Baking



Our niece, Erica, had been tweeting with me about making cookies. So, put money where your mouth is kid, get your tushie over here, let’s bake it up! The Morning of the Cookie was to begin at 10 this morning. So, while enjoying our ice cream from Lago’s last night (seriously, the best ice cream stand, no arguments), we sat at the breakfast bar and perused the many cook books and, of course, The Repertoire. In the end, all we needed was The Repertoire, because we found a sheet I had ripped out of a magazine showing different ways to use sugar cookies and immediately agreed on what we would bake. Visions of sugar plums danced in our heads overnight (probably not, but you gotta give me that one).

If it were nice out, I would have wanted to garden, but alas, no sun. Cool, gray and spitty (you know, not raining, but not drizzle, just rain that sort of spits – spitty). Perfect weather to bake. We hit the grocery store first thing and came back with ingredients for breakfast as well as the cookies. Keith made Monte Cristos, which he and Erica seemed to like better with a bit of DaisyPatch maple syrup (well, truthfully, what ISN’T made better by a bit of DaisyPatch maple syrup, I ask you?)

We started with my famous chocolate chip cookies. One batch made only 18, that’s how big these guys are. So good. Just the right amount of salt to bring out the chocolate of the milk chocolate chips. Then we had fun. Gel food coloring and colored sugar. I found myself lamenting about the lack of glitter in my childhood. Shouldn’t all little girls have glitter? Erica’s response, “Glitter is the herpes of craft supplies.” I about choked up a cookie I was taste-testing (which reminds me of a story…someone I know who probably doesn’t read this blog, but, if he does would be embarrassed if I mentioned his name, once, a long time ago, choked on a chocolate chip cookie as a child and it, well, went up the back and got stuck at the very top of his nose. You know, inside. We (the others shall remain nameless to protect the innocent) just about passed out from laughing while watching the poor lad, almost in tears, hold his finger to the other side of his nose to hold it shut, suck in huge gulps of air until his cheeks were puffy. He’d then PUSH the air out the other nostril, trying to BLOW the cookie chunk out of his nose. It took several attempts, but finally we could hear the chunk sort of “thwick” out his nose and land in the kitchen sink. It has probably been 30 years and I can still hear that noise. Ah, memories.)

We had no such mishaps today. We did, however, find out that we’re both a bit OCD. (Ok, more than a bit.) The cookies had to be just so. The colored sugar needed to be Exactly. Like. This. Erica said, “Who cares? They look FABULOUS!” So much fun. We filled glittery cookies with Nutella. We filled others with jam (including DaisyPatch Farm Husk Cherry Lemon spread, which, honestly, was a bit too watery and didn’t hold up real well. The red raspberry jam was the best.)

BEHOLD! The Morning of the Cookie.


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My February doldrums haiku…ahem…

Have the stomach flu

I’ve been knitting and **ting

For the last 2 days

Yup. I thought I’d bring you, my gentle readers, into my hell.  The 6 foot high snow bank (no lie) is a bit shorter and there are actually patches of ground for DaisyMae to use as her “spot.” The wind today is pretty gusty and although it looked a bit nice out earlier, I, alas, have been stuck inside. This stomach bug is just not fun. Rice, ginger ale, water and saltines have been my chosen menu for about 46 hours while I stayed home from work yesterday (sparing my co-workers in my day job from my condition) and alternated between sleeping (having snoozed only 2 hours the night before) and knitting a new hat for myself and, well, just plain bitching about how crappy I feel.

I looked outside at our garden, still buried under about 3 feet of snow and wondered how soon it will be before I’m digging again. We had our sundried tomatoes in a neat little vegetarian dish last week. What will we be eating at this time next year (can you tell I have food on the brain? The bland diet is just so, what’s the word? Boring?) We plan to have the greenhouse completed, so will I finally be able to trudge out and pick greens even though it’s Winter? Will we have canned or frozen enough veggies to eat throughout the year? Gosh, I hope so. I like that we still have some things left in the pantry and freezer: 1/2 bottle of maple syrup; herbs; ketchup; tomato sauce; sundried tomatoes; garlic; green beans; carrots; shallots. I was hoping we’d be able to use our veggies in at least every home-cooked meal throughout the non-growing season. We’re not quite there (sometimes, you just crave spaghetti with parm and butter and nothing else), but we’re pretty close. To take my mind off my misery, I thought I’d share…here’s that neat little vegetarian dish (a bit modified from the original which was something we ate once and tried our best to copy).

(Without measurements. Use the force, Luke.) (There! She did it again. She stuck in a Star Wars reference in her gardening blog. HOW DOES SHE DO IT?)

Pie Crust for 2 pies

About a cup of sundried tomatoes, boiled until soft, then drained and pureed.

1 can of artichoke hearts (unmarinated). Drain and chop.

Roasted red peppers, chopped

Shredded mozzarella

1 container ricotta

Grated Parmesan

2 eggs

Heat oven to 350

Put 1 crust in pie plate for pie bottom.

Spread sundried tomato paste on bottom of crust

Mix ricotta with 1 egg, some ground pepper and some grated parm (you know, like lasagne) (We are low sodium here in the DaisyPatch household, so feel free to add a pinch of salt if your taste desires, but try it without, there’s enough flavor in here, you migh be able to skip it.)

Spread ricotta mixture on top of tomato paste.

Sprinkle (ok, pour) shredded mozzarella over ricotta.

Layer on chopped artichokes.

Layer on chopped red peppers (scarce, or you’ll be dying of heartburn 2 hours later, TRUST ME!)

More mozzarella (can you ever have too much?)

Put the other pie crust on top and, using the other egg that you’ve beaten with a fork (and called a few names because it doesn’t know its place and didn’t listen to you like good eggs should), brush the egg over the crust.

Bake in the oven until top is golden brown.

Enjoy while I go make myself some rice. (OH! and Keith just poured himself some of our favorite wine! This is torture.)

~By the way, you can subscribe to this blog if you like. I won’t mind. This way, when I update, it will get emailed to you. I don’t sell the email addresses or anything.


My Seed Catalog haiku…ahem…

Oh Seed Catalogs!

With all your varieties

Can’t we get them all?

As I pore over seed brochures, I need to recall lessons from last year when we overcrowded things a bit. (Ok, more than “a bit”). We also realized that we want more varieties of things. How the hell are we supposed to accomodate more types of veggies? We didn’t really have too much go to waste (except during the tomato blight).

So, what is a homesteader to do? I think the solution is to plant more varieties, but fewer plants of each. This way, we can try more things. Also, I need to add some things to the list that I forgot last year:

  • Zucchini
  • Sugar Pumpkins
  • Butternut Squash
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • and of course…daisies (although not a vegetable, I do find it necessary to have some daisies considering our homestead is called The Daisy Patch)

I need to plant fewer of the following:

  • Basil (I know, can you believe it? We had so much though.)
  • Lettuce
  • Green Peppers
  • Husk Cherries (WHAT? But you love those! True, but they naturally re-seeded themselves and grew all over the damn property and by the side of the road, there is NO reason we have to start as any this year.)
  • Scallions
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumbers – maybe just 1 less.

And more of…

  • Edamame (ONE LAST TIME and then THIS IS IT! If I don’t get them to work this year, I will NEVER try them again.)
  • Thyme
  • Salad tomatoes (We lost them to the blight and were left mostly with plum and Reistomate)
  • Potatoes

Now it is time for some new things. This is where I am stuck. I have no clue what we would like. We did not like Brussells Sprouts (thanks anyway, Doreen!) We did like Parsnips. So any recomendations for some newer things we might like? Please note they’ll need to be able to grow in the North East. Thanks!

And Merry Christmas (on a Christmas side note…I plan to bake like a fiend this week. I finished one knitting project, hope to finish another and still have some Christmas Shopping to do. It’s going to be a great week (I mean it – I love this stuff!))