Friday, July 22, 2011

Let there be light!...and why I cannot write a cookbook

Kitchen counter light

A couple years ago I bought 2 small industrial, aluminum lamps for $1 each....
no switches, just plug 'em in for light, and unplug when you're done.
Typically to be used in a garage or work space in the basement.

In one area of the kitchen I have had very little light.
I had the cutest tiny chandelier, but it was pretty much for decorative purposes only, throwing off only enough light to make pretty shadows as a kitchen night light.

Enter Pintarest inspiration....

I saw a photo somewhere of a blue industrial lamp used in a kitchen...

We bought a heavy duty toggle switch and a can of tiffany blue spray paint and....


And there was light!

A lot of light!

75 watts of light!

Plenty of light to chop vegetables by.

To create new recipes by.

To see what I am doing!!!

Homemade blueberry maple syrup

Blueberries are in season right now, and one of the many uses for these gems is in/on pancakes.

I found a recipe for blueberry syrup that was easy-peasy and made some this week with organic berries from the farmers market.

Chive blossom vinegar...done!

A few weeks ago I told you how to make your own chive blossom vinegar.
After a few weeks of marinating the blossoms with white wine vinegar, I strained and bottled it.
What a beautiful color, and delicious, too!

Blueberries in yogurt

Homemade yogurt with a big handful of organic blueberries....
a not-too-sweet evening snack!

Flatbread with honey,thyme and sea salt

Found this recipe at Smitten Kitchen, and once again, a real winner from this blog..
Crispy flatbread baked with salty cheese, then drizzled with raw honey, topped with sea salt and fresh garden thyme.
Perfect on the patio with a glass of vino...

Now...on to why I cannot write a cookbook of my very own...
(as many, many have urged me to write one....I am honored...)


I would be hauled off to court for plagiarism!

Oh, I know...I tweak recipes to fit my own personal preferences all the time, so most recipes would not be exactly alike...
but definitely enough alike to haul my fanny into court!

So...I will continue to try new things...
things you may not have heard about...
post the recipes or link to where I have found them...

And leave well enough alone!

In Christ alone,
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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tinctures, Salves, and (love) Potions

Beautiful, lily-white Elderflower

Two weeks ago while at my foraging class, we were taught about Elderflower and it's many uses.
Elderflower honey, wine, and tinctures.

I had some local honey here at home, so some of the elderflowers have been sitting in it for a couple of weeks. Eventually I will strain them out and have infused elderflower honey for tea this winter.

Elderflower Tincture

So, basically a tincture is an infusion of your herb/flower of choice and alcohol.
I chose cheap vodka, as that was the most accessible.
Fill up a quart jar with elderflower and top off with 3 parts vodka to 1 part water.
Leave in a dark place for several weeks, shaking the jar every day.
After several weeks, strain the elderflowers and store the tincture in dark bottles in a cool place.

Elderflower tincture is said to be useful in slowing down viral infections and may prevent flu.
Also reported to lessen the symptoms of hay fever in the spring.
Dosage may vary with the symptoms.

I don't have allergies, and I am not prone to the flu...
I just thought it would be a fun, easy way to learn a little something new!

I also made some elderflower syrup, which was delicious in the stinging nettle tea!

Calendula oil
Salve in the making....

Another item on my "to try" list is Calendula salve.
Reported to be excellent for diaper rash, it is also used to treat minor cuts and scrapes and for chapped lips, of which I have pretty much all winter here in Michigan.

Easy peasy to make, I simply pulled the petals from some organic calendula flowers.
Gathering a full 1 cup, I then covered with 2 cups of olive oil. (extra-virgin not necessary)
Let sit in a sunny window for anywhere from 1 week to several months.
It will eventually get mixed with some local beeswax to produce a salve.
The plan is for a small jar of this to be on my nightstand for my nightly ritual of a heavy coating of lip balm.

Vanilla bean infused vodka

Tho the container is an old bourbon bottle I found, the ingredients for my homemade vanilla are excruciatingly simple...
vanilla beans (gifted to me), and the cheapest vodka I could find.
Leave it in a dark cupboard, and shake as often as you do the elderflower tincture!

I am quite certain really good vodka (or bourbon!) would be preferable, but the budget does not allow for that!
So, we make do with what we have, and I am sure it will be just fine.

(love) Potion
aka: Strawberry Vodka Schnappes

A combination of several recipes, this is a wonderfully aromatic after-dinner libation.
2# of organic strawberries, stemmed and cut into pieces in a 1/2 gal. jar.
Cover with 4 cups of (again) cheap vodka.
Leave in a cool, dark place for several days, shaking the jar each day.
After anywhere from 4-8 days, strain fruit from liquid.
Place liquid in a separate jar and put back in the dark place.
Take your berries and sprinkle with about 1/2 cup of sugar and place in it's own jar.
After a couple of days, liquid will have oozed from the berries.
Strain the liquid, and add it to the original vodka/berry mixture.
Repeat with the sugar and berries up to 4 times, straining every couple of days and adding to the
beautiful ruby colored vodka.
By the time all is said and done, you should have about 6-7 cups of the most wonderful tasting, fruity vodka EVER.
No fake strawberry flavorings....yuck.

Bottle and keep in the freezer for those wicked hot evenings out on the deck.
Just a small glass now....cause I think it could pack a little bit of a punch!

This would work with pretty much any fruit you could think of....
I am thinkin' apricots?

We might be having a few of those wicked hot nights this week, with temps forecast to be in the mid 90's

See you out on the deck?

In Christ alone,

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Saturday, July 09, 2011

Stinging Nettle tea

Organic Stinging Nettle

Gathered from right here around our pond, Stinging Nettle is one of the most nutrient dense plants available.
High in iron, vitamin C, fiber, and a host of other goodies, make it one of the best things you can put into your body.
You may add it to a stir fry of other mixed greens and add it to a frittata.
You may roll the leaves up, stingers on the inside, and just pop it in your mouth.
Or you may dry it for herbal tea.

Stinging Nettle infusion

I dried all of mine in my dehydrator, with a total of about 3 quarts worth.

To make a tea, take 1 cup of dried nettle to 4 cups of boiling water.
Let steep overnight to get every bit of goodness from the nettle.

Iced Stinging Nettle tea

After straining a glass and adding some ice, I sweetened with just a bit of Elderflower syrup.

It has a nice, grassy taste which paired perfectly with the flowery Elderflower syrup.

I am always experimenting in the kitchen, and the foraging class I am taking has given me a
new -found appreciation for what is likely right under my nose!

In Christ alone,
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