Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Pie Prep

This year, I had not planned on us having a big Thanksgiving celebration.  My sister will be in town  next week, and we all planned to do Thanksgiving, Christmas, and a family birthday all together in one big "do."  I scheduled myself to work Thanksgiving and, really, almost every day this week.  I'm home today, but worked the past 2 days, will work the next 2 days, and again on Sunday.  Then my husband's sister and her family asked if they could come visit for the holiday.  I said, as long as you don't mind that I'm working!  They didn't, and they're here, some of them, anyway.  Their kids are due to fly in tonight, snow permitting.

A few days ago I made the squash and creamed broccoli side dishes.  I will make the stuffing today.  Last night I made a pumpkin pie and this morning I made the apple pie.  And a few tarts.  I will show the finished pies tomorrow, when I can photograph them with all the feast trimmings, but here are the tarts which will be eaten by the kids for lunch, I'm certain.

For the crust I used half butter and half lard (regular, not leaf) and I cut down on the salt because the crust I made last night for the pumpkin pie seemed a little too salty.  I might have cut down too much, so for future reference maybe 3/4 tsp. in the batch is OK if using lard.  Half a teaspoon isn't enough.  The filling is 8 cortland apples, 1 cup of sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon and a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg.

I took the rest of the crust and made 2 little tarts with strawberry filling.  Rather than making the folded-over tarts I generally make, I thought I could make little tiny pie-shaped tarts as I had little tiny pie plates.  I think they came out pretty well, don't you?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Maybe the Gift Stash is Ready?

Today, after the kids left for school, I pulled another pound of rhubarb and 2 bags of cranberries out of the freezer and made another double batch of Cranberry-Rhubarb Compote.  I did wish I had some habanero peppers to add to this batch so I could have some spicy compote, but I wasn't ready to go to the store.  Oh, well!  It's still pretty great without the habaneros.

I now have 65 jars in my gift stash, which I hope will be enough...although, I might need to make some more...wouldn't want to run out or anything....

Friday, November 14, 2014

Chicken Stock and Soup

Last night I roasted an 8 and a half pound chicken so after dinner there was plenty left over.  Today I took the bones, the carrots, onion and celery that had been roasted in the chicken, and 4 quarts of water and made stock.  I added salt, bay, parsley and peppercorns.  After about an hour, I had 8 pints of stock, which got canned for 20 minutes at 10 pounds pressure.

I also made soup:  I sauteed carrots, leeks, celery, celeriac and all the leftover chicken meat, diced up, and then added 6 quarts of water, salt and pepper, and diced purple-top turnips.  I have a LOT of those turnips from the farm share and there isn't a lot of interest in eating them.  I figured I could slip a few of them into soup and no one would really know unless I told them.  Heh.

After the soup had simmered for a while, I took out 2 quarts and added orzo and let it cook.  That was lunch, with a lot left over that got frozen.  Even without canning it, the orzo absorbed so much liquid that it was almost solid!  The rest of the soup, the part without the orzo, went into jars:  3 quarts and 4 pints.  I am now out of quart jars again.  That's in the canner now, 90 minutes at 10 pounds.  The idea is that when I heat it up, I can add some sort of pasta or rice.  Egg noodles seem to be the favorite thing to add!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Day At Home

There is a lot going on today, for a day which had nothing scheduled.  We have our carpenter here doing some work.  The house next door is being torn down.  And I'm working on a bunch of projects of my own.

First, I popped the two sugar pumpkins in the oven, whole.  I pricked them with a fork a few times each and baked them at 350 for about 90 minutes.  Then I took the flesh and ran it through the food mill, finally using the pumpkin screen for the first time, and now have 3 bags of 2 cups of puree each in the freezer for pies.

Next, I made a batch of yogurt, which is down in the basement on the heating pad doing its thing.

Then I made a double batch of Cranberry-Rhubarb Compote to add to my gift stash.  I'll likely make another batch in a few days, but this made 9 jars to add to the stash.

I also ground up stale bread and made bread crumbs.  These come in handy when I want to make meatballs for dinner.  And it finally got the stale bread off my counter.

Tonight I'll roast a chicken for dinner and then, tomorrow, will make more chicken stock and maybe some soup.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sauerkraut, Hot Pack Method

A few weeks ago I'd started a small batch of sauerkraut.  By small batch, I mean less than 5 pounds of cabbage.  I have no idea how someone is supposed to HAVE 25 pounds of cabbage for a batch, let alone work with that much volume.  I think my crock would hold, at best, 10 pounds.  As it was, I forgot about it for a little while and when I went to check on it yesterday the water seal had evaporated.  The weights had a little mold on them but the sauerkraut was safely tucked under some outer leaves that were well in the brine.  I discarded the top layer, just in case.  It smelled and tasted like it should so I put it in the fridge until I had time to can it.  Which was this morning.

I heated the sauerkraut in a large pot and got it simmering.  Then I packed it into 3 pint and one half-pint jar and they are processing for 10 minutes in the boiling water canner.  After that, they will sit for 5 before I remove them.  I ate the tiny little bit that didn't fit into the jars.  Yum!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Venison Pie, Take Two

Now with less cursing!

I don't know what was really different about this crust and the last one.  Maybe the butter was more solid and that made the difference.  I used 1+1/2 sticks of butter, 1/2 cup of duck fat and 8 T. of cold water for each batch of crust, and made 2 batches because I split the venison mixture (which I made yesterday) between 2 standard pie plates rather than go the deep dish route.  Anyhow, it was a whole lot easier to work with and I powered through making 2 pies and 3 tarts.  Between our guests and ourselves we went through almost 1 pie and 2 cheese tarts.  So we have a venison pie and a cheese tart left, which will either be lunch or dinner in the next day or so.

As a side dish, I boiled and mashed all the rutabagas I had from the farm, with butter, milk and salt.  They're pretty awesome, actually.


Monday, November 3, 2014

How to Disguise Bactrim

Bactrim Suspension is nasty.  Artificially cherry flavored with a strong, long lasting aftertaste of medicine.  Unfortunately, sometimes it is the only option.  There are no chewables, and the tablets are LARGE.  So if your kid can't swallow the tablets, what are you to do?

Dose 1:  Straight.  A disaster.  Total meltdown.  Finally took it after threatening to take away the video games.

Dose 2: Mixed with some Nestle Quik.  Smelled chocolatey, did not affect the flavor a whit.

Dose 3: Crushed up 2 snack sized KitKats and mixed the Bactrim in.  Child actually smiled while eating it.

Dose 4: Mixed with 1 T. of strawberry mango jam.  Got it in, but barely.  Required spoon-feeding.

Dose 5:  Back to the KitKats.

Dose 6:  Made a smoothie with yogurt, honey, orange juice and banana.  Not bad.  Took too long to drink and we were about to miss the bus for school, left half behind so took half a dose straight (with a lot of fussing).  The second half of the next dose was mixed back into the smoothie, that will be Dose 7. 8.

Dose 7: Mixed with melty pumpkin ice cream.  Had to resort to the no video games threat again.

Dose 8: Back to the smoothie.  Had to add more honey and a little cinnamon.  Drank it really, really slowly.  Finished it, but barely made the bus.  Lots of fussing.

Dose 9:  KitKats.  It's Halloween, so we have lots.  No fussing at all.

Dose 10:  KitKats again.  Choosing the path of least resistance.

Dose 11: Mixed with honey; 1 teaspoon of honey to 2 teaspoons of medicine.  Not horrible, better when we also added some warmed milk.

Dose 12:  Baked into the last pancake in the batch.  Made the pancake pink.  As long as it was slathered with maple syrup, it was OK.  "The best so far," child said.  I cannot find any information about whether or not the antibiotic loses potency when heated.  I might ask a pharmacist.

Dose 13:  Mixed with a mashed up Reeses cup and Milky Way mini.  There wasn't anything to absorb the liquid of the medicine (no wafers!) so ultimately got a piece of cheese and dipped into what was left.  Weird.

Dose 14:  Last one!  Warmed milk, added the Bactrim and a generous spoonful of honey.  Somehow, this small amount (about 4 ounces) took half an hour to drink.  Warm milk and honey without the Bactrim goes down in approximately 45 seconds.  Even Dose 11 went down faster.

I did ask a pharmacist the baking question, she was going to look it up and call me back and I never heard anything more.  I guess there isn't any data out there about efficacy.

Ultimately, I think the KitKats were the easiest and most successful of the attempts to get this into my child.  Without even knowing it, we found something that absorbed a lot of the liquid and overpowered the taste enough to make it tolerable.  However, I do not advocate having 4 snack sized KitKats every day one is on a medication.  Hopefully this is the last time we will have to do this, and that my child will be more motivated to swallow larger pills.