All posts by millie

Who said food has to come from a grocery store?

Homemade mushroom stock answers that question. After volunteering for a few hours at Crack in the Sidewalk, I went home with a Black Staining Polypore mushroom, a few tomatoes, and micro-greens. I ate the tomatoes and greens

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for lunch but placed the mushroom in the fridge… Chris suggested I make stock with it. So, today I gently rinsed the mushroom, cut it up (so it would fit in the pot), placed it in a slow cooker with onion skins, garlic and lovage (from my yard). All the ingredients came from a local farm.

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I left it in the slow cooker for about 8 hours before straining it and pouring it into mason jars. The result is a dark brown stock with a hint of mushroom. I have used it to cook beans which gave them a good taste.

Pickled green onions

I have been checking this book, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon,  on and off for about a year now. I have finally bought my copy this weekend! (bookstore gift cards are pretty awesome!) I just love all the fermented recipes she has. Since one of the farmers had green onions for sale I decided to buy two bunches and try to pickle them according to the Pickled Pearl Onion recipe (page 96). I found all the ingredients except for Juniper Berries and tarragon (I used rosemary from my garden instead). I thought I had bought plenty of onions but the recipe called for 2lbs, I had about a quarter of that! Still, I cut, peeled, and placed them in a jar with all the spices. I get to try them tonight…I can’t wait.

{a little something I wrote about them}

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Will they be sweet?
will they be sour?
Will they taste like the ones I gobbled down as a kid?
All these questions…only time will tell
It’s only 3 days waiting…
UPDATE: The onions are really tasty. They don’t taste at all like the onions I used to eat as a kid but they are yummy…I believe that the difference in taste is from the spices…the ones my mom used to buy were just plain vinegar. They are now in the fridge where they will keep for a while. I plan on adding onions to the brine to have a continuous supply of pickled onions.

Wisteria Baskets

This past June, I learned how to weave baskets with Kudzu. Since then I have wanted to make another one but never found the opportunity…until I realized it was a friend’s birthday on Monday. Not having any Kudzu growing on my land, I decided to use wisteria instead (almost any vines can be used).

1376251442247I grabbed the clippers, walked down the hill through a patch of pokeweed, poison ivy, and ground ivy and spotted a mature wisteria vine. I cut about a 6′ section and climbed back up the hill. On the porch, I stripped the outer bark from the inner bark with my fingers and a knife. I then pulled the outer bark in different length and width strips…the more even the strips are the more even the weave. With the aid of a needle and Raffia (which comes from a palm tree in Africa), I held a bunch of wisteria sections and attached them together. At first, it was a bit akward because I was trying to remember what I had learned but I eventually let my muscles and my hands take over…an hour later I had made a small basket perfect for holding knick-knacks or a handmade bar of soap (which I included). I still have plenty of fibers to make another basket…I am thinking a bigger one to hold yarn I just spun.

Herbs

I am taking a homestudy herbal course and in the current lesson, Rosemary Gladstar suggests using certain plants to make herbal powders and vinegars to flavor foods. I took her idea and designed my own recipes based on the herbs, plants and weeds I found growing in my gardens.

To make the herbal powder, I dehydrated the herbs until they were bone dry (on a low setting) and then crushed them up into a spice jar. Some of the herbs I used are Borage, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Oregano, Thyme, and Sage. The powder is amazing sprinkled on quinoa.

To make the flavored vinegar, I warmed up the Apple Cider Vinegar gently, filled a pint glass jar with all I had collected (Dandelion leaf, Sage, Basil, Rosemary, Thyme and Oregano), and poured the vinegar to cover it all. I then sealed the jar and let it sit, away from direct sunlight, where it will marinate for 4 weeks. I can’t wait to try it. Here is another example of what herbs or berries can be preserved with vinegar: http://www.healthygreenkitchen.com/preserving-in-vinegar.html

Lavender Sachet

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Walking by one of my lavender bushes this week, I realized that the blooms had dried up on the plant. In a split second, I decided to make lavender sachets. I ran inside got the clippers and started cutting the stems. I then used my fingers to separate the blooms into a bowl. Using scraps of fabrics I had, I sewed a couple of square sachets, filled them up with dried blooms and sewed them shut. They are small enough to carry and/or place in a drawer to scent my clothes.

This is a great activity to do with kids. I did the whole thing with a four year old girl and she loved every step. While sewing she sat on my lap and helped me guide the fabric and cut the threads. She loves to carry her little square with her and smell it.