One of the things I love most from the Whole Foods bakery is their “Seeduction” bread. It’s dark, hearty, super sweet, moist and has hints of crunch.
It’s also nearly $5 a loaf, and the closest Whole Foods is clear across town. We only go near it when we’re picking up our CSA once a week (Hey, like those red okra in the background?!), so it’s not especially convenient, either. For that reason I decided to try my hand at coming up with something that would be a close approximation.
Kombucha was something I’d heard of back in the 90s when it was “in vogue” again for awhile. I’d never given it much thought because I’d always heard it called “mushroom tea.” Who wants to drink mushroom flavored tea? Well, there’s no mushroom involved at all. There is a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) and I’ll admit, that SCOBY is a little gross and rather unappetizing to look at, but it’s completely beneficial. That’s far less than I can say for some formerly appetizing foods on the grocery store shelves.
If you’ve ever pitted cherries by hand with one of those single clamp-style cherry pitters, the above picture of a whole big bowl of pitted cherries might well make you wince in sympathy for the way my hand must be cramping. Well, don’t bother. There’s a new tool in town!
This past weekend, my husband and I signed up for a CSA. CSA stands for “Community Shared Agriculture.” Basically, you sign up to share the yield, and the risk, of a local farm or ranch. If the farm or ranch does well, you have quite the bounty. In leaner times your share will be a little smaller. It’s a good model and benefits both parties. A farmer has money up front to invest into their farm while the person investing in the share often gets far more produce for the money than they would by buying individual items at the farmer’s market.
So… I last stated that my next project would be bacon. I meant to have pretty pictures for you. This did not happen. Out of respect for the life of my digital camera, and the fact that manhandling a 4 pound slab of pork belly really makes one appreciate the saying “It’s like wrestling a greased pig,” there will be no bacon pictures.
So, it’s been more than a little while since you’ve heard from me! I know, I’m surprised at how long. It seems that just last month I was making Christmas cookies!
My interests have changed, and took off for awhile in other directions. They still are, so you’ll be seeing some new additions to the blog. We just bought a big smoker/grill over Memorial Day and I’m planning to put it through its paces. There’s definitely ideas for grilled pizza, for example!
The bigger change, though, is that with a smoker my ideas have turned towards meat – specifically bacon, sausages, pastrami. And there’s definitely plans for smoking the Thanksgiving Turkey this year. My first project, however, is going to be bacon!
It’s been slow in coming this year, but the first glimmer of the itch to begin my Christmas baking has finally hit. I’d gone to Williams-Sonoma several days ago and purchased a set of very pretty snowflake cookie cutters. In my mind I saw them iced with pure white icing and glistening with a combination of clear dusting sugar and metallic dragees.
Some of you may well be wondering, “What in the world is a dragee?” While the name might ring any bells you’re sure to remember them – those hard, silver balls so popular in Christmas cookie decoration, be they for the buttons of snowmen or the ringers of bells, or simply glistening tips on snowflakes and stars. I was confounded when I tried to find them, having opted not to purchase them at Williams-Sonoma. I found a single brand at my local grocery store and the jar was on the very top shelf, nestled between the boxes of specialty extracts and colored dusting sugars. The price alone nearly blew me out of the water at $10.99 a jar, but I was determined that I was going to make beautiful, magazine-picture worthy cookies and coupled with how hard we’d looked for them I just went ahead and bought them.
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My husband found an article about these cookie cutters while roving about the intertubes the other day. I can’t remember where – most likely boingboing.net or neatorama.com knowing him. I got a peek at them over his shoulder and burst out laughing. They’re so, so, terribly wrong – and yet so very right! While some might be appalled, I know I have many friends who would split a wide grin upon seeing these cookies. Like almost everything else, it turns out that they’re available on Amazon and I just had to add them to my Amazon aStore.
If you live outside the southern states, this may not be news to you. In fact, some of you might well be saying to yourselves, “Gee, didn’t we reach that point last month?” Well, here in Texas things aren’t quite so clear cut. One day you’re wearing shorts, as I was just past Sunday, and the next you’re getting a winter storm warning and threats of snow. No, really – snow! The last time I saw snow was February 14 of 2006. Not exactly a white Christmas, but hey, a white Valentine’s can be just as romantic!
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