Sunday, September 30, 2007

how to feed 30 gaping seven year old's maws oh my GOD the horror

Pumpkin Muffins, only slightly modified from this recipe:

6 c. all purpose flour
4 tsp. baking powder
4 c. roasted, riced butternut squash
1 1/4 c. butter, melted
6 eggs
4 tsp. pumpkin spice*
1 c. sugar
1 c. turbinado
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. molassas
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

4 tbs. sugar
4 tsp. cinnamon
combine and set aside

*2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Combine all wet ingredients plus sugar and spice mix.
Combine flour, soda, powder and salt.
Mix to wet until just combined.
Spoon into prepared muffin tin (s, for the love of god, tinS!)
Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

And voila! Enough pumpkin muffins to make you fucking sick to death of pumpkin muffins and your daughter's birthday.

For more reasonable results, cut by 3/4.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

in my mind, Baron von Trapp is singing "Gooooood-byyyyyyyyye" in a melancholy way

The end of summer is officially ushered in at our house by our two late-September birthdays and the winding down of the summer garden. We have long since given up on our cucumbers and corn, we're sick of green beans and our okra never really took off. The peppers are still puttering along nicely and so is the late zucchini. The fall/winter garden is impressive. Right now, though, we are in the throes of saying goodbye to the tomatoes.

This evening, on Peanut's seventh birthday, we had an official Goodbye to Summer repast: grilled radicchio with saba, oil and salt and pepper; grilled steak with green sauce*; the very damn best caprese of all time ever with our last batch of red-and-green stripeys, sel gris, black pepper, red onion, mozzarella, red wine vinegar and olive oil; and grilled sourdough. If it hadn't been such a happy occasion I might have wept.

And so. So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye. Here's to many, many more happy years and many more lovely harvests.

* If we lived in London, we'd probably have a running tab here. We don't, so we have to be content to cook out of his book, and the thing that has made us happiest to cook is the green sauce. Oh, my lands. I shall wish many happy returns of the green sauce to you all.

Monday, September 17, 2007

bad mommy

Kelsey made some delicious apple chutney yesterday, and while I am well aware that it should sit a while in order to reach its full potential I feel that I need to admit to just having eaten a delicious cheese-and-apple chutney sandwich for lunch.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

drinking is also important

We have been enjoying cocktails recently at the home base of the reluctant housewife. I had a sidecar for the first time a couple of months ago and had my mind completely blown. Since then we have spent several hundreds of dollars augmenting our stash of liquors, bitters, mixers and gear and several rather enjoyable nights experimenting. While I am still partial to the sidecar (and perhaps even more to the Chelsea sidecar), I believe this is my true favourite at the moment.

So yummy...

Especially with Anchor Steam's gin. I'm in love.

Pear Chutney

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After having lost a friend-tested recipe for pear chutney, I managed to find one online that looked pretty similar for our first foray into the dark and delicious realm of chutneys.

So voila! A delicious, if not terribly dark, pear chutney made with our last boscs.

I halved this recipe because dude. I once made the most heinous pear-butter with many pounds of pears and spent all afternoon cooking and canning and the end result was so completely nasty I wanted to cry. In fact, I think I did cry. It was my first canning experience and it took me another year to try again and then I made gross pickled green beans, but thankfully the Bean likes them so they haven't been thrown out yet. Unlike the pear butter. I stared at the jars for a year and a half before I tossed it all. So. Pissed.

This chutney is not perfect, but it's pretty good. I'm going to work the recipe a bit next time, but between now and next summer I'll have to do a studied tasting of chutneys to find out exactly what this one is missing.

8 c. peeled, chopped pears
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. raisins (this amount was increased somewhat)
1/2 c. chopped yellow onion (so was this)
4 tbs. brown mustard seeds (only because I couldn't find yellow, but the brown worked well)
1 tbs powdered ginger
several slivers of fresh ginger because, ew, powdered ginger
1 tsp salt
1/2 habanero, minced
2 1/2 c. cider vinegar

It all goes into a heavy bottomed pot and cooks until thickened. It took this amount about an hour. The filled jars processed for 10 minutes. Now we will be enjoying chutney-and-cheddar sandwiches through the winter.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

It's the monitors, sir. They appear to be jammed.

So here they are! Pictures of jam! Yay!

Item the First:
A Mostly Eaten Jar Of Jam

Item the Second:
Many More Jars Of Jam To Be Eaten

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I know what I'll be doing this winter.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


The peach jam is fantastic. I took pictures of all the little jars smiling happily up at me but my husband is on the real computer and I am on the puny laptop and I don't know how to move pictures from the camera on to the laptop. Again with the expensive camera which knows more tricks than I do.

We're heading out of town tomorrow to visit with family which isn't as fun as it sounds, even if it sounds like howler monkeys dragging nails down a blackboard. There is much strife and conflict and yelling and blaming and dryness, itching and irritation and we haven't even left yet. Or packed! Or taken out the compost! Or figured out what we're doing with the dog! Which is why we're renting a minivan to take us to see my family. In my head this will solve all of our problems and any naysayers can fuck themselves. (Also, I am drinking. Right now. And I plan to not stop until some time on Sunday.) In our car, which is otherwise lovely, the children are scrunched in the backseat and this was not truly a problem until Sprout decided he was old enough to be the instigator. Precocious bastard.

And guess what? I am a big lame ass and didn't finish this post in time and so now the weekend is over, we had a good time, I greatly exaggerated the anticipated angst, and the minivan rocked my world. I'm dreaming about it now, the vast expanse of seats and personal space separating children from each other and from my flailing fists. Now if I could only work out a way to get Clive Owen in my dream van...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Oh my holy god PEACHES

This is what was staring at me all morning:

And this is what half of that looks like in my biggest pot:

So. If you wanted to know what 13 pounds of crazy looks like, that's pretty much it. It's jamming right now and hopefully the news tomorrow will be good. I used the recipe for Peach Preserves from The Silver Spoon but, um, tripled. Approximately. Here's what it looked like. Approximately.

13 (ish) pounds of peaches, peeled, pitted and mangled

10 (ish) cups of sugar

...and that's it. Peaches went into the pot with no added water because they were so juicy. I was tempted to leave them in complete halves but the recipe called for slicing them thinly and I met that somewhere in the middle. It's...chunky. My house smells absolutely fantastic, sticky and lovely. The sugar was added after they had begun to bubble a little. Now we're just waiting for a passable spoon test while the water in the canner comes to a boil. The recipe calls for letting them cook for about 2 and a half hours, but we're going on three and a half. Something about tripling the recipe, perhaps?

We have fingers crossed that this doesn't turn out like our earlier experiment in stone fruit jam this year. We tried jamming our nectarines and we got a syrupy sauce. It's freaking delicious but nothing you'd spread on your toast. On ice cream it's divine.

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Monday, September 3, 2007

Ghost Bees

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Go ahead. I'll wait.

Yeah, there's nothing in focus in this picture and yet it's the best one I took.

I won't tell you how much money we spent on a camera I can't use.

But! The bees. I know it may be hard to imagine thanks in large part to my amazing photographic skills, but we had what appeared to be little ghost bees buzzing around our garden on Saturday after they had been dusted with powdered sugar to help with the mite problem we appear to be having. Peanut donned her full beekeeping suit along with her father, but Bean went commando. He's a brave soldier, my Bean. Going naked where no sane Bean has gone before.