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Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

Hello blog, I missed you.  Lots is happening around here and posting just was not happening.  Then I started getting that weird craft blog guilt thing where you can’t post new stuff until you’ve posted old stuff, but you can’t find your camera cable to get photos from your grownup camera, and you feel stupid posting MORE pictures from your cell phone, because honestly, and you’re irritated about that dragonfly washcloth pattern you felt impelled to write even though you apparently can’t count to eight, and does anyone really care that I fried some okra? 

So here’s some fried okra.  I would have already had a harvest if the dratted squirrels hadn’t eaten the seedlings, thereby forcing me to actually purchase okra seedlings.  I’m ok with buying tomato seedlings.  But for some reason okra seedlings makes me feel kind of fraudulent.  Oh well, it’s not like I won’t eat the okra.  When I picked these, Little Owl was so excited that she spent 10 minutes running in circles screaming “Okra okra ba-bokra!”  It was eaten very very quickly.  Happy days.

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In the Can

Well, the jar, to be strictly accurate.  Today I put up some tomatoes.  We had just barely enough ripe in the garden to make it worthwhile – but I consider that remarkable given that it is June 3 and that the tot eats them off the vine at an incredible rate of speed.

This is the first time I’ve ever canned anything.  Although I realize that it’s not exactly rocket surgery, I do hope that what I’ve canned is food and not an elaborate and somewhat time-consuming way to poison everyone.

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Lavender Days

Our spring days are scented by the lavender and rosemary, the fennel, the basil and the green green tomatoes growing in our gardens. My Little Owl likes to sit in her secret place in the garden, surrounded by the lavender blooms and the rosemary.

We have an evening ritual of enjoying a cup of tea together.  It’s a lovely few minutes.  We usually make chamomile and lavender tea from Traditional Medicinals, which we both love.  But the other day, my little one wanted to make tea with lavender from our own garden.  How could I not oblige?

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Bakin’ with Betty

While visiting my folks’, the tot declared her intention to make her Grandma a birthday cake.  A strawberry, very delicious birthday cake.  (I realized that my little locavore baby hadn’t asked for strawberries for months, but that now that spring is nigh, she is obsessed with them.  How does she know?)  At first I didn’t really realize how serious she was, but as she talked about it more and more, I realized this was desperately important to her.  Birthdays are such a big deal for this little one; she adores deciding what to make her friends and singing to them.   And making a cake for her own personal Grandma really meant worlds to her.

Now, I definitely have a certain way I feed the family.  But sometimes, you just need a box cake.  So we headed out to pick up a good ole Betty Crocker yellow cake mix and some (organic! redemption is mine!) strawberry fruit spread.

And the eggs are from Grandma’s chickens, naturally.

My Little Owl impressed me by cracking the eggs and breaking them into the bowl herself.  A little fishing out of shells was needed, but who among us hasn’t had one of those days?  She poured and mixes and folded, with a little help and direction but largely unaided.  And when we slipped those pans in the oven, she was as proud as a peacock.

Then she stuck those candles in and sang to her Grandma. She’s still talking about it.

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I’m really looking forward to baking with her more.  Neither one of us have much fun when she’s trying to do something that she really wants to accomplish but can’t quite manage.  She hates to let me help, and I spend the whole time focussed on not flipping about the enormous mess she inevitably makes.  It’s not exactly relaxed and happy.  It usually works out better for both of us for me to wait a bit with involving her until she really can do most of it unaided.  I think if I handed her all these ingredients again, the only thing she would need me to do is get them out of the oven.

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In the Kitchen

In the last year or so, I’ve been making a conscious effort to buy fewer and fewer processed foods. We keep a couple of Amy’s pizzas in the fridge for emergencies, but besides that, I really try to only buy ingredients. It’s become habit by now. 

Mmm, frittatas

At this point, the processed foods I want to get into the habit of making are bread, yogurt, cheese, and kombucha. Bread – easy, just have to make it a habit. Yogurt – even easier. Again, just make it a habit. (I just made the first batch in the crock pot the other day and it’s been a big hit. I used it with some dill from our CSA to make some dip – it was delightful. The husband and the tot both approved. So weird.)

Draining

Finished yogurt

Hippie dill dip

Cheese – not hard but kind of involved, and I don’t have anywhere to store a press to make harder cheeses. So I’m going to try to get in the habit of making soft cheese spreads and not fret about buying cheddar.

Kombucha, I haven’t tried yet. But honestly, how hard can it be? Fermentation ain’t exactly rocket surgery. I mean, I can ferment the compost (ew) so surely I can ferment some tea. We shall see.

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