Heard of Freecycle? It’s the absolute best way to gift others with things you no longer want or need, and to keep them from choking up landfills. Case in point: I just today “freecycled” (it becomes a verb when you get onboard!) 1/2 of an old oil drum’s worth of kerosene (used by the previous property owners to heat their greenhouses); the worn out (not to mention torn and somewhat slimy with mold) plastic and shade cloth from said greenhouses; and the plywood and 2’x4”s used to cap the greenhouse ends. At no cost on my end, I might add. Find out if a freecyle exists near you and make your junk available to the world! Do you already Freecycle? Could you see yourself participating in such an endeavor?
A few more scenes from last week’s photo shoot. Here I am pulling a sweet potato souffle from the oven. It puffed up gloriously and went down the hatch scrumptiously!
The edges browned just the way I’d hoped they would and, having NOT folded the egg whites in as fastidiously as I had the previous evening when prepping for the shoot, the souffle baked up perfectly. Hot perfection in a bowl, folks.
Behind the scenes. I’ve always been intrigued by food photography and food styling and it was a real treat to see what the process of making food pretty for picture-taking involves.
The strange thing sneaking into the frame at the top left is a blowtorch, used to sizzle up these pumpkin creme brûlées. While I can’t share with you the final pictures (have to wait until publication next April), I can assure you that they are grand. You’ll be licking the page, without shame or remorse.
This week marked a huge milestone in the first two books in my series. In short, I finished. All of the text is complete. That feels absolutely enormous to write. This time last year, I was working in a doctor’s office. Now, I’ve written two books as part of a series, with more to come, I get to work at home, in my jammies, with my furry brood (husband notwithstanding), and write about adventures in small-scale homesteading. No complaints.
My own lovey dove, chef extraordinaire, Glenn, doing his thing with eggs.
The assistance of Ned, Chris’s cat, was utterly indispensable.
The best editor a gal could ever hope for, Nicole McConville. She edits, she makes exquisite art, she plays the accordion somethin’ fierce, AND she washes prop dishes. Presenting the original renaissance woman. I call her “Freddy”, my fusion of friend and editor (and it sounds much more benign than “Freditor,” right?)
Going in for the shot.
I took a beginning cheese-making workshop this past Saturday at an adorable creamery about 1 1/2 hours north of here. Cynthia Sharpe is the proprietor of Oak Moon Creamery and she can make cheese like nobody’s business.
We were making mozzarella, feta, and cheddar all at the same time, so I can’t tell you which cheese is hanging in this bag, but I can assure you that it tasted delicious. Turns out cheddar is both a noun and a verb-to “cheddar” is to take curds that have been drained, slice them, and sort of fold, or cobble, them back onto themselves, thus forming the tell-tale grain lines that form in cheddar cheese. Who knew? Cheese-makers/mongers, that’s who!
Here you can see what is called a “clean break” being cut. This is desirable and something you look for after you’ve added cultures and rennet to milk. It means the cheese is turning into, well, cheese-it’s firming up.
Here’s Cynthia removing the curds into a flour sac-lined colander for draining off the whey.
Some gorgeous feta, which worked it’s way into zucchini, basil, and feta frittatas made for the photo shoot of recipes in my “Raising Chickens” book. Scrumdiddlyumptious!!!! The day was perfect. It started with coffee and cream from one of the attendees jersey cow. I’d like to swim in that cream, thank you very much. It is the absolute stuff of dreams. Cynthia’s mom and pop showed up at lunchtime with delicious veggie soup, cornbread, and the most horde-inducing cake you can imagine-I snuck back for seconds! And got crumbs all over me as I drove away, smashing cake into my face! Yessir! My fellow cheese-patriots were a rowdy band of women from all walks of life. It was bliss.