|Gratuitous Lovey pic.|
It must be getting on winter, as I find myself back in the kitchen again. There has been a long dry spell (if you don't count the wine/whine) on the epicurean front. And let's not forget the creative dry spell. I've had a heart to heart with the BGPs and we have decided that I need to buckle down and post more often than once a month.
I recently discovered Molly's Magic Potatoes (aka Peruvian blue fingerlings) at my favorite farm store. There has been no looking back. I've had them boiled with butter, mashed with garlic, roasted with O/O and I am not close to being tired of them. I even made a shepherd's pie with a blue potato top for dinner with my neighbor. Unfortunately, he was scandalized, being a good soul but with absolutely no gustatory imagination.
|Aren't they gorgeous!?|
Then, in the wee hours of the morning - a dangerous time for someone with access to the internet - I purchased a seasonal (as in Autumn/Winter) baking pan.
|Not bad, if you don't mind pocking|
on your pumpkins...
So far, I've baked a GF sweet cornbread loaf, two pumpkin spice loaves and the GF banana bread you see here. My only issue with this pan is that the top (bottom) of the loaf rises and you have to trim if off, if you don't want your lovely loaf listing to port.
Not pictured (it looked like a hot mess and, if I wanted to show you a hot mess, I would have included a selfie) is a new favorite salad - Arugula, wild rice and sweet potato. As per usual, I didn't have 50% of the ingredients called for in the recipe, but I made it my own and it was delish!
I have officially reached the end of this year's bunny production. While I certainly appreciate the fact that they are popular with the parents/grandparents of my acquaintance, they are very tedious to knit and assemble. Not to mention, hard on my hands.
|The next-to-last lot|
Besides, the holiday season approacheth and I need to get cracking! I also need to relearn how to build a fire in the fireplace. I have been looking forward to cozy wood fires all summer (call me crazy) and had laid out the perfect (I thought) ingredients for my first one a week ago, when the temperatures took a plunge. What I had forgotten is that one side of my glass doors had shattered a year ago. I did everything I used to do and managed to generate enough smoke to set off the smoke detector and drive the dogs under their blankets. The house smelled like a campsite for days. The chimney is clean, the flue was open. Any suggestions from you campfire gals and guys out there?
Falling temps have also lit a fire under my BGPs to get things outside battened down and plugged in. The deck is cleared off, bird feeders at the ready, rain barrels emptied, Llama/sheep water bucket cleaned and plugged in. I'm not sure if I am going to get the garden finished - we have had rain or snow almost every other day. Plus, I'm a little gun-shy after finding another well-embedded tick, the fifth one in a month! It does make me want to never set foot outside.
I'm harvesting the last of my Swiss chard and arugula - there is still kale until the deer discover it.
I've gotten some of the major things crossed off my list - snow guards on all the vents on the roof, fuel tank enclosure replaced (although that is not quite done and deserves a post of its own), hay in the barn. I need to do some work in the chicken coop and set up the winter feeder for the llama/sheep. I have lots of projects inside to keep me occupied this winter (both fun and not-so-much); there is a stack of books with my name on them; a full freezer; bionic hips. What more can I ask for?
next time you use the loaf pan, drop it on a cutting board from a height of like 4 inches before putting it in the oven. that should take care of most of the bubbles and will help produce an even loaf. i'm guessing some of your wood had moisture in it? i dream of wood fires all summer too!
Wonderfully humorous and descriptive writing, still chuckling... You have been very busy! A little unclear on the tick...on you...or the critters?
I have a slightly tricky fireplace flue too though now we have switched to a pellet stove. The problem is you need to get the updraft going. To do this, I would crumple up a couple sheets of newspaper and shove to towards the back of the firebox right under the flue. Light it to a swift roar. It will start the warm updraft so continue with your kindling. Given all that, I still had a few goofs. 🙄
I’ve missed your posts.
- Katie C.
Isn't it great to be back making culinary discoveries and delicious food?
I haven't gotten into the purple spuds but have more than one new recipe to try with sweet potatoes. Must be the weather that insists we pack on the potatoes. Or is the poun Your knitted bunnies are simply adorable. You be the queen of knitting small thingies. A couple of your acorns are hanging on my spice rack as we speak. And the adorable tiny red long johns come out with the Christmas decorations. There's obviously a draft demon hanging over all of us. For some reason (clean chimney, nothing changed) our wood stove in the living room refuses to start a good fire the first try. It's like the damper is closed or the chimney is clogged. Sometimes those BGP get more use than at others. Sigh. Great post, my friend.
You can have your snow and winter prep. Down here people have put in their winter gardens. Summers may be long and hot but I'll take that over long and freezing any day. But I'm glad you like it.
Katie C. is correct about using a wad of newspaper to warm up the flue and get the updraft going in the fireplace! Good luck with that ... it does work!!
Funny thing ... Ree Drummond aka Pioneer Woman only this morning made a purple potato soup on her show! You might want to do a search and get the recipe from her website!
Always fun to see an update from you since you are always quite "newsy!"
No real fires in our rental unfortunately, but I am planning to install a small woodburner in my workshop..and, like you, looking forward to sitting by a real fire!
A tip for coloured potatoes.... don't boil them steam them, and they retain more colour (and taste)
Well, you've definitely been busy, so no worries about not posting more! It's not like you've been lying around! I would have liked to see the blue potato shepherd's pie. Katie's advice for the fireplace makes sense. We always started our fires with newspaper and the house didn't smoke up.
For a moment I thought you had added bunnies to your livestock collection. It might be easier than knitting them. No advice on wood except if being green is the problem, been there and I ended up curing it in the oven and on top of the stove, once I got it going.
I love that rug in your living room and the canine too! YOu have been so busy. I adore your knitted animals...too cute! I can see why they sold out but I have to admit I did some crocheted ones ...amigurumi and my hands were really hurting!
I am fascinated by the fermented curry sauerkraut. I love curry...I always put it in my egg salad. I love sauerkraut too and I have been meaning to ferment some. I've not had the blue potatoes. Do they taste different or just look pretty. Your bread is like a piece of art. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving!
Are the blue potatoes markedly different in flavor and/or texture? I can distinguish between Russets, Yukon Golds, and red potatoes, but a connoisseur I am sure I am not.
Lucky you, to have a farm store nearby! So nice for filling in culinary gaps that the garden can't manage. The harvest baking pan is really neat! Have you tried a yeast bread in it yet?
So, it sounds like you're ready for winter - except the fireplace. We don't have one, so I'm not sure about managing them. My basic fire-starting mantra for our woodstoves is "lots of little" until the air going up the chimney is well heated and able to make a nice draft.
Sounds like you are ready for the winter months. I am as well, with a list of activities to tackle when kept inside by extreme cold or snow! I happen to be one of those winter-lovers so I am looking forward to all those indoor activities.
You make winter sound positively idyllic, sitting by a wood stove doing crafty things while nibbling on purple potatoes and homemade bread. Tim has to crack a window when he's firing up the wood insert in the fireplace. He claims that gets the chimney drafting, and once the chimney is warmed up, it will draft fine. Trying to wrap my head around it, I guess that I would say cold air pushes down in the chimney? Anyways, give that a try. Once you've got an established fire, you should be fine, according to 'Hot Stuff'.
Normally if my Shepard's pie was blue on top, I would throw it out. But I suppose if I made sure you ate the first bite and didn't keel over, I would follow suit. I'm pretty adventuresome when it comes to eating.
I struggled many years with starting smoky fires in the fireplace until I finally discovered the secret. Modern houses are just too air tight. This causes them to backdraft smoke back into the house when lighting until the airflow is going up the chimney. The colder the air outside, the longer this process takes. To solve this, I open a nearby door or window as I am lighting the fire. It does let a bit of cold air into the house but having a free flowing source of air, allows the fireplace to nearly immediately start drafting correctly up the chimney and I haven't had any smoke issues since. Once it gets going, I shut the window/door and close the door on the fireplace and don't have anymore issues. The room will soon heat back up (due to the cold air I let in through the window) and all will be good again.
I have yet to fire up the wood stove. I cannot wait for a cozy warm fire too.
We used to have a fireplace and you might consider replacing the glass in the door? You do need to get up draft to somebody else said before, start with some very dry paper and so small kindling get it going and then slowly add the rest of it. Make sure your wood is very dry as well. Those potatoes look great! Doggie looks very happy on that giant bed haha
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