We’ve all heard about how much children are like sponges, soaking up whatever they’re exposed to. And now that I’m a parent, I know just how true that is. I’m astounded by just how much Huxley parrots us, or tells me later in the day about something we were reading, or that he saw, or maybe overheard. Lately, he’s even taking to giving me some of my own advice. I taught him awhile ago to stop and take a deep breath whenever he’s crying, to clear his emotions so he can communicate effectively whatever it is that’s bothering him. The other morning, when I was feeling spectacularly miserable, Harold, one of our eternally mischievous cats, was being particularly naughty. In a moment of less grace they I’d like to hold myself to, I yelled at him, um, loudly. Without missing a beat, Huxley turned to me and said, calmly, “Take a deep breath, Mama.” That’s my boy!
My point is, children are watching, and learning, and storing deep, deep in their growing minds all of our behaviors. As a child, I watched my grandmother, Nanny, can, and garden, and keep chickens, and own and operate a blueberry farm. In my case, the hens, as it’s said, really did come home to roost. My body of work revolves largely around skills and activities I witnessed her performing when I was just a wee one. Whatever Glenn and I do now is without question leaving an indelible mark on Huxley, a fact I don’t take lightly.
Jessica DeMarco knows just what I’m referring to. The owner of Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon, a Western N.C.-based line of homemade, natural, local jams, pickles and artisan foods, grew from a child surrounded by food & farming to one running a business based around these pursuits. As she details it on her website:
Growing up our home was filled with family food and farm tradition; visits to our grandparents was spent playing in the fields or sprawling backyard gardens, picking berries or helping in the kitchen. Our grandparents stored and put by the bounty of vegetables grown in their own yards — local food was not the latest trend, but simply a way of life.
As I grew a love of these traditions led me to pursue a food career. My path led from home to culinary school, then into busy restaurant kitchens across the country. Over the years working in the food and hospitality industry I always nurtured a dream of owning my own business — an opportunity to return to my heritage, celebrate a simpler way of life and preserve a legacy from generations past.
Each of our products is a reflection of the traditions we value. By using only the freshest local produce we capture the flavors of every passing season, preserved at their peak of ripeness; pure, natural and delicious. Small-batch preparation and classical culinary methods ensure that each of our artisan foods is of the highest quality, with all natural ingredients and maximum flavor in each batch.
We wish you enjoyment of our products and hope they inspire you to find a way in your own home of “Preserving Tradition.”
Jessica reached out to me recently, asking if I thought small measure readers might be interested in a giveaway featuring her products. Her query was met with an enthusiastic “YES!”, and that’s just what I have for you here today. One lucky reader will receive a gift package of goodies, to be heartily slathered, spread, crunched, and munched, from Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon‘s kitchen, to your very own. The generous gift pack will include three Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon products nestled in wood shavings and tied with raffia ribbon in a branded kraft gift box. Included in the gift pack are:
*One jar of Limited Edition Sunchoke & Carrot Mustard Pickles–some of these crisp and crunchy root veggies were grown in their own garden and the rest were generously shared by one of their farmer’s market friends. According to Jessica, “they make an incredible and unique pickle packed in a saucy, slightly sweet, lightly spicy mustard brine.”
*One jar of Honeyed Citrus Marmalade, made with organic orange & grapefruit with local NC honey. “A perfect breakfast jam on sourdough toast or a fresh biscuit.”
*One jar of Oven Roasted Tomato Jam with Garlic and Herbs — recently featured in Garden & Gun magazine’s Made in the South Awards this savory spread is “great on roasted veggies or meats, or try serving atop flat-bread with shaved asiago cheese.”
Jessica’s business will be launching a kickstarter campaign the first week of March. The fundraiser will help Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon raise the capital they need to hire employees, purchase needed equipment and increase distribution, all while maintaining small batch preparation and their commitment to supporting local agriculture in the Western Carolina region. I invite you to visit their Facebook page for additional discounts and giveaways they’ll be hosting over the next several weeks.
Otherwise, to enter the contest, let’s talk canned goods! Just leave a comment telling me your favorite thing to can. If you’re not yet a canner, say the thing you’d like to learn to can. I’ll run the giveaway for one week, concluding next Thursday, March 7th, midnight EST. In your comment, please, please leave a way of contacting you, either via your email address or a link back to your website or blog. This contest is open only to U.S. residents (sorry, international buddies!).
Oh, friends. Let me tell you. We have seriously been a house under siege since Friday. Lots of nose-blowing, and hot baths and tea, and napping, and, yes, moaning and groaning. And weariness. Deep, down, dirty weary. So weary, in fact, that Saturday evening, as I headed to the chicken coop to lock up the flock safely in their henhouse (Glenn and Huxley were on their way home from a birthday party which I missed, sniff), I thought to myself “What if I just sat down here, on the forest floor, and rested a bit?” Then I thought about the coyotes that yip away all night lately in said forest, and the wet ground owing to that day’s rain, and the fact that Glenn would panic if he were to arrive home and not find me in it, and decided against it.
I *think*, though, that we’re turning the corner, so, let’s focus on that. But, really, that’s not what I wanted to tell you about. What I actually want to share with you here today has nothing to do with sinuses or coughing fits, and much more with the bliss pictured in the photos above. I’ve been itching to share this morsel of news with you for months, but have been sworn to secrecy, until now. And here it is-this coming September, I am pleased beyond description to be part of what will undoubtedly be a beautiful, inspiring, enriching, and plain old fun experience.
Dynamic duo Amanda Soule and Elizabeth Duvivier have hitched their wagons together to create Taproot Gathering. Held on the grounds of Rockywold Deephaven Camp this September 11-15, the gathering promises to be amazing, and I am immeasurably thrilled to be part of it. I’ll be teaching two classes, “Sweet & Sour”, a water-bath canning covering both sweet and savory preserves, and “Home Dairy”, a dairy-making basics class, including hand’s on instruction for making yogurt, mozzarella, and butter. Oh, yeah. We’re gonna have fun.
Elizabeth has secured a cabin for me and my men (we typically travel as a tribe), so I’ll be able to explore the glories of New England in autumn with my family nearby, and coterie of new friends at the ready. I’m so pumped! Amanda and I even have a little something-something special planned for the event’s gatherings, to be disclosed at a later date…..
It was actually through Amanda’s posts that I first learned of Squam. When I had the chance to connect with Elizabeth over the phone last year, it was an instant sisterhood. Closing the loop of that circle by being both a student and a teacher at Taproot Gathering warms me to my core.
I would so love it if some of you, dear small measure community, might be able to attend the gathering with me. Imagine learning new skills, savoring delicious, organic, locally-sourced food, soaking up some Vitamin D, exploring the lake and its forests, chatting, laughing, dancing (yes!), and more together at this place seemingly conjured from the reaches of my dream landscape. Come!!!
Happy Friday, friends! A nasty, sneaky sinus something-or-other has wreaked havoc and has me down for the count today. I’ve been feeling just on the verge of getting something the past few days with achy joints, general fatigue, and the like, and then last night it started to hurt when I swallowed. Woke up this morning with full-on nastiness. I’m attacking it with a vengeance, though, with elderberry & honey syrup, ginger/lemon/honey/cayenne tea, grapefruit seed extract, and more. I seldom get sick, and I don’t take it lightly. So, I see a day filled with rest, hot baths, healing essential oils, tea, and cuddles from a little dude (and a big one!).
In other news, I’ve got a Small Measures post up today on Design Sponge. I’m sharing tips for crafting bath and massage oils, perfect for this time of year when those of us in the northern hemisphere begin to look less like our lovely selves and more like Leatherface.
Here’s a smattering of this’s and that’s that caught my attention this week:
I’m hoping all of this clears on out by tomorrow. I’m attending a seed-starting class at Sow True Seed (you should come, if you’re in the area-it’s free, and bound to be informative!) in the morning, and then going to a 4 year-old’s birthday party in the afternoon. Head cold, sinus infection, or whatever it is, consider yourself given fair warning.
Wherever you go this weekend, whatever you do, and whomever you do it with, may it be grand!
*I post a photo of Huxley here each Friday because, truly, he’s what his Papa and I dig the most.
It’s time to chat chickens, friends! If you’ve been thinking about getting a flock of laying hens, now’s the time to bone up on your fine-feathered knowledge and learn about all that’s involved in moving you from a poultry enthusiast to a full-time chicken tenderer. I’ll be teaching two classes in Asheville next month. Spring is an ideal time for getting started in the world of chicks, pullets, hens, and roosters, and I look forward to helping you learn the basics to get you started.
Backyard Chickens Classes
1) Sunday, March 3rd, Small Terrain, 5.7 p.m.. More information can be found here.
2) Thursday, March 7th, AB-Tech, 6-8:30 p.m.. More information can be found here.
*Image from Keeping Chickens, Lark Books. Taken by Lynne Harty.
Happy Monday, everyone! I’m coming to you today from our second-floor craft room/office/guest room. As hoped, I was able to make some serious headway organizing and revamping it over the weekend. Now I actually know right where my floral crafting supplies, glue tubes, paint brushes, rubber stamps, gift bags, wrapping paper, journals, craft books, scrapbook paper, stationary, and so much more are! Glenn made a gorgeous shelving unit for corralling everything in and, once the rest of the room is all tided up and presentable, I’ll share some images with you here. I love finally getting to a project that’s been driving me mad for some time. Move things around, tidy them up, and it’s like you’ve got an entirely new house, relocation not required.
My mom is downstairs playing with Huxley. With the new book, I’ll be needing some in-home care for the little guy once a week, so that I can have time to write the new book and work on recipe development without repeated requests of “Mama, come play in the cave?” (Huxley has a “cave” Glenn built into the attic space in his bedroom, done up with fur pillows, “cave”-dwelling stuffed animals, and faux rock motif paint on the walls) or “Can I go to my sandbox?” distracting me from the task at hand. Since Huxley is just as smitten with his “Gigi” as she is with him, it’s a win-win. Loving attention and direct playtime; can’t beat it.
This weekend was pretty quiet, just like I like it. That first image is of the “snow” that fell. I swear it looked fierce when it was happening. Soon as the sun fully crested the ridge behind the house, though, it was gone. Ephemeral beauty, at it’s best. Otherwise, there was much egg-eating happening (Glenn is the king of the “strata frittata”, his creation, and he’s been working on soft-boiled eggs with great success). I’m the kind of gal that like greens for breakfast, so we enjoyed eggs with broccoli as well as with creamed spinach this weekend. So good . As long as our flock keeps laying, we’ll keep getting creative with means of eating their offerings! And as evidenced from that pillow shot, there was ample time spent cuddling, hiding, and giggling. Perfect for weekends, or anytime!
Here’s wishing the week ahead is filled with health and happiness for you and yours!
A while back, I showed another of Glenn’s Strata Frittatas, and several of you asked for that recipe. Here it is, way overdue, but just as good as ever!
Collard Strata Frittata
For the eggs
-12-16 large eggs
-3-4 ounces of milk
-A couple pinches of salt
-A few grinds black pepper
-A dash of hot sauce
-Butter for the pan
-A tablespoon of dried herbs of your choice
-6 ounces grated melting cheese of your choice
-2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
For the greens
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1/2 onion, diced
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 bunch collard greens, cleaned, stemmed, and chopped into small pieces
-1/2 cup wine (white or red)
-1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
For the garnish
-A couple tablespoons of chopped, roasted red pepper
-A couple tablespoons of parsley or cilantro
Cooking the greens
1) In a non-reactive pan, such as stainless steel, saute 1/2 onion in olive oil, for about 10 minutes, until they start to brown a little.
2) Stir in the minced garlic, and cook for another minute.
3) Add the greens, and stir well.
4) Cook the greens for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5) Add the wine and stock, as well as a pinch of salt and a few grinds black pepper.
6) Cook the greens, stirring occasionally, until all of the liquid has evaporated, then remove from heat and set aside.
Cooking the first layer of eggs:
1) We used a Lodge, square cast iron griddle pan for the eggs, but any large oven-safe pan will do.
2) Whisk half of the eggs, half the milk, a pinch of salt, a few grinds of black pepper, and hot sauce (if desired).
3) Heat the pan/griddle to medium-low.
4) Melt 2-3 tbs of butter in the pan, making sure to cover the entire inner surface.
5) Pour in the egg mixture.
6) Sprinkle half the dried herbs evenly over the top.
7) After about 5 minutes, when the eggs start to set a bit, remove from heat.
8) Place under the broiler for a couple minutes, till the eggs are almost set.
9) Remove the eggs from under the broiler and cover them with the melting cheese (not the Parmesan).
10) Place back under the broiler, just till the cheese is mostly melted, then remove from the heat.
11) Let the eggs cool for a few minutes, then invert them onto a platter.
12) Using a second platter, invert them again, so that they are cheese-side up.
Cooking the second layer of eggs:
1) Whisk the remaining eggs and milk with salt, pepper, and hot sauce if desired.
2) Butter the pan/griddle again, and add the egg mixture.
3) Sprinkle the remaining herbs across the top.
4) Cook for a few minutes, till the eggs start to set a little.
5) Grate half the Parmesan on top, and place under the broiler.
6) Cook until the eggs are fully set.
7) Remove from the heat and let the eggs cool for a couple minutes.
8) Spoon the greens evenly over top the eggs on the platter.
9) Invert the second layer of eggs on top of that.
Garnishing and serving:
1) Grate the remaining Parmesan on top, and sprinkle the red pepper and chopped parsley or cilantro across the top.
2) A pizza cutter works great for cutting it up into individual portions.