Thursday, April 27, 2017

I might have to rethink this...

As I mentioned in the last post, I've been experimenting with baking "artisan" bread, the kind you get in a restaurant - crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.  Having pretty good luck with it since it's so simple.  There are only three ingredients plus water, unless you throw in a bunch of seeds. The hard crust comes from baking the bread in a hot dutch oven.


Occasionally a little excitement...

So... I figured the next logical step is fresh home made butter!  How hard can that be - there's only one ingredient! And think of the money I'll save!

All you need is fresh cream

Lovely sweet cream... Of course it has to be organic and not ultra-pasteurized like all the grocery store stuff, which means a trip to town...

The Kitchen Aid took that stuff right past whipped cream and straight to butter in just a couple of minutes.  


 It also wanted to throw buttermilk all over the kitchen.


You have to wash the butter by kneading it in cold water, replacing the water a few times until it runs clear.  This is to get all the buttermilk out of it.  If you don't, it will get rancid.

End result: 6.4 ounces of sweet cream butter and a half pint of buttermilk.

... And a sink full of dirty dishes, plus a butter-splattered mixer and counter.

So... the money-saving part:

  • Fancy cream $5.00
  • Bottle deposit $2.00
  • 60-mile round trip to get cream not available in Campo - $12 (Of course I didn't make the trip just for cream)

Yield: 6.4 ounces of butter.

8 ounces of store-bought Irish butter: $3.50

 But hey... it was an experience.. And since the mixer was out anyway, I rewarded myself with a big batch of oatmeal cookies.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Porch Rails and Party Lights

The porch has been waiting for some rails to help "define the space," so in honor of the first visit by my good friends Sarah and Scott, all the way from Italy, I hustled up and got them made.

Naturally I couldn't just have plain ordinary rails and balusters, so I incorporated the four-square design element often associated with the Craftsman style.

The rails are purely decorative of course, since the sides of the porch are wide open.  Someday I plan to put a swing on the North side, and maybe some kind of combination bench/firewood box on the South side.

For Christmas, Jami had given me a set of commercial string lights, and I added a smaller set in the back. These are party lights.  Now I need some kind of a lawn or patio between the house and the shop, and I'll be ready for a party!  I've always liked this kind of white, heavy-duty lights, and think they add a festive touch anywhere they're used, even in the daytime.