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Archive for September, 2012

caramel apple custard pi

Caramel Apple Custard Pie

4 apples, cored and thinly sliced (peels on is fine if you don’t mind a rustic texture and the added health benefits… or if you’re just lazy, you can tell yourself its for the former reasons)
1-2 tbsp butter
1/4 brown sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt

3 eggs
1 1/2 c. whole milk or buttermilk (buttermilk gives this a delicious tang that complements the apples and sweetness- try it!)
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Preheat your oven to 350 F and roll out your favorite pie crust (I used organic whole wheat from Breslin Farm so I feel like this is health food when I have two slices for breakfast… the cup of butter in there notwithstanding, haha)… saute apples in butter in a heavy pan, sprinkle with brown sugar and cook over low heat until softened and caramelized. Let cool slightly, then arrange apples in the pie crust in an even layer.

Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl. Dissolve the brown sugar in the milk and whisk all remaining ingredients together with the eggs. Pour custard mixture over pie (hot tip- pour in half, then top up with the rest once the pie is in the oven so you don’t slosh it everywhere). Bake until crust is golden and the custard is lightly set in the center- will thicken as it cools. Try not to eat it all in one sitting.

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School is in session! We’ll have our first class in early October at The Plant, and half the proceeds will benefit The Plant and our season-extension plans for the fall garden! This “Garden to Pantry” primer will be an overview of food preservation techniques to put up the harvest- either from your own garden, the late season abundance from your favorite farmer, or maybe that case of fruit you got at Maxwell St. threatening to turn into mush on your counter (ask me how I know about that last one). We’ll start in the garden with a bountiful harvest of fresh-picked produce, and then head to the kitchen to find out what to do with it all!

There will be samples of various types of preserves and demonstrations of equipment and basic techniques. Always wanted to try pickling, dehydrating, canning, freezing, or lacto-ferments but didn’t know where to begin? You’ll take home some recipes and a list of reliable information sources, and more importantly, the knowledge and confidence to put up healthy local food at home for year-round nourishment!

You’ll learn how to ensure both the peak of flavor and food safety in your preserved products from a trained chef, with techniques you can use in your own kitchen. This class will be an overview and introduction, with more in-depth topic classes to come… email me for more information or to sign up. This class will be capped at 10 participants. The fee for this class is $40 (for those who are able, email me to discuss paying-it-forwards and donating more to fund a scholarship spot in this or future classes for low-income participants). Date and time TBA!

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Monster truck rally at The Plant, Saturday Sept. 22. See you there, squares! Ps… I’ll have a soap table set up with various wares… You know, to wash off the mud from the monster trucks doing donuts in the parking lot. What do you mean, not that kind of monster truck? That the “monster trucks” are actually “food trucks’? You mean… there might be ACTUAL DONUTS?? Like the kind with bacon bits and maple drizzle, mah nizzle? Now that’s HOT. And fancy-pants cupcakes and burritos and beef and even vegan cheese (hey, whatever rocks your boat… er… truck?)! Prepared on actual trucks that are now allowed to cook actual food on the actual truck (thanks Chicago, it’s about time)? OH heck yeah. Now I’m SO there. But I’ll still sell you some soap. Soap that looks like food! It’s food for your skin though, don’t eat it, like that guy who took a bite of the mint chocolate chip bar…

I’ll also have a sign up sheet for more information on the series of upcoming classes this fall… more on that very soon!

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Two days in the life last week, by the numbers:

48 hours.

13 sleeping.

10.5 at work. More time from home reading, writing, and answering emails.

4 hours on my bike (28 miles).

7 or more hours shoveling wood chip mulch after work (a truckload or two at least? The pile has sort of mushed together so I’m not sure how many loads there are…).

2 dog walks.

2 pots of coffee.

9 eggs from the hens.

in the kitchen: raspberry custard pies, blanched tomatoes for salsa, dehydrated 10 trays of eggplant and other veggies, sauteed and froze two gallon bags of eggplant, sliced cukes for pickles, and of course dishes, cleaning…

Whew! Now back to the kitchen- need to make those tomatoes into salsa and can it up, check the stock that’s in the crock pot, fill the dehydrator with more onions or potatoes, check the bees, take the salsa scraps out to the chickens, do a load of laundry, feed the worm bins, make something for dinner and the fellow’s lunch tomorrow, maybe surprise him by stapling up some insulation in the ceiling before he gets home, and if there’s any daylight left, work on stripping the front door trim for a bit.

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studio redux

The first Open Studio was a success, and we’ll definitely be doing it again next month! We somehow forgot that it was a holiday weekend until we’d scheduled, but plenty of folks came out anyway. We sold and exchanged some goods and goodies, made some new friends, and perhaps most importantly, made huge headway in creating order from chaos at both the studio and the cabin. We’ll be bringing more treasures from the house to the studio and doubling down next month… so stay tuned! And let us know if you’d like to stop by before then for a sneak-peak or pre-sale options. :-)

Otherwise, we spent our Labor Day labors focusing on the house project with renewed vigor- the fellow made massive inroads on the organization and stuff-purging fronts in preparation for rehanging the insulation in the first floor ceiling, and I got 3/4’s of the front door trim stripped of 110 years worth of paint layers. The Silent Paint Remover is my new favorite toy- that, plus a good coating of citrus stripper gel, has revealed that we have decent looking wood trim with detailing that was hidden under a centimeter or so of paint-crud. Win! Wrapped that up in time for nightfall and the arrival of a couple friends to grill some dogs and sausages, chitchat, entertain the wee-one (our friend’s dino-obsessed 7 year old) and enjoy some birthday cake (now, with Zucchini!) and ice cream in our buddies honor. Good times.

It finally rained at about 4 this morning, after being oppressively muggy and overcast for two days (yesterday was gorgeous though, while still hot). Last weekend we filled up almost 800 gallons in the rain tanks off of one half of the roof during Sunday’s all day drizzle and downpour… haven’t checked the level in the big tank this morning but should be enough to get the garden through till the next fill. How’s your early fall garden doing? We’re finally getting tomatoes, and endless eggplant… time to start planting fall and winter greens and other goodies!

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