Thursday, July 29, 2010

Kimchi recipe

Arwen O'Reilly Griffith posted a recipe for kimchi over at Craft Magazine the other day. She said kimchi is a Korean cabbage dish.

I had a small cabbage in the fridge that we got through the CSA. We're getting ready to head to Cincinnati for Chris' aunt and uncle's 50th wedding anniversary party so I had to do something with before it went bad.

I thought the recipe sounded like a good way to use up some cabbage so I gave it a try. Here's the result:

It's gotta ferment for a few days before it's ready. I'll let you know how it tastes when I try it. Griffith said she eats hers with eggs and a commenter said they eat kimchi on a quesadilla. I like the quesadilla idea and might try that first.
Interested in learning more about Korean cuisine? Try these cookbooks out:


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Some alpaca yarn for Christmas gifts

I bought two skeins of yarn and a crochet scarf pattern at Peaceful Alpaca Farm, Fancy Gap, Va. See pictures and read about my visit here.

I can't wait to see how the scarves come out!

Here's some crochet and knitting patterns that feature alpaca fiber here:


Friday, July 23, 2010

Squash-Chard Salad

The other night I planned to saute some squash and zucchini, but at the last minute I decided to throw in some chard. With a splash of apple cider vinegar, this made a great side dish with ham, green beans and mashed potatoes.

Squash-Chard Salad
a small or medium squash
a small or medium zucchini
small onion
2 or more cloves of garlic, diced
3 or 4 leaves of chard
butter or olive oil
salt and pepper
apple cider vinegar (optional)

1. Slice the squash and zucchini and tear up or cut the chard into small pieces. Chop onion and dice garlic.
2. In a large pan, melt a bit of butter or warm a tbsp. olive oil. Add 2 or more cloves of garlic and cook for a minute or two.
3. Add squash, zucchini and onion. Cook for a couple minutes until onion is translucent.
4. Add chard and stir, coating well. Cook until chard is wilted.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with a splash of apple cider vinegar.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Yogurt, Part Deux

A-amaaaaaazing! (Can you hear me singing from where you're at?)

So I gave the yogurt making a second go. Here's what I got:

This time I bought Chobani Greek yogurt and whole milk. I meant to get pasteurized instead of ultra-pasteurized milk because I could have sworn I saw somewhere in one of the recipes that you shouldn't use ultra-pasteurized. But I went with what I bought.

This time I also heated 3 1/2 cups of milk in the microwave for 10 minutes instead of using the double boiler. It was much quicker that way.

After cooking the milk to 110 degrees F, I poured it and 6 oz. of yogurt (instead of the measly 1 tbsp. I used last time)  into a quart Mason jar and set it in the crock pot with some water in the bottom.

I used water in the bottom of the crock pot this go round to help keep an eye on the temp. I had to turn the pot off and on to regulate the temperature because it only has an on/off function.

One time, getting up in the middle of the night to check the yogurt, I saw that the temp was 150 degrees F! Yikes! That may have been why the yogurt was runny the first time around — I must have killed the cultures. (Check the first post here to see those results.)

So I turned the crock pot off and let the yogurt incubate with the temperature cooling off. It was already 1 a.m. and the yogurt was to be finished by 3 a.m.

I woke up this morning to find yogurt! Thick, yummy yogurt!

Chris and I sampled it this morning. With just a sprinkle of sugar and some of the dried peaches it was delicious!

I've got two more quarts incubating now. :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Yogurt and peaches

Earlier this week I tried a second batch of dried fruits using peaches. I still haven't gotten it down yet.

The first batch was apples, bananas and strawberries. Following the dehydrator's instructions, the fruits would have been dried for days. But Mom and Nannie both said they check their goods after the first 6 hours and that's usually all it takes.

Oops. My fruit dried for 26 hours! So the apples and bananas were hard and shriveled up and the strawberries were black. I still ate 'em though. They were decent in a bowl of oatmeal with butter and brown sugar.

This time I kept a closer eye on the peaches — yellow and white fresh from the farmer's market.

The yellow peaches were a bit smaller and dried a lot faster. So, though not black and hard as rocks, I think they're a bit over done.

The white peaches may have needed to dry a little bit more. They're still too moist.

(The white stuff? It's yogurt. More on that below.)

I put the fruit in around 5:30 p.m. on Monday and took them out of the dehydrator at 6 a.m. the next morning. So 7 hours total.

So now I've got to figure out how to adjust the drying time depending on the different peach and fruit.

If I don't get this down, I don't think dried fruits are going to make it into any gift baskets this Christmas. :-/

I'm also experimenting with making yogurt.

Chris and I love to eat it and it's a good substitute for buttermilk or sour cream. But I can't bear to buy a lot of containers that are plastic #5. We can't recycle them locally and we can't seem to bring ourselves to throw them out!

Many of the little yogurt containers are still sitting around the basement, ready for reuse as small pots for starting seeds or other projects.

Then there's the all the sugar loaded into store-bought yogurt. That makes an otherwise healthy food into a nightmare. :P

So, when I learned many people make their own yogurt and how easy it was, I wanted to give it a try.

You basically heat up some milk (to 185 degrees F or higher) and then let it cool (down to 100 or 115 degrees F). You add a couple tablespoons of yogurt or more (or some kind of starter you can buy at a specialty store) and let it sit for 7 hours or so, keeping the temp around 100 degrees F.

Here's a couple of recipes I consulted here and here.

I also just found this crock pot recipe here. I used a crock pot as a hot plate, placing the mason jar in the crock pot to keep the contents cool. This might a good version to try out.

My yogurt came out a little . . . okay, very runny. I didn't have a couple of tablespoons of store-bought yogurt, so I had to try it with a tablespoon and a lot of scrapping from the container. I used 3 1/2 cups of 2 percent milk.

I know one writer said that the yogurt would be a lot more runny than store-bought yogurt, but this was almost like water. :P

I didn't use the powdered milk like many people recommended, but said was optional. I don't have powdered milk on hand and I don't want to have to buy an extra ingredient that I would rarely use. The idea here is to make this easier on us and to reduce a lot of packaging.

Next time I'll try to use a lot of yogurt as a starter and maybe a little less milk to see how that'll work.

I may also add some honey, though I could add that when I plan to eat the yogurt plain. Otherwise, I think using yogurt without sweetener will work just fine for using the it as a sour cream/buttermilk substitute.

As for the incubation period, I'm hoping that using the crock pot was a way to go because I sort of liked how easy that was. I just don't know if the temperature is right or not. Hopefully it wasn't so hot that it was hindering the yogurt-making process.

Here's a dairy cookbook I want to try out. I've you've got it, let me know how it is. If you don't but buy it, let me know what you think.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

What to do with all those sugar snap peas

Do you love sugar snap peas? Got 'em overflowing the frig drawer and don't know how you're going to eat all of them before summer's end?

Stop over at the Amateur Gourmet and see what Adam has made with his "favorite seasonal vegetable."

I'm not a big pickle eater, but it's good to have a good pickling recipe or two on hand.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Jacket is finished!

The jacket is finished! It took two more months to finish up and now it's too warm to wear it, but it's ready for the fall!


I used Simplicity pattern 2808.

I finished sewing the jacket a couple weekends ago but only last weekend added the buttons. All that's left, based on recommendations by Nannie and my mother-in-law, are to take it to the cleaners and have the jacket "sized," something that's supposed to help the garment hold its shape. I hope it'll help get the wrinkles out too.

Although I ironed prior to the photo shoot, you can still see some wrinkles here:

Nannie said I could size the jacket myself, but since I've never heard of it before I think it best to leave that to an expert. I'd hate to spray some chemical on my wool jacket and it get ruined after working on it so long!

This is the first time I've ever set in sleeves. Why I decided to use expense wool and a jacket as my first experience with setting in sleeves, I don't know. Some people say just learn by sewing what you want and others say start simple and build up. I kind of just dive in and do what I want and learn as I go, no matter if the pattern is deemed to hard for beginners by experts. I don't want to sew boring table runners and place mats for months on end before moving on to the things that excite me!

I was so excited to see how easy the sleeves went in once I got the hang of easing in the fullness of the fabric. I only had to resew the first sleeve in twice and pick out a few pinched up places around the seam.

The trick is (or I guess it's what you're supposed to do) is to sew two lines of basting stitches along the seam. Then, pin the sleeve matching the shoulder seam and bottom of the sleeve. Next, pull the basting stitches and spread out the top of the sleeve to fit into the shoulder evenly.

It took a lot of pulling and adjusting, pinning and repinning, but I eventually got it in. I also had to rip out some areas where some fabric got folded under during the final seam stitching and caused the fabric to pinch. Ripping out the stitching in that area helped pull out the folded fabric. In some cases I had to resew the sleeve in that area; other times I didn't.

The second sleeve went in much more quickly and I only had to seam rip only a couple of sections where some fabric had gotten pinched.

I also nicked (whoops!) part of the collar and one of the pin tucks on a sleeve when I was trying to snip off the threads. But, I figure no one may notice so why worry about it? I don't have any more fabric to redo a whole sleeve or collar anyway. So, I just stitched over the holes to help keep the fabric from unraveling and went on my way.

I also sewed in my first facing, but that seemed to go in easy enough. I think I might go back and tack the facing down. It tends to unfold along the front.

I love the pin tucks on the jacket, but I'm not sure if they work just right with a patterned piece though.

The fit seems a bit large for me too, but maybe it seems that way because I'm petite in height. For instance, I think I'd like the jacket better if you could actually tell the sleeves are supposed to be 3/4 lengths. In the photos it just seems I've cut the sleeves just a 1/2 inch short.

What do you think? Do you like it? What would you do differently? Different fabric? Make the sleeves shorter?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Goodbye, Threadbanger

I just learned the three original members of the online show "Threadbanger" -- Corrine, Rob and Megan -- are leaving the program. It's sad to see them go and I'm sure the group's fans are taking this pretty hard.

The show, however, will go on as Threadbanger forum member, Secret Life of a Bio Nerd, takes over.

Take care, Corrine, Rob and Megan, and good luck in your future endeavors.Here's the video the gang posted a few days ago:

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A knitter's and crocheter's iPad app

Have you heard about the new Knitting & Crocheting app for the iPad?

I learned about it from Vickie Howell's post on Twitter earlier this week. (You can visit her blog here.)

The press release says the app features include content with pics, instructions with photos and illustrations, tips and tricks and several projects.

I wonder how useful the app really is. Press releases are good about giving glowing descriptions of products, but once you cut through all the crap, what's really there? There doesn't seem to be much based on the description, so I wonder what the app's really like.

I don't have an iPad, but would like to have one. I'm interested in any reviews from people who've tried the app out. Is that you? Let me know what you think.

Are there any row counters to help you keep track of where you're at in a project? Can you upload or download projects to the app? Abbreviation guides included? A social feature where you can connect with other knitters and crocheters?

I can't wait to find or hear of some reviews.