Some thoughts on a slow-ish Sunday
My brain would like to be here:
But here is where we actually are.
It’s warming up, from this not very wintry winter, but the weather is still kind of erratic. We play out but not as much as we would like (especially Sam, but he is still wicked unsteady on the ice, so he hasn’t been out much since the last storm). Everyone is kind of grouchy and short-tempered, especially me. It was one of those margarita-at-coffee-hour sort of Sundays (as in, one would have been nice, not that we actually had them). Oh well. I am having some extra coffee and we are going to try to make a seed catalog wreath project I saw earlier this week, and maybe continue to pursue our dream of making an overnight cinnamon roll recipe that does not have so much sugar that the smaller people go insane at school after eating them. We are doing pretty well, actually, with good honey.
1. Dark Days Vegetarian Challenge
We eat a lot of vegetarian meals, so this wasn’t a huge challenge for me– although, they do usually involve a non-local grain or bean, especially this time of year. But we can get such good eggs and potatoes, still, that this was a pretty easy challenge to do.
Poor, unphotographed dark days meal. Sigh. Sometimes getting dinner on the table is such a crazed experience that snapping a photo is just too much. We did this challenge last week, though, with our lovely neighbors, and we all enjoyed frittata and baked apples. We had company, so I made several frittatas, and I did add some leftover, about to not-be-good-but-not-local chard, in the interest of not wasting food. I made a Naked Frittata (yes, that would be eggs, cheese, and sea salt) for the picky-pickys. For the less particular palates, I made frittatas with Maine potatoes, sundried tomatoes from my garden, and shallots from the Free Range Farm Truck. All frittatas included cheddar cheese and eggs (again from the Farm Truck– I’ve linked to the farms in previous posts). They were decent; the baked apples were a big hit with the smaller folk– I used a tiny bit of honey (from Central St. Farmhouse), cinnamon, and a little butter (Kate’s). The apples are getting soft at this point, so baking them was a good thing to do.
2. Hobbit Style Eating, Week 1
The jury is still out. It’s hard to eat more frequent small meals on our current schedules (mainly public school). However, what we have been doing seems to be kind of successful– eating heartier breakfasts, for one, and serving an actual small meal instead of just an after-school snack. Both big kids have increased what they are eating, at least in terms of volume if not in variety, and have actually tried a few new things with less complaint than is usual. I think it’s going to take a few weeks to get into the rhythm of this, especially with cooking, so I’m not stressing about it. I plan to play with what I cook a bit more this week, and see how that goes.
3. Cheese and Yogurt
I made mozzarella again and I thought it worked this time, but it really came out too dry. Reading up on it, I am pretty sure I did not let the curds sit long enough (the whey was kind of creamy), and that was the moisture/ yield problem (the yield was lower than previous successful mozzarella trials.) So, I plan to try again. Next time, without any help. I wonder if I go a bit faster through steps when I have help– I think I need to make it alone, very slowly, a few times, and see if I can get it down. Hopefully! My yogurt has been coming out decently but the texture hasn’t been great– I decided to try a powdered culture for a batch, instead of using the previous batch as starter. I used Ricki the Cheese Queen’s culture, available at the Farmhouse, and this batch is indeed smooth, thick and tasty. I will use this as starter next time and see how it comes out– as far as texture goes, I’ve had inconsistent results, although I do get better yogurt with whole, raw milk.
I’ve been using all that whey from our cheesemaking efforts in our bread, and it has been delicious. In particular the too-creamy whey from the last batch of not so great mozzarella. We did calzone dough using that whey, too, and it was similarly awesome.
5. Dreaming about my garden
I’ve read up some on seed-starting this week, in particular winter sowing. Has anyone ever tried this before? I’m cautiously planning to start a few things indoors, but the winter sowing method intrigues me.