Author: platefodder

Garden Project 2015 ~ Ebb & Flow

I’m taking a step back from the fervent gardening of the past. As with most living things, gardens need to grow, change, and evolve.   And while I’ve had immeasurable enjoyment experimenting with the hay bales, the potato cages and hanging beds, and all the different varieties of vegetables here at Turtle Creek,  I’ve decided it’s time for a change. Don’t worry, there will still be some unique vegetables, but I’m allowing the garden to slowly morph into what we intended for the space –  a restful spot and  flower garden for Jane. The wild strawberries I uncovered as part of the front forest clearing will be relocated to a permanent home in the garden, and the asparagus I planted last season are maturing nicely and will remain. However the bulk of the vegetable garden will move over to the Lodge property where there is more even / fully accessible ground for a workable Hay Bale garden. (The ground there is in the same condition as the rest of the property and will need several years of conditioning …

As Thick As Pea Soup

Our 3 year-old back up chest freezer gave up the ghost and died today. It’s an irritation. Not entirely because the thing stopped working… things happen. It is because A.) It wasn’t that old. and, B.) I have to replace it with another like kind of inexpensive machinery. and, C.) I have to go through all the stored bits and bags of veg, meat, stock bones, Parmesan rind, citrus zest, extra egg whites – and the like… and decide what I’m going to keep and what to trash. and then, D.) Do the same thing in the Main Freezer to make room for everything I can’t live without. I had 6 packages of frozen Green Peas in the freezer….. I don’t know why. Since I wasn’t going to throw them away… and I really needed that real estate in the working freezer for a large hen I bought on special (I wasn’t about to trash perfectly good protein, either), I figured it was time for some Spring Pea Soup When I was a kid, The Magic Pan …

Wildflower Walk-about ~ Ranunculus acris

Say hello to Ranunculus Acris, or Meadow Buttercup. Typically,  if an odd leaf sprout shows up on the grounds here at the cottage, I’ll mark it and allow it to mature. Sometimes you get a horrible, horrible thing (reference the Creeping Charlie), but more times than not I get rewarded with something pretty. I did just that with the buttercup. Around the 1st of March, a little hand shaped leaf poked up between the native yarrow and asters I had transplanted to the garden. It was unique enough to give it a little time to see what it would do….. and to give me the chance to identify it before I yanked it up by the roots. Granted – I lot of what I allow and encourage to grow here at the cottage are weeds – the kind that send most people shrieking in horror that I give them a purchase and a chance to seed. But weeds or not, some of the plants have actual attractive blooms.   Meadow buttercup is an invasive pasture weed, …

Fifteen Steps

Some years ago I read a study where a group of fluid physicists determined the number of steps it would take before you sloshed coffee out of a cup…. that number – depends on length of your leg / width of your gait … the rhythm, if you will, of a standard walk. And for most people – that number is somewhere between 7 and 10. Mine is 15…. how do I know? Well, I counted… years before that study was ever published.    And, I didn’t even need a special grant or a college sanctioned study to come to that. I’ve counted crap all my life. The number of trees lining the driveway; the number of steps in a particular marching band routine; the number (and ratio) of off-colored tiles in a backsplash – and subsequently, the number of broken tiles in a box; the number of stories in a building. Over and over, from every angle and direction. Suffice to say, I loved physical china, glass, silverware inventory time in the hotel – stacks …

On the road to Persia – with Raw Spice Bar©

To be all legit & legal  – We were offered a free sample of the Rawspicebar.com March Spice Blend to try out. Any insights, opinions, and general impressions are all our own. You all know I don’t dance for just any company out there. I have standards… and rules. So, for some company to approach me (even after reading my disclosure) and ask me to review their product… well, it’s a big thing in my book. Rawspicebar.com is a limited, small batch production spice outfit. For a nominal fee, they will ship a monthly selection of three to four unique spices and blends from a geographic area on the map. The monthly selections aren’t pre-listed on their site so it is always a mystery until the pack arrives.   Some months ago, I received a message to check out their website and get back to them if I would like a free sample of their spice blends. After some serious reviewing, I agreed  – and received their March Shipment which consisted of:  Saffron Threads Mast – O – Khiar Herbs …

No Buns for You

Historically speaking – since this isn’t even Good Friday, I really shouldn’t be making them at all. that is… if I were English… and lived in Elizabethan England, where they considered the buns were too special and sacred to be consumed any other time of the year… … and, if I cared a great deal about goofy superstitions (I don’t, by the way). And if you get right down to it – these really aren’t Hot Cross Buns, because the recipe isn’t traditional – the fruits are all wrong – and the bun isn’t dry like a powder keg. No, these are soft, lush, pillow-y, enriched brioche-style buns… with an “X” on top – and they’re delicious any time of the year. But – if you still feel hinkey about flapping in the face of superstitious traditions – then share one with a compadre, so that your friendship will grow stronger and you’ll both enjoy excellent luck throughout the year. . [amd-yrecipe-recipe:4]    

Tales of Woe ~ that Madeira Tart

I’ve always wanted to make a Bakewell Tart. But, with our particular allergy set, ground almonds in anything is just asking for trouble.  Back around the first of February, I came across this recipe for Irish Bakewell Buns. The ingenious thing is – unlike a traditional Bakewell Tart,  she didn’t use ground almonds… she used a Madeira sponge for the topping. Okay..fine.. I skimmed the recipe – saw the word Madeira – and my monkey brain said, “How cool! Madeira wine instead of almonds! … just the thing to give that nutty, rich flavor without dealing with the consequences of tree nuts.” If you’re from the UK – you already know where this is headed… feel free to bury your face in your hands. Anyway… I ran out and scoured the mountainside for Madeira to make those lovely buns. It wasn’t easy… it took me nearly 3 weeks to locate a bottle.  It appears Madeira isn’t terribly popular up here in the hills. Then, it was time to make the buns…. The thing is… Madeira Sponge Cake …

The Multi ~ Multi ~ Multi Bread

So, over the past three weeks I got a bit obsessive watching the past seasons of The Great British Bake Off.   After the current season ended on PBS, I picked up all the rest on YouTube… plus the snippets…and the irritating Comic Relief ones… and the Master Classes… and pinned and saved a whole heap of Mary & Paul’s recipes… (I’ll get around to making them …eventually.) I’d like to think I learned a thing or two… actually, I’d like to think I’ve become a master baker just by watching TV, but that’ll happen when I can get ripped abs just by polishing the Bowflex in the basement. But, all this bake viewing has done some very good things – it’s removed a lot of the mysticism, fear and stigma I’ve had about making bread – it’s taught me not to be so anal about the processes –  and most importantly, to relax… even good bakers make crappy bread from time to time.   The Multi Multi Multi I decided to play it kind of safe for my first …

A bit of Yum

Okay, time to try something new… I’ve been poking around looking for new ways to get that fodder out there. I recently found Yummly – and I like their vibe. So, I’m excited to announce that we’re now a “maybe…” official publisher on Yummly.  … just as soon as all the boxes get ticked, the T’s get crossed, and all the other things that has to happen in order for this to work. Yummly — a recipe directory that makes it easier for foodies to do what they love – cook, eat, and share! If you already use Yummly, you can use the Yum button to save your recipes to your personal recipe box. If you don’t yet use Yummly or know what it is, you can sign up here. Make you a batch of that Honeycomb Popcorn, kick your shoes off and start scrolling through our delicious recipe box (more recipes to come) — a world of Yummly Fodder delights awaits… as soon as we get a couple up there. “Yum” your favorites to save them for later. …

Lighter Options ~ Buttermilk Cheese Soup

There are soups I could eat a whole bowl… and leave wanting more. There are some I stand at the cook-top eating out of the pot – never even bothering to ladle it up and at least pretend to be civilized. … and then there are those where you can just hook up a nozzle and hose me down with it.. This is one of those soups. Cheese soups are kind of the red-haired step child of the soup family – Part sauce, Part soup, Part fondue. A cheese soup really isn’t much more than cheese and cream, However, for the lactose intolerant Turtle Creek crowd, getting the proportions just right where it is the balance of richness, cheesy goodness and palatable texture takes a bit of work. You all know I have this unnatural love affair with buttermilk. And being that Cultured Whole Buttermilk is lactose free, it is the base of a lot of dairy type things I do here at the cottage.  I’m calling this a Lactose Free Soup because of the ingredients – and …