Sunday, June 29, 2008

Random Tips

I call this one "Sunset over the cherry tree." I took it from my deck, looking west last night. I was picking cherries and looked over my shoulder. I had to climb down from the ladder and run for my camera. The glow only lasted a few minutes. This is about as close as we come to aurora borealis in Indiana.

Since I've been working in the yard day and night, I've come up with some time saving practices I'd like to share. I envy all of you who can stroll through farmers markets and gourmet stores, linger over new cookbooks, and prepare meals at a leisurely pace. But that's not me, so I've made some adjustments.

Now that I've figured out which recipes work for me, I'm baking in batches. About every ten days I need a baking day. I make a double batch of bread, slice both loaves, and freeze little two-slice packages for later use. Before I mastered homemade mayonnaise and found a good pickle recipe, one loaf would last about ten days. I only ate two slices a day with my breakfast. Sandwiches are back! And they're so easy and tasty, I'm going through more bread.

When I turn on the oven, I fill it up. I don't need the oven heating up the whole house, repeatedly. This is where my time saving practices go green! I can reheat in the microwave and the a/c gets a break.

Today I filled my oven with a small ham, four chicken thighs, two loaves of bread, and a cherry cobbler. On the stove, I cooked a pan of brown rice and sauteed some veggies. I cooked some green beans with spring onions, and boiled some potatoes for potato salad. I did all my cooking while CBS Sunday Morning was on. I love that show! Too often, good weather coaxes me outside on Sunday mornings. I was happy to work in the kitchen while enjoying some culture.

By the way, I made a double batch of streusel topping for the cherry cobbler. Half went into the freezer for my next cobbler. The next cobbler will feature different fruit, so it will be a different flavor, even though the topping is the same. The cherries taste more decadent than other fruits I've used - apples, rhubarb, blueberries. My second crop of rhubarb is coming in, and the gooseberries are almost ripe. The black raspberries are so precious I will probably make jelly from all of them. I'll feel secure having a year's worth of black raspberry jelly in my pantry.

I harvested a couple of heads of Brunia lettuce from the garden (during a commercial) and made a gallon zip lock bag of salad mix. I made TWO bottles of my default vinaigrette. (Duh! Why didn't I think of this before?) I can change it up by adding a splash of balsamic or red wine when serving.

When I fried bacon for breakfast, I added a few extra slices to use on pizza later in the week. I found some lovely fresh mozzarella at the new Fresh Market. I have piles of fresh basil. No tomatoes yet, so I'll have to use sauce. But I'm already looking forward to that pizza! I made a double batch of pizza crust a couple of weeks ago. So the extra crust is waiting in the freezer.

As a professional cook, I'm used to big batch cooking. During the school year I prepare meals for about 85 people daily. If you can get used to having lots of pots boiling at once, it's a real time saver. I'm set for the week!

Here's my cherry cobbler. It's tangy!

Kay's Cherry Cobbler

2 1/2 C pitted fresh cherries
3 T Zulka cane sugar
3 T quick tapioca

Mix together and spread evenly in a 7 x 7 buttered casserole dish.

1/3 C softened butter
1/2 C Zulka cane sugar
1/2 C brown rice flour
1/4 C gluten free rolled oats

Mix in the stand mixer using the paddle attachment. Sprinkle on top of the cherry mixture. Bake about 40 minutes at 350. I take mine out when the topping just starts to brown.

And here's my last random tip for combating poison ivy. While clearing three or four bonfires worth of brush last night, I must have encountered some. I've been lucky to avoid contamination so far this season. I forgot to follow my own rules. After I've been working with weeds, I always spray my exposed flesh with rubbing alcohol and rinse with cold hose water. If I think I might have walked in poison ivy, I spray and rinse my tennis shoes as well. I keep a spray bottle (from the $1 store) on the back stoop for convenience. But I forgot to use it last night.

This morning I have itchy bumps on my arm. Rats! So I'm using my homeopathic cure. I empty a capsule of slippery elm onto a saucer. Then I add a drop or two of water and make a paste. I put that on the blisters. The itching stops right away, and it's drug-free. The slippery elm draws out the poison and I heal up in few days.

Ah, summer!


Cheryl said...

YUM!!! I think that says it all

Ginger Carter Miller, Ph.D. said...

I too love the CBS Sunday Morning show -- that is my favorite hour and a half of the week. I am a lot like you -- I load up on my cooking on Sunday (usually beginning around 11) and fix up stuff for the week.

Gluten Free Steve said...

Next time I'm in Indiana, I'm inviting myself for dinner :-)

Gluten free Kay said...


Come in the summer - we'll pick dinner from the garden!