Monday, February 14, 2011

February projects in and out of the kitchen

Our thermometer has bottomed out at twenty below. Forty below is the low for the night. Until this weekend our temperatures have been relatively mild and we've all been spending more time outside. Our property is finally receiving a couple hours of midday sun. Here are some pictures from the last week. I've been enjoying spending time in the kitchen.  I've also been doing various research, trying to make some decisions for the year on what eggs to hatch, what breeds of poultry to raise etc. On the table are all of our feed receipts for the past year. I'm going to attempt to figure out our yearly feed and hay costs. Above is the doe's daily grain ration, a picture appropriate for my last couple posts on feeding grain to goats.

 The last of our own Copra onions. They are beginning to grow, as we don't quite have the right temperature/humidity area to store them. I used up the last of our garlic today. So I just bought the first bag of onions and garlic since last spring. We have enough potatoes for a couple months.

 Homemade hot chocolate after playing outside.

I made a batch of beef jerky for the first time this winter. It turned out good, if a little plain for my taste. I like my jerky to have a full garlicky peppery soy sweet flavor. I should have marinated it more than just overnight- but I was jerkey hungry. I did do a nice job of slicing it thinly while still partially frozen.

 I've finally gotten into a rhythm with Chana's dog food. I've been making chicken/duck or other turkey stock every other week. I take all the meat off the bones, smoosh up the soft stock vegetables and add rice. She gets a couple cups once a day. Daily scraps usually make up her second meal.

Our weekly 100% organic hard red winter wheat bread. I grind the flour every couple weeks, store it outside (in our natural freezer) I start it a day ahead before baking, by soaking a biga and starter with yogurt and raw goat milk overnight to help break down the gluten and make it more digestible. The bread is mild and soft. It is great fresh or frozen and keeps at least a week on the counter.

I've pulled in a bag of Copper River Red Salmon to brine and smoke - I'm counting on the temperature outside warming up. I also pulled in a large turkey breast to smoke for lunch meat. I'm hoping to pull out the grinder and turn some various bags of pork lard and pork scraps into rendered lard and sausage. Tonight we are having roast, mashed potatoes and salad. Tomorrow we are having stew with turnips and biscuits. I've also had meat pies on the mind, empanadas, Asian style BBQ pork buns. I guess it is just that time of year.

I'm gearing up for a soap making spree next weekend. This is the first time I've looked up other soap making blogs for inspiration, and lets just say, I have been blown away by some handmade soaps folks are making out there. I've been inspired to try some layering and and marbling this time around, so I'll be sticking with some simple recipes and focus on colors, scents and decorative techniques.

OK, lets here it, what yummy things are you cooking? What winter projects are you enjoying?


Buttons Thoughts said...

Hello Emily I am still trying to get past the 40 below. I think you are a very smart, resourceful woman. I can see how much work goes into all you feed your family.You should be proud of yourself. You are truly an inspiration for all of us.
My winter projects have not even happened and it is almost spring and with calving and helping my Mother in another town things are quite busy here. I am getting more writing done at night something I enjoy.
Keep up the good work Emily I admire your work ethic,and your values and look forward to all your posts. B

Emily said...

Thanks B,
I've been getting over to your blog now and then. Cows and calving sounds much more daunting than Goats and kidding.

Bovey Belle said...

Brrr. We had a foot of snow at Christmas and then the central heating broke and I thought WE were cold! This is in Wales, U.K.

I like the sound of your bread, but hadn't tried making it on a slow overnight prove using yoghurt before. Do you have a recipe you could share?

I have baked a fabulously tasty fruit cake from the River Cottage Everyday cookbook I had for Christmas (Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who is an inspiration to me in all he stands for). This cake has lemon and orange zest (smells divine) and chopped dried figs, apricots and prunes in it.

I hope it warms up a bit for you before your goats start kidding.

Emily said...

Bovey Belle,

I made a traditional fruit cake for Christmas as well, that had lots of dried fruit, zests and spices. I love special breads and buns with zest and dried fruit.

Here is the address where I found our weekly wheat bread recipe. I went on to buy the book that it was derived from.