Easy DIY Apron

I cook a lot. You probably already know that from the many food themed blogs of the last few years.  Cooking a lot = lots of messes. Sometimes those messes end up on your favorite shirt and you find the need for an apron.

I’ve had this round table cloth- hanging out around the house for some time now. It was time it was put to good use.  I don’t have a round table and its clearly too small to make curtains.  Thanks to Martha, I found the right basic pattern to make even more simple. No pockets necessary for this gal, so I forgot all about the need to fold, add a couple extra seams, and just cut the entire pattern up about 6 inches. This made a plain front apron that hit me about the knees.

Cut out your pattern, alter as needed. Pin to ironed fabric. Cut to pattern. With a little ironing turning a hem that is about 1/2 inch wide. Turn again another 1/2 inch on all sides and iron. Sew each seam. Make you waist and neck straps in the same fashion. Attach and VIOLA! Apron City. No more splashes on my clothes any more.

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Tastes of Fall

Figs. Why is it, the fall calls for figs? I searched my local stores for these delicious little delicacies without success, until my brain finally calculated the most likely location to find these little sweets.  The Olympia Co-Op to the rescue! Even as a member of the co-op, I still forget to go there first. While on my search, I stopped by another favorite produce and local food stop- Spud’s Produce Market, and found persimmons.  I can’t say that I have ever cooked with persimmons, but hey, there is a first time for everything and they just stood out in all of their golden orange beauty.  I have my usual produce haul in the fridge, and had some pears that begged to be used.  So enter my first attempt at a baked fruit tart. Beautiful, not so much. Delicious, absolutely.  Recipe at bottom (excuse the blurry photos as the recipe goes on… wine may have been involved…)

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Ingredients:

1 Cup of Flour

1 Stick of Butter

2 Pears

1 Persimmon

4 Figs

A drizzle of Honey

How To:

Start by slicing your chilled butter into the flour, taking time to pinch it in on a cool surface.  This keeps the “dough” cold.  Keep combining using your fingers, until all flour and butter are together.  Roll into a ball, place between wax or parchment paper and roll out.  Place in the fridge to keep cool.

Slice your fruit into thin, long strips.  I chose to use more pears and persimmons to keep a texture that is more firm. Slice figs in half. Set aside.

Take dough from the fridge, press into a tart pan. I chose my porcelain version, but it might be better to get a removable bottom tart pan if you’re feeling fancy.  Once dough is flattened to bottom and partially up the sides, place the fruit on in a pretty pattern.  I used extra figs and honey to create a glaze in a pan on medium heat. Preheat your oven to 425. I drizzled honey mixture on top and placed it into the oven.  Baked for about 40 minutes.  Cool, serve, eat.

Garden Pesto Pasta

Our garden is overflowing this year, but of only with a few things at a time.  Each week has brought a new bounty from the containers.  I had a lot of basil this week. Basil=Pesto in my mind (that is, when I don’t have fresh mozzarella cheese).

Our tomatoes aren’t quite ready, so I opted for the local baby heirlooms around.

With these ingredients, my stomach was begging for pasta. Recipe is included below:
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Here is what you’ll need:

2 handfuls of basil

About a 1/4 olive oil

4 cloves of garlic

veggies of any kind, I chose tomatoes and zucchini

a little of the “shaky parmesan cheese”

 

Here is the Garden Pesto Pasta Recipe- it is super scientific:

Add basil, garlic, cheese, and olive oil to the food processor, or blender in my case, and blend until only small flecks of basil are floating around in there.

Next, cut your veggies, I used about 12 baby tomatoes and a few large slices of zucchini. Place on a cooking sheet, drizzle a little olive oil and salt, roast in the oven for a few minutes.  In that time, cook about two cups of pasta. I like firm pasta, so I chose bowtie.

First layer pasta, then veggies, then pesto, and a little more cheese.

This is a perfect meal or a great side dish in the summer if you have an incredible amount of basil, tomatoes, and zucchini.

 

 

Homemade Weekend

I have been feeling extra inspired in the kitchen. With help encouragement from my long-distance kitchen companion, The Natural Ginger,  I gathered needed supplies and made the following according to some of my favorite blogger recipes:

Fresh mozzarella Cheese- Ree Drummond- The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Strawberry Chipotle Jam- Mavis Butterfield of One Hundred Dollars A Month

Finn Bread- My family recipe featured here

I had an excess of strawberries after an over zealous trip to the produce stand. This posed a dilemma, I decided to freeze them. Then decided to make a new jam. Not being a spicy girl, this was a stretch, but I made 4 jars, two have already been doled out to my favorite people.

Jam

The bread is a given with cheese, so it was a quick throw together.

The fresh mozzarella cheese was a personal challenge. I’ve wanted to try my hand at cheese making for some time, but needed the encouragement. After a phone conference with The Natural Ginger, it was TIME to give it a shot. I spotted some fresh (as in milked yesterday fresh) milk at the Olympia Farmer’s Market and figured it was fate. A trip to the local co-op, and I had all the ingredients necessary to attempt cheese.

Here is what is needed:

1 1/2 teaspoons of citric acid powder

1/4 teaspoon liquid vegetable rennet

1 gallon of whole (raw) milk

2 teaspoons salt

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In a large stock pot, dissolve citric acid with 1/4 cup water.

Pour milk in pot and stir.

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Put pot on Med/Low heat until it reaches 90 degrees.

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Take pot away from heat, add rennet mixed with 1 cup of water. Mix slowly from bottom to top of liquid.

Let sit for 5 minutes.

In 5 amazing minutes the texture is soft but solid.. remember GAK? That is what this feels like. It is weird.

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Cut into 1 inch cubes in the pot with a long knife or spatula.

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Heat on Medium until it reaches 105 degrees. Remove from heat and use a drainer spoon to separate the curd substance into a collider.  The less whey the better.

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Drain in collider, until the least amount of liquid whey is present.

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Take in your hands and gently squeeze remaining liquid out.

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Put in microwave-safe bowl on high for 1 minute. Take out and squeeeeeeze.

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Back in the microwave for 35 seconds, remove and squeeeeze.

One more time for 35 seconds and squeeze/stretch until smooth.  Knead in salt to taste.

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Roll the cheese into itself to make a perfect little ball.

Drop into a bowl of ice water once totally cool, it is ready to eat.

This was delicious and has totally created a monster, I can’t wait to try again next weekend including adding my own special ingredients.