Good Enough

I have said in the past that there’s no such thing as too much pesto and I stand by that, but wow the freezer’s getting full and we sure do have a lot of garlic scapes.

scape seasonWe turned to the internet, like you do, and came across this recipe for pickled scapes. We won’t know just how good they are for six whole weeks, but I have a feeling we won’t think we made nearly enough.

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Sticky Situation

Extracting honey is a sticky, messy job.

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The first step is to scrape the cappings off the wax so the honey is free to flow when the frames are spun in the extractor. This can be done with a knife or, as above, with a scratching fork. I’ve done it both ways, and find the fork to be the better tool. It’s more precise, allowing me to leave more honey on the frame. I’m also a lot less likely to stab myself with it when trying to maneuver with my wax and honey and propolis-covered hands.

When the frames are spun, the honey collects in the bottom of the extractor tub. We position a double strainer beneath the tub, open the gate, and do our best to keep our tongues out of resulting stream of honey. Fingers are another story.

(photo courtesy of a friend)

Break With Tradition

Purim is technically over, but around these parts you might find fresh hamantaschen at any time of year. Tradition is nice, but cookies are nicer.

hamantaschen

(Art by RowKreamArt. Recipe from my mother-in-law. Both bake a mean cookie.)

Hamantaschen

Preheat oven to 350.

1 cup vegetable oil

1 1/4 cups sugar

4 eggs

1/4 cup orange juice

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 cups flour

pie filling – apricot for me, strawberry if you must

Combine sugar and oil.

Add eggs, juice, and vanilla and mix well.

Add dry ingredients.

Roll into a ball, then divide that ball in four.

On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece fairly thin.

Cut into circles with the rim of a glass.

Place 2/3 teaspoon filling in middle of each. You may be tempted to add extra, but I assure you this will end in heartache. While we’re discussing heartache, I should mention that you also do not want to substitute jam or jelly for the pie filling. Disaster in the making.

Pinch sides to form a triangle.

Bake 15-20 minutes. We prefer them on the 15 minute side. You do you.

Slow Tech

Time got away from us this year. Word is that sugar season was short with our unseasonable weather, and we missed it.

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But maybe not. I checked the ten day forecast at the beginning of the week and saw what looked like good flow weather. Cold nights, warmer days. Taps went in just in case, rigged with our high-tech system of old milk jugs and wire. We won’t have gallons of syrup, but I’ll be kicking myself a little less than if we got none.

Victory is Sweet

Last year’s experiment with growing stevia left me intrigued by its sweetness but not sold on its aftertaste.

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Happily, cold weather worked its sugar magic last fall and the aftertaste disappeared completely. Results of hanging those cold-snapped leaves to dry are good too, so stevia has now earned a spot in our pantry.

Easy Does It

I like to do things, but only in the simplest, most efficient way.

IMG_9813Essentially I’m lazy. If you are too, here’s your tip for the day: Next time you’re making a recipe that says, ‘on a floured surface’, use a pastry board. Sounds fancy, yes? No. All we’re looking for is something to contain your mess. Something you can pick up and throw in the sink or dishwasher. A cutting board, a tray, whatever you’ve got. No sticky counter, no gross sponge covered in flour paste, no excuse not to get cooking.

Ready, Set, Go

I don’t know whether we’ll get the 12″ of snow and power outages predicted for our area tomorrow, but I do know we’ll be eating well.

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I did my usual storm-prep cooking marathon today, making everything I could think of that can be eaten as is or warmed on our propane stove. Dishes are done, laundry is clean, firewood is in the house. Throw it at us, mother nature, we’re as ready as we’re going to get.

This recipe makes 24 muffins. If you’re fairly sure you’ll have power over the next few days, you can bake half, stick the rest of the batter in the fridge, then bake the other half when you run out.

Blueberry Muffins

Preaheat oven to 400.

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten

8 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

4 cups flour

2 cups milk

2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

Cream the butter.

Add the sugar.

Add the eggs.

Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, stirring til everything is well-combined.

Fold in the blueberries.

Pour into lined muffin tin and bake for 22 minutes.