Monday, November 21, 2011

21 November 2011

For dinner, I decided to try out the Green Elephant's recipe for Fried Brussels Sprouts and Wild Mushrooms. Since I didn't have wild mushrooms, I used the ones I had in the cabinet. What a delicious dish! I also cooked some jasmine rice to go with it, then discovered that Tim brought home some fresh salmon from the Brown Trading Company. Talk about a wonderful meal...  

Baking day tomorrow...

20 November 2011

Market day...again.

L L Bean was hopping. We sold out with time to spare before the end of the market. Success! What a fun day. We had fun talking with the vendors and customers.

Too exhausted to get milk. Went home and went to bed early...

20 November 2011

Market day.

It went pretty well, though not as well as other Saturdays.

We have the specialty market at L L Bean tomorrow.

Did some baking and went to bed early...

18 November 2011

Baking day. Got the bread baked for the market the next day so that I was in bed before midnight.

We had a lovely dinner with baguettes and Fromage Blanc as well as the wine sauerkraut. Yum. The sauerkraut came out very well. I'll make it again...

17 November 2011

Pressure canning was not as successful as I hoped: out of nine jars, only one had a good seal.

Dinner tonight was pasta with Fromage Blanc and tuna.

I made sure the dough was ready for market day Saturday.

16 November 2011

Market day! It went well! Better than last Wednesday to be sure--though Saturdays are still better.

The music was lovely. Jeff, a member of the market of many years, played with a fiddler (the same one who had been there last Wednesday--she is very good).

The baguettes sold out in a matter of minutes, it seemed.

Lunch ended up being backed in the wrong vehicle, so we were without. Fortunately, it was a pot-luck day at the market. I managed to pack most of what we were planning to bring. What a good lunch! Hard to choose between lobster soup (can't remember the actual name of the dish), potato and leek soup, two kinds of chili, and more.

What a fun market! I am glad to be a member...

Once home, I packed nine jars with bread pudding and got the pressure canner going. Unfortunately, as the batch was cooling down, I managed to knock the gauge or something, releasing some of the pressure prematurely. It created a mini explosion (slight exaggeration) inside the canner. I fear for the seals.

15 November 2011

Baked two samples loaves of baguettes and brought one to the girls' class to try out. It was a rousing success. I will bake six of them along with six each of the rosemary bread, olive oil bread and cheddar cheese bread for the market when I get home.

Home. Baking went well. While the dough rose, I prepared several batches of bread pudding--six in all in casseroles of varying sizes. The plan will be to pressure can them tomorrow after the market.

Unfortunately, the bread pudding in one of the containers bubbled over and it took more than an hour to scrub the oven before I could resume baking the loaves needed for the market.

In bed by midnight with the loaves baked and car mostly packed.

14 November 2011

I spent some of the day preparing the dough for the farmers market. Count down of Wednesdays--only two left before just doing Saturdays into the Spring (or however long they last).

Saturday, November 12, 2011

12 November 2011

Market day!

It was a good day--nearly as successful as the last Saturday. I even had some repeat customers, and came home with only four loaves and six bags of popcorn. I look forward to the next market day...

We had roast chicken I cooked the day before in the slow cooker, as well as some of the bread left over from the market.

11 November 2011

Market day tomorrow.

I started baking early with the aim to be in bed before 12 AM.

I baked Rosemary Bread, Olive Oil Bread and Cheddar Cheese Bread as well as 10 batches of herbed popcorn. The baking was done, the car mostly packed and most things labeled and printed before 10 PM.

10 November 2011

Since the milk in the fridge was suspect, I decided to turn it into cheese. I first made a half batch of Fromage Blanc then took the plunge and started a batch of cheddar cheese.

The cheddar cheese recipe was pretty simple, but I realized pretty quickly that the raw milk I was using was behaving differently from the pasteurized milk described in the recipe (something I should have thought of sooner). Despite that, the process, though time consuming, went very well. By 10 PM, the last turning was complete. I would not have to do another turning until 12 hours later, then every 12 hours for three more days. I look forward to the final product...

9 November 2011

Market day.

Feeling a bit fried (me, not the girls), we went to the market. More of the Cumberland Farmers Winter Market vendors were there, as well as different musicians: a fiddler who is a member of the market and had a guest fiddler playing with him.

It was a fun day, but not as successful as Saturday.

Once home, I made egg pasta with the Kitchen Aid pasta attachment. The batch came out rather well as it was closer to the classic pasta consistency. Getting the right balance of pliability and stiffness will take some practice...

Early to bed. Exhausted. No baking for a little while...

8 November 2011

The day before market day.

After the girls' class, voting, and installing the part for the fridge when Tim got home (the fridge purred to life, thank goodness), I began baking, and did not finish until 2 AM. I had the car mostly packed, the bread labeled and a list complied the the next morning before heading to bed.

7 November 2011

The fridge decided it'd be great fun (an opinion not shared by all) to have a fire . Fortunately, one of the employees at the local appliance shop assured us he could order the part which could be in the next day. That left us with a fridge we could only open in short bursts until then.

I whisked out the bowl containing the Olive Oil Bread dough and baked it for the family. It was an instant success and two of the four loaves disappeared within a very short time. I'd be baking some the next day to bring with me to the market Wednesday.

6 November 2011

I realized that I had not done part two of the wine sauerkraut--namely add the wine. The kraut already began to have that kraut-y smell, which made me look forward to when it'd be officially done.

Since the farmers market was approaching, I thought I'd try a new recipe as a possible bread to sell. I chose Olive Oil Bread, as it sounded simple, yet sophisticated. Next, the family turned their attention to apples and applesauce.

With Tim and the girls armed with peelers and I with a knife (Tim joined in later), we managed to get through two whole bags which weighed over thirty pounds. From that, I was able to make eight quarts of apple sauce. We only have four bags left to go of the over 100 pounds of apples we bought from Wallingford's Orchard.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

5 Noverber 2011

Market Day!

After doing the last minute packing (the loaves and lunch), the girls and I headed off for Falmouth. We stopped off at Hannford first for gloves and napkins, then arrived at Allen, Sterling, and Lothrop on 191 Route One in Falmouth, Maine more than an hour early.

We got to meet one of the employees of Allen, Sterling, and Lothrop who showed us the market's location, a lovely greenhouse, told us we were welcome to use one of the nursery's carts to transfer our things inside, and assured us that the other vendors would be along soon. That was welcome news as I wasn't sure where I should set up my booth.

The band arrived first: The Newts. Kandy and Tom were quite nice;  they set up their equipment in a corner of the greenhouse.

The first vendor to arrive was Kay Fowler of Springbrook Farm who very kindly took us under her wing and helped us find a location to set up. Next came Craig Hachey of Hog Stomp Barbeque, who began filling the greenhouse with tantalizing smells of pulled pork and brisket, and Kathy Shaw of Valley View Farm. The band began playing (very good), and the market was open!

What a fun time! The girls helped prepare samples and greeted customers, and we managed to sell 15 of the 20 loaves we brought as well as six of the 10 bags of popcorn. The Newts made the entire experience seem festive.

By the time we packed up the car to come home, then unpacked it again, we were exhausted. 

Best yet: I was invited to join the Wednesday Cumberland Farmers Market at the Allen, Sterling and Lothrop location, so we will be back on Wednesdays 10 AM to 1 PM until December, and Saturdays 10 AM to 1 PM for the rest of the season. 

How exciting! I'll try to remember to pack a camera next time....

4 November 2011

Since passing the inspections for my food processor's license in April and one for mobile vending in October, I decided to finally take the plunge and start selling at farmers' markets. My application for my DBA, Bluestocking Breads, was approved at the Cumberland Farmers Market's winter location at Allen, Sterling and Lothrop in Falmouth, Maine.

After picking up milk from a local farm, I spent much of the day baking and making batches of popcorn. The final tally: 22 loaves of rosemary bread (one for home and one to serve as a sample loaf) and 12 bags of herbed popcorn (10 for sale and two for samples).

I got the bread baked, the popcorn popped and mixed, labels applied, and the car packed before 11 PM. I wondered if I would be able to get any sleep...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

4 November 2011

Since there was a little more than a gallon left of milk, I made a batch of mozzarella. It came out very well and went well with fresh loaves of rosemary bread.

I started on the cabbages that await in the cellar and managed to get through all of the ones in the garden basket--all five pound's worth.

Using the Wine Sauerkraut recipe from Sharon Astyk's Independence Days, I made a batch of sauerkraut. I had to cut the recipe in half since 10 pounds were called for and I processed only five (so far). The Cuisinart worked a treat cutting the cabbage into smaller pieces. The only tricky part was finding a plate large enough to cover the cabbage and weight it down while it ferments. Thank goodness the pantry is nice and cool so that the sauerkraut can ferment in below 70 degrees F temperature. The next step comes tomorrow--adding the wine....

3 November 2011

Since the applesauce was such a hit, the girls and I stopped by the orchard and got six more bags of utility apples. I even got a bag of Cortlands so that Tim could bake us some more pies...

Monday, October 31, 2011


Well, since we're in Maine, lobster's obligatory.

Pasta another night. An adaptation Spaghetti Alla Carbonara from 365 Ways to Cook Pasta by Marie Simmons. Since I didn't have bacon, I used tuna, added peas and used the eggs from the farm down the road. It came out pretty well...

22 October 2011

A date! Tim and I went on one for the first time in quite a while. Our meal? Sushi! 'Nuff said.


The girls and I went to a homeschooling event at a local orchard where we and one other family were the only ones there. We had a blast, got a tractor ride to some choice and older Macintosh apple trees as well as feeding sheep grain pellets, eating fresh apple donuts and drinking fresh apple cider. Along with the free bags into which we could stuff eight apples, we went home with a large bag of apples we filled with apples and paid for. My intention: make applesauce. And, if I have any apples left over, make a pie or can them.

For the applesauce, I used the recipe from the Rodale publication Preserving Summer's Bounty.

The first batch I made filled only one jar with some left over for dessert, so I decided to just peel apples until I reached the bottom of the bag and count how many batches of 13 (what was specified in the recipe) I had left. Since I had four, I quadrupled the recipe.

Because I didn't have a food mill, I peeled the apples with Tim's help, cored them and cut them up into sections then threw them into the pot with the rest of the ingredients. What a wonderful recipe! The ingredients were lemon juice, honey, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to taste. No sugar at all.

Thank goodness, the seals took! Now I have eight jars of lovely applesauce with enough left over for desert with ten apples ready for whatever.

Friday, October 28, 2011

28 October 2011

When struggling to add something new to the HTML, I realized that the followers I had I managed to delete.

What a way to treat one's friends!

I must devote some hours today to updating this blog... So many apples and cabbages and turnips and so little time...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

17 October 2011

(Backtracking a bit...)

It felt like a crock pot day...

I got a whole chicken from the freezer and set about defrosting it  as every recipe I looked at specified removing the gibblets from the bird before cooking it. As the bird in question was frozen solid, this was a many-hour proposition defrosting-wise.

While the bird was defosting, I set about finding the perfect whole-chicken crock pot recipe. I settled on this one: The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot recipe on the 100 Days of Real Foods site.

The result was quite delicious. I made broth using the crock pot method recommended on the site, so it was win-win. Yum...

18 October 2011

Since the remaining eggplant needed to be used tout de suite, I searched for a simple recipe using eggplants for dinner.

I found one in The Art of Casserole Cookery by William L Kaufman (published in 1969). The recipe was Eggplant Tuna Parmigana. Since I didn't have the Parmesan or mozzarella or tomato paste called for in the recipe, I used grated cheddar, my Fromage Blanc and tomato sauce I had made from this year's tomatoes.

It came out very well...   

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Over the time of this blog, I've been working on my bread baking.

Here's a loaf from April:

And here is another baked more recently:

15 October 2011

Since I had two eggplants waiting to be a part of something, I decided to use them for dinner.

After pouring through several recipes and squaring them with what I had in the cupboards, I settled on Eggplant Curry from the Moosewood Cookbook by Molly Katzen. It was very good, though I think I cooked the eggplant a little too long so they had a slightly mushy texture. They were flavorful, however. I'd do this recipe again...

I still have one eggplant left. Must seek another way to use it...

Bread Pudding

Since there were several ends of loaves left on the cutting board, I cut them up into cubes to make bread pudding.

The next step was to add milk, which I had to scale up as I had more bread than the cup and a half called for.

The rest of the recipe, a classic from Marjorie Standish's Cooking Down East, calls for 3 tablespoons of shortening (I used Kate's butter), 1/2 cup brown sugar, three eggs, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar (I used brown sugar).

I forgot to take pictures of those steps, but here is a picture of the finished product, already sampled:

It's delicious. A perfect way to put the bread ends to good use.

Friday, October 14, 2011

13 October 2011

The pasta press arrived today. I used the proceeds from a contest to buy a KitchenAid press at the recommendation of both Tamra and Teri. Boy, that thing was easy to use--though I do need to get the proper amount of flour in the dough. Nearly there, but not quite.

For the first batch, I made some squash pasta using nearly all that's left of the puréed Hubbard squash. I took the precaution of puréeing the squash with chopped garlic and onions from the garden.

It was delicious...

9 October 2011

I spent much of the day pickling, making a batch of zucchini bread and butter pickles as well as a batch of green tomato pickles. The bread and butter pickles were hot bath processed, and the seals took, thank goodness. But, unfortunately, not all of the seals of the green tomato pickles took. Some of the jars had to go in the fridge while the rest went into the cellar.

Because I had some bread ends lying about, I decided to make some bread pudding, using Marjorie Standish's recipe from her book, Cooking Downeast. I followed the recipe, but added cinnamon and ginger. Yum.

Friday, October 7, 2011

6 October 2011

We had a great frost that wiped out the tomatoes. Since there were a lot of usable green tomatoes on the vines nearest the house, I filled the garden basket nearly half way full with them. I'll turn them into pickles and relish. Some of the tomatoes were too far gone and mushy. I left those. Perhaps they'll turn into vines next year...

5 October 2011

I finished putting the basil in bags and stuck them in the freezer. Just in time--there was a partial frost...

4 October 2011

I went into the garden after dealing with the laundry on the lines, and found a lot of turnips, beets and onions ready to com inside. Spent a lot of time brushing off the vegetables, then washing and putting the greens in freezer bags. They'll be great in soups...

Must finish tackling the basil...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

3 October 2011

The frost is coming, so I pulled out all the basil and brought it inside to process it. I got only as far as plucking off most of the leaves that still looked serviceable. There were quite a lot!only as far as plucking off most of the leaves that still looked serviceable. There were quite a lot!

2 October 2011

Sunday was spent much of the day working on a giant, 15 pound Hubbard squash I picked up from the local orchard (the girls and I picked up apples and cider).

I baked the squash until it was soft, then puréed it in the food processor. I used a recipe I found here,1950,147186-236204,00.html, though I found that I had to bake the squash for an hour or a little more (lost track) thanks to it being so large.

I reserved six cups to make soup, then used a cup to make squash pasta using a recipe I can't seem to find now. Basically, the gist of it was to substitute eggs with the squash with a ratio of 1/2 cup of puréed squash to every cup of flour. Since the recipe did not include any onions or garlic, I had to add some, but I made the mistake of not puréeing the onions and garlic with the squash.

After letting the I rolled the dough with the pasta machine Teri lent me, then cooked them. Delicious! Though I do need to learn how to use that machine a little better...

Since I had a zucchini hanging about, I started two batches of pickles: one refrigerator pickles and one batch of bread and butter pickles from Andrea Chesman's Favorite Pickles and Relishes.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Miso Soup

While exploring the Hong Kong Market in Portland, Maine (, I was inspired to try to make my own miso soup. With the help of the staff, we picked out some bean paste, sea weed and tofu (as well as my favorite soy sauce, some sheets of sea weed for making sushi and some sesame oil).

I found a simple miso soup recipe here:

The recipe was simple and the results were delicious! I will definitely do this again. In fact, I think I would like to make my own miso from scratch...

Since I didn't have scallions, I substituted chives from the garden. Speaking of which, I should dry them before the frost snatches them away--and the basil, and the lettuce...

Drinks of Summer

What can be complete without iced tea? Perhaps ice tea with fresh mint, oregano, basil and Earl Grey tea. Delicious.

I was inspired by an article in the Sun Journal:

Having the choice of plain ice tea with mint as well as lemonade--that's summer.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Summer Bounty

Thanks to some meetings we had through an off-shoot of our 4-H club, we learned about foraging plants found growing on the property. I was inspired to make pasta with purslane. It was delicious.

I used this recipe but substituted Fromage Blanc instead of the sfait cheese:

I also made a dish with plantain, rice, garlic, onion and carrots. While good, the plantain was challenging, and requires a little more work on cooking it until the texture is a little less chewy.

Gathering greens for a salad: lamb's quarters, red and green deer's tongue lettuce (heirloom varieties), sour sorrel and blackberries.

Cheese and Crackers

Such a good combination. Especially if you make them yourself...

Jacket Potatoes

One of the meals we had was jacket potatoes. I found the recipe from Kathy Bannister's Cook & Tell. The recipe was called "Curried Cauliflower Jacket Potatoes". Because I wanted some color, I used broccoli instead, and the result was tasty.

First, red onions and garlic (added more than was called for).

Next, some tomatoes from the garden.

Then, began combining the ingredients in the pan.

Combining the two.


You can find the recipe here:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

...How Do Your Gardens Grow?

This post is overdue--especially since the gardens are winding down.

Here is how they began:

And here they are in the large garden.

Seeing these pictures makes me look forward to planning the next one...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I went a bit overboard with tomatoes this year.

I planted over a hundred--quite by accident. I started the plants all from seed, making sure to plant a few extra in case the seeds did not come up. Well, they all did, and I planted all the seedlings because I couldn't bear not to.

They were wonderful--all heirloom varieties with names like Mark Twain, Gardeners Delight, Orange Paste Tomato... They were prolific as well, and continue to be so as the frost nears. I fear I will have a lot of green tomatoes to deal with and will need to find recipes for pickles, relishes and more.

Cleaning Tomatoes

In the sink

and in the tub.

Making Sun Dried Tomatoes

This is a simple and delicious way to take care of cherry tomatoes when they split on the vine before you can catch them.

Simply cut them in half, and place them on the trays of the dehydrator. After about 12 hours, you will have delicious tomatoes that can be frozen then used at a moment's notice.

Green Tomato Pickles

I used the recipe from Favorite Pickles and Relishes by Andrea Chesman.

As to the rest (so far), Tim and I made batches of tomato sauce, and I froze a bunch.

Catching Up

When I look at the blog, I've realized I have neglected it quite a lot.

The mission of the blog has not changed. We are still eating naturally, and making the bulk of our food. When we go food shopping, we are still both spending less and buying mostly ingredients instead of pre-made food.

My bread is getting better, the cheese is improving, and the gardens are winding down while the freezer is filling with beans, tomatoes, and more while the drawers in the cellar are filling with turnips. Every year the gardens are improving and growing more fruitful.

I will attempt to bring the blog up to date as well as add to it to finish out the year. Who knows--I may continue this another year, as I don't think we'll be returning to pre-packaged food...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Kitchen Garden

The kitchen garden is a pet project of mine. It has always been a one of my dreams to be able to go out the kitchen door to gather ingredients for a salad or fresh herbs for whatever dish I'm cooking.

It first began as two narrow beds on either side of the walk, then gradually expanded to its present its present size of nearly 12 feet by 12 feet. The narrow bed to the right of the walk, limited by the green picket fence and the ramp to the cellar, has become an herb garden with garlic chives, clockwise chives or onions, chives, oregano, lavender, and at least three different kinds of mint.

To prepare the garden, Tim rototilled the bed, tilling in the leaves and grass clippings I had collected from last year. Then I measured the bed and drove in stakes at the corners and center of each side and strung string in a spoke fashion. Next, I lay stones collected from Mt Apetite as well as from the property along the strings to complete the pattern.

Finally, I lay an additional layer of newspaper, leaves and grass clippings.

The newspapers, unfortunately, were ruffled by the wind. Despite that, the garden seems to be growing well, including the volunteer purslane, which I am loath to pull up as it's edible.

With Tim's help, we repaired Duane's cherub, returning the tail to its proper place. All it took was a little epoxy, duct tape, and hope.

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