29 July 2011

Weekend linkage

A few weeks ago I posted a piece of artwork that would be perfectly suited to a little girl's room. Well, this would be for her brother.

Approximately the funniest thing I've seen all week: Shakespeare with a tremendous twist.

Yes, this is how it's been lately.

Something to think about from the White Horse Inn. (Christian culture versus Christian belief.)

Something else to think about from Scriptorium Daily. (Marriage and idolatry.)

I'm a wee bit obsessed with sriracha. Perhaps this is in our future. When fall brings in the Brussels sprouts . . .

The Gospel Coalition is holding a women's conference. EXCLAMATION POINT.

Related to that, here's a conversation between Jenny Salt and Paige Benton Brown, about women and studying the Bible. All I have to say is . . . yes please.

Well. Nice.

If you really want that Design Sponge book, look, a sale!

I've been-- so very, very slowly-- learning to trust God in the valley. Thus our song of the week, courtesy of Ginny Owens.

A color palette of fruits and vegetables! Super cool. "Get your daily dose of color."

sweet & sharp


So for the past two weeks, I have been washing my face with honey, a la Crunchy Betty. (It totally works. Not a big mess and not difficult.) That's the sweet.

And whenever I see a pimple trying to break forth, I have gone to battle with apple cider vinegar at my side. A little dab, a little sting, and acne (how DO I still get it at twenty-three?) is whimpering in the corner. That's the sharp.

Together, they've made a serious difference on my skin. Softer, smoother, healthier. I've not even thought about using makeup* for over a week. That was easy.

Both the honey and the apple cider vinegar, by the way, ought to be raw. I buy Bragg's vinegar and big jars of honey from Miller's or other small Amish stores, which are easy to find around here. Yay for Lancaster County. :)

*Well, except for eyeshadow and mascara-- I do love me some eye makeup.

{image credit: Obs70}

28 July 2011

for its leaves remain green

Morning Stream Silohuette
Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

-from Jeremiah 17

{image credit: Andre Luu}

can't get enough of . . .

1) Harry Potter. It finally happened. I know I'm a decade behind the curve, but I picked up the first two at the library on Tuesday, have already finished them, and want to check out the next two before the weekend.

They're not brilliant thus far, but I really love the characters, and also appreciate the inclusion of so many mythical traditions, the whimsical twists, and the overall themes. Rowling's writing is not bad, despite the critiques I've heard, and especially when you consider that it is a children's book. The use of magic differs quite a bit from Tolkien or Lewis, as there is a foggier line between good and evil. Not sure what I think of that . . . we'll see as the series unfolds. I certainly like it enough to keep reading. :)

Eggplant Love

2) Roasted eggplant. Love this so much. Jared hates it. :) So I do not have to share, and thank you, I am more than happy to keep all of the toothsome, savory, garlicky goodness to myself.

Garlic Roasted Eggplant
(adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook)

1 large eggplant, washed and cubed
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
1/3 cup olive oil (or more)
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
big pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
even bigger pinch dried basil

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Toss together all ingredients in very large bowl. Add a bit more olive oil if things look dry-- you don't want oil dripping into a pool at the bottom of the bowl, but you do want everything to be well coated so it does not stick to the pan.
3) Spread in single layer in large glass or ceramic dish. Roast 30-35 minutes, until eggplant is tender. (No still-spongy eggplant, please.) Best eaten at room temperature.

{image credit: Kalina813}

27 July 2011

Well Written Wednesdays: his friendship was of the heart

I realized then that I had not yet told him that I was free. Yet he had taken me in and offered me his home and his studio.

I bowed my head and thanked him.

"I will go and bring Lolis," I told him, and as I went away toward the inn I thought about Bartolome's generosity and candid comradeship. Some day, I thought, when we have finished work, and sit to take a glass of wine together-- some day when our wives whispered and rocked children to sleep in the upper rooms-- I would say, "Bartolome, Master Velasquez freed me. I am no longer a slave."

And he would say, "So? Good, my friend."

He would be glad for me. And I would be glad that to him it had never mattered, for his friendship was of the heart.

-from I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino

26 July 2011


"We have seen in effect that Calvin placed singing at the heart of his theology of the Church.  The reason is not far to seek.  To put it with the utmost simplicity: The Church is the place where the Gospel is preached; Gospel is good news; good news makes people happy; happy people sing.  But then, too, unhappy people may sing to cheer themselves up."

-T.H.L. Parker

(HT: Ray Ortlund)

23 July 2011

Weekend linkage

Oh, the things we do for exercise in this modern age.

This looks like the best sewing book ever. I don't know diddly about sewing machines, but I'm pretty sure I could learn to sew a straight line.

Literary bit of the week: I just love this short story by Katherine Mansfield.

We like honey. We like spicy. I'm making this, and soon.

Hahahahaha WHAT.

This seems like something my brothers would do. . . if 10 acres of wilderness and some start-up funds were to be had.

Second literary bit of the week: the odd writing habits of famous authors.

This is funny if you frequent cooking blogs.

Now for some music! The theme song from my favorite Disney movie. Guess which one?

22 July 2011

In its latest incarnation

 Prefacing note: this blog seems to have consisted of recipes lately. That's because I was in a cooking rut and have been trying to mix things up; because I've made some changes to what we eat in recent months and therefore was experimenting with novel ingredients or combinations thereof; and because it's summertime, so I have more leisure to search for and try new things. Recipe posts ensue.

So . . . granola. We like it, especially with yogurt and fruit, but I haven't made it in a while. I decided to stir up a batch this morning, but altered the ratio of oats and Other Good Things, as I'm trying to avoid grains. This one is about half and half, and I will therefore allow myself some. :) It's delicious!


Nutty Granola 

3 cups rolled oats
2 1/2 cups chopped almonds and/or walnuts
2 cups dried shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1 cup steel-cut oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of salt
3/4 cup honey
6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 325.
2) Stir together first seven ingredients in very large mixing bowl. Melt remaining ingredients together over medium heat, stirring frequently. Pour wet ingredients over dry and mix until thoroughly coated.
3) Spread in jelly roll pan and bake for 45-60 minutes (until browned to your liking); stir every 15 minutes to avoid burning and allow granola to brown evenly.
4) Let granola cool completely before storing in airtight container. Freezes well.

Shared on Fight Back Friday.

{image credit: Shokora}

21 July 2011

Giving things a shot

salmon fillet
Because you never know till you try! (We didn't anyway.)

1) New paint. The bathroom, which hasn't been painted for lo these many years, is finally getting a new coat. I love blue and white bathrooms, so we went to Home Depot in quest of the perfect paint, finally settling on a brilliant white for the wainscoting and a lovely shade called Viking for the upper half. Right now, though, the bathroom looks a bit like a patchwork quilt, with paint samples in little rectangles all over the walls. :)

2) Flower seeds. I planted cosmos and zinnias earlier this spring, hoping for a shot of color in midsummer. My zinnias made it, mostly, but the cosmos fell prey to our sworn foe the groundhog. Well, 1 for 2 isn't bad, especially when seed packets cost pennies.

3) Raw milk. We tried it for two weeks, and Jared decided he didn't care for it so much, though I like it in kefir. So I'll buy some raw for myself, but for most uses, back to the dairy we go. Whatever. If I were a true-blue Real Foodie I'd hold out for raw, but honestly, pasteurized milk and CAFO chicken are the only iffy things left on my shopping list, so I shan't feel guilty about it. :) (I do plan to stock up next time Eberly has a sale, though.)

4) Not eating grains. This is an experiment on myself sparked by what I've read about gluten sensitivity, the possible ill effects of eating grains, and the Primal/Paleo diet (the premise behind which I don't quite agree with, but nutritionally it kinda makes sense). So no grains. Especially no gluten. Not gonna lie-- after a month of this, with only a few "cheats," I've found no lack of good food to eat and I feel a lot better. I don't think that grain is the devil. But I can't argue with how I feel. Hmm.

5) Salmon fillets. Target sells frozen fish at a very competitive price, and so I brought some home yesterday. 24 ounces of wild Alaskan salmon for $11-- though we won't be eating it every night, certainly affordable on occasion. Especially because it's delicious. I'd never cooked salmon before but this turned out perfectly. 


Simple Salmon Fillets with Dill Mustard Sauce
(thanks to The Kitchn for inspiration) 

1 lb boneless salmon fillet/s
olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup sour cream (or use all yogurt)
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
2 teaspoons dried dill (or 2 tablespoons fresh)
drizzle of honey

1) Preheat oven to 350.
2) Brush both sides of salmon fillet/s with olive oil and place in ovenproof dish (in my case, the fillets had skin and I put that side down). Sprinkle top side with salt and pepper.
3) Bake fillets for 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness; when done they should flake easily with a fork. Do not overcook.
4) Whisk together all remaining ingredients to make sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve with salmon fillets.

Linked at Fight Back Friday and Simple Lives Thursday.

{image credit: puzzlemepuzzle}

20 July 2011

Well Written Wednesdays: two-fifths sheer fudge

There comes Poe with his raven, like Barnaby Rudge,
Three-fifths of him genius and two-fifths sheer fudge,
Who talks like a book of iambs and pentameters,
In a way to make people of common-sense damn meters,
Who has written some things quite the best of their kind,
But the heart somehow seems all squeezed out by the mind.

-from A Fable for Critics by James Russell Lowell

19 July 2011

Time can work wonders

clock face

Sometimes I try a new recipe, taste it, and think, Hmm. It's okay, I guess. Good enough to finish it off, but probably not repeat-worthy. But then I let it sit for a while, and when I pull the dish out again . . . Wow. Wow. This is good. GOODGOODGOOD. And I am so glad I waited.

That's what happened with this flavorful, beautiful chickpea salad. It just needed to mellow a bit. I'd never thrown together these flavors before, but I love the results.

Give-It-Time Spicy Chickpea Salad
(taken, sort of, from Joy the Baker) 

1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded
1 whole serrano pepper, minced
zest and juice from half a lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon raw honey
salt to taste

Mix it all together. Refrigerate overnight. Enjoy. :)

{image credit: Natalia F}

In a land of drought and deep darkness

Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the clans of the house of Israel.
Thus says the Lord:
"What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me,
and went after worthlessness, and became worthless?
They did not say, ‘Where is the Lord who brought us up from the land of Egypt,
who led us in the wilderness, in a land of deserts and pits,
in a land of drought and deep darkness, 
in a land that none passes through, where no man dwells?’
And I brought you into a plentiful land to enjoy its fruits and its good things.
But when you came in, you defiled my land and made my heritage an abomination.
. . . my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit.
Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water."

-from Jeremiah 2

17 July 2011

Nor fruit be on the vines

83_365  Barren Trees
I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound;
rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me.
Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble
to come upon people who invade us.
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer's;
he makes me tread on my high places.

-from Habakkuk 3

{image credit: dks10}

16 July 2011

Weekend linkage

This looks promising.

Also in the musical vein, I'd forgotten how much I like Armik. "Montserrat" and "La Gitana" are made for dancing.

Beautiful repurposing of an old cabinet into a stylish kitchen island.

I have a lot of lavender right now. (The bees are pleased.) Maybe I'll follow this suggestion for lavender vinegar.


If we had lots of blank walls and a limitless framing budget . . . the third and fourth are my favorites.

I smell a picnic.

Or you could eat inside, on one of these tables.

Either way, make this a part of your meal. With, you know, a bit of dessert.

14 July 2011

you say frittata, I say delicious

chorizo, tomato + feta frittata

So this new cookbook I have-- Favorite Food at Home by Rachel Allen-- I totally love it. In my two months of ownership I've tried only three recipes, but they have all been spot-on: a cilantro chicken stir fry, creme fraiche pasta, and now this most excellent frittata.

Even the recipes I will probably never make are beautifully photographed and fun to read. Rarely is there a dish that seems overly fussy, and never is there one utilizing fakey ingredients like fat-free ricotta or yellow cake mix.

(Er. I apologize to those of you who use cake mixes. I just . . . don't.)

Simplicity, good looks, fine flavors. Easy to adjust for your particular tastes or the contents of your pantry. We are fans. :) The original recipe for this frittata called for Spanish chorizo, so I think that spicing it up with a minced jalapeno would be really delicious.


Sausage Goat Cheese Frittata

3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large or 2 small russet potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
1 medium red onion, quartered and sliced thinly
1/2 pound turkey sausage
8 large eggs
6 tablespoons half and half*
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 ounces goat cheese**
1/4 cup snipped fresh marjoram and basil

1) Preheat oven to 350.
2) Melt half of butter in heavy 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat (I used a cast iron pan). Add sausage, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon. Add cubed potatoes and toss to coat with butter.
3) Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until sausage is browned and potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan and set aside.
4) Melt remaining butter in pan over medium-high heat; add sliced red onion. Let cook for a minute or two to get a nice brown color, then reduce heat to low and cover. Let cook slowly for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5) Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, half and half, and salt. Stir in cooked potatoes and sausage. Once onions are soft and sweet, pour egg mixture evenly into pan. Sprinkle goat cheese and snipped herbs over the frittata and let cook undisturbed for two or three minutes.
6) Transfer frittata to oven (this is why you need a heavy oven-safe skillet) and bake for 20 minutes, or until set in the center. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.

*Or 3 tablespoons each heavy cream and milk, if that's how you roll.
**Feta is good, or a softer cheese like this.

{image credit: Hey Bubbles on Flickr}

because salad should be a star . . .

1962 - Salad Hat

. . . not just something you eat as the obligatory green sideshow.

But no vegetable oils, corn syrup, or mysterious additives allowed. Thus, I am working on my repertoire of salad dressing recipes. Here are two excellent ones. (I still need a nice creamy Caesar sans anchovies. It would make my husband oh-so-happy. Suggestions?)


Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette
(original idea from here)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar*
2 tablespoons plain yogurt or creme fraiche
a pinch of salt

Whisk together all ingredients until completely combined (or whirl in a blender). It's fairly tangy, so if you would like, you can add a teaspoon or two of raw honey. Once you have whisked it all up, pour it into a bottle, and either serve immediately or refrigerate.

Greek Honey Herb Dressing
(original inspiration from here) 

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons plain yogurt or creme fraiche
1 1/2 teaspoons raw honey
1 teaspoon coarse-grain mustard
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Whisk together all ingredients until completely combined (or whirl in a blender). Once you have whisked it all up, pour it into a bottle, and either serve immediately or refrigerate.


Both of these dressings will separate in the refrigerator. It's okay. Kind of cool, actually. When you want to use them again, run some warm water over the bottle to loosen the layers, and shake it like mad.

*It took me three tries to spell vinegar. Oh boy. I must be on summer break.

13 July 2011

Well Written Wednesdays: that great official Hoodwink

The tunnel of winter had settled over our lives, ushered in by that great official Hoodwink, the end of daylight saving time. Personally I would vote for one more hour of light on winter evenings instead of the sudden, extra-early blackout. Whose idea was it to jilt us this way, leaving us in cold November with our unsaved remnants of daylight petering out before the workday ends? In my childhood, as early as that, I remember observing the same despair every autumn: the feeling that sunshine, summertime, and probably life itself had passed me by before I'd even finished a halfway decent tree fort.

But mine is not to question those who command the springing forward and the falling back. I only vow each winter to try harder to live like a potato, with its tacit understanding that time is time, no matter what any clock might say. I get through the hibernation months by hovering as close as possible to the woodstove without actual self-immolation, and catching up on my reading, cheered at regular intervals by the excess of holidays that collect in a festive logjam at the outflow end of our calendar.

-from Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver

12 July 2011

ah, praties

Jamie O'Rourke was the laziest man in all of Ireland.
"Jamie O'Rourke," his wife, Eileen, would say. "We'll have nothing to eat this winter if you don't go out and dig up the praties."

"Oh, the saints preserve us," Jamie would whine. "Me back's as sore as can be. Sure I'm tellin' you, wife, you'll have to dig them up yourself . . ."

-from Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie DePaola


This isn't an impressive recipe, hence the lack of an impressive name. It's just a really good combination of food and we love it. :)

A few components of this meal had a springboard here and here. But mostly, it goes by instinct. If you'd rather use chorizo, add black olives, saute some mushrooms, top it off with salsa-- be my guest. This is filling and flexible. (One reason I like it: I've been skipping grains for the past three and a half weeks, and this is very easy to make grain free. All I need to do is use arrowroot starch in the sauce.)

I make this amount for the two of us, as I eat half a potato and Jared eats the rest. Scale up or down according to the number of people around your table.


Baked Potatoes . . . and Stuff

2 large russet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil

Cheese Sauce:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour or arrowroot starch
3/4 cup whole milk, divided
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
cayenne pepper to taste

The Rest of It: 
1/2 lb turkey sausage
3 cups chopped broccoli florets
extra butter, sour cream, salt and pepper

1) Preheat oven to 350. Scrub potatoes and dry thoroughly. Poke several holes in them with a fork, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Set directly on oven rack (put cookie sheet below to catch drips) and roast for 1 hour.
2) 15 or 20 minutes before dinnertime, make cheese sauce. Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat and sprinkle in arrowroot or flour. Whisk briskly for 30 seconds or so. Pour in 1/2 cup milk and keep whisking until smooth. Bring to boil to thicken; add cheese and cayenne, whisk to combine. If sauce is too thick you can add the remaining milk little by little. Turn off the heat and cover. This will sit happily on the stove until dinnertime, and you can always reheat it quickly before serving.
3) Cook sausage however you prefer. I buy it in long links; I put the links in a hot skillet, add 1/2 inch of water, cover, and let them cook on medium-high for a while. Then I slice them into "coins" and give them another toss in the hot skillet (this time with a bit of olive oil rather than water) to finish them off.
4) Steam broccoli gently, just until tender. I don't have a steamer, but I put some water in the bottom of a nice heavy pot, add the broccoli, and bring it to a boil. Cover and let steam for a few minutes.
5) Get the potatoes, cheese sauce, sausage, and broccoli into bowls. Set the table with butter, sour cream, salt, and pepper. To serve, just split your potato and mash it a bit with your fork, then load on whatever you'd like. Enjoy. :)

P.S. Random delight of the day: the first local yellow peaches of the season. Juicy, sweet, perfect.

11 July 2011

When I'm a little old lady . . .

I'm going to look like the fabulously stylish, white-haired woman I saw at Panera today.

And I will make carrot cake for all my grandchildren, and grow hydrangeas by the front door, and read Robert Frost to my little old husband while he smokes his pipe. It's going to be awesome.

Now to acquire white hair. (It doesn't run in the family. Phooey.)

He has cleared away your enemies

Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!
The Lord has taken away the judgments against you;
he has cleared away your enemies.
The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
you shall never again fear evil.
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
“Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak.
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
I will gather those of you who mourn for the festival,
so that you will no longer suffer reproach.
Behold, at that time I will deal with all your oppressors.
And I will save the lame and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.
At that time I will bring you in, at the time when I gather you together;
for I will make you renowned and praised 
among all the peoples of the earth,
when I restore your fortunes before your eyes,” says the Lord.

-Zephaniah 3:14-20

08 July 2011

easy peasy lemon squeezy

Fresh thymeThis afternoon, my kitchen counter became a laboratory as I tried two new things. First I made goat cheese. Then I invented a sauce out of the herbs taking over the garden. The milk cost me less than a dollar, and parsley with Parmesan can't possibly taste bad, so what did I have to lose? Well, both projects succeeded, with a minimum of mess and time.

I am finding that good food is so often easy. Or if not easy, at least simple, once you have a few basic skills down: mince an onion, scramble an egg, whisk up a white sauce. Thanks to my patient mother and an array of helpful blogs, I've picked up a few such skills in the past 23 years, and it certainly makes cooking a lot easier! A new bread recipe doesn't scare me now. Haven't I watched Mom knead and roll dough a million times over? Hasn't she (repeatedly) shown me just the right texture it ought to have? Why yes, and so away I go.

It is exciting (to my dorky mind) that I still have so much to learn and experiment with. Someday I'll make my own pasta and stuff sausages. Someday . . .

Anyhoodle. The recipes.


Fresh Goat Cheese
(from Kiss My Spatula, which also has pictures)

1 quart raw or pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized) goat's milk
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
salt to taste

1) On medium heat, stirring frequently, slowly bring milk to 180 degrees. If you don't own a candy thermometer, not to worry! Neither do I. I heated the milk until it was steaming, barely starting to bubble and had formed a little skin on top.*
2) Remove milk from heat and pour in lemon juice. Stir briskly until milk curdles, separating into small clumpy curds and clear, thin whey. Let sit for 30 seconds.
3) Line a sieve with a double thickness of cheesecloth** and ladle curdled milk into sieve. Once most of the whey has drained out, gather up the corners of the cheesecloth and tie a knot at the top. Suspend the cheesecloth from a long wooden spoon, set over a deep bowl or pot, for 30 minutes. (Reserve the whey. It's useful!)
4) After 30 minutes check the consistency of the cheese. If it's to your taste, season it with salt and anything else you please. If you would like it drier, keep draining; if creamier, stir in a bit of the whey. Refrigerate. Makes about 6 ounces of cheese.

Emerald Pesto

2 lightly packed cups parsley
1 lightly packed cup thyme***
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
zest of 1 large lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1) In bowl of small food processor or blender, chop herbs finely. Add cheese, garlic, zest, and salt; pulse a few times to combine.
2) Add in the olive oil, blending thoroughly. This is a brilliant green and has a stronger flavor than basil pesto. If you too are rolling in the parsley, make lots and freeze it-- a single batch is approximately one cup. I am sure that other herbs would be great in this too, so experiment and tell me what you come up with!


*Of course, I knew what it should look like from making yogurt, so if you aren't confident in your estimating skills just buy a thermometer. I really should, especially if I plan to make more cheese . . . which I most certainly do.)
**I'd rather not keep buying cheesecloth though. I wonder if there are cheaper substitutes? Muslin or even thin cotton?
***I took out the large "woody" stems from the herbs, but left the more tender stems. Thyme especially is a pain to de-stem, and well, I'm lazy.

{image credit: pieceofcakedesserts on Flickr}

Weekend linkage

This week we embarked on a new adventure: raw milk. (Not so new for me, as my family has bought it in the past, but quite new for the husband.) From an Amish family 10 minutes south of Millersville, I purchased two gallons of cow's milk and-- just for fun-- a quart of goat's milk. Here is what I plan to do with that.

Along the lines of yesterday's inquisitive post, here are several creative culinary uses for your ice cube trays. Also, I don't know if this snazzy tray would solve my freezing quandary, but I want it anyway. So clever.

A good post from Passionate Homemaking on prayer, walking, and the beauty of quiet.

Ohforgoodnesssakes. This is the best piggy bank ever.

Have you ever listened to Solas? They're fantastic. Three of my favorite songs: Newry Highwayman, Homeless, and Adieu Lovely Nancy.

Spray paint. Must buy. Spray paint.

Here's what the NYPD did with their confiscated fireworks last weekend.(HT: Justin Taylor)

"Your feast is not far off." Some encouraging words from Samuel Rutherford.

I'd never heard of Polarn O. Pyret before this week, but they seem like a more fun version of Hanna Andersen . . . 

Secretary kitty complete with ruffles, notepad, and cats-eye glasses. Someday, when we have a nursery (or a little girl's room), I'll be looking up artwork like this. (HT: Design is Mine)

07 July 2011


I have two queries for the great wide world. Both freezer related. :) Email or comment if you have an answer! Grazie.

1) I like the idea of freezing food in ice cube trays: pesto, stock, tomato paste, heavy cream. I don't like the idea of ice cube trays picking up flavors and passing them on to the next batch of frozen food. Does that happen? How would you get around this? Are there trays that don't pick up flavors? I suppose stainless steel would avoid that problem, but man. So expensive.

2) Can one freeze zucchini successfully, and if so, in what form? I would like to capitalize on the approaching zucchini overload :)

{I have no idea where this image came from but it's awfully funny}

06 July 2011

Then we will have food for winter.

One day, Little Sal went with her mother to Blueberry Hill to pick blueberries. Little Sal brought along her small tin pail and her mother brought her large tin pail to put berries in.

"We will take our berries home and can them," said her mother. "Then we will have food for the winter."


Blueberries for Sal is one of my favorite children's books. (You can't go wrong with Robert McCloskey.) Yesterday Jared and I had a picking session of our own; Spring Valley Farm is the place to be, with an excellent crop every year and spray-free berries. We gathered 31 pounds of sweet, gorgeous fruit in 2 hours, and I put 23 quarts into the freezer.

Not bad, but I'd take more. Perhaps tomorrow?

Well Written Wednesdays: always a rose

Wild Rose 4
The Rose Family
by Robert Frost 

The rose is a rose,
And was always a rose.
But now the theory goes
That the apple's a rose,
And the pear is, and so's
The plum, I suppose.
The dear only knows
What will next prove a rose.
You, of course, are a rose—
But were always a rose.

{image credit: TRE Photographic on Flickr}

04 July 2011

in general congress assembled

Independence Hall

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government . . .

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people . . .

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

{image: Independence Hall by Eric Holmes on Flickr}

03 July 2011

a salad to celebrate

Guacamole SaladBreaking news! For once, I made something exactly according to the recipe-- apart from multiplying everything by fifteen. And it was perfect.

Yesterday our friends Nate and Stephanie got married, and this Southwestern-inspired salad was served at their reception. I volunteered to make it, and goodness grapes, I've never sliced so many peppers nor minced so much garlic in my life.

There were no leftovers and I take that as a sign of success. :)

Food is an inextricable part of celebrations: in my family, it's not a party if there's nothing to eat. And if you're going to eat, you oughta make the most of it. This salad fits the bill.

Ina Garten's Guacamole Salad

1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons minced serrano peppers (no seeds)*
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime zest
scant teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 ripe Hass avocados, peeled and cubed

1) Toss first five ingredients together in large bowl.
2) Whisk together remaining ingredients except for avocados. Pour over vegetable mixture and stir to coat.
3) I think it's best if you let this sit for a while before serving-- for the wedding I made it almost 24 hours ahead of time, then refrigerated it, and the flavors were wonderfully blended. Whatever you do, don't cube and add the avocado until just before serving. (It starts to go mushy after too much air exposure.) Serve cold or at room temperature.

*Okay, I lied about not changing anything. The recipe called for jalepenos but I could only find serranos, so that's what I used. They tasted great. Make sure you are very, very careful with hot peppers. Wear gloves if you can!

Shared on Pennywise Platter Thursday and Fight Back Friday.

{image credit: Imagelicious on Flickr}

02 July 2011

Weekend linkage

Chocolate and bananas and popsicle sticks! This is definitely my dessert plan for the weekend (if we have enough bananas).

Such an awesome idea. I have lots of storage jars. Now I need chalkboard paint for the lids!

I do like this song.

We're not just broken . . . it's a lot worse than that. A great article by Randy Newman from the Gospel Coalition.

Very funny if you're an English major: James Russell Lowell's "Fable for Critics." A snarky poke at Lowell's literary contemporaries, with rhymes that put me in mind of Ogden Nash (or even Dr. Seuss).

Design*Sponge is coming out with a book! Here is a picture from the sneak peek; it looks like a modern version of the dining room in A&E's Pride and Prejudice. This book is going on my Amazon wish list . . .

01 July 2011

chicken on a stick


Here is what we're having for our Independence Day picnic. We decided to skip the traditional (and let's admit it, sometimes-boring) hamburgers and hot dogs: time to bring out the skewers and whip up some fun marinades. We gave these recipes a test-drive this past week and loved both.

Lemon Rosemary Chicken Kebab
(original from Ezra Pound Cake) 

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
1/4 cups lemon juice, preferably fresh
1 3/4 cup hot water
5 teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup (or more) chopped fresh rosemary
generous grinding of black pepper

1) Cut chicken into 3/4-inch chunks and place in non-reactive dish. A nice heavy glass bowl works well.
2) Whisk together all remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in fridge for 8-12 hours. Alternatively, you can freeze the chicken in its marinade (use gallon bags) and thaw when ready to use. By the time it has thawed on the counter or in the fridge, it will be thoroughly marinated.
3) Thread chicken onto skewers and grill on medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side.

Spicy Yogurt Chicken Kebab
(original from A Big Mouthful) 

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
2 teaspoons crushed dried red pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste 
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 peeled garlic cloves

1) Cut chicken into 3/4-inch chunks and place in non-reactive dish. A nice heavy glass bowl works well.
2) Whisk together all remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in fridge for 8-12 hours. Alternatively, you can freeze the chicken in its marinade (use gallon bags) and thaw when ready to use. By the time it has thawed on the counter or in the fridge, it will be thoroughly marinated.
3) Thread chicken onto skewers and grill on medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side.