Sunday, June 6, 2010

A pinch of this and a dash of that

I have several things I wanted to post about and couldn't decide if I should combine them or give them their own space. Being the practical human being that I am, and not wanted to break Laura's self imposed "no two posts in a row" rule, I decided to just combine them.

Try to keep up.

First of all, I attempted Mozzarella. It wasn't such a smashing success. The main problem, I believe is that I didn't use a cheese thermometer. I thought I would just try to wing it before I invested in one. Second, the milk was a little off (something the cow got into, no doubt. Silly cow) so the flavor was less than desirable. Let me see if I can help you imagine: you know that smell when you pass by a dairy? That is how this milk tasted. So, texture: hard and non melty, taste: dairy in the sun. I put this stuff on my pizza, determined not to waste it. It wasn't inedible, but you should know, I went out and bought a thermometer the next day. I'll try it again. Here are some pictures from the experiment, I'll post on the process when I actually do it right.

I also don't have a double boiler...but we make do. I had to pasteurize the milk. Mozzarella has to be made from pasteurized milk, and I was starting with raw. Look at me go.

There was a lot that happened between the picture above of the milk cooling and the cheese below...but it happens fast and photo-documenting it was not something I could do all alone. Next time I'll enlist the help of Jon or neighbor Stay.

It doesn't look so bad, does it? Well, looks can be deceiving.

School has been out a week. I've done a lot in that time. I'm all about effective time management. That includes time scheduled to play Mariokart of course.

Lest you think all I do is play video games though, look what I did:

I canned the sauerkraut Jon and I put up two months ago. It was so easy. The local grocery was having a sale on cabbage back in February. We sliced it up in the food processor...about three lbs. We layered it with kosher salt in an enamel crock and then put a weight on top. After eight weeks in our basement, it had turned white and fermented beautifully. It tastes much more like what I had in Germany and isn't bitter like some of the stuff that comes in cans here in the states.

This is the perennial garden. Rhubarb, strawberries, asparagus, and the basic Italian herbs...I use a lot of Italian seasoning.

I started seedlings in February in my basement under a grow light. As soon as the snow was off of the garden and it had dried enough for Jon to till, we transplanted the cold weather crops, lettuce, spinach, cabbage and peas into the garden. I had some seed left over, so I broadcasted some to stagger the harvest. As you can see though, there isn't any discernible difference between the transplants and the seeds. Ah well. Next year I'll just plant seeds...probably in straw bales (see earlier Mom and Laura post). The soil has a lot of clay, but look what else I did so that next year it will have a better consistency:
Tomorrow I will fill up the far left area (there are three) with clippings, hay from the chicken coop, and steer manure. Next year I will have some good compost to till into the garden.

Saturday, we got a Bountiful Basket. Go to to see more about them. It is a food co-op that delivers about $25 worth of food for $15. It is beautiful produce and a lot of it, but some stuff that I wouldn't normally buy. A $4 carton of blackberries for one. 10 bok choy, for another. What in the world do I do with 10 bok choy? What do I do with one bok choy for that matter?! I'll keep you posted.

But I digress...

They sent me four red peppers. So I stuffed them.

Oh man, I am not a stuffed pepper fan...or I wasn't, until tonight. Y.U.M.

Here is the recipe as it appears on

I added black beans, green chilies, green onions, and raw corn, cut from the cob to the tomato mixture right before I mixed it in with the meat mixture. I added a lot more of the tomato mixture to the meat too. Last, I mixed in some mozzarella (not the stuff I made, remember I ate that on my pizza. I said try to keep up), Tillamook sharp cheddar, and Parmesan to the mix before I stuffed the peppers. I then topped them with the remainder of the tomato mix and a mix of the aforementioned three cheeses. I baked them for about 45 minutes as opposed to the 55-65 on the recipe. These are to die for. There was enough to stuff eight peppers though, so guess what we are having for dinner tomorrow night!

Ok, last but not least, how cute is this kid?

This is my nephew, Wesley. We got to go to St George to visit Jon's sister's family and this kid stole my heart. Seems that Jon stole his though...

He latched onto his uncle Jonjon, following him around, sitting right next to him wanting to eat what Jon was eating...which, if you know Jon, was pretty funny. They bonded.

I'm tired now. Here's to more of the same all summer long!


  1. I'm so proud of you!!!!!

    I have a stuffed bell pepper recipe for the crock pot that freaking rocks because you can walk away from it for several hours. *love* I'll send it to you.

    You'd BETTER post on what you do with that Bok Choy because that's just freaking funny!! If you need some inspiration, here's a website with 45 bok choy recipes. Who knew?!

    And finally, I love your guts. And all that you're doing. You're an inspiration. Seriously, when we build worlds, D and I would really like ours next to you and Jon Jon. Okay? Okay. That's settled.

  2. Hey lady, that's prime real estate... and you're gonna have to share! :) Love you both...

  3. Thank you Leah for the recipe... That was quite the blog ride... :o)
    Cutie Nephew.