Saturday, October 16, 2010

Home made pudding, pudding bowls, Made In USA, Anchor Hocking, Domestic Dispute

Jimmy complained (quick... everyone look surprised!) about the homemade pudding I made last week. Not about the pudding but about the way it was served. I made it, poured it into a bowl and put in the fridge to cool. At serving time I used a large spoon to dip it into smaller bowls and  put a little whipped cream on each one.  This  according to the gospel of Jimmy was wrong.  His mother ALWAYS  poured pudding into  small individual containers for cooling and service.   We all know my only purpose on this planet is to make Jimmy happy, so I started keeping an eye out for appropriate 'pudding serving' bowls. ( this is the place where everyone should applaud my self control and attempts at compromise cuz my first instinct was to get one of those instant pudding things in the little plastic cups and  throw it at him........ cuz he should have said "Thank you my dearest soul mate for making me homemade pudding! It was so kind and gracious of you to take time out of your busy day to consider  my petty wants").
Domestic dispute aside, I did indeed find the perfect  'pudding serving' bowls  at , of all places, my favorite organic food store.  They had a 16 piece bake ware set by Anchor Hocking and it came with  four large custard cups with lids as well as an 8 inch baking pan which I had decided I needed a few weeks ago . All for the low price $19.99.  Normally I pass up these end cap deals but the glowing 'Made in the USA' stamp caught my attention.   I have a set of Manchester drinking glasses I bought from them five years ago (made in USA also) that have taken our baboon-like treatment and are still intact with no chips or flaws. (One of these spent  a winter on top of the chicken coop, exposed to extreme weather conditions for 5 months. When I finally found it, I brought it in the house, washed it and it continues in service to this day with no apparent compromises to the integrity of the glass)  
I did some research on Anchor Hocking and while they do 3  outsourced lines (which I will not be buying) Most of their products are still made in Ohio and Pennsylvania by folks right here in the USA.  A happy ending to what otherwise might have been a tragedy. Jimmy gets his  special pudding bowl and I get Made in USA quality kitchen ware. ................ And they lived..... Happily Ever After 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hot spice wine recipe, build your immune system, Grandaddy's recipe, homemade wine, moonshine, hot toddy

Tis the season.... here in the pacific northwest anyway....... Its cold , its rainy, its gray.  Cold season is about to begin and anytime we leave the house we come back chilled and damp.  The Artisan answer? Hot spiced wine. Takes the chill off, relaxes everything and builds the immune system!  Not only is it comforting... its 'medicinal'!
I'm always passing on Granny's recipes so today I thought I would give Granddaddy the spotlight.  This recipe is best when using a bottle of homemade wine but pretty much any wine will work. Moonshine will also work but it needs a little twist of lemon

'Medicinal' Homemade Hot Spiced Wine

1 bottle homemade plum or apple wine
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp whole clove (if using ground clove knock this down to 1/8 tsp)
1 tbsp sugar or honey

Take 1 cup of the wine, put it in a small saucepan, add cinnamon, clove,sugar or honey and boil for five minutes. Pour boiled wine back into bottle, give a tiny shake. Pour hot spiced wine into your favorite glass, curl up in front of a fire and sip slowly.

Grandaddy called this a hot toddy
To spice moonshine You will need 1/2 pint jar of moonshine. Pour 1 shot into a saucepan with 1 cup water, juice from 1/2 a lemon ,sugar,cinnomon,clove and follow process from above.  I recommend you take this in  very small quntities cuz it packs a seriously eyecrossing punch! 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

100 year old pickled beets recipe, pickled beets recipe, miracle food, diet aid, fat melter, lower your blood pressure naturally

Pickled beets.  Jimmy and I have had many discussions around this humble vegetable. I grew up eating my grandmothers pickled beets from a simple recipe taught to her by her mother. So, I love them. Jimmy grew up with an occasional offering of pickled beets which were commercially produced. He hated them. Notice I used the past tense?  It took me years to get him past  "EEEWWWWW beets are gross! They taste like dirt!".  He wouldn't take so much as an experimental bite.  He finally cracked and took a taste and now he's hooked.   I will be the first one to admit that commercially produced pickled beets are indeed gross. Commercial  picklers want a product instantly. Thier process.... cook 'em...add some vinegar.... throw 'em in a can... sell ' right up there with Thunderbird 'fortified' wine in the nasty categories.   Home canned beets on the other hand take a good 4-5 months to cure.  3 months  at the minimum.  But the benefits are are amazing.  Once a beet has cured properly the taste changes significantly.  And beets are the miracle food everyone is looking for. Adding  pickled beets to your diet on a regular basis will cut cholesterol, give you beautiful skin, lower your blood pressure (one of THE  best natural remedies for high blood pressure out there) and keep you skinny.  Ever wonder how our grandparents ate fried foods daily without ballooning up? Pickled beets.  Eat a few bites of PB with your fried chicken and gravy and enjoy your meal guilt free.  The antioxidants in  the beets and the apple cider vinegar help your body to metabolize the fats you need and get rid of the rest. For centuries beets were used as a medicine and not a food. They were prescribed for  'blood' problems.  I'm not going to go into the whole medicinal history of beets or apple cider vinegar (cuz you have the internet too and are smart enough to do the research)   I will say the combination of the two is a power house of health  benefits and properly prepared with time and love are tasty as well .

So, Here's Granny's easy recipe for 6 pints of pickled beets

5 pounds beets, scrubbed and trimmed. Leave 1 inch of the tops and leave on the taproot.  Put in large pot of cold water and set to boil. Let boil for twenty minutes.  Pour into collander (I just dump mine in the sink) run cold water over them and let cool for about 20 minutes. Cut off tops and taproots and slide off skins. Quarter and pack into sterilized jars. Put 1/2 tsp pickling spices in each jar.  Pour hot vinegar solution over them , seal and water bath for 20 minutes.  Put in cool dark place for 90 days.

Vinegar Solution

5 cups vinegar
2 cups water
1/3 cup sugar (I like turbinado)
1/2 tbsp salt  (I like sea salt)
five large cloves  of garlic
3 tbsp of pickling spices (McCormicks works great ) Put the pickling spices in a tea bag or tie them in a coffee filter for easy removal
Simmer solution for about 20 minutes.
Pour over beets packed in Jars

A Note: Many recipes call for using the water from the boiling of the beets. Don't do that. Its where a lot of the 'dirt' taste comes from. My grandmother says this comes from  people in dry areas who needed to save every drop of water. It became very common practice during the dust bowl era.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A day in the Artisan Life, Etsy (somebody buy something please), wake up the chickens, adventure at Joannes fabrics, aggressive relaxation, xbox 360 Borderlands, pickled beets, good wine, good food, good conversation

So, sometimes I have these days that are a deconstructionist's fantasy montage. Yesterday was one of  those.
5:45 am Up and refueling with a cup of Browns Mexico coffee (Jimmy likes new world products, I prefer Ethiopian) Sometimes I like to get the drop on the chickens and wake THEM up!
6:03 read internet news ( a daily occurrence)  checked email and various favorite sites.
6:30 listed a painting on etsy. Seriously, somebody buy something!.... my studio is overflowing!
7:00 Answered some emails
8:00 - ish Jimmy finally crawls out of bed (I let him sleep cuz he had a hard night of  xbox 360 borderlands)  I read a swillish historical  romance for the next half hour with my final cup of coffee and do a breakfast thing.
8:30 Cleaned kitchen
9:00  Cleaned chicken coop and retrieved yet another egg from the floor. After we hyper cleaned, debugged and winterized the coop 3 weeks ago (which included debugging the girls) The girls started laying on the floor of the coop. Cant seem to convince them to get back into the nests.
9:30 Cleaned and pickled 5 pounds of beets
11:45 finished beets and went with Jimmy to get lunch and then a trip to Joannes fabric for halloween and basic sewing supplies.  This was the roughest part of the day cuz tis the season at Joannes.  Wile I was comparing  threads and looking for appropriate machine needles I left Jimmy at the pattern book table to search for  a chaps pattern. Here it gets sticky cuz he was complaining long and loud about the primitive search  through books.  He thinks it should all be computerised. He wanted to be able to put in his search parameters and have everything pop up on a screen.  He pissed off all the little old ladies and one young hipster chick with his  bitching. I arrived back at the table just in time to stop a flash mob and save his life. Then..... had to listen while we stood in line for 20 minutes to get our fabric cut... and .... all the way home..... about how he dug through every pattern book, wasting a half hour of his life only to discover that Joannes had NO chaps pattern. The whole trip was exhausting!
2:30 We arrive home and I now need some ME  time (thank you Joannes for being designed to annoy men past enduring them).  Even though it is not yet grooming day I decide to mask, exfoliate, remove some fine excess facial hairs and do some tapping and qigong while listening to Steven Halpern balance my chakras with the assistance of  a stick of dragons blood.  Jimmy actively avoided coming in the house while I aggressively 'relaxed' for an hour (sometimes he shows great wisdom)
3:30 Made a sweep of  the house with a quick run of the vacuum and began to feel a bit more charitable towards the world
4:00 Put newly pickled beets in the canned goods section of the garage and started   a batch of homemade bread for dinner. Went out to my  'winter' garden and pulled some baby greens for salad.... effectively thinning the lettuce as I went.
4:30 Worked on some studies while the bread rose
5:00 The house smells great, I look great, I have accomplished  enough today to make me feel productive so I invite Jimmy to choose a bottle of wine and proceed to  actively work on a delightful pasta dinner
6:00 pm Dinner, wine and good conversation (with gratifying appreciation from Jimmy  over the homemade bread and home grown salad)
8:00 pm dishes are done, pajama pants donned, and we settle on the couch under the handmade afghan with the rest of the bottle of wine for two hours of selected programs (Boardwalk and Dexter)
10:30 pm Crawl into bed and read more of swillish historical romance before  heading into the arms of Morpheus.
  Yep!  Just a day in the Artisan life