Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

I attempted French Baguettes this past weekend, and am now gathering up fabric for a sock-monkey-themed baby blanket quilt. Bluefish is running now, so I'm looking forward to grilling up a slab of it and pairing it with a cherry tomato relish. This recipe looks yummy!

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I am in today making a fresh basil pasta salad using brown rice pasta (gluten-free as i am sensitive) with grilled tempeh and sun-dried tomatoes and roasted pinenuts. Hope my family likes it!

- A shot of the boys next to the "Cherokee Chocolate" tomato plants- I've been playing with milk lately, and learned how to clabber our buttermilk (the type you get after you make the butter). It's turned out SO yummy, so I've been making lots of bread, mashed potatoes, and so on with it. The cool spells we've been having have been perfect weather for it all. We've also been harvesting some "Black Beauty" zucchini from the yard and shredding it up to be used later for Zucchini Bread. Here's a link for the recipe: Let's see - what else?? We've begun gathering seeds from spent cosmos, calendula, and marigold blossoms, and I need to head out and collect some from the mustard greens as well. Have our latest batch of soap curing right now - we were able to use calendula and lavender harvested from our gardens in it, which was really cool. Am searching for a good shampoo bar recipe, so I can make some more of that as well. Want to use some homebrew in it to amp it up some.
Also going to try and turn some old coffee bean sacks into tote/purses, using some freecycled fabric (score!!) for the lining. And, of course, we've got the whole chicken thing going on, trying to convince our town to let us keep chickens. ()
Late July is way too hot and humid in Baltimore to cook, so I sliced my patty-pan squash very thin and marinated them in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and black pepper. The sourness of the vinegar is very refreshing, the squash still maintain a bit of crunch, and the veggies are perfect as a side salad or on top of pretty much anything for a wonderful summer meal!
In celebration of our first child, we're going to attempt to make all the bedding for the crib, since it seems to be the same as our sheets, just smaller.

I will also attempt to make my own laundry detergent.

I am canning cherries,zuccini green beans and prepping for elderberries in a few weeks.Raspberry harvest was unreal.
I'm going to attempt yogurt. I love the Greek style yogurt and hate paying nearly $5 for something I think I probably can do here w/o crazy equipment or lots o' tools. Will keep you posted!
I made my first batch of pickles with the cucumbers overflowing from my garden. used a basic dill recipe from the Joy of Cooking. Can't wait to see how they turn out!
Right now I am making a rag rug. Tomorrow I will be trying my hand at making yogurt in my slow cooker.
We've got a good crop of berries this year. We've been making boysenberry jam. It has a much redder color than blackberry jam, although the berries look black. (We've also been freezing berries for use later in the season.)

We made several batches by different methods. I'm the expermentalist and my wife's the traditionalist. She used the traditional method of making jam with seven cups of sugar and liquid pectin. I tried a product called "Pomona's Universal Pectin" that allows you to adjust the sugar level as you wish because it's not critical for jelling. (The pectin is activated by calcium, not sugar.) I made one batch with a cup of sugar and another with two cups of sugar. Truth is, sometimes I've ended up with runny jam using this method, but not this time. The resulting jam is more tart and flavorful than the traditional method. My wife says that I'm making a preserve or spread, and that it's not a real jam. I don't care what you call it -- both methods make something tasty and homemade.
Nothing really new this Summer except perhaps a few new to me canning recipes such as Victorian BQQ Sauce from the Big Ball Canning Book. Also will be the 1st time making mustard and perhaps ketchup this year if my stash of store bought condiments is depleated.
This past year we really made an effort to not only preserve more food but to actually eat it. We blew threw not only the 200 jars that were canned last Summer & Fall but also another 100 or so from previous canning seasons. This was in addition to what we dehydrated & froze.
Best case scenerio is when I can bring in my total cost for a quart of home canned food for 10¢.
Husband is working on making a very small solar hot water heater for outdoor bathing. Should be interesting since this has been one of the cooler & wetter Summers on record here in Western New York.

That means Aliza - you win a copy of Make 18 - whoo hoo!
I'd love to hear how this worked for you. My attempt was an utter failure and I don't know why :-(

Margaret Beers Oliver said:
Right now I am making a rag rug. Tomorrow I will be trying my hand at making yogurt in my slow cooker.

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