books

QUENCH

 

HANDMADE GATHERINGS

 

A YEAR OF PIES!

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: HOME DAIRY

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING BEES

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: CANNING & PRESERVING

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING CHICKENS


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  • Loving this screen capture of our Huxley Wild. It's from a video our friend Ian made, using
  • I adore holiday lights. I also really love @thencarboretum. It's no surprise then that I'm giddily looking forward to the
  • That'll do pig, that'll do.
  • This is his
  • Brunch at Rhubarb-a good idea today, and always. Plancha roasted romaine with @lustymonk vinaigrette, @bentonsbacon, sunny side eggs, and fingerling potatoes. Not seen: a fried apple & cranberry hand pie that made my heart and belly happy. Huxley and @glennbenglish's, too.
  • My
  • The pies @rorris, @jenathan and I helped baking goddess @bakerhands make today will be available for purchase tomorrow at the North Asheville Tailgate Market from 8-1 pm, along with tarts and bread. Trust me, you don't want to miss out. Set your alarm clocks now!
  • When @bakerhands put out a call two days ago asking for a few hours of baking help today, I pounced at the chance to spend some quality time with such a warm, wise lady. When I found out @rorris and @jenathan had offered the same thing, the deal became even sweeter. The four of us gathered at Smoke Signals Bakery in Marshall today to chat, chew, and chop. Three cheers for wonderful people, delicious food, and fostering community. Hip, hip, freaking HOORAY!!! What a stellar day. *I was in charge of apple pie filling prep today. Photo credit to @rorris for capturing my hella serious pie-making game face!!!
  • When your morning looks like this, you know you're off to a good start. Was introduced to the glorious donuts and conviviality at @holedoughnuts today. Mercy! Goodness abounds.
  • Finally, I bring you this
  • This next pie is a pumpkin-meets-tiramisu hybrid, my
  • Up next in pie recipes with a Thanksgiving vibe from my book

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Monthly Archives: March 2009

No More Junk In the Trunk

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? 

*Small Measure: Freecycle! Your trash is someone else’s treasure. You’d be surprised what other folks find value in. 

*Image from Freecycle.org. 

Turn Out Your House Lights, Wherever You Are

I’m supporting this initiative sponsored by WWF (the non-profit formerly known as World Wildlife Fund), of whom I’ve been a long-time endorser. Here’s the statement from their website: 


“This year, Earth Hour has been transformed into the world’s first global election, between Earth and global warming. For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, races and backgrounds have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote-switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming. WWF are urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion otes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark 2009. This meeting will determine official government policies to take action against global warming, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol. It is the chance for the people of the world to make their voices heard.”

It happens tonight, from 8:30-9:30. Make yourself a cup of tea, pour yourself a glass of wine, or, if you run with the underage set, have a plate of cookies with milk, and flick the lights off. Besides, everyone looks good in candlelight. 

*Image by farm4.static.flickr.com.

The Hotness

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. 


*Small Measure: Use cloth napkins. They’re inherently more absorbent than their paper cousins, definitely more attractive, and don’t need to be tossed in the garbage at the end of every feeding session. We keep a large range and use them at every meal. Once they become oil-stained, or have one too many enduring marinara streaks to be guest-worthy, I transition them to the kitchen cloth stash, which, in a similar fashion, I use instead of paper towels. Plus, they give you a polished edge, even if you’re slurping up pizza in your jammies. 

Setting the Stage

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.

We shot two photo shoots this week for the recipes in the “Raising Chickens” book. Above is creative director at Lark Books (my publisher), Chris Bryant, at whose home we took the photos. Here he can be seen in his natural environment,  tenderly working stylistic magic on zucchini and basil. 
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. 

*Small Measure: Buy local. As much as possible, I’m placing emphasis in the book series on supporting local farmers and growers. Freshness really counts, in terms of quality and taste, not to mention supporting livelihoods and community viability in wherever it is that you call home. The eggs for this shot were as local as you can get, seeing as how they came from The Ladies. 

I Am the Cheese

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. 


I’m now completely seized with cheese and dairy fever. I want a goat and I want one NOW! Imagine the possibilities-homemade cheese, fresh milk; however, if I do get a goat, and made the aforementioned dairy products, our friends would NEVER invite us over for dinner again…we’ll end up being the coveted dining/eating/feasting destination. There are worse things, though. Say Cheese!