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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  • 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
  • Trying to decide what desserts to make for Thanksgiving (we're hosting a big potluck,
  • Totally a long underwear, trains in front of the wood stove kind of evening. Stay warm out there, friends! Low of 15 here tonight, BRR!!!!
  • Very fun to find this spread in the @womansworkco catalogue that arrived with yesterday's mail. Thank to so very much, Dorian, for all of your support. I ADORE my @womansworkco gloves. Friends, if you're shopping for durable, beautiful gloves made in the U.S., look no further. I wear my @womansworkco gloves out to the chicken coop every morning and can't recommend them enough! Also, there's a giveaway of three autographed copies of my book
  • Romanesco as meditative object. These served as the gorgeous centerpiece on our table at last night's @rhubarbavl 1-year anniversary dinner. Stunning.
  • Still thinking about last noght's sensational @rhubarbavl 1-year anniversary dinner. We adore the restaurant and chef John Fleer's elegant yet approachable southern Appalachian cuisine. Last night's Sunday Supper featured @bentonsbacon, @cruzefarmgirl, and Jolley Farm. It was a meal I won't soon forget, especially on account of these @sunbursttrout filets wrapped in @bentonsbacon served atop brown butter braised Savoy cabbage (that cabbage changed my life, no joke!). Job well done, @rhubarbavl!
  • At long last, Huxley finally found a dancing partner last night downtown in Asheville.
  • Perfect Saturday for this transcendent hot chocolate, made from scratch with @frenchbroadchocolates bars, sweetened with handcrafted sorghum syrup, and garnished with a dollop of homemade apple butter, graham cracker chards, slivered almonds, apple slices, cinnamon, and fresh ground nutmeg. Bring it, cold weather!

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Monthly Archives: August 2010

Collecting Cookbooksrs

My “Small Measures with Ashley” post is up today over at Design Sponge. This week’s topic is all about my obsession with collecting cookbooks.


I’m off in a few hours to Burnsville, about an hour’s drive north of here. Both my mother and my grandmother live there (though, oddly enough, neither of them grew up anywhere near the town). We’re having dinner together and then stopping in for a theatrical showing of “Pride & Prejudice”, put on at the gorgeous historic Parkway Playhouse.

I’m planning to stay the night at mom’s incredible farm house, built in the late 1800′s, with a big front porch that offers sweeping views of cows and barns and a pond and Bolens Creek and the Appalachian mountains. It’s so gorgeous there. Then I’ll dash back tomorrow to get ready for my “In A Pickle” beginning canning class at Farm Girl Garden Design. Should be a great weekend!

Be well, all!

An Apple A Day


One of my favorite things to do all year is once again upon us! I don’t care how big and pregnant I may be, I’m going to go pick apples at Sky Top Orchard. There are goats there! And row upon row of apples! And outdoor play areas for the kiddos! And fresh cider! And hay rides! And hot apple cider donuts!


I’m on the mailing list, so I got this handy flyer in the mail the other day. It’s creased because I’d already tucked into into my purse, ready to redeem that $1 off per bushel! Local folks, get on over there. It’s paradise!

*Highlights from last year’s pilgrimage with Nicole.

A Stroke of Genius





I make mention about my husband on here from time to time. Today I thought I’d highlight a little known side of him. Truly a renaissance man, hubs does it all. He cooks, he writes, he builds and repairs things, he’s well versed in art and literature and philosophy and religion and so very much. He’s exceptionally kind and exceedingly generous. Plus, he’s an artist. The images above he carefully, painstakingly, patiently rendered by hand.

Glenn picked up his MFA from UPenn in ’94, which, incidentally, was the same year I graduated high school (we’re 9 years apart). He’s influenced by, in his own words, psychology, eastern philosophy, and non-objective art. He spent a good deal of his studies researching and learning about color theory and has a fine grasp of the best means of applying particular colors to evoke moods and responses.

I adore his work. I adore all he does, really.

Baby Talk

The stack of books before you has made up the bulk of my momma-to-be reading. There were several others, as well, borrowed from my midwife’s offices and since dutifully returned.


Aside from “Birthing From Within“, I’ve read all that I expressly wanted to in advance of Nugget’s arrival. That said, I’m totally open to further suggestion. Got a go-to book that provided it’s own pearls of wisdom in your birth experience? I’d love to hear about it.

We’ve got 10 weeks to go and I’ve already read all the “ancillary” reading I was planning to read this summer (including “My Life In France” and the first two Stieg Larrson books). I’ve got time to spare and eyes primed for further reading!

Stating the Obvious



First there’s the egg. Then there’s the free-range chicken. Then there’s the happy lady, eating said eggs from the above free-range chicken (that’s my gal Georgette, looking so fine!). It’s public knowledge to those of us living in the United States that yet another massive salmonella outbreak has occurred, this time with factory-farmed eggs as the offending party. Over 550 million eggs have been recalled so far, with nearly 2,000 folks in 17 states falling victim to the illness.


For most of us, the virus inflicts gastric distress, but for others, such as those who are pregnant, elderly, young, or with otherwise compromised immune systems, Salmonella can be downright deadly. Research has indicated that the responsible party, Jack DeCoster of Wright County Egg in Iowa, has a far-reaching history of animal safety and welfare violations. To say that all of this sickness and pain and heartache could have been avoided by basic coop hygiene and animal consideration is truly stating the obvious.

The reasons many of us go into keeping a flock of backyard birds are highly variable. Maybe it’s just for the food source. Maybe it’s for engendering a more direct connection between livestock and their food products. Maybe it’s to collect droppings for compost enrichment or have a ready army of bug “dispatchers” on hand for your garden. Whatever your reason, I know, without question, that an overarching concern is for animal welfare. Chickens that are lovingly tended to, in humane living conditions, fed quality food, allowed to preen and groom in dust baths and run around their coops getting sunlight and exercise, monitored for signs of distress, and treated like the glorious, productive, prolific, unique sentient creatures that they are produce more nutritious eggs, generally stay free of illness, and live better lives.

While Mr. DeCoster has a lot to learn about treating living creatures with respect, the rest of us have a mission of another sort. If you’re already on board with keeping a flock of chickens, then you’re no doubt reaping daily the results of your mindful decision. Our mutual goal is to tout the value of humanely, ethically raised chickens far and wide. Our families, our communities, our farms, our planet, and our health will be all the better for it.

*Last image by Lynne Harty courtesy of Lark Crafts.
*If you’re looking for some chicken-tendering advice, check out my book, “Keeping Chickens with Ashley English: All You Need To Know To Care For A Happy, Healthy Flock.”