Monthly Archives: April 2011

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Yountville

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Saturday we celebrated Hubbs’ birthday by exploring a town I’d never heard of, but which was so pleasant that I’m sure we’ll be back: Yountville. Just a quick 40 minute trip, and we reached the cute little downtown lined with … Continue reading

Easter Pavlova

On Easter, we made pavlovas. With the chickens bringing 4 eggs each day, an egg themed dessert seemed only appropriate. Pavlova was named after the ballerina (no, that’s not the only reason I like it). Its a light meringue cake mounded with fresh whipped cream and fruit. Its delicious, and a dessert that’s nice and light after filling up on Easter ham and potatoes.

We used Alton Brown’s recipe, and instead of building it up into one large cake, I spooned the whipped meringue into a ziplock, snipped off the corner, and piped 9 little nests onto the parchment.

One tasty substitution to the recipe was to swap in ripe peach white balsamic vinegar for the plain distilled vinegar they called for. This was a thoughtful b-day gift to Hubbs from his parents (thanks mom and dad!) and added very nice flavor to the meringue.

We might have a tradition in the making here.

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Houseguests

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House-guests have come… and gone… What a treat to have family in town.

Bird in the Butter Dish

After Hubbs came home to find our two chicken patients had found their way out of their crate and made themselves at home in the house while we were out, and by made themselves at home, I mean left baseball sized poops on the rug, the dining room table, the hall… (I think they’re feeling better)

He was getting these things taken care of when we had another bird visitor. A little sparrow that made its way into the kitchen for a visit. When Hubbs called to tell me, I jokingly asked if he could catch it at put it in our (decorative) birdcage. He thought it might fit through the bars, but said he’d leave it in the kitchen till I got home.

I went in to see the little guy as soon as I got home, and while it flapped around the kitchen (ok, I may or may not have been trying to catch it so I could hold it) and Hubbs calls from the other room “come here little birdie, I just want to LOOOOVVE youuuu” The bird flew into the butter dish and got butter all over its wings. So no longer was it flapping wildly all over the kitchen, now it was skittering wildly across the floor, wing so heavy with butter that it couldn’t get into the air.

I caught it and cleaned the butter off and let it go.

It was fun having a pet sparrow while it lasted, but 4 birds are enough for us for now.

Also – I say sparrow, but I have no idea what kind of bird this is. Can anyone ID it for me? (Kimkim, I’m looking at you!)

Its a cheese-making breakthrough, I’m sure of it.

Today I found a recipe for 5-minute ricotta that you make in the microwave! (I still can’t believe that such a thing exists.) In Hubbs’s quest for a constant supply of cheese, we’ve been looking for ways to make various sorts of cheeses. Its surprising to learn how many can be made at home without any sort of special equipment. But this recipe is the quickest and easiest I’ve seen yet.

The recipe (along with their very interesting research) is found here. All you’ll need is:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 T vinegar or lemon juice (I only tried the vinegar)

You mix the ingredients, microwave it for 5 minutes, and strain it into a paper towel-lined colander. So easy! Now the recipe doesn’t make much. After its strained, it makes about a half cup. But with a batch time of only 5 minutes, it won’t take long to make the amount you need.

And it tastes delicious, just like real ricotta! Better yet, here’s the cost breakdown:

  • A gallon of milk cost $3.16, and I used two cups for the recipe. That means that the two cups of milk needed for this recipe costs $0.40. So the price per ounce of homemade ricotta: $0.09
  • A 15 oz container of ricotta at Safeway costs $3.50. Price per ounce: $0.23

So there you are: quick, easy, and even cheaper than buying it at the store. And always nice to know how to make a useful ingredient that I never seem to have in the fridge when I need it.