Thursday, February 23, 2017

Smokin' cheese

Well here in Colorado (and other states in this country as well) there is a lot of smoking going on - and I don't mean tobacco- but today I smoked my first cheese.
smoky golden color
 CoCo gives me enough milk each week to make a 2-3 pound wheel of Gouda cheese.  It needs to age at least 2 months to get a great flavor but it's my favorite goat milk product so far.  Now if I could just smoke the outside.
Cheese has to be cold smoked: creating smoke but not letting get higher than 90 degrees in the smoker or the cheese will melt.  So what better day to smoke than today
snowy February day

The cheese is formed in a mold with pressure and then soaked in a salt brine for 12 hours.  Then it "dries" tabletop for 5 days.  That hard rind on the edge of your cheese that you buy is just the dry part...same ingredients as the edible cheese
2 1/2 pounds of dried un-aged Gouda
I week of milk from one Mama

I sliced the cheese to be 2 inches thick and placed it on a SS rack 

Put the A-Maze-N smoker in the belly of my tiny Weber

And added the cheese

Two hours later:

A really smoky fragrance and a beautiful golden color.  Now I must wax it and let it age.  Ready in 2-6 months
Bon Appetit!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

travel safe, my friend

my dearest friend, Dee
Today I said "Goodbye" to my friend, Dee Henderson.  We met when we were in second grade and could barely stand to be separated.  At the end of each day  I would walk her half way home and then she would walk me half way home and it kept going.  It must have taken 2 hours to travel less than a mile between our houses.  As teenagers we studied every musical we had heard of and recreated it in our bedrooms often....singing every lyric of every song.  We learned about curling irons and hair straighteners.  We were in each other's wedding. We knew everything about each other and no matter matter what...we were there for each other.  This picture was taken at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park neat the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.  There was lots of giggling lots of joy and another night of singing songs from musicals.  It was certainly a cherished time for both of us.  Thank you my friend for loving me and making my world a better place to live in.  Travel safe to Heaven where there are special people waiting to greet you.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas to All!!!

what else would a 13 year old want?

Merry Christmas 

I went a little crazy with plaid this year then added some reindeer and there became my theme.

Granddaughters' hands
have a seat

Come have a seat

Stay for dinner

stuffed peppers

and stay the night in the Princess room

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Relax! Enjoy your day!

LuLu an Maverick- morning nap
soaking up the sun on Christmas Eve

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Peppermint Bark- a great Christmas treat

Peppermint Bark
Who doesn't love peppermint bark at Christmas?  Instead of cookies this is what my Denver Granddaughters made for Christmas treats this year:
mise en place
Here's the recipe:

bittersweet chocolate-1 pound- cut into 1 inch pieces
peppermint oil - 7 drops
white chocolate- 1 pound chips or slab, cut into 1 inch pieces
peppermint chips - 1/2 cup

On a baking sheet add parchment paper
In a double boiler melt bittersweet chocolate.  When almost melted add 7 drops of peppermint oil and stir. Then pour out the dark chocolate on to the parchment paper.  Move the pan and paper until the chocolate in in an even layer.  Set aside.
Now melt the white chocolate in the double boiler.  Add half (or 1/4 cup) of the peppermint chips to the melted white chocolate.  Gently pour the white chocolate mixture over the dark chocolate oval.
Sprinkle the remaining peppermint chips over the top layer and let get hard.
Break into smaller pieces and share with your family and sure to keep some for yourself.

All of these items are easily available at King Arthur Flour - a great resource for baking

Dark chocolate layer

preparing second layer in double boiler

add some teenage friends ( Ella and her friend Sophia)

maybe even some 9 year olds (Kate and her friend May)

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Thanksgiving muffins

Thanksgiving Muffins
These muffins have ALL the flavors of Thanksgiving and are great for breakfast or a dessert.  Yes those are white chocolate chips in the inside along with cranberries and crystallized ginger.  I have made these with all the original ingredients from the King Arthur Flour recipe and I have also made them gluten free, dairy free and rice free.....all are fabulous.  I hope you try some version for your Thanksgiving celebration:

mise en place

Winter squash harvest

Recipe:  Thanksgiving muffins

1 cup pumpkin puree - you can see I have a supply to last all year
2 large eggs
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 Tbs vegetable oil
1 Tbs molasses
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup crystallized ginger- cut into small pieces- use kitchen shears
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 Tbs sparkling sugar


for a gluten free muffin I substitute equal amounts of "cup 4 cup" flour or oat flour
for dairy free muffins I substitute 1/2 cup apple juice or cider for the milk and omit the white chocolate chips or find a dairy free white or cinnamon chip


Grease 12 wells of a standard muffin pan; or line with papers, and grease the papers.

In a large bowl whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, oil, molasses, salt, spices, milk, and white chocolate chips.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl

Whisk the four, baking powder, and baking soda together.  Stir in the dried cranberries and crystallized ginger.  Add all at once to the wet ingredients and mix until all ingredients are well combined.

Cover the bowl and let the batter rest for 30 minutes while you preheat your oven to 400 deg.F

Use a 1/3 cup  measuring cup and scoop batter into each well or paper lined well.  Sprinkle the top of each muffin with about 1/2 tsp sparkling sugar.

Bake the muffins for 20-21 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean

Remove muffins from the oven, and tilt them in their individual wells to cool; this prevents their bottoms from steaming and becoming tough.

Serve warm or at room temp.

cinnamon chips, sparkling sugar and great flours (including gluten free varieties) can be purchased from King Arthur

Happy Thanksgiving!

ready to eat

Salsa time - to save for later

This is the end of my garden harvest.  I have about 8 pounds of tomatillos- both green and purple, some ugly but tasty tomatoes, purple and green Jalapeño peppers and some onions and garlic from the garden.  Let's make some salsa; can it up and have it on a cold January day.
ready for a cold January day
I started with my tomatillo salsa

4 pounds of tomatillos- hulled, washed and chopped
1 cup onion- chopped
4 Jalapeno peppers - seeded, chopped
4 cloves garlic - minced
1 Tbs ground cumin
2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup bottled lime juice- remember this is going to be preserved so we need the acid
1/4 cup fresh cilantro - chopped fine

mise en place
Combine the tomatillos, onion, jalapeños, and garlic in a large pot.  Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer 10 minutes.  Add the cumin, sea salt, lime juice and cilantro.
Cook and additional 10 minutes.  Taste the salsa and add more salt, cumin, or lime juice if necessary
Ladle the hot salsa into 1 pint jars that have been heat/water processed,* leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Wipe the rims, apply sterilized (boil in water bath 10 minutes) lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.  When the processing time is up, remove the canning pot from the heat and remove the lid.  Let the jars sit in the pot for an additional 5 minutes.
Makes 4 pints

This recipe is taken from Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan - a great little book for small batches of yummy processed food.


End of harvest tomato salsa:
uncooked salsa
So I had a basket of vegetables that I had picked from my garden- the end of everything,  mostly tomatoes, a variety of peppers- mostly Jalapeños,  red onions, a few tomatillos I missed , young garlic I had to dig for- you get it.  I am going to list a basic tomato salsa recipe from "Food in Jars" for the guideline of ingredients but it was basically whatever was left:

makes 4 pint jars:
6 cups tomatoes ( about 3 pounds) chopped
2 cups onions - chopped
1 cup bell pepper- chopped( 1 large pepper)
1 3/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
3 Jalapeno peppers, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs lime juice
1 Tbs sea salt
1 cup fresh cilantro - chopped

Prepare a boiling water bath and 4 --1 pint jars.  Place the lids in a small saucepan, cover them with water, and simmer over very low heat.

Combine the tomatoes, onion, chopped red pepper, vinegar, sugar, Jalapeños, garlic, lie juice and salt in a large pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the salsa no longer looks watery.  Stir in the chopped cilantro.

Taste and add additional jalapeño, lime juice or salt if necessary.

Ladle the hot salsa into the prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.  Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

When the procession time is up, remove the canning pot from the heat and remove the lid.  Let the jars sit in the pot for an additional 5 minutes.  This helps to prevent the salsa from reacting to the rapid temperature change and bubbling out of the jars.

NOTE:  I live a mile high and must add 10 minutes to my procession time because of the altitude.

If your last jar is a little shy of salsa place it in the fridge and it will keep a couple of weeks - I didn't say it would last a couple of weeks

Goodbye garden 2016