Family Centered Kitchen

What to Do When You’re Convalescing

Make something.  In the kitchen.  With a little helper.

In the Kitchen

In the Kitchen

 

In the Kitchen

In the Kitchen

In the Kitchen

In the Kitchen

In the Kitchen  In the Kitchen In the Kitchen

I highly recommend it; and it is just what I did today.  Joséphine and I made something for snacktime while the other kids sorted socks at the table, and while the soup bubbled away on the stove.  It is our own invention, and completely delicious.  I think you can see that Jo agrees.

You can get the recipe here.

Red Easter Applesauce

My attempts at charoset are legendary failures, at least in my book. I had my first taste of it {and subsequently fell in love} at a church seder in junior high school. I have never been able to replicate it at home. Ever. And I have tried several recipes. Every Easter. To go with our lamb. Because it is a perfect combination. Or should be.

This year, I have decided to deconstruct the recipe and modify a family favourite. And by happy circumstance {being that I am about 13 months pregnant}, I made it today to save myself a last minute kitchen rush while trying to run our family back and forth to Triduum services, or to prevent me from waking with the Marys to get it fixed before the lamb and fixings go on to cook.

It is a WINNER!

Red Easter Applesauce

Red Easter Applesauce:

  • 1/2 peck of apples, washed (preferably organic, I used MacIntosh)
  • 1/2 c. red wine (your favourite)
  • 1 T. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Halve and core the apples, place them into a covered roasting pan. Add wine and cinnamon. Bake, covered, for 1 hour. Cool slightly. Run through a fine sieve or food mill to remove skins. Serve!  You could even top your serving bowl with toasted or glazed walnuts.  Yummy!

Makes about 5 cups.

 

This is how I put up our 50 quarts of applesauce every autumn (minus the wine and cinnamon). It is the best applesauce you will ever have. It needs absolutely no sugar because the natural sugars are allowed to develop during baking. It is a totally different flavour and texture to the boiled type. Even with the same apples. Trust me.

 

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{Celebrating Every Day} | A Hearty Breakfast

The children enjoyed Irish oats {soaked overnight} with cream and fresh raspberries.

{Celebrating Every Day} | Hearty Breakfast

And festive mugs full of homemade hot chocolate with whipped cream and pink sugar:

{Celebrating Every Day} | Hearty Breakfast

Mama and Jack opted for something less sweet – eggs in a {heart-shaped} hole:

{Celebrating Every Day} | Hearty Breakfast

{Celebrating Every Day} | Hearty Breakfast

And cups of yoghurt with some of those lovely raspberries:

{Celebrating Every Day} | Hearty Breakfast

 

Since breakfast was a little late this morning, we will snack in the middle and save our appetites for dinner: Pork Loin Roast with Rosemary, Mashed new potatoes with feta, and buttered baby peas.  Their mugs will be refilled with a few chocolate sweeties and miniature heart-shaped cherry tarts will finish the evening.

Hoping that your day is full of sweetness!  What are your plans with your sweetheart(s)?

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{Family Centered Kitchen} | Yeasts of the (not-necessarily-southern) Wild

I got a request from my sister-friend Jenn {Miracoli Farm in Kentucky} to post my sourdough starter recipe and instructions, and some information on capturing wild yeast.

Sourdough is amazing.  Besides the resulting sponge for bread baking, one of the by-products – hooch – has a slew of uses in your kitchen, as you will see below.  Get comfy, this is a long post.

{Family Centered Kitchen} | Catching Yeast

For sourdough starter, all  you need is flour and water.  And in the winter, when active yeasts are more dormant, a little sugar to help your starter along is useful.  You also want a large glass jar or glazed pottery crock {cleaned out well and rinsed with screaming hot or even boiling water}.  I use my grandmother’s bean pot and it is perfect!  The cover isn’t too tight fitting, which allows the sponge to breathe.

Combine 2c. organic flour and 2c. water.  Add up to 2 T of sugar (winter time especially).  Set aside on your counter with a piece of cheesecloth over the top.  If you live in a brand new house, or a house that hasn’t been cooked in a whole lot, you may have a little more difficulty catching yeast because there isn’t as much in the air.  You can also put your crock next to your fresh fruit bowl/basket, especially if you have some thin skinned organic fruits that are local to your area or off your own land.

Next day, you can dip out some sponge to make pancakes, and feed the sponge with 1 1/2 c. each of flour and water.  Go ahead and sprinkle in a little bit more sugar if you feel like your sponge isn’t bubbly enough.  It eats sugars.  Keep it on the counter and feed your sponge for another 2-3 days.  Then you can store it in your fridge.  Make sure that at least once a week you are pouring your sponge into a glean glass mixing bowl and giving your crock a good scrub.  Then return your sponge to the crock and pop it back into the fridge.

Whatever you remove to use for recipes, replace, or you’ll run out.  Often, life gets busy and you wind up with an over abundance of sponge because you’ve kept feeding the little critter.  This is a good time to share with a friend or neighbour.  Dip a cup or two out into a clean sanitized jar with a pretty fabric lid cover!

{Family Centered Kitchen} | Catching Yeast

You may find that you get a layer of beery liquid on the top  of your sponge {may be dark or light}.  That’s hooch.  You can stir it into the sponge, or you can ladle or pour it off.  Stirring it back in will intensify the flavour of your sourdough, so it is completely up to you.  If you decide to stir it in, I recommend only doing that once or twice.  After that, you may find that the flavour is too intense, even unpleasant.  If you decide to pour it off, save it!  You can use it for soaking grains and flours, veggies, and meats.  You can actually drink it {I’m not a fan}, or you can collect it and harvest the yeast to brew your own beer.  Basically, what you have is a wort, which is the little sibling of beer.

To collect wild yeasts using your hooch:

Place the hooch in a sanitized container – you can use a short, fat jelly jar {wide mouthed variety} or a bowl or a petri dish (if you’re feeling all mad-scientist).  Some folks like to make a gelatin medium by boiling the hooch and adding gelatin powder.  That could be fun with the kids, but isn’t imperative.  Just leave your hooch out for a few days, in a cool location in the house {near your fruit bowl or bread box is perfect}, or out in the yard in high summer where it won’t be disturbed and in proximity to a fruit bearing plant {grapes or brambles are great!}.  You can also plop a few {local} organic thin-skinned fruits right into the hooch or set them on top of your gelatin medium.  What you’re looking for is a pale beige or white substance, smooth and pasty.  If you get something fluffy or spikey, you’ve got mold.  Discard and start again.  Mold is NOT good here.

Using a sanitized spoon {or a nutpick in the case of a gelatin medium}, scoop up that yeast and place it in a fresh jar of hooch.  In a few days, it will get cloudy and you will get a layer of foam on the top {krausen}.  Then you will notice a precipitate gathering on the bottom of the jar.  That is yeast cake.  If you really want to, you can do a change of hooch and go again, but that’s all you.

Pour off the hooch and save your yeast cake in the fridge, in a covered glass container or a zippy bag.  And use as you would for breads.

1 oz. fresh yeast = 1 packet or 2 1/4 tsp dry yeast.

{Family Centered Kitchen} | Catching Yeast

For Brewing:

You can use a pint of this yeasty hooch to make a gallon of beer.  A litre will make 5 gallons of beer.

I haven’t any beer recipes for you, I’m afraid, but you can get them all over the web, especially from the Homebrewers Association.  Lots of recipe sharing going on over there on their forums.  I do, however know some places for you to get your hops. 🙂

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Be My Valentine

{Celebrating Every Day} | Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day has always been a big favourite of mine.  Other than Christmas, it is the only holiday that I am likely to go a little bit overboard with – decorations, menu, treats.

So I thought I’d share some link love to some fun recipes and crafty goodness.

{Celebrating Every Day} | Valentine's Day

My loves will wake to a table laid with mugs decorated with hearts, filled with chocolate goodies.  Breakfast will probably be Irish oats and cream with sliced red fruits {we’ll have to see what I can find at the market}, or egg in a {heart-shaped} hole with a smaller portion of oats on the side.  And cocoa.  Must have cocoa on Valentine’s Day morning.  With whipped cream and pink and red sugar crystals sprinkled on top.

{Celebrating Every Day} | Valentine's Day

I dipped into my considerable stash and pulled out some Lamb’s Pride wool in Rosado Rose and Ruby Red and crocheted the sweet little hearts you see here using the quickest little pattern from Skip to My Lou.  Crazy fast to work up and addictively rhythmic.  You may find yourself with a basketload by the end of the night.  {I just made the tiny ones, I think they’re perfection}.

{Celebrating Every Day} | Valentine's Day

I always try to make the entire day full of treats, culminating in a nice meal for my sweethearts.  I haven’t decided on a dinner menu, but cream tea at eleven may include these adorable mini tarts from The Sweetest Occasion {they have lots of other ideas for Valentine’s Day, too, so plan to visit for a little while}, and these gorgeous pink-iced choux pastries from B Comme Bon *.  For our afternoon snack time – le goûter – I am hoping to make these lovely crépes * in both sweet and salty versions.

{Celebrating Every Day} | Valentine's Day

*Both recipes from B Comme Bon are written in French with metric measurements, so I have translated them into English, with standard American measurements for those of you who want to make them, but can’t read French, or don’t have a food scale {I highly recommend getting one, the measure-by-weight method is most excellent, especially for baking}. Links to each recipe below::

La Vie en Rose Crépes

Choux Roses

ETA:  This sweet post from my friend Kim.  And this beautiful shot of some cookies her gals made with a link to the recipe.

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