Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Snow Day for adults.

Yesterday was the first major accumulation of the season. Technically, we were both supposed to be working from home. We had good intentions and started with some laundry but mostly there was a lot of lazing around with extra coffee, multiple shoveling sessions, and a finished pair of knit socks while watching Fargo for the umpteenth time. But this brunch was the highlight of the day.
Homemade corned beef hash and fried eggs with my best loaf of no-knead bread yet, according to Sam. This is my second time making corned beef from scratch. It takes some planning, since you need to brine the beef for 8 days, but it is not difficult and well worth the effort because you can make boiled dinner, reuben sandwiches and hash for breakfast all from one piece of meat. Here's a link to my flickr set when I did exactly that back in March.

All these recipes are available on Epicurious (search corned beef, March 2008), which is my go to recipe source on the web. It has all the recipes from Bon Appetit and Gourmet and reading the reviews of the recipes is sometimes helpful and often hilarious.

I did venture out once the snow stopped for some tp (when you got to go, you got to go!) and took the opportunity to buy a tree.

Believe it or not, this is the first tree I've ever bought as an adult. I never had enough ornaments and I was usually not home on Christmas so I never bothered. I'm also not a fan of chopping down trees for short, one-time use. If you lived through winter in the mid-west last year, though, you might understand my desire to seek out ways to keep things cheery around here. As I dragged it in the house and that pine scent permeated, I instantly felt a lot more festive. I also ordered some bright red snow boots. Wheeee! I say, let the snow come. I'm not letting winter get me down!

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Monday, December 08, 2008

I finally gave wordle a whirl.

I love it! Now you try.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Buttery biscuits.

Nothin' says easy like Sunday morning like a batch of warm biscuits. Especially when your significant other is kind enough to make them for you. Yesterday, we were all up while it was still dark ready for a busy day of working market and selling my preserves at a holiday fair. "I'm sooooo tired!" Lili said when I tucked her in last night. "Well, at least you get to sleep in tomorrow. And Maybe we can get your Dad to make biscuits." She squealed and clapped her hands and this morning all she had to do was ask.

Look at those layers! I'm not giving the recipe for biscuits because I don't think there's anything special about it. Like a lot of baking, it just takes a little practice. Sam has gotten really good at it over the years so he's the official biscuit maker in this house. I just make the toppings.

Paradise Jelly

~This was kind of a hard sell at the holiday fair because even though its color is gorgeous (see photo at the top of the page), most people have never had quinces. They look like a mix of an apple and a pear and they are fuzzy like a peach. Oh, and they smell like pineapples. "But how do they taste?", you ask. Their flavor is hard to describe. A little flowery? Exotic? I don't know! You'll have to try it for yourself.

This was my first time making this jelly but having it on warm biscuits this morning convinced me it won't be the last. I ordered a case of quinces today.

10 pounds tart apples

5 pounds quinces

2 one-pound bags fresh cranberries

sugar (see instructions)

juice of 2 lemons

Quarter the apples and put in a large pot with the cranberries and just cover with water. Boil until apples are partially dissolved. In the meantime, quarter the quinces with a sharp knife (those suckers are hard!) and put in a second pot. Cover with water and boil. My quinces never dissolved and I kept adding more water and boiling until the juice looked viscous and tasted quince-like. Quinces are really high in natural pectin so you are just trying to extract that. Put them in another jelly bag and strain. It's best to do this the day before so you extract the maximum juice from the pulp.
Measure out the juice and put in a preserving pan. For ever cup of juice, you can add 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar, according to your taste. Boil to 221 degrees and pour into hot jars. Boil jars for 15 minutes.

Serve to your loved ones with hot, buttery biscuits and make them happy.