Face Cream

Oct. 9th, 2016 12:40 pm
sarahbyrdd: (Cornucopia)
Mash up the oil blend from this: http://holisticsaffron.com/oil-cleansing-method-for-eczema-psoriasis-rosacea-prone-skin/

with the coldcream recipe from this: https://marsbalms.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/how-to-make-galens-cold-cream/

Because I was running low on jojoba oil the mixture is more like:

1 Tbl. Jojoba oil
3 Tbl. Meadow Seafoam oil
4 Tbl. Evening primrose oil
1 dropper full of sea buckthorn oil oil
1/2 dropper of neem oil

The neem smells nasty, but is beneficial so it's worth adding a little bit.

I may see about a little bit of rose oil next time to bump up the fragrance. 
sarahbyrdd: (Cooking)
We're going to the Big E on Tuesday and I'm super excited for all the animals and fair food.  Fried!  On a Stick!  AFTER THAT, I'm going to need to amend my ways and do some good things for my digestive system which is still a little tetchy from the stomach bug I had over the summer.  I think I may have convinced my cellmate to join me on month of crap free eating which should help with the day time excesses.  To wit:

I've bought a bunch of new lunch containers in smaller portion sizes and am starting with a couple of recipes this week to get the ball rolling.


Okay, yes it's a muffin and has some sugar.  But it amounts to about a tablespoon a portion, and is otherwise shockingly healthy.  I tend to think that any baked goods I make myself are okay as I control what goes into them.  I'm going to play with using honey as a sweetener exclusively over the month.


These should be ready in a week or so for use on sandwiches or as a little pickle on the side of whatever like the Japanese do.


Just because it's good for you and we had the ingredients lying about.

Also, not healthy but TASTY: home made blue cheese dressing:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/blue-cheese-dressing-369192 plus a little worchester sauce.
There's no reason to buy store made again. 
sarahbyrdd: (Canning)
1 lb fig bits
1 Tbl. lemon juice
1/2 cup bourbon, mint, bitters, (orange flower) simple syrup julep mix (left over from a party)
1/2 cup honey

boil boil boil

made 5 4-oz jars.

sarahbyrdd: (Cooking)

I love how the color transforms when you cook it.

Slightly different method this time.  Small chop then cook with minimal stirring.

4 lbs diced quince (cored but not peeled)
2 lbs sugar
1 lbs honey
4 Tbls lemon juice
16 cardomom pods. (which just tossed into the pot, I don't know that I'll be able to fish them out later per the receipe)
2 Tbs. rosewater

-The cooking method seems much like steaming rice.
-That was a lot of chopping
-After 2 hours the color was lovely but the syrup still needed cooking down ... for almost another hour.
-I'm not really tasting the cardomom except a tiny bit on the finish

-I cooked up the cores and pips and strained off a cup of pectin to be used in something else down the road.  I'm canning it with the jam.  Beer jam?

Yield: 4 lbs quince = 11 4oz jars, 4 8oz, plus 8oz of pectin

-I saved out 2 quince to make more liqueur.
sarahbyrdd: (Cooking)
Quince enablers strike again.



https://afoodiesfallfromgrace.wordpress.com/2010/11/06/quince-jelly-two-ways/ *** because I wanted to use honey I mostly followed this one.


And a little help from Nostradamus.  No really Nostradamus.

Part 2 Chapter XV To make a quince jelly of superb beauty, goodness, flavour and excellence fit to set before a King, and which lasts a good long time.
Take whatever quinces you like, as long as they are fully ripe and yellow.
Cut them up into quarters without peeling them (for those who peel them do not know what they are doing, since the skin enhances the smell), and divide each quarter into five or six pieces.
Remove the seeds, because the fruit will turn into jelly perfectly well without them.
As you are cutting them up, place them in a basin full of water, for unless they are plunged into water the moment they are cut up they will turn black.
Once they are cut up, boil them in a good quantity of water until they are well done, almost to the point of shrivelling up.
When they have boiled thoroughly, strain this liquid through a thick piece of new linen and squeeze the whole preparation through it as hard as you can.
Then take this decoction, and if there are six pounds of it, take one and a half pounds of Madeira sugar and put it into the decoction, and bring it to the boil over a gentle charcoal fire until you see that.
towards the end, it is reducing in volume considerably.
Then damp the fire down, so that it does not burn at the sides -- which would give a bad colour to the jelly.
Then, when it is nearly done, and so as to know when it is done perfectly, take some of it with a spatula or silver spoon and put it on a platter, and if you see that when it has cooled it comes off as a globule, without sticking either here or there, then it is done.
  Take it off the fire and wait for the scum on the top to settle, then pour the still-hot liquid into small wooden or glass containers.
And if you want to write or gouge something on the bottom of the container, you can do so, for it will be seen easily [through the jelly].
For the colour will be as diaphanous as an oriental ruby.
So excellent will the colour be -- and the taste even more so -- that it may be given to sick and healthy alike.

I decided to strip this batch down to the barest ingredients: quince, sweetener, water.  For the jelly I used honey, and for the quince paste I used sugar.

There was no trouble getting the jelly up to 222 as the recipe recommended, and I was a little concerned because it didn't convincingly pass the saucer test, but it seems to be gelling nicely in the jars.

The paste was another matter.  I burnt the bottom in the first pan.  Switched to a second pan.  Managed to get it to touch 200 or so but then it started burning again so I gave up and threw it in a parchment lined baking dish in a 225 oven as suggested by some of the modern recipes I'd seen. Almost 2 hours later it was around 214, which I'm calling good enough, and it's cooling on the window sill.   We'll see how that works out.  Worst case I'll spoon blobs in to jars and it will still taste amazing.
sarahbyrdd: (Cooking)
Don't you hate it when instructions for something you're trying for the first time are loosey goosey?

I came across mention of "fruit cheese" on this blog. http://www.vivienlloyd.com/fruit-butters-cheeses-plum-butter-recipe/1663/ But of course the recipe they give is for plum butter.  Nevertheless, a fruit 'cheese' is fruit pulp and sugar cooked long enough that the cooled product will be a sliceable paste rather than a spreadable jam, like membrillo which is a quince paste.  If jam (without added pectin) is cooked to around 220 degrees, what temperature should I reach to take it to the sliceable level?

I checked other blogs for ideas and got no love:

A few years ago I acidentally hit fruit cheese when trying to make an apple jelly.  I remember that my thermometer wasn't quite getting to 220 for the longest time, and then it did and I think shot beyond.  All of this is to say that I took today's project to 225, which seemed safe when it occurred to me to check candy making temperatures, and soft ball is 234.

So, 3 pints of plums, cooked with 1 cup of water until mushy.  Press through a sieve or food mill, fishing out the pits and weigh the resulting liquid.  Add an equal weight of sugar plus any other seasonings (I added about a 1/2 tsp. of allspice) and cook down over low heat, stirring often.

I keep a few saucers in the freezer as test plates.  Jam needs to not leak around the edges.  For fruit cheese/paste one of the recipes I looked at said that the paste should keep a trace when a spatula is drawn through.  Right around there we hit 225.  I dished it out into greased ramikins and molds.  As I was getting to the bottom of the pot I noticed a little threading starting.

Proof will be in the (plum) pudding.  I've got a test saucer with the very bottom of the pot scrapings which should set up faster than the thicker molds.   Fruit cheese is meant to be a cold pantry item, so keep in the fridge or other cold place.  I've also read that the flavor improves with aging.  Besides eating slices with cheese, you can melt slices into sauces and stews.  This one would flavor sauce for a duck, chicken or pork nicely.

Edit: I unmolded one at Baronial Champions and it held it's shape and was super tasty. 
sarahbyrdd: (Cooking)
I was cleaning up the kitchen and came across the bottle of vinegar that I started OH SO LONG AGO.


I remember we stuffed the manky bits in a jar and let them get mankier (is that a word?) and after 2 weeks or so strained them off through cheese cloth and stored a snaptop 750mL worth.

Yeah.  I remember trying the vinegar about six months out and it was disgusting.  But I didn't pour it out.  I closed the bottle and forgot about it on the back of the counter.  NOW it tastes like vinegar.  It's rather assertive, but will be nice for vinegrettes.  I don't detect any lingering pear flavor.  But as low maintenance kitchen experiments go, I'm not disappointed.

BONUS: I found the dried scraps from the paste de genoa which are NOT mouldy, so I do have something to show for those efforts.

Maybe I can come up with an A&S entry along the lines of food preservation successes and failures and unexpected occurences.  
sarahbyrdd: (Cooking)
There's nothing easier than preserved lemons and I'm ashamed that I ever shelled out $10 a jar for these things.  Here's what you need: sterilized jars, lemons, salt + time.  You can fancy it up, but that's the most basic version.  And?  If you find you have a few extra wedges of lemon and you have a jar going, you can shove 'em in there and reuse the brine for about a year.  The brief mention they get in Sandor Katz' Art of Fermentation groups them with other brined/lacto-fermented pickles, and the nature of the sourness does change with time.  Like sauerkraut the salt pulls the needed liquid out of the lemons and you don't really need to add extra.

The Ball Complete Book of Canning, Preservation Kitchen, and Well Preserved all have recipes.  Interestingly, the Ball Book has a spiced version, the others are plain.  I also found this one on Epicurious: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/preserved-lemons-231570 which has more spices.

My Beloved presented me with a gallon bag of lemon wedges left over from a catering event and I'm going to brine those suckers with the Epicurious recipe (going light on the cloves) and give them out as gifts.

What can you do with preserved lemons?  Other than adding to various North African and Middle Eastern  dishes as called for, I've used them in lieu of fresh lemon zest in stews, marinades and dressings where I thought the extra salt wouldn't be a problem.  The addition of the spices might narrow the uses a bit, but then again, they'll give an interesting flavor hit to anything you add them to. 


Sep. 12th, 2015 05:04 pm
sarahbyrdd: (Cornucopia)
Made use of our windfall eggplants.  First step was charing them on the stove top then roasting in the oven until mushy.  Plus a bulb of garlic, because why not.

Then I scraped out the pulp and divided it into two bowls to make variations on these recipes (limited by what we had on hand), dividing the roasted garlic between them.  Both are pretty awesome.

red onion, no pine nuts, red peppers we had in freezer, spanish olives from fridge, a pinch of garlic insanity, no extra salt

corriander seed rather than fresh leaves

sarahbyrdd: (Canning)
With help of my beloved, a box of tomatoes has been transformed into salsa.  How many tomatoes?

One and half(ish) 6 quart cambros full after roasting.  That's a lot of tomatoes, yo!
Dumping the 'maters into a cambro also let us guestimate the number of jars we'd need to process both the salasa and any leftovers.

This recipe with the mistake of last year turned out to be fantastic once the flavors married: http://delectablemusings.com/2012/08/tomato-salsa-for-canning.html

So subtract the roast peppers, substitute 2 chipolte peppers (dried and soaked), and throw in an extra cup of cilantro, because.

The accounting for this year?

$28.72 in ingredients  = 20 pints of salsa at $1.43 a jar, plus 4 pints crushed roasted tomatoes.

Still worth doing. 

Pears 2015

Aug. 15th, 2015 08:20 pm
sarahbyrdd: (Canning)
More windfall!  We picked pears in the in-law's yard last weekend.  I used my big canvas whole foods bag, and it ended up being about a bushel I expect.  I laid them out on a towel lined sheet pan in two layers to ripen a bit during the week and processed them today.

As usual, vanilla pear butter: http://sarahbyrdd.livejournal.com/87754.html
7 lbs of chopped pears made 12 4-oz jars and 5 8-oz jars.

And pears in tea syrup: http://www.snowflakekitchen.com/2011/11/reflections-take-two-pears-in-tea-syrup/
I made 5 quarts of these and still have 2 dozen pears to eat out of hand.

I feel like I'm making out like a bandit, that was probably $40 worth of fruit that I didn't have to buy.


Aug. 9th, 2015 05:30 pm
sarahbyrdd: (Cooking)
Friday night I was gifted with 1 lb. rhubarb and 2 lbs. of apples.  Look at the pretty blush on the flesh of some of them.
Saturday they became fruit butter thusly:

Chop rhubarb
chop apples, removing stems but leaving skins, cores and pips
throw all into pot with a cup of water
cook until mushy
run through a food mill to remove the pips and skins
return to pot and sweeten to taste (I used 1 cup of sugar)
Add 4 allspice berries and 4 cardomom pods
cook down until a splotch holds its shape on chilled saucer and no liquid runs out
remove allspice and cardomom
waterbath can in 4 oz or 8 oz jars

sarahbyrdd: (Needlework)
The torso posed some serious problems.  The fabric is old and has lost lots of it's stretch, and the left side was pretty much shreaded and would need a massive patch.  However, if I just patched without addresssing the shreading the restuffed monkey would be bent like a banana.  The solution was to do some Franken-darning around the shreaded parts to hold the stuffing in, and then give the monkey a full torso cover with a portion of new sock.

That's an example of proper darning.  That patch is on the underside of the tail.

Re-attaching the limbs was no problem, and I decided that monkey needed to have a little red heart badge for all that he'd been through.  It's only tacked on, so if they owners don't like it they can pull it off.

sarahbyrdd: (Needlework)
I've been handed a commission to restore a sock monkey that had a run in with a puppy.
Poor sad sock monkey!

There are lots of runs and several outright tears in the fabric.

I had the very clever idea to harvest materials from a new pair of red heel socks.

For all but the biggest graft, I think knitting the patch rather than cutting/sewing is going to be the way to go.  That has the benefit of having no edges to unravel on the patch.  Also, I don't think crocheting up most of the runs is going to work as the yarn is cotton and the stuffing is very stiff, so nothing has much give when you work with it.

I detached the damaged arm to work on first.  I picked up stitches to anchor the patch then kitchnered it on at the top and grafted the edges.

I think the process is going to work pretty well.

Second patch on arm.

I did some straight up sock darning on some of the smaller puncture holes.  Once I figured out what I was doing it went pretty fast.  Using the yarn from another sock is making the repairs pretty subtle in the scheme of things.  I also sewed around the bigest tear on the torso to stabilize it.  The torso is too badly damaged to reconstruct like the limbs, so I'm grafting on a new sock from neck to tushie which will cover the ugly repairs underneath.  I'm not cutting away any of the original material, just doing rough darning to keep the stuffing in underneath the new sock.  
sarahbyrdd: (Cornucopia)

I sliced up a bunch of greenmarket radishes and pickled them with the intent to use them on sandwiches this week.  For the brine I used 1/2 water, 1/2 white vinegar, 4 pepper corns, several slices of dried garlic, a bay leaf, a spoon full of honey and a spoon full of salt.  Quick refrigerator pickle.
sarahbyrdd: (Cornucopia)

It's amazing what happens when 1) you have a few extra days off and b) don't have a million housekeeping chores hanging over your head.  I was able to finish a shawl I'd been knitting on and off for several months, and I made some proper marmelade based on this recipe because we have a surplus of grapefruit:


This stuff smells and tastes amazing.  I'm hoping that I didn't cook it too long.  I'll know in a day or two.

sarahbyrdd: (Canning)
Using up stuff we had on hand and unleashing my Southern cook:

riffing on this: http://www.food.com/recipe/paula-deens-best-ham-salad-sandwich-227439

2 cups ham minced in food processor
1/4 minced onion
1 cup finely diced celery
2 Tbls grainy mustard (George's own)
2 hard boiled eggs
1 4oz jar of my picked jalapenos.
several dashes of tobasco
1/2 cup mayonaise
2 Tbls chopped parsley

Mix together and serve on crackers, in a sammich, spooned into seeded tomato halves, or as you like.

Also did a potato salad

4 cups red potatoes diced and boiled
1 cup diced celery
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cider vinegar
1/4 olive oil
1/2 tsp dried dill
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 salt preserved lemon, diced fine (I put up some myer lemons a few weeks ago)
black pepper
salt to taste

Mix together and let the flavors marry.  Fold in 1/2 cup sour cream.  Sprinkle with chopped scallions. 


May. 2nd, 2015 11:16 am
sarahbyrdd: (Cooking)

So I had some quince.  2.5 months later I'm straining that mess off.  I'm not sure, but I think it might be fabulous.  Or almost fabulous.  A ton of pectin soaked out of the quince so the liqueur is really syrupy.  Too syrupy to put through coffee filters so, I'm settling for straining through a floursack towel.   The liqueur has an amazing mouthfeel but is cloudy, I'm not sure I care.  The perfume of the quince isn't present, but there are elusive dried fruit notes and it's not too sweet.  Not unpleasant straight.  Could be amazing in the right cocktail. 
sarahbyrdd: (Canning)
1 bonus bag of jalapeno peppers.

Using this recipe for quick pickles http://allrecipes.com/recipe/quick-pickled-jalapeno-rings/
but reducing the sugar by 1 Tbl, and upping the vinegar to water ratio to follow the Ball Book recommendations.

yeild = 11 four oz jars 
sarahbyrdd: (Cooking)
http://sarahbyrdd.livejournal.com/103316.html  Last time I made this.

This week the Times sent around this: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/9255-skillet-irish-soda-bread-served-with-cheddar-and-apples?em_pos=medium&emc=edit_ck_20150313&nl=cooking&nlid=58633471.

Wouldn't you know, it's the same recipe.

Still no buttermilk lurking in the house, so this time I used a combination of milk and sour cream.  That can't be bad can it?



sarahbyrdd: (Default)

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