Sunday, November 28, 2010

back to real life

My little retreat from normal life has come to an end, back in town with Internet and a laundry list of things to do. Yesterday morning we woke up to an inch of snow, a buck in the yard, and a blue sky (after the snow stopped.) I was allowed to play with kitchen toys, so tons of juice was made. tons! my favorite was apple, beet, celery (just 1 stalk) garlic, kale, pineapple.
I also tried out a recipe from this month's VegNews- a no-knead overnight cardamom sweet bread (pictured) I was pretty happy with how it turned out.
finally a picture of the wood stove that lovingly gave us heat all weekend .

Thursday, November 25, 2010

giving thanks

a nontraditional thanksgiving for me; filled with chosen family rather than traditional family, and sushi, miso soup and tempura, not turkey. house sitting out at a friend's place in the country. Quiet, beautiful, She built it piece by piece many years ago. After a morning of lounging and slowly making dinner we looked up and saw two horses in the yard, a brown pretty one and a Clydesdale just eating apples and grass. Lindley ended up making some rope harnesses and we walked them back up to the Neighbor's farm that they escaped from. It was great, I haven't been around horses in at least 10 years, and after a bit got over my initial nervousness.
Tonight, back in town for a sushi dinner with friends. Hope everyone is having a lovely time with good friends, family, food and fun!

some photos of recent projects for you!

1) napkins I made for a friend, for a wedding present.
2) a knitting needle holder I made for a friend, Mary Kate in exchange for some beautiful hand knit mittens that I should be getting in the mail soon! so exciting.

Monday, November 22, 2010

clean clean clean

hola! today was the official deep clean of the house we live in. We clean, but interns cycle through every 3 months, and people aren't really accountable to clean before they leave/ leave stuff so it's kind a relic to past interns. Today though, we did all the grimy deep cleaning. You know the kind: vacuuming cobwebs from tall rafters, moving the furniture and getting in to deep corners, cleaning out all the junk that has piled up, etc. In the afternoon we tackled some projects that were fixing things, improving, and weather proofing. In the kitchen there is a beautiful 30" tall cabinet that has just the bottom shelf, and nothing else- so it holds about 10 mugs and a ton of wasted space.
It's amazing to me how quickly you can build things when you happen to have the proper hardware, a beautiful shop, and wood at your finger tips. Lindley and I made 2 shelves to go in the cabinet, and even had the time to sand them, plane the edges and chisel in some hearts. They look beautiful, and are quite functional- the best of everything!!!
counting down the days to thanksgiving holiday and a little retreat to the woods. I know, i live in the woods, but these are even further, more lovely, and super remote woods.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

finished bench!!!

sorry about the bad lighting in the photos, but the bench is finished! The finishing took longer than building the bench, but I'm happy with it. I ended up using a slate blue finishing paint, which is water based and looks more like a stain, as it soaks in to the wood and shows the grain. I finished it with Linseed oil, as I write this I realize I just put water based paint under oil, but we'll see how that goes... uh oh.
breakfast and lunch shift tomorrow then down to Northampton, MA for some fun! yea for fun!!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

a day full of cooking

hola! today was full of cooking, as I was on the lunch and dinner shifts. We only have 3 students right now, so it's cooking for a small group too. Today was rough but started looking up towards evening time. on the menu:
brown rice risotto, vegan and gluten free with short grain brown rice.
all kinds of toppings to go on: ham, roasted beets, feta, sharp cheddar, green onions, sauteed kale
roasted Brussels sprouts
and dessert- i made my new favorite easy dessert:
flourless chocolate tart from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's book the Vegan Table
happily off work and in a sugar coma I will now sand my bench and add the third coat of stain, and work on my resume which I have been putting off...

flourless chocolate tart

1 cup raw pecans (or cashews)
1 cup raw walnuts
3/4 cup sugar
4 T earth balance, melted (or coconut oil)
16 ounces semisweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate bar
2 cups nondairy milk (I use rice or soy from vermont soy company)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
cinnamon, cayenne pepper to taste

preheat oven to 375 degrees. pulverize the nuts, and sugar in a food processor. Add butter/oil and process until a thick batter forms. Press in to a 9 or 10 inch tart pan. (I use a spring form pan and it works too.) Bake the crust for 10 min. till golden brown.
meanwhile melt chocolate in a double boiler or microwave. In a saucepan heat milk over med. heat till scalding hot but not boiling. Add melted chocolate to the milk- whisk in corn starch and stir well. Lower heat and simmer for 10 min, stirring occasionally.
the chocolate mixture will slowly thicken. Pour mixture into the baked tart shell and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
It's also fun to cut a stencil out of wax paper and sprinkle powder sugar over the tart.
serves 6 to 8 people and is so tasty.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

a very long day

It is beautiful here! sunny and in the high 40's. Not quite the 73 it is over in St. Louis today- but I'm happy with it. My good morning muffins were beautiful this morning! Last night while I was prepping them I also got on my game and made rice and soaked beans for today's lunch. This morning I cooked off the beans, made the enchilada sauce, and was on my way when around 9:30 two guys came from the gas company and shut off my gas (so, no stove or oven) for 2 hours (they swore it would be an hour) so I couldn't cook anything else till 11:30. Other people in the school knew but failed to pass on the information/ don't remember to think much about the kitchen until they are hungry. It was simply a classic case of yester*miss communication, but I was livid I'm a little tired pants now, to be sure, but I managed to pull off the following:

Black bean, sweet potato, kale, and turkey Enchiladas with chipotle cheddar cheese and homemade roasted banana pepper enchilada sauce

cilantro, lime brown rice

Juan Louise's black beans. sauteed with onions and peppers and simmered in red wine for hours- delicious!

guacamole, salsa, sour cream, chips, beautiful green salad, chipotle croutons.

It all turned out to be delicious and people really enjoyed it/ appreciated it, so it was worth it.

photos to enjoy, sorry about the low quality- taken with the computer.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

faith in baking

I wouldn't really consider myself a baker. I like baking, mostly muffins and cakes, but when I think about cooking and how I put things together, I don't following recipes and eyeball most of my measurements.
I feel with baking you have to be so much more precise. I was on breakfast this morning and something possessed me to make popovers of all things. I feel like popovers are one of those baked goods that just don't make sense and take total faith that when you open the oven you will see beautiful, fluffy popovers. It just seems so strange to fill tins with this slightly heavy custardy soup then open to fluffy air.
Today's popovers were made in muffin tins, in an oven that we don't have a thermometer for so we don't know the actual temp, so they were a bit heavy- but tasty.

For lunch I mad lentil soup and people loved it. I used some leftover red lentil Dal, added more red lentils and french lentils, and a ton of onions, carrots, paprika, turmeric, cumin, coriander, hint of soy sauce, more garlic, and some garam massala spice blend.

the few inches of sleet have finally melted and I can see the greensin the garden again. Friday it's suspose to be sunny and 50 out- like spring!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010


It came as a shock to me today, but it is officially winter here in Vermont. Today was one of those days where you just want to stay inside drinking hot cocoa and reading a good book. I had the day off so I kind of did that/ slept a lot, it was fantastic. Outside is a 'wintry mix' of sleet and snowish like stuff.
My little lettuce, spinach, and kale were under a good 1/2 inch of frozen sleet this morning, poor little things. I still hacked off some kale and made breakfast with it though. Breakfast these days has been a recent favorite of mine, introduced to me by Karie, former kitchen staff who is now frolicking off in warmer weather. It usually goes like this: rice, sauteed with some coconut oil and a tad of soy sauce. Sauteed onions to the point of caramelized, garlic, kale from the garden, portabella mushrooms, a bit more soy sauce. I layer them in a bowl, then toast a slice of bread and fry two eggs from our chickens, when they are perfect I lay them on top of the greens and it is the best breakfast ever.

The end of farm design was really fantastic. We visited a few more farms, and each presented our design projects to the class, some staff, and a few guests. overall I was really pleased with how my design/ design process turned out.

This weekend I took my first real building class here. Kind of odd to be at a design/build school and not know how to really build things for the first 10 months, but some times that's just the way the cookie crumbles. The class was power tools for women, and in two days we each made a really awesome little shaker style bench, with the seat of the bench opening to a little storage space. Here are some photos of it unfinished- I'm planning on finishing it with slate blue paint stain sort of product. It's colored like paint, but soaks in to the wood like a stain.

oh! on the photo of me with the bench, check out the heart rain boots I have on- I've been looking for the perfect pair of rain boots for over a year and found these at the local farm supply store. I love them!

enjoy the photos & stay warm, friends!