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You can find more about me, my adventures, my projects, and my life at Seeking Virtuosity - Recipes, knitting, life, and more!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Homespun

Two hanks of nubbly, thick/thin, plied homespun! MY homespun, from my Kromski Interlude sinning wheel!  Now it needs set and knit up!

Is spun from lovely alpaca top purchased from luna knits on etsy. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Spring birds

So yesterday I went for a walk, and the day before ... andngues what is back in our neighborhood?  Robins! 


When we lived in MN they didn't migrate,  they were around, in droves, all winter, and that was a cold, cold winter!


They don't stick around in NW PA, or NE OH.  They come back after the ground hog sees his shadow, ir doesn't,  and predicts that spring will arrive in six weeks, either way.


So I saw a robin.  Next sign that this rediculously mild winter is creeping to a close is redwinged blackbirds and then killdeer. 


Seeds get started around Easter weekend ... I am not sure what seeds I'm gonna start, flowers? Veggies?


Spinning wheel should be here tomorrow!  Hurray!


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Sunday, February 12, 2012

New Tool coming soon ...

So yesterday hubby suprised me.  We drove to an unknown, undisclosed location, had lunch in a little hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant and then arrived at our destination.  A private home in Cleveland heights.  Hubby wouldn't let on why we e there, just that it had something to do with our anniversary coming up.


We entered the home and was greeted by the sight of fiber, yarns, and spinning wheels!  After albout an hour learning about and reviewing the different styles, hubby bought me my very own!


It will arrive this week. Unfinished.  I have decided to use a tung oil on it to bring out the richness of the wood and protect it.  Tung oil is natural, non -toxic, and brings out the true beauty of the wood while protecting it.


I am so excited!  Once the wheel is put together I also have a complimentary lesson waiting for me!  Yay!!!!


Dog hair, highland cattle hair, wool, Angora,  perhaps I can get a job spinning for a local alpaca farm... I am so excited!!!!


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Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving.  Surrounding oneself with friends, family, roasting a massive turkey, covering the table and counters with all manner of desserts and side dishes, and eating until so full you resemble Garfield after a pan of lasagna!

So, I surrounded myself with my beloved - well, we spent the day together, doing things we enjoyed, together, quietly ... practiced some music, played some games, watched some football and other favorite shows.

I have to say it was a wonderfully restful Thanksgiving!

So Thanksgiving was on Thursday as always, but it didn't start there.  The week before, I picked up the turkey; a frozen, 23# hunk of gamebird that was on sale at a local market for .029/lb!  Therefore I got the BIGGEST bird I could find ... yup, all for 2 people ... (I want leftovers!)

Sunday I put the frozen bird in the refrigerator to thaw.  How I managed to fit it in there, I haven't a clue!  My fridge isn't exactly big.

Bob's Red Mill
Gluten Free
Cornbread Mix
I baked a Gluten Free Cornbread using a Bob's Red Mill Mix, on Monday as well as used my breadmaker to bake up a loaf of Gluten Free Brioche (sandwich Bread); both were used in the making of the stuffing.

Tuesday I checked the turkey, still frozen.  I made the Green-Bean Casserole w/Homemade Mushroom Gravy by Guy Fieri of Food Network fame.  Why homemade?  Well, primarily because I LOVE Green Bean Casserole, and condensed soup has flour in it.  Wheat flour.  Mine was from scratch, and though it had cream in it, it did NOT have gluten or wheat - and it was oh, so lovely and mushroomy!  I split it into two 8x8" aluminum pans, and froze one.  Stuck the other in the fridge to await Thursday.

So the Turkey has to come out, today, despite it's still 85% frozen state.  Dang!  I take it out, set it in the sink, and start peeling off the plastic; I have to use the sprayer to thaw around the neck, and gizzard bag to remove them so I can roast them up, and some veggies to make some lovely stock.  Into the oven they go, with a bunch of veggies - onions, carrots, celery, leeks, apples, and garlic - all at 450F for 45 minutes.  Seems overkill, right?  Well everything was toasted and roasted nicely, barring a couple leeks from the edges that got a little singed, tossed them.  Everything into a pan, cover with water, and simmer for a while.

Back to the turkey.  The Frozen Turkey.  23# of semi-solid meat.  So today I planned to start it brining.  It doesn't fit in my cooler, but I have a clean 5 gallon bucket ... I make the brine with salt, lemons, pepper corns, thyme, bay (fresh from my tree!), sage, rosemary, brown sugar, and some lemon-marmalade I made a couple weeks back, that has been sitting in my fridge, and dang if I just didn't have room for it.  The Brine was based loosely on a few recipes I found around the internet Anne Burrell's Brined-Herb Crusted Roast turkey,  and 3-Secrets to a Great Roast Turkey - Revisited.  I boiled together the brine, cooled it with some tap water to luke-warm, put the turkey into the bucked tail-up, poured in the brine, and filled the remainder of the bucket until the turkey was submerged.  Covered it, and set it in the laundry-room utility sink.  The bucket was filled to 1/2" from the top, and I didn't have room in my fridge.  I figured since the turkey was still mostly frozen it would double as  it's own chill, while thawing the rest of the way AND brining while thawing!!

Wednesday I make the stuffing, using the stock I'd made the day before. A combination of recipes, Cornbread, sausage, and chestnut stuffing, A Julia and Jacques recipe (link below for the deconstructed turkey), Cornbread Dressing with Chestnuts, and Sausage, Chestnut, and Cornbread stuffing.  My modifications, I added leeks with the onions; used granny smith apples; Italian sweet sausage in place of the country style listed in the recipe; added dried cranberries and cherries to the mix).  I placed it all in a large casserole dish and baked it for 35 minutes at 350F, allowed it to cool on the counter, then stuck it outside in the garage where the temp is equivalent to my refrigerator right now!  (40s)

I then turned to care of the turkey.  Per the instructions for Anne Burrell's Brined-Herb crusted Roast Turkey, I made a herb butter.  Pulled the turkey out of the brine, draining it well, then popped it onto a half-sheet pan, patting it dry with paper towels.  I massaged about half the herb butter under the skin, and the rest all over the outside of the bird.  Once the turkey-massage was over, I popped it into a turkey roasting bag (it was big enough!), leaving it open for air to circulate, I then popped it back into the fridge, on a clean half-sheet pan to wait until the following morning.

I also baked a sweet potato, slightly cooled it, scooped out the innards, leaving the skin intact, mixed the innards with a little salt, pepper, and brown sugar, scooped the mixture back into the skins then topped them with marshmallows.  Once topped, they got popped into the fridge to wait for the turkey's exit from the oven the following day.

Thursday morning ... Happy Thanksgiving! ... I figured 4 hours for a 23# bird ... so I stuffed the body cavity with an apple, a lemon, a half a HUGE onion (probably equal to two medium onions), a carrot, and two celery stalks.  Closed the bag, cut slits into it, and popped it into the oven.  450F for 30min, then dropped the temp to 350F for the remaining 3.5 hours.  While it was roasting I finished stuff around the house, and prep for the meal.

Potatoes boiling in salted water, cubed, skin-on, while the turkey is cooking.  When ready I smash them, add some cream cheese, butter, and a little buttermilk.  I put them in a pan and waited for the oven to be open.  (Serious Hubby Approval!)

At noon the turkey exited the oven, golden, steaming, and crisp.  Onto the stovetop it went to rest for an hour while I finished cooking.  I drained the drippings from the bag into a pan.  Carefully.  Then got rid of as much of the fat layer as I could; there was almost two cups!  I made gravy using the drippings, a drop of gravy-maker, cornstarch and a little cream.

The stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes and smashed potatoes, all went into the oven to reheat for 20 minutes.  I had forgotten to pull a couple frozen rolls from the freezer, so I microwaved them thawed, popped them into the oven and hoped for the best.

Green salad chopped and on the table.  Canned Cranberry sauce (jelly, not chunks - with the can ridges still attached, LOL).  Herby, roasted Turkey, falling off the bone and juicy, breast, leg, and thigh cut and plated. Sides out of the oven, and tabled.

We ate. Well.  And barely made a dent in it all.  But oh, the glorious leftovers!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

GF Banana Bread


GF Banana Bread
Originally uploaded by UnrelentingTruth
GF Banana Bread

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My search for the perfect Gluten Free Lasagna Recipe

Ok, so I've said in the past that I've discovered that Gluten and I are not friends.  Be it because of the genetic changes made in wheat to make it stronger, disease resistant, and drought tolerant, or my body simply decided wheat, and other gluten containing grains are the enemy, I am not sure.  I simply know that avoiding those grains that contain wheat equates to clear head and minimal-to-no joint pain.

No pain? That is definitely a reason to NOT eat wheat!  So no wheat ... no bread ... no thick gravy's or roux ... no pies or pastries ... Right?  NOT!

Besides removing the grains all together, there are substitutes.  There are ways to create delicious, family-friendly, non-GF friendly foods that everyone can enjoy.  The past couple weeks I've determined to eat right.  I've made Fried Rice with battered Orange Chicken -- GF, Zuppa Tuscona (e.g. Creamy Potato & Sausage soup), pork chops, crepes, tortillas, even PIZZA!

I have a hundred recipes I want to make, perfect, and share, all GF that encompass the flavors I loved in wheat based foods.  I don't really want to reinvent the wheel, there are tens, if not hundreds, of very talented bloggers and cooks out there that have done this job for me already.  Skillfully.  Now if I find something that isn't available online to try, or perhaps improve upon or tweak to my own satisfaction, I will gladly do my best to create a recipe and share it with all.

I am now on a mission to find the perfect Lasagna recipe.  The doughy, chewy noodles layered with meat, sauce, cheeses, steaming from the oven.  So satisfying, comforting, and something I've not had in ages.

I'm thinking homemade noodles (GF of course), and I found about a hundred GF pasta recipes online just with a google search, and believe the recipe on eHow.com is where I'll start.  As for the layers?  My mom always did a meat and tomato sauce layered with cottage cheese, mozzarella, parmesan cheeses.  I've done veggie lasagnas with the same as mom's only adding zucchini to the layers.  I think I am going to do a veggie lasagna with the GF noodles, in a cream sauce ... in individual portions so I can freeze the extras for quick meals during the weeks ahead!

Some notable Sites with recipes:
I'll post my discoveries and perhaps pictures as well!

 
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