Wednesday, July 7, 2010


By Cicely Mary Barker

My berries cluster black and thick
For rich and poor alike to pick.
I'll tear your dress, and cling, and tease,
and scratch your hands and arms and knees.
I'll stain your fingers and your face
And then I'll laugh at your disgrace.
But when the bramble-jelly's made
Your find your trouble well repaid.
Today I made my first attempt at jam making. We picked blackberries over the weekend, and at Violet's request they were turned into jam. I found a recipe for mixed-berry jam on Epicurious.
We made one jar of blackberry jelly, and one jar of blueberry blackberry jam. The mixed berry set up a little better and was my favorite. I think Violet prefers the blackberry jelly in which we strained off the seeds. We made sure to get it up to the jelling temperature (220 degrees F) as was recommended in the comments section.

We also made the Basic Bread recipe from the Tassajara Bread Book. I found out about this whole foods cookbook over at SouleMama. It is filled with lots of delicious recipes. The Basic Bread makes a wonderful loaf, perfect for slicing. For the flours, we used a mixture of Golden Buffalo Wheat, Whole Wheat, and a small bit of unbleached white flours. This was the ticket, as it made a lovely light and wholesome loaf. The Golden Buffalo Wheat was recommended by the head baker at Serenity Farms Bakery in Leslie. They sell flour by the pound. It was a very satisfying way to buy flour, and I have been very happy with the results.
They went together beautifully. Warm bread and fresh jam has to go on the list of simple luxuries.
Enjoy Your Weekend!!!

Monday, July 5, 2010


"Beautiful soup, so rich so green
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening beautiful soup!
Beautiful soup! Who cares for fish
Game or any other dish?
Who would not give all else for two
Pennyworth of Beautiful soup?
~Lewis Carroll, 'Alice in Wonderland'

Ever since I read this post I have been craving kimchi soup. I have been unable to make said soup because I live out in the boonies and do not have access to these particular ingredients namely the miso and the dumplings or mandu. What is one to do in my situation? Make it all from scratch.

I am sorry but I do not have a picture for this one...but take it from me this is a comforting, and yummy soup!

I found a couple of food blogs that provided recipes in which I based mine off of. I had to improvise because we did not have miso or kimchi. What is kimchi you say? Truthfully I had to look that one up. What would we all do with out Wikipedia? Well kimchi is a mixture of spiced fermented vegetables mostly cabbage. It is a staple in Korean cooking, much like sauerkraut is to the Germans.

I spent the afternoon of our Independence day crafting the soup and it came out quite tasty. You definitely have to set aside part of a day for this whole thing...but it is soooooo worth it.

There is a very descriptive tutorial over Aeri's Kitchen for the mandu dumplings. She even has a YouTube video illustrating how to fold the dumplings. There is also a good recipe at My Korean Kitchen. This is where I got the basic idea. I definitely used the "Make Do" philosophy here. You could use any combination of vegetables or meats for the dumplings and soup.

So for anyone out there who lives in the sticks or just wants to make this soup, here is the recipe.

On-the-Fly Kimchi Dumpling Soup

Mandu Dumplings:

dumpling skins (I used wanton wrappers...actually had those on hand believe it or not)
1 small head of cabbage
1 med onion
1 lb sausage
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce

Cook sausage in skillet over medium heat until cooked through. Finely dice onion and cabbage. (I did this while sausage was browning) Strain grease and remove sausage from pan. Allow to drain on paper towel. De-glaze the pan with the rice wine vinegar and soy sauce. You can use water if you don't have this on hand. Cook until tender.

Squeeze the cabbage/ onion mixture out in a dish towel. (see Aeri's tutorial if you are unsure how to do this) Reserve this liquid in another bowl to add to your soup stock for extra flavor.

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.

Add 1 tsp rice wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp of sesame oil and salt and pepper to taste. You can add more or less of all of these according to your taste.

Construct your dumplings. Check out Aeri's tutorial for in depth instructions.

I lined the bottom of a steamer basket with a couple of chard leaves and placed my dumplings in the basket. I then waited to put the basket on the soup pot until I added the chard at the very end. See below instructions.


about 2 qts of chicken stock

***Note I made mine by boiling a whole chicken until cooked through. I then removed the chicken and strained the broth to use for the soup. I will use the chicken later this week.

1 medium onion sliced in strips
1 head of shredded chard (save a couple of leaves to line steamer basket)
2 carrots sliced in half moons

Pour the chicken stock into a large pot. Bring to a boil. Add onion and carrot and cook until tender. Add the chard and place steamer basket on top of soup pot.

Cook about 10-15 minutes until chard is tender and dumplings become sort of translucent.

Place 2-3 dumplings in soup bowl and laddle soup on top. Enjoy!

Friday, July 2, 2010


"Summer afternoon -- summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language."
~ Henry James

Growing up during the summer, all of the members of the household would retire to their rooms for a little thing called quiet time. As a child I definitely resisted this ritual, much to my mothers chagrin. After lots of encouragement and possibly a few "firm" words I would be off to my room, armed with a stack of books fresh from our library visit. Now, as a mother I really see the beauty of this idea. (ahem...sorry about all of the grief Mimi) On days when we are home, we have been doing a bit of this quiet time. We have not gotten to the separate rooms part of the deal yet. This is definitely coming.

Today, Violet climbed into my bed and worked on her weaving project while I read. It was quite lovely and for the most part quiet. It just brought back so many memories of my childhood. I remember summer days piled into my mother's (Mimi) bed with my sister, listening to my mother read aloud from the Little House on the Prairie books.

I realized how thankful I am to have these memories and then be able to pass them on to Violet. These are the motherly moments that I truly relish. Thank you Mimi!!!