Friday, October 31, 2014

Samhain and a New Year

Well it is Halloween and Samhain, the Pagan New Year. A new turn of the wheel starts tomorrow. I did my duty and voted today. I figure it was poetic to vote for the freak show we are about to see in the Senate on Halloween. We could be pleasantly surprised but I am not going to be betting in serious money on such an outcome.

I did get my new ovens ordered and it should be delivered on Saturday. If you haven't priced them double electric oven are very expensive, like we are talking 2 grand and up. I settled for a nice GE that has convection (fan oven for you Brits) in the top plus regular and just conventional in the bottom. I have convection in both upper and lower in the unit I have but I never used the lower for much of anything so I won't miss it all. If you are unfortunate enough to have to replace a double oven then beware that there are all kinds of little add-ons you have to pay for on top of the price of the oven itself. Measuring fee for the installer to measure and see if any modifications are in order...$69. Hall off of the old unit $20 and in my case removing the piece of wood I added to make the hole fit my current oven which is 110 dollars. Since I bought this at Home Depot another company will do the install but Home Depot will deliver. They advertise free haul off of the old appliance but that is only if the old appliance is already uninstalled which it won't be. So I've paid for everything and scheduled the delivery but have no word from the installers when they will appear.

So anyway, I broke down and bought a bag of Kit-Kat snack size if any trick-or-treaters show up....probably not. I can count on my two hands the number of T&T's we have had in the 33 years we have lived here but I am always ready and yes, the pumpkins are off the front porch as well.

I usually do pizza for Halloween night but that's out since I have no oven....

Monday, October 27, 2014

Whole-Wheat Biscuits and Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits

I just realized that I haven't posted anything here in weeks...sorry. To apologize here is a recipe for whole-wheat biscuits.

We are all used to biscuits made with white flour and they are very nice but there is absolutely no reason to not make them from whole-wheat flour and skip the empty carbs from the white flour. Use a good quality whole-wheat flour such as King Arthur and they even have a white whole-wheat flour which is great for these biscuits. I prefer buttermilk biscuits but regular milk works as well though the chemistry is a little different because of the acidity of the buttermilk.

Whole-Wheat Biscuits and Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups whole-wheat flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
4-5 tablespoons cold butter
1 cup cold milk

To make the biscuits with buttermilk substitute 1 tsp of baking soda for one tsp of baking powder(for the acid in the buttermilk) and substitute 1 and 1/4 cups of buttermilk for the milk.

Preheat the oven to 450°F.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder/soda, and salt. Mix well with a whisk or a fork.
Cut the butter into little pea-size pieces and scatter them over the flour mixture.
Mix the flour and butter together, using  a fork or pastry cutter or fingers to mash the butter pieces into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add the milk and mix together thoroughly without overmixing and trun the loose mixture out onto a  floured cutting board or counter.  Knead the dough with your hands 4 to 6 times until it just comes together. We really don't want to overwork the dough or we'll have tough biscuits.
Pat the dough out flat with your hands until it’s about ¾ inch thick. Add a little more flour if the if the dough sticks to your fingers, sprinkle a little flour on the top and bottom. If it’s too dry (not holding together), add a splash or two of milk or water.
Cut out biscuit rounds. Gently press together the scrap dough and cut another biscuit or two, taking care not to over-handle the dough.
Place the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned.

You should get 8 - 10 biscuits. Serve them hot with lots of butter and homemade jam and jelly. Honey and sorghum works too.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Rainy Saturday

Rainy Saturday in the Northern Atlanta burbs so we won't be getting much gardening done today. Did manage to get Zoey's walk in between showers though so that's something. We have a potluck birthday party this evening for our friend Carmen at its a "Crock Pot" thing. I'll take my Tuscan Bean Stew and a nice batch of fresh focaccia. Any fresh bread is good with a hearty soup but focaccia seems to really hit the spot. I use Nancy Silverton's method for the focaccia which is really nice and easy to boot. So it is going to be a day in the kitchen it seems. Well, I am trying to convince Madam to go with me to the CVS on the corner to get out flu shots but other than that I'll be cooking mostly.

The fall garden is growing nicely BTW as you can see by the pictures of romaine, Napa and mustard.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Not Really Pumpkin

The Huffington Post has a story up about canned pumpkin not actually being pumpkin but a variety of butternut squash called least when it comes to Libby's, Libby's, Libby's. Whatever. it still makes my favorite pie and the best recipe is still the one on the canned Libby's pumpkin label. There are actual pie pumpkins out there and I actually grow some. I actually got a pretty good crop this year with about 10 good sized pumpkins from a relatively small space. I haven't made a pie out of one yet to compare to the Libby's canned but I'm sure it will be good. These are an heirloom Amish pumpkin specifically grown for pies. We'll see. The picture is half my crop and aren't they cute.