Homesteading In The Pacific Northwest

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hearth Side Cooking ... Corned Beef and Cabbage

There isn't much going on in the gardens right now (although I am starting to plan my spring planting : ) so I thought I'd share my latest adventure with hearth side cooking.  I put a corned beef brisket in a 4 quart Dutch oven and dry roasted it for an hour, turning the pot several times so that the side closest to the fire wouldn't burn (I use welder's gloves to handle the hot Dutch oven).

After an hour I added a cup of water, let the beef cook for another half hour and then added the vegetables.

I let it cook for another half hour, keeping the fire fairly small ...

One end of the meat did get a little overdone, but  all in all, I'd say this was a successful experiment ...



I thought I'd show you what the fireplace looks like in case you were thinking that you need some kind of massive open hearth to cook this way ... it's actually quite small ...

...and here's FitzGyver installing our "Green" fireplace insert ....


Monday, November 21, 2011

Harvest Monday ... and More Hearth Side Cooking

Beef short ribs in the Dutch oven, potatoes and squash from the Hobbit Hole baking on top. Unfortunately there is no photo of the finished product (after smelling it cooking all afternoon it all disappeared pretty fast : )... everything turned out great!  I'm feeling pretty good now about my ability to keep us fed if the power goes out this winter ....

I'm joining other bloggers over at Daphne's Dandelions as we share our weekly's fun to see what others are harvesting and what they are cooking up with it...check it out!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire ...

Score the chestnut shells using a serrated knife ...

Place in lightly salted water and bring to a boil ...

...remove from heat, drain and roast in a dutch oven at 450 degrees for 20 minutes ... or ...

... in your hearth ....

... carefully remove pot from heat (wear welder's gloves if cooking on a hearth) ...cover pot and allow chestnuts to steam for 15 minutes ... allow them to cool enough so that you can handle them ...... peel and ...


Motorized Drum Carder...

This post is for the Tuesday Spinning Group at Allyn Knit and are a couple of photos of my FitzGyver'd Ashford drum carder...we have it mounted on an old television/vcr cart...



Friday, November 11, 2011

Motorized Drum Carder...

This post is for the Tuesday Spinning Group at Allyn Knit and are a couple of photos of my FitzGyver'd Ashford drum carder...we have it mounted on an old television/vcr cart...



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Frost on the Pumpkins ...

OK ... I confess ... I didn't grow this one ... I made it with my little felting needle ...

... and some romney locks, alpaca, tussah silk and a bit of merino : )


Monday, November 7, 2011

Harvest Monday ... and a Hobbit Hole Update

I'm joining other bloggers over at Daphne's Dandelions as we share our weekly's fun to see what others are harvesting and what they are cooking up with it...check it out!

I have a confession to make.  I have not been harvesting very much from my garden in the past few weeks.  Not that there isn't produce out there; my root vegetable beds are doing just fine.  I have plenty of carrots, parsnips, turnips and beets that can be pulled anytime, but I've put the covers on the beds and are just letting things "root cellar in the ground" for right now ... why?  Do you remember my post about the Hobbit Hole Root Cellar?  Well it's kind of busting at the seams right now ....

Squash, squash and more squash ...

Apples and onions and pears ... Oh, My!

And here's the confession part ... I didn't grow most of this.  I've mentioned my friends at the local produce stand, S & S Produce, many times over the last couple of years.  Well, back in July I was in there shopping and mentioned to the owners that they should think about having a Facebook Page (something I'd mentioned several times before).    They said they'd think about it, but they really didn't have time to mess with it.  I started to walk out to my car with my purchases, but this time I stopped and turned around ... "I'll do it."  I said.  "I'll build you a page and keep it updated; you just tell me what you want me to tell folks you have available."  They said "Great!" and offered to pay me for my time ... NO WAY!  This place is an asset to our community and I want to make sure they stay in business ... I knew making the page and keeping it going wouldn't take that much time and I spend way too much time on Facebook anyway.  So I made the page and they were happy with it ... and produce started appearing!  I'd stop in for a couple of limes and some tomatillos ... and a box of apples mysteriously found it's way to the back seat of my car ... or some peaches slightly past their prime but still good for jamming ... flats of blackberries that were getting just a bit soft ... and squash...and more squash...and still more squash ... often I wouldn't find it until I got home; some times not until the next day ... So I have a root cellar and a freezer full of local produce; easily enough to last the winter!  My friends at S & S are closing up until next spring ... but I have plans for that Facebook page come April!!  : )


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Irish Oats

I've been playing in my fiber studio!

Irish Oats colorway ... felted hat and scarf.


Irish Oats

The garden is pretty much on it's own until I begin seed starting in January.  Canning, freezing and drying is done and except for Christmas goodies it's pretty much easy soups and stews from the kitchen right now ... so that means it's time to get to work in the studio!

Irish Oats colorway ... felted hat and scarf.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Am A Subversive Plotter!

Here's a really good video about reasons for growing our kitchen gardens ...


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Irish Oats

1 ounce natural oatmeal BFL
1/2 ounce tussah silk
1/4 ounce fawn alpaca
1/4 ounce dark chocolate alpaca
a pinch of copper bling

Run the ingredients through a drum carder, packing well.  For "Country Oats" run it through once; for "City Oats" run it through twice...

...doff ...

... and form into batts ...

...apply to a spinning wheel to form a 20 wpi single ...

Spin two bobbins and set them into a tensioned Lazy Kate ...

...and ply with 12 counts per pull ...

 Repeat above steps 5 times to form 300 yards of yarn.

Using size 10 needles, cast on 18 ... 
Rows 1 - 4: k18
Row 5: k4, p10, k4
Row: 6 k18
Repeat rows 5 and 6 until scarf measures about 6' long
Repeat Rows 1 - 4
Bind off


Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Return of the Blob ...

Some of my favorite time savers in the kitchen are my blobs.  At the end of the summer when  herbs are plentiful I make mixed herb blobs ...

Here I have a mix of basil, parsley, rosemary and thyme that I puree in a processor with a little olive oil ...

... spoon into an ice cube tray and freeze ...

... and then pop out of the tray, place in a labeled freezer bag and store in the freezer...

I make roasted garlic blobs by peeling a bunch of garlic cloves, drizzling them with a little olive oil and roasting them in a covered dish at 350 degrees for about an hour ...

Here are some roasted garlic blobs and some basil blobs getting ready to go into the freezer...

And after they've been frozen and are ready to store ...

I saute mushrooms (in this case chanterelles) in olive oil and make mushroom blobs ...

And  it seems that most recipes that call for chipotle peppers only use one or two, so I make blobs out of the rest of the can ...

Can you think of anything else that would make good blobs?


Friday, October 21, 2011

It's A Cold And Rainy Afternoon ... Chicken and Dumplings!

Recipe and directions to follow ... : )


The reason I posted the pic above yesterday was that I was feeling pretty darned pleased with myself.  I DID cook the chicken and dumpling in a cast iron skillet in my fireplace!

For those who have asked, here's the recipe.  You'll have to wait until I make it again for a photo of the finished dish.


For the Chicken Stew:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 cup sliced carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart chicken broth, preferably homemade
1 cup diced red potatoes
1 mixed herb blob
2 tablespoons butter, softened at room temperature
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup sliced mushrooms (I used Chanterelles this time)
2 cups cooked chicken meat, coarsely chopped

Saute the onion, carrot and celery in the olive oil in a heavy pan until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 more minute.  Add the broth, the potatoes and the herb blob and cook over medium high heat  until the potatoes are done, about 15 minutes.  Mix the butter and flour together to form a paste (a beurre manie) and stir it into the broth mixture to thicken the stew.  Add the chicken and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes.

For the Dumplings:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup butter or shortening
1/2 cup cold water
1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped

Mix the dry ingredients together.  Cut in butter (or shortening) with a fork or a pastry blender. Add the water and the parsley and stir until it just sticks together.

Drop large spoonfuls of the dumpling mix onto the top of the hot chicken stew.  Cover the pot and cook for about 30 minutes over medium heat until the dumplings are cooked through.

For the fireplace version:  Get a good bed of coals going in the fireplace.  Set 2 fire bricks into the coals (carefully!  I wore welder's gloves while doing this) about 8 inches apart.  Use a heavy cast iron pot or covered skillet. I did the step of sauteing the vegetables on  my stove top, added the broth and potatoes and placed the covered skillet on the fire bricks for about 20 minutes. I removed the skillet from the hearth (again, wearing welder's gloves), stirred in the rest of the stew ingredients and replaced the skillet on in the fireplace for about 10 more minutes.  I removed the skillet (don't forget the welder's gloves) and then built the fire up again and let it die down until I had another good bed of coals and then added the dumpling mix and returned the skillet to the hearth for about 30 minutes.  The dumplings actually browned a little bit and were perfect!