Monday, April 12, 2010

Always learning new things...

Cass is pretty excited about this post. He's always up for something new, so today was a big day for him. Or, um, he was big for today?

"Monorail cat, now with greater capacity"

One thing I'm working on this week is learning to make bread from a sourdough starter. I wanted to do it the purist way, so I'm first making my starter. No yeast. Just water and flour. Leave it on the counter, add to it each day. It should be ready for using in baking on the 17th. In the meantime, we'll work on eating up the two loaves I made on Saturday - one is an herb bread with rosemary, thyme, sage and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, the other is a seed bread loaded with ground flax seed, sunflower seed and sesame seed. Yummy experiments.

I'm using a large container since I'm supposed to add a cup of water and a cup of flour each day. I am, naturally, using my own freshly milled flour from a red wheat/kamut mix.

It's not real active yet, but it's developing a wonderful nutty aroma and bubbles are starting to appear. Candy, over at Keeping the Home has easy to follow directions for making the starter and a great sounding bread recipe to follow it up. I don't know how it will react at this altitude but I'm soon to find out. Here's the link to this particular project: Sourdough Starter

And I pulled out the ol' pressure canner to address some turkey carcasses and necks that I had in the freezer. I simmered them in a pot (with some Bragg's apple cider vinegar added to the water) for about 24 hours. I'd never done it for that long but I was reading some info on the Weston A. Price Foundation website that made me decide to give it a whirl. Then I got up with Kent at 5:00 am on Sunday morning and strained my stock through cheesecloth, pulled all the meat off the bones and added a little salt and bay leaf to the mix.

The next thing you knew, there were 9 pints (my canner's capacity for pints) in the canner and I was cleaning up the kitchen. I had these done before I had to leave for church. A pretty productive morning. They all sealed successfully. That evening I used the remaining meat in the pot and a portion of the stock to make a chicken/vegetable gravy to go over mashed potatoes. We had it again tonight over homemade buttermilk, whole-wheat biscuits. It turned out very flavorful.

A couple more pet projects... I'd been soaking some grain for the last couple days and it sprouted this morning. So I set to work dehydrating it so that I can mill some sprouted wheat flour for baking. I'm looking forward to experimenting with it.

And that wonderful kombucha that is so expensive? Well, I was reading about how to make it myself. So I've put a pint jar of organic honeysuckle kombucha (purchased at the health food store) to bed in a quiet, dark cupboard where it can grow a scoby and I can begin brewing my own. Here's Candy again with instructions on how to do this: Kombucha.

I also potted up 22 more plants today. What does that put me at? Around 75? I'm going to have to try new seeds for most of my flowers, I'm thinking, as only the cosmos and morning glory's have germinated. I picked up three kinds of seed at Sunflower Market (how appropriate!) and will start those going tomorrow.

Well folks, Kent got up at 1:00 am to be at work by 3:00 am and he's still sitting here with me. I'd better wrap up and see if I can encourage him to go to bed with me.

Oh, and check out Val's blog to see the really cute snood she made. Turns out we both found the saame pattern online. How funny is that? I guess that particular gift isn't just limited to me and Kathy. Anyway, I bought fabric to make a few of these myself and now that she's taken the plunge she had some good advice for me on making the pattern work even better. Can you guess what one of my next projects will be?

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