhouse is cleared out and prepped.  I still need to re-set the pavers in the middle. There is one huge chard plant still in there but it looks pretty sad in the heat.  It was 99F NOT in the greenhouse!

 The mint is blooming and is a popular place for beneficial insects.  This is a Golden Digger Wasp.

And finally, can you spot the mantis?  She has been hanging out in the runner beans.  I nearly picked her one day.  

I hope all here in the US have a good holiday tomorrow.