Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Artisan No Knead Bread

Crusty Artisan No Knead Bread.  This was a recipe I knew I would have to try when I found it at Simply So Good
It was easy to make but I did have to add more water (she says it takes 1 1/2 cups) to get the right shaggy texture.  And my loaf was already pretty dark when I took off the lid after 30 minutes so I only cooked it an additional 10 minutes.
This is what it looked like when I took it out of the oven.  I had added about 1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese to the dough in the beginning.  I think a bit of it stuck to the pot  so I had to pry the loaf up to get it out but no big deal.
The bread looks beautiful.  The texture was a surprise.  Very similar to sourdough bread---a little chewy but not dense at all!  The crust is lovely, crispy but very thin.  Be sure and check out her detailed tutorial and bread variations.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Steam Those Farm Fresh Eggs

Last week I did a post about preparing hard boiled eggs in the pressure cooker.  Since my hens had stopped laying for the winter (my girls are getting older and have started slowing down egg production), I used store bought eggs (gasp).  Steaming the eggs worked so well I couldn't wait to try the method of my chicken's fresh eggs but thought I would have to wait for spring's warmer weather.
Then this morning I found three eggs in the chicken house!  The previous week's warmer temps must have tricked the ladies into laying.  Yipee!  I quickly got out the electric pressure cooker, put in my three precious eggs, set the cooker at low pressure for 7 minutes and did the natural steam release.  After the eggs sat in ice cold water for three minutes, I started to peel them and......... the shells easily slipped off the eggs leaving smooth eggs perfectly cooked!  Oh happy day.  This almost made up for the failed attempt at today's homemade yogurt. Yuck 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Concord Grape Jelly

Who does their canning in January?  I do, and you can too if you freeze your concord grape juice from last summers harvest.  Think about it.  Instead of canning in a hot, steamy kitchen in August, you can put up jelly in your cozy kitchen as snow falls outside in winter! 
Last summer I juiced my grapes and froze them until the day I would have more time.  Today was that day.  I used a recipe from the Ball Book of Canning.  It calls for 4 cups of concord grape juice and 7 cups of sugar.  The sugar and juice are brought to a boil in a large pot.  Add one envelope liquid pectin and return to a strong boil for one minute.  Ladle into sterilized 8 oz jars leaving 1/4 inch space at top of jar and water bath for 10 minutes.  This makes 7 jars.  I doubled the recipe but be careful to use a large enough pot to prevent boil over!   Look how pretty the jars look full of sweet grape jelly waiting to go to neighbors and friends......except for a few jars that will find their way into MY pantry. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs!

I have been consumed with finding the best method for perfectly hard boiled eggs!  I have chickens so my eggs are very fresh.  That means my boiled eggs are a mess to peel.  And that green ring around the yolk, yuck.  I tried different methods on the stove top----boil, don't boil, lid on, lid off, run under cold water, Eggies.......even baking in the oven.  All with the same results.  Half the egg stuck on the shell, over or under cooked yolks and that green stuff......  Then, while searching for  a pressure cooker recipe for dinner, I found Hip Pressure Cooking who had instructions for steaming eggs!  Sounded interesting.  I decided to give it a try.  It took some adjusting of her timing to come out with an egg that was perfectly cooked, (I cooked one egg at the recommended 6 minutes, found that it was a little under cooked so I increased it to 7 minutes) but her method was fast, easy and turns out every time!  Here is the process.......
Fill your electric pressure cooker with 1 cup water.  Hip has instructions for non electric cookers too!  Put in a rack or steam basket.
Now arrange a dish towel over the rack and place up to a dozen eggs, or as many as will fit without touching each other.  Use the towel to provide cushioning between eggs.
Cook at low pressure for 7 minutes.
Allow pressure to release on it's own (natural release).  On my machine this takes about 3 to 4 minutes.  This step is very important.  If you hurry up the steam release (and I know you will want to!) the yolk with not cook through no matter how long you steam cook them. 
Once the steam is all gone, remove the lid, use tongs to take out eggs and run under cold water for 3 minutes.  Crack the eggs on both ends and (I was so impressed) easily remove shells. 
These eggs are not rubbery, the yolks are creamy and there is no green to be seen!  I have made these 5 times with the same results......I will never boil another egg again------plus the total time involved is about 15 minutes tops.  Thanksgiving will now have one less kitchen catastrophe next year!!!!  Diana

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Retro Dress Quilt

I am so excited to show you a quilt/wall hanging that I just finished after months of on again off again work!
Made for my sewing room, this quilt features machine embroidered 50's style dresses in different red prints. 
Because it was for the wall I didn't worry too much about how close the machine quilting was. 
Here are some close ups of a few of the dresses.
You can find the machine embroidery design here.  It was was so fun to make each of these dresses!   Plus this quilt will give me something pretty to look at while working at my embroidery machine.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Giving Bunnies

Have you heard of the Giving Bunny?
I have been dying to make some of these so, as soon as the fleece I ordered from Fabricworm arrived at my door, I quickly whipped up two!
This is how the Giving Bunny Project works.  You make as many of these cute little guys as you want.  For mine I downloaded a free embroidery design from Urban Threads.  They come in two sizes so even if you only have a 4x4 hoop you can still play.  Be sure and print up the tags (also available at Urban Threads)!  Next, and here is the fun part, leave the bunnies where they are sure to be found by a stranger!  Sort of like random acts of kindness but much fuzzier! 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Fabulous Find Friday For Jan 4th

First of all, I KNOW it is Saturday.  I just didn't get this out in time!  Now that that is settled......guess what I am getting!!!!!!
William Sonoma is having this beauty on sale right now plus they have free shipping!!!  The free shipping code expires tomorrow but it is definitely worth taking a look at all their goodies.  Just type FREESHIP in the discount code area as you are checking out.
Now back to my new toy.  It is an electric slow cooker/pressure cooker.  I didn't even know they made these.  That's right, both!  In one!  Here is why I needed is both a slow cooker and pressure cooker!!!!!!!!  And it is electric and programmable and the lid won't come off when you take a meal to church or the cabin.  No more juice or sauce getting all over the car.  No more pot watching waiting for the pressure cooker to explode.  Plus my friend Rhoda got a new electric pressure cooker from her sister for Christmas.........  Got to have one too. 
  I can not wait for this to get here!