Showing posts from January, 2011

January homebrew: Organic Ginger Ale with Molasses

I love ginger. Ginger ale, ginger tea, ginger water, ginger candy. The spicier my ginger beverage, the better-- I want to feel that invigorating ginger kick.

Ginger is known for it's exciting properties, and soothing effect on an upset stomach. According to Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers by Stephen Harrod Buhner (and many other sources, as the information is well-known), this amazing root aids in blood circulation, can lower the body's temperature if one is running a fever, and contains anti-inflammatory properties among many other characteristics.

For my January brew (and the first brew I've ever done on my own) I've chosen ginger ale as my madness, and the methods are as follows:

Using the book referenced above, I modified one recipe to meet a special preference I have-- that of molasses. I generally love the deep bodied roundness the syrup offers and ginger is a most-appropriate pairing. The recipe I used and modified (halved the recipe, changed ingredients) can be…

January canning: Chile Mandarin Marmalade, with a spritz of Ginger {Giveaway}

Remembering my New Year's goals while at the grocery yesterday, I noticed that organic mandarin oranges were on sale and bought about 4 pounds with a plan to find a recipe for orange marmalade that I could modify to fit what I was imagining.

With a bit of memory pulling and help of Google Reader, I referenced back to the citrus challenge from  the Can Jam recipes hosted by Tigress in a Jam and the recipe index from one of my favorites blogs to follow, Food in Jars. Ultimately I chose the Orange-Ginger marmalade recipe as my guide, adding 4 serrano chiles to the recipe and specifying my oranges to be the mandarin variety. I upped the ginger to a big chunk about 3.5 inches long, but otherwise kept the recipe the same. Also, I realized my knife wasn't sharp enough and my patience steady enough to dice all those oranges, so I called my $5 goodwill food processor to the rescue. It's small, and I could only chop 2 oranges at a time but it was easier and faster that way.

4 lbs or…

Rewind, play.

I am taking some time to rewind and document the happenings of my life in the recent past. I love my where my life is sitting right now; I have fun, stay busy, and have been enjoying time with Carson and Kenobi (my cat).

For the New Year I've struggled with the idea of resolutions. But I did make a few goals for myself,  as follows:
2011 is going to be the year of production. Big plans.Brew (at least) one batch of fermented beverage per monthPreserve (at least) one batch of foodstuffs per monthComplete (at least) one knit/crochet/weaving project per monthMake a good faith effort to complete one spinning project per monthMuch of my free time is wasted in front of the computer at home, staring into the oblivion that is facebook, or ravelry, or (insert name here) news website, or blahhhh. I'd like to cancel our internet subscription completely, and just go to a cafe when I want to get out and write. I spend enough time in front of the screen at work and for whatever reason, I'm…

Mushroom Hunting

October 3, 2010 in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. We were simply exploring, no eating, not even any tasting. A few in the photos are definitely poisonous. At least one is definitely edible.

The pure beauty of fungus.

I'm considering joining the Puget Sound Mycological Society to learn more. I'd really like to forage my own mushrooms for cooking/eating and wool/yarn dyeing (like this lady).

PS. Can you find the giant green slug in one of the photos?

farm, cont.

9/26/08. Thinking of Grandpa.

Sleeping on the trampoline in the backyard on warm summer nights as a child was a pleasure and I could always count on hearing my grandfather's whistling from the cab of a grumbly old feed truck as he drove down the highway. If I had an especially lazy morning and Grandpa wanted Ty to go to work with him it was guaranteed he would either wake me up with his extremely loud, lip puckered tunes and the smell of fermenting silage or a shake of the tramp. The wetness of the dew on my sleeping bag and the reverberations of the loudest whistling my ears were ever subjected to started those mornings on a jolting note. He sometimes reminded me that it was late by farm time and he'd been up and at 'em for a couple hours by then.

Pear Chutney

Another forgotten post from 1/17/10 -- adventures in  canning pear chutney. The bare bones recipe:

16 c pears, chopped (unpeeled)
6 c apple cider vinegar
8 c sugar
5 inches fresh ginger
2.5 c dried cranberries
2 jalapenos (not hot at all, triple next time)
1 jumbo yellow onion
1 tsp allspice
1tsp cardamom
1 tsp cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a large pot, simmer for a few hours until the cranberries are plump. If I were to do this batch again I would use fresh cranberries (the chutney needed more tart, less sweet) and extra hot peppers. Cut the sugar, after it's been in the cupboard for a year the sweet bite is too much.

After the batch has simmered thoroughly (skim the scum/foam), process in the hot-pack, water-bath style. Wash your jars, keep them hot (dishwasher is good for this, though at the time I didn't have one and used the oven instead) and fill with hot gooey goodness. Wipe the rim, place your soften lids on top and screw finger tip tight (that means not too tigh…

A reflection of my lineage

A forgotten post from a meandering mind, left in draft state from 5/31/09:

Tonight I arrived home to a reflection of myself in the mirror, a shapely woman in cycling spandex with curves, and mentally thanked my mom for her genes. As I have transformed from a pubescent girl to a youthful teenager, and now onto a young adult, my vision of who I am more closely aligns with the memories of who my parents are and have been, and will become as they age.

I am a product of my parents. More than a mere reflection, I have inherited their physical traits, their emotional responses, and personality characteristics, and many of their ideals.

Driving through farmland this weekend in central Washington, seeing spring wheat all green and tall and thick, noting the curls and light blossoms in the fields of alfalfa, and breathing in the aroma of fresh air and the scent of sagebrush, I was mentally rushed to the home where my heart is. I momentarily longed to sit in some piece of farm machinery, to spend m…