Tuesday, June 22, 2010

blog #418 >> Hungarian Chicken n' Dumplings

Thanks Trina for this amazing recipe! I love it! I finally had a chance to make it tonight with some of my left over roast chicken and it turned out fantastic. Yours was better however, no surprise there. But I think I'm going to buy some hot paprika next time I'm at "The Wall of Herbs." It needed that extra punch and even though the little bit of chili powder I added was good, the hot paprika was better.
I can't wait to see what you're going to cook up next!
(See Trina's cooking blog here: Give to the Wheat)

Monday, June 21, 2010

blog #417 >> The Best of Roast Chickens

This morning I woke up and thought, "I get to cook my chicken today!" I have never been this excited to cook a chicken before. So whether this chicken is actually the best chicken ever or if I just pulled out all the bells and whistles when I baked it is still up for debate. Either way it is one delicious chicken! What made this chicken so amazing? I butchered it myself. Hopefully, everyone who reads this blog by now knows I'm to some psychopathic animal killer. Butchering is just the early steps of cooking a chicken that most people have never experienced. My brother invited my over to his house to help him butcher his 14 Cornish cross roasters and he gave me the runt of the batch for helping. I really thought I was going to get over there take one look at the dead chicken and say, "I really can't do this!" But it was not nearly as grisly, gory or traumatizing as I thought it would be. All in all it was pretty tame. There again I'm pretty calloused. We always raised chickens and turkeys growing up and lots of my childhood friends had farms. Plus I've cleaned my fair share of trout in my day. So, I guess butchering chickens isn't too far out of the ordinary for me. It's kinda like plucking my eyebrows, mixed with carving a pumpkin, combined with open heart surgery. Only it's way easier than open heart surgery because you don't need to put everything back...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

blog #416 >> Another Day at the Creek

We were lucky yesterday, and it clear up just long enough for us to go down to the creek. I can't wait for summer to arrive! It's still too muddy to spend much time down there.

The Taj Mahal of firewood.

Hitching a ride down the road to gather spring water for Carrie's homemade root beer.


blog #415 >> Great Stuff at Mike's

As I have mentioned before, Mike's in Estacada is quite possibly the finest second hand store on Earth. It's like a museum where everything is for sale, and there's no telling what you might find there. Here are some of the remarkable finds I did NOT bring home last week:

This is the most amazing shoe shiner of all time. Just think of how new all of your shoes would look all of the time!

Your very own portrait of JFK, and I wish I had gotten the entire sign in the photo! Mike loves signs! This one says, "Why do dishonest people get visibly angry when you tell them the truth?" He also has a jar by the cash register that says, "If you don't think I charged you enough, you can pay for the difference here."

A gold duster! It will pay for itself!

The "long arm rocker." If anyone knows why it has such long arms I'd love to know!

The instant shire! Deity not included.

And a good old fashioned buggy for when the gas prices get to be too much.


blog #414 >> New Garden Tags

Thanks for the new garden tags Carrie. I love them!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

blog #413 >> Sprouts!

This week I learned that growing your own sprouts is really easy and fun! All you need to do is get some alfalfa seeds, (I got mine at Bob's Red Mill) a quart jar and some cheese cloth. Then you just rinse the seeds in the jar everyday and in a few days... Presto! Sprouts! Now I've just got to think of something good to eat them with. See complete instructions here.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

blog #412 >> Lemon Poppyseed Scones with Lemon Curd

To beat my "bad weather blues," I spent today in the kitchen. It's nice, warm and smells good in there. And between that and spending sometime knitting down at the creek yesterday in the sun, I'm a bit more cheerful about the continuing rain. I even walked up to the store today... and as soon as I got back home I realized that my poppy seeds were bad and I had to drive back up to the store. But it was nice to be outside for a little while.

And here's what I've earned from my hard work. Tea and scones... mmmm...

Here's my Scone recipe: Only I added lemon zest and poppy seeds instead of the raisins and cut them out on sprinkled sugar instead of flour and I added a crater of lemon curd in the middle.
I'm very happy to say that turned out fantastic!
p.s. I do not recommend "grating" your butter. It made a huge mess! Just cut in soft butter like you would for any biscuit recipe.

And here's the Lemon Curd recipe: I can't wait to make a huge batch of this and can it this summer. If you make this recipe you must read (and follow) the instructions in the first review. It's really easy to over cook the eggs and end up with a "chunky" lemon curd with scrabbled eggs in it. Some recipes say to just strain it, but don't do that. Just use the double boiler and add the eggs very SLOWLY as directed in the review. I also only added half the butter. (Or else I wouldn't have any butter the rest of the week. I wasn't about to go up to the store three times today.) And it turned out great, but next time I think I'll try it with the full amount of butter. Oh, and I NEVER use unsalted butter! I also left out the zest, since I like my lemon curd really smooth. I'm so proud of it, I didn't curdle the eggs at all, and it's smoother than the stuff I paid $7 for at the store!

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

And here's a couple of pictures from down at the creek. You can see the water (and mud) is very high from all the rain we've had. I'm thinking I need to go there every week this summer. It's so nice and peaceful.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

blog #411 >> Hope Grows

Yes Carrie, I stole my blog title from you!
Hope is growing in the garden despite the rain, slugs and death. It seems something new is coming up each day while something else dies. (Portland has been having an unseasonably rainy spring which means it pretty much rains all day every day.) The poor garden REALLY hates this weather. I replanted a few things last week which should be coming up pretty soon. I went out to the garden last week and even the seeds which had sprung up and were growing well had died or disappeared. The cucumbers were gone overnight without a trace! The slugs on the other hand REALLY love this weather. It's been so damp they're probably in slug heaven, or at least they will be soon. I finally broke down and bought some Corry's Death to Slugs and Snails. I'm afraid it will be really cold and rainy like this, until all of a sudden, it's super hot and dry. And the poor peach tree. I think it burned itself out last year. Not only does it not have any fruit, it doesn't have any leaves either. There is one good thing about this weather though, is it's been too rainy for the weeds to grow too! I'm just so happy it's sunny today! Hopefully, there will be more days like today to come.

One of the three zucchinis. Apparently slugs prefer cucumbers to zucchinis, and they've managed to survive so far.

The half of my pole beans that came up.. I had to replant the other half.

The radishes... they're doing alright so far, along with the beets, onions, peas, spinach, Brussel sprouts, strawberries, bell pepper, celery,and sunflowers. The carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, eggplants, cabbage, and dill... which is dead, are not doing so well.

Brussel sprout


The lettuce that volunteered from last year. Only a couple of my seeds came up.

The onions.

And obviously, I'm just taking pictures of the good stuff and the areas where it's doing best. Most of the garden looks like this compared to this same time last year. Wow, my tomatoes are unhappy.

And my fairy tale egg plant is knocking on death's door.

But on the bright side, I think the strawberries and going to be alright. I've already got a couple of red ones. :)

And there you have it. Hoping for good weather!