Saturday, April 30, 2011

Kitchgarden 2011...

mint from last year...

summer squash planted at the end of two planters...


okra planted all amongst the onions...

green beans fill this planter...

Friday, April 29, 2011

2011 kitchen garden...

Onions planted in January...

April update... also planted peppers; some sweet, hot and jalapenos.

11 tomato plants and will put some summer squash in the end...
the onions in the left corner are from last year.

We (my crew ((Kenneth)) and I) planted 3 fruit trees along the front property line...1 super sweet white peach, one super sweet yellow peach and a super sweet plum, can't hardly wait to see if we get some next year.

well hello there... I went out to weed around the heat pump and discovered
these two little lizards sunning on the hose reel, I can weed later.
Do you see them?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I WON...

I won these two items off EBAY.
A Foodsaver Vacuum Sealer, I's much bigger than I expected. Now all I need is the wide mouth jar sealer to start vacuum sealing my own jars, see an example on YOU TUBE.

and I also got a homemade pasta maker...

This were both really good deals...
The vacuum sealer is originally $140.00 I got mine for $41.00 with Free shipping.
The pasta maker I got for $20.50, of which $10.00 was for shipping, after I received it they ended up spending $15.75 on shipping.

Monday, April 25, 2011

feeding the birds...

handmade pasta...

Two sites where you can get lots of ideas on making your own pasta:
  1. Jamie Oliver (love him), its OK, Kenneth knows
  2. Tastespotting
Check them out

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Mothers Day..

I got this Hydrangea Bush for Mothers Day last year...Today I saw the first bloom.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

baked oatmeal ...

So this recipe for baked oatmeal calls for you soaking your steel cut oats for 24 hours following her method. For each cup of oats, I use 1 cup of warm water and 2 tbsp of whey (I have a lot leftover from making my raw milk yogurt so this was perfect). You can also use buttermilk or yogurt.

I also bake this slow at a low temperature for an hour and it lets the oats soak up the milk and cook slowly. I used raw milk, cinnamon, and raisins but the possibilities really are endless: you could use almond milk and cranberries, coconut milk and dried mangos, etc. You could add sliced nuts, fresh fruit, or – gasp – whipped fresh cram – when it’s done, hot and piping out of the oven.

Baked Oatmeal Squares Recipe

The Players:

  • 3 cups steel cut oats (Because we’re a gluten-free family, we get the certified GF kind)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 6 tbsp fresh whey or buttermilk
  • 4 cups raw milk
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 12-15 drops liquid stevia (can sub 1/4 c. honey or sweetener of your choice)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 c. raisins

The How-To:
1) Pour the oats in a large bowl and pour in the warm water and whey. Stir gently, cover, and let sit for 24 hours.
2) After 24 hours, pour off the soaking water.
3) Add in the 4 c. raw milk, beat egg, and the other ingredients you’re using: in this case, the vanilla, cinnamon, stevia, and raisins.
4) Pour into 13X9 baking dish. It WILL not be a batter and will be liquid. Don’t worry; it’ll cook up in the oven.
5) Bake on 325 for 45-60 minutes until firm.
6) Cut into squares and serve with your choice of toppings.

Enjoy your baked oatmeal squares!

see full article at "Food Renegade".

(Not to suggest that you're ever rushing in the mornings, but if you were ~ like my family tends to be ~ you might find it advantageous to have a really delicious, good-for-you breakfast on hand that can be warmed and served in light speed.)

Cherry-Berry Walnut Baked Oatmeal
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup mixed dried cranberries, cherries, and blueberries ***
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
*** May substitute bananas/apples and cinnamon/nutmeg or any of your favorite oatmeal toppings.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick pan spray.
Place melted butter in the casserole dish and add brown sugar; stir to combine.
Add the egg, vanilla, cinnamon, and milk and whisk lightly to combine.
Stir in the oats, baking powder, and salt; then fold in the dried cherries, berries, and walnuts.
  1. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes, until just firm and the center doesn't move when you gently jiggle the baking dish.
  2. Let cool on a rack for 5 minutes before serving. Spoon into bowls and, if desired, top with milk or cream before serving.
Makes 4 servings

See full article at "Eat Real".

Cape Breton Oatcakes

Edna's original recipe calls for lard or shortening, but since vegetable shortening is something I don't much believe in, I decided to make half a batch with lard and half with butter. The results were strikingly similar. However, both of us decided we liked the ones with lard slightly better. They had a kind of savoriness that the others lacked, and seemed to keep their crunch better after a couple of days. They also seemed a little saltier, probably because the lard's lower water content didn't dissolve all the crystals. You could probably amplify that effect with either kind of fat by simply using a coarser salt, or sprinkling a little flaky salt on top before baking. Or, thinking about it now, you could clarify the butter to get rid of its water (chilling it again, of course), which should give you all the lard's textural benefits. Ooh, and while you're at it, why not go one step further and brown it? Oh, yum.
Source: minimally adapted from Edna Staebler's More Food that Really Schmecks
Yield: about 60 2-inch squares (you can easily cut this in half, or even thirds, but I promise you'll regret not making the full batch!)

3 cups (240g) quick oats, plus more for rolling
3 cups (420g) all-purpose flour
1 cup, packed (220g) dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons fine salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups (360g) lard or unsalted butter, cold
1/4-1/2 cup (60-120ml) cold water, or as needed

a few pinches flaky salt (such as Maldon) for sprinkling on top, if desired

Preheat the oven to 350F/175C. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Work the lard or butter in with your fingers until everything is homogenous. Add water, a tablespoon at a time, kneading with your hands everything comes together into a stiff dough (you'll need a little more with lard than with butter). Divide the dough in half and roll each half out on your work surface to about 1/8-inch thick (3-4mm), using plenty of oats on top and bottom to prevent sticking. Sprinkle the surface with a couple pinches of flaky salt, if you like. Using a large knife, cut into 2-inch (5cm) squares. Gently transfer the squares (as well as the inevitable ragged edge scraps, which are the cook's treat) to parchment-lined baking sheets and bake until fragrant and deep golden, about 12-15 minutes. Cool completely on a rack and store in an airtight container to preserve their crunch.

See full article at "The Traveler's Lunchbox"

Monday, April 18, 2011


A Recipe for making Quark!

Culture options:

To show how diverse home cheese making can be, I am going to lay out a range of cultures you can use, depending on the milk you are using and what you really prefer to make.
For Quark you will be best off using one of our more complex mesophilic cultures which contain the following bacteria:

  • s.lactis for acid production
  • s.cremoris for acid production
  • s.lactis diacetylactis for a buttery flavor addition

For use with a store bought milk that has been pasteurized at higher temps and stored cold or if you find that your curd is too weak, we suggest using our C20G Chevre or C20 Fromage Blanc cultures which contains its own powdered rennet.
If you would like a culture with a little less rennet included for a less firm curd use our C33 Creme Fraiche
Our German customers have told us that when they are making their quark they use the C20 (Fromage Blanc) with skimmed milk and to them it is quite authentic to the cheese they remember.

If you would like a more open texture, the following cultures include all of the above strains plus a culture that produces a small amount of CO2 .. m.s.cremoris.
These 2 cultures contain no rennet but you can add your own using 1-3 drops per gallon of our liquid rennet (the tablet rennet can not be used here)

These are especially good for very fresh farm milk or one pasteurized at a lower temperature and you would like a very soft creamy Quark use our C21 Buttermilk culture which has no added rennet
or our C11 Flora Danica which comes in a much larger pack and can be used at the rate of 1/8tsp per gallon of milk.

You could also use our C101 Mesophilic culture but it is a much less complex culture and would not have the flavor/texture benefit of the cultures listed above and only 1/2 pack should be used for the 1 gallon of milk.

Before you Begin:

You will need:

  • 1 gallon of milk (Not ultra-pasturized)
    The milk can also be skim, reduced fat, or whole milk. You can even add extra cream after the whey has drained for an even richer Quark. The choice is yours. Lower fat will usually yield a slightly drier cheese.
  • 1 of the small culture packs or 1/8 tsp from the larger pack Flora Danica (See our culture options above)
  • Liquid rennet (only if using the buttermilk, Flora Danica or Mesophilic cultures) 1-3 drops per gallon
  • A good thermometer
  • A knife to cut the curds, and a spoon or ladle to transfer the curds with.
  • A colander and butter muslin to drain the curds

Everything needs to be clean and sanitized.

Acidifying and heating the milk:

Begin by heating the milk to 86F (30C). You do this by placing the milk in a pot on the stove. Make sure you heat the milk slowly and stir it well as it heats.

Once the milk is at 86F, the culture can be added. Sprinkle the powder over the surface of the milk to prevent it from caking and sinking in clumps and then allow about 2 minutes for the powder to re-hydrate before stirring it in.

Coagulation with rennet:

Many of the suggested culture packs already contain their own powdered rennet but if using the buttermilk culture or Flora Danica add 1-3 drops of our single strength liquid rennet if you would like a firmer Quark (this is your option). See the details on rennet in our culture options above.

The milk now needs to sit covered and quiet for 12 to 24 hours while the culture works to produce acid and coagulation of the curd. The temperature should be allowed to slowly drop to 68-71F during this time.
The actual amount of time may be largely dependent on your milk you use and how firm you want your final Quark. Again, options that allow you to make the cheese that suits your taste.

You can tell when the curd is right by:

  • Watching for a thin layer of whey to form on the surface and the curd pulling away from the sides.
  • Inserting the knife blade flat at a 45 degree angle into the curd and lifting up gently, watching for that nice clean break as shown in photo below.
  • Tasting the curd that has formed for the right amount of acid.
  • This is all part of your control and you can make the Quark as you like it. Take good notes on times and temp the first few times you do it and if the coagulation or acid is slow in developing then then keep the batch a bit warmer and/or allow it to sit longer.
    For a sweeter Quark: lower temperature and shorter time will be your control.
    For a less firm Quark: use less rennet.

    As in all good things, the best Quark for you is what you like.

  • Removing the whey:

    The dry curds can now be transferred to a colander lined with butter muslin.
    The 4 corners of the cloth are brought together and tied off to form a draining bag. This can be opened at intervals during the draining and the curds scraped from the cloth to the center for better draining.
    This draining bag can now be suspended from a hook or even from your faucet to drain.
    Make sure you have a pot or bowl to capture the draining whey which can be used for other use in baking or cooking.
    It should be allowed to drain for 12-24 hours in a place where the temperature is at 68-72F. The actual draining time will determine the dryness of your final cheese. Again, the choice is yours and this is maybe the biggest reason to make your own cheese at home.


    When you open the draining bag finally, your Quark will have lost much of its whey and look much like a drained yogurt or even a moist bread dough if you have opted for a drier cheese from longer draining.

    Chilling and finishing:

    At this point some folks even add a bit more cream to the finished Quark and mix that in for a richer Quark for dessert. Some even whip the moister cheese to form a smooth texture. These are all options and only your imagination limits you.

    Your Quark is now ready for the table or to be refrigerated for up to a week to 10 days.

    The photos below are the second batch I made into a yummy parfait style dessert with layers of Quark, and honey sweetened blueberries and raspberries.

    Our Customers Ask:

    • Our customers have asked if strained yogurt is the same as Quark.
      • This is not true at all. A yogurt cheese does not taste like Quark. Quark contains the Lactococcus lactis bacteria (works at lower temperature), while yogurt contains Lactococcus thermophilus (a higher temperature culture). The Quark is usually much sweeter than a Greek style drained yogurt

    • Can we make Quark using rennet on the stove in a fraction of the time?
      • Yes, this is how it is being made by the dairy industry in Germany. 4 hours and done! The problem is that you are missing the beneficial buttermilk bacteria.
      • Newer producers now add buttermilk cultures to it due to public demand for live cultures. Making it the old-fashioned way with live cultures is better for your health.

    • Can I make Quark on the stove top or in the oven using higher temperatures over several hours.
      • Yes, you can, but it is not recommended. Too much heat will cook the protein and kill all beneficial bacteria.
    see full article at "Cheesemaking"...

    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    Saturday, April 9, 2011

    kitchen ideas...

    I love these kitchen ideas from Flea market Trixie, go to see all her ideas here.

    Thursday, April 7, 2011


    I am becoming interested in everything "whole wheat"... check out the full recipe on Ott, A's Blog.

    Another recipe i found on "Chocolate chip trips"

    Whole Wheat Pasta (adapted from Joy of Cooking and Alton Brown)
    • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup whole wheat flour
    • 3 large eggs, beaten
    • 1 Tb water
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
    1. Combine the flours and mound the mixture on a clean counter.
    2. Combine the eggs, water, salt, and oil.
    3. Make a large well* (see note below) in the center of the mound and slowly pour in the egg mixture a little bit at a time. Mix the flour with the wet ingredients until all of the wet ingredients are absorbed. Do not force the dough to use all the flour, just take as much as needed to incorporate all the wet ingredients.
    4. Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes.
    5. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
    6. Divide the dough into four equal pieces. On a well-floured surface, roll out each piece into a thin sheet, one at a time. The dough should be about 1/8 inch thick, thin enough to detect the outline of your hand.
    7. Cut the dough into strips of desired thickness.
    8. Let the strips dry on a pasta dryer (or a homemade pasta dryer!) for at least 2 hours.
    9. Note: Fresh pasta takes much less time to cook. Check the pasta as soon as 4 minutes of boiling.

    I want a machine...

    :: Whole Wheat Pasta :: from "Cooking for Seven"

    Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Pasta


    • 2 1/3 cups traditional (12 5/8 oz) or white (11 5/8 oz) whole wheat flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1/3 cup water
    • 1 teaspoon olive oil


    Mixer method
    1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center.
    2. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, water and olive oil. Add to the flour mixture. With the dough hook, mix until well combined.
    3. With the mixer running, add the remaining flour. With the mixer on low, knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
    4. Divide dough into fourths. On a lightly floured surface roll each third of dough into a 1/16 inch thick square about 12×12 inches. Cut as desired. Or follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using a pasta machine to roll and cut the dough.

    Your can use this pasta immediately, or dry on racks for later use. It should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer, as there are raw eggs in the dough.

    Makes about 1 pound of fresh pasta. here's another creative way to dry your pasta.