This Week in My Kitchen :: Blog Hop (and Lemon Blueberry Pie Kefir Ice Cream…whaaaatt??!?)

So, it’s that time again, already (following along with Heather for This Week in My Kitchen), and there was a week of radio silence in between. Hmmm…reasons for that:

1) Loss and heavy feelings to process these last few weeks, mainly on the periphery of intersecting circles of friends, but it brings up some emotions I had no idea were still so raw. It makes anything I might want to share seem pithy and it becomes easier to just shut down.
2) Working on the launch of a new project somewhat related to Luminous Traces, which has become the Luminous Traces Collective so that I can use the former name as my new business name. Confused? I’ll clear that up soon.
3) I have to put in odd hours at the day job because of this Summer Vacation nonsense. Year-round school makes so much damn sense. At least in my little family, the dreaded SV requires a monumental rearrangement of routine and much less time with each other as I have to make up working hours at night or on weekends.

But, we managed to make delicious things and eat them, together and apart:


It’s blueberry picking season in the northeast, so every week there will be berry projects. Each time we go, I try to just pick one thing to make with the fresh berries, and store the rest in the freezer for winter. The first excursion yielded one blueberry pie, one quart jar of fermented berries in honey (which is as easy as the name suggests: fill jar with berries, pour raw honey in to cover, give it a little stir every day, and when it gets bubbly, use the berries and the syrup to make tasty things even tastier), and a little over two gallons of berries in the freezer, about 15 pounds total.


Fermented berries seemed like the perfect way to use some of the “extra” honey we ended up with after extracting. This is how much was left in the bucket and filter when we set to cleaning them!


There is now enough milk every day to keep milk kefir grains happy. I love its effervescence, and it’s great for smoothies, salad dressings, or anything in which I would use yogurt. It also makes amazing ice cream.


We followed this recipe for Lemon Kefir Ice Cream, which was pretty exciting because the two main ingredients, kefir and honey, came from our own backyard. We didn’t stop there, though. You see, we had leftover blueberry pie. I know, I know…how does one have leftover blueberry pie? You must understand that we are a family of merely three, and our entire extended family is all 3,000 miles away. They cannot come help us eat pie at the drop of a hat. We often freeze half a pie when we make one, but I didn’t this time, and why not have pie and ice cream at the same time?

Yeah, I felt pretty brilliant.


Basically, we just followed the ice cream recipe (quadrupled, because why make 1/2 quart of ice cream when you can make 2 quarts?) and when it came to the point in the ice cream churning when it was thickened up and nearly done, I chopped up the leftover pie into bits, crust and all, and C churned just a wee bit more to blend it all in.

The texture is perfect, as is the pairing of lemon and blueberry pie. Make this, please.

In other news, I was here yesterday (speaking of Luminous Traces Collective). Our theme this week is Parallel Lines.

What’s happening in your kitchen?

This Week in My Kitchen :: Blog Hop

So, I might have to rename this blog Brine and Stuff in Jars, because most of what happened this week in my kitchen (following along with Heather for This Week in My Kitchen) is sitting in brine in jars.




A Clean-Out-the-Fridge pickle ferment with radishes, the last of the garlic scapes, carrots, dill, and probably a few other odds and ends; Dilly Beans using the perfect, hasn’t-failed-me-yet recipe I will forever be grateful to have stumbled upon; Good Ol’ Sauerkraut with green and red cabbage and a sprinkling of caraway seeds.




There are now herbs in jars, as well. Oregano and chocolate mint, so far. We use these all year long, and I’m hoping to go heavier on the mint this year, as I ran out before springtime and, well…that just doesn’t work for me. If there’s still snow on the ground, I want hot mint tea. It’s sort of a joke around here, asking me “What kind of tea would you like?” Ugh, predictable. Anyway, we made it with the garlic (harvest to harvest), so I’m determined to keep myself in mint, too. I prefer to hang dry, but in this humidity, I finish it off with a couple hours in the dehydrator, just to be sure it’s free of moisture before I store it. In jars.


I did not forget I promised a pesto recipe, but here’s the thing. It all went direct to freezer, and I was hoping to photograph it on some gorgeous meal. I will admit this here and now: I overdid it on the garlic scape consumption these last two weeks. Absolutely every meal has been drenched in the compound butter and so I haven’t had any desire to use the pesto right now. I find it most comforting and delicious in the cooler months when I’m craving something bright green and tasting of hot days in the garden, anyway, so I’ve put it all by.

I’m going to make it easy and just provide some pesto tips. Really, you can incorporate garlic scapes into any of your favorite pesto recipes, using it in place of garlic, replacing up to 1/3 of your herb/green of choice.

For straight-up garlic scape pesto, I simply roughly chop scapes and fill my food processor to capacity. Whirr them ’round until minced fine, and then it’s play time. A lot depends on the intensity of your scapes, but I like to add about a cup of walnuts or whatever nuts I have on hand. I found the most recent blend with cashews to have a nice flavor. The sweetness of cashews and/or pecans is a nice compliment to the bite of fresh garlic. Next is a generous splash of lemon juice, and then with the machine running, I add oil until the consistency is like a thick paste or batter. Mostly, I go traditional and use the best quality olive oil I can afford (read: whatever organic extra virgin is on sale), but I ran out half way through this batch and made up for the rest with avocado oil. It’s nice! Now comes the part where you have to taste it and add salt, pepper, and possibly more lemon juice.

Because I made this batch intending it to go straight to the freezer, I did not add cheese. It is lovely without it, but often, I will add finely grated Romano to the thawed pesto before using it, in a 1:1 ratio. I highly recommend freezing your pesto in ice cube trays and then transferring to a freezer bag, btw. You’ll get to know how many cubes you need for specific uses. For example, I use three cubes for pizza, two for making pesto burgers, one for omelettes, etc.

Oh, and also a day late was my installment for this week on Luminous Traces. Our topic/prompt is Skin. Enjoy!

Luminous Traces is back!

…and is now the Luminous Traces Collective!




Summer is a most glorious time of year to re-start this collective project. We have a full roster of contributors and near-daily posts! This week’s theme is Animal, Vegetable, Mineral. If you enjoy creative prompts, please do consider becoming a guest contributor. Follow LTC, as I’ll be posting a call for guests later this week, with a preview of the upcoming weekly themes for the season.

If you are a friend of LTC on Facebook, you may have noticed that the “Collective” part of the name is a new addition. Luminous Traces is becoming the name for my own personal photography work and shop (coming soon!), and the Collective is the group project for challenging, creative fun.

So, I’ve been busy resuscitating that, and also making plans for the next Rest of My LIfe. I left one hint already…perhaps some of the rest can be inferred, but I promise to expound on that very soon.

Remember when this blog used to be about yarn? I’m thinking about spinning some this week…
I’m already out of the Tour de Fleece before I even started. Oh, well.

This Week In My Kitchen :: Blog Hop


Joining Heather today for This Week in My Kitchen.

The last week and a half has been a jumble of four schedules and two cars, and if, like us, you live at least a half hour away from the nearest everything, then you know how little time there is for anything else besides planning for driving and actually driving. Somehow, I managed to keep everyone fed, except for the day they fed me (to celebrate another trip ’round the sun…whoosh!…more on that later), but I did not photograph it. Really, I just felt lucky to have a few moments each night to sit with my family and enjoy a meal together before the rush of bedtime for animals and child, and preparing for the next day.


One of the things that happened amidst the comings and goings was that we finally got things set up in the goat house to keep the babies separated at night. This means we get the morning milk; a half gallon every day! We have not yet been able to encourage the young ones out to pasture, but the mamas have no problem leaving the littles to their own devices for the day, so perhaps we’ll soon have them fully weaned. Mama’s Day Out consists of rotating browse, and then they come home to ridiculous, violent nursing. I recall some days like that in my own life as a working mother of a nursing babe…

Pictured above is the first yogurt experiment with milk from our girls. Three quarts, brought to 180 degrees and then cooled to 110 before adding starter. I’ve made hundreds of quarts of successful yogurt with raw cow’s milk, but I find it to be much trickier with goat. Precise temperature seems to be much more important, as is the incubation time. We’ll see how I did when I make this morning’s smoothie.

Stay tuned for some ideas for using garlic scapes, of which I’ve just harvested a bazillion. Pesto is a favorite all year long, so I’ll be whipping up several batches today to put in the freezer, as well as brainstorming some ferment projects.

What’s happening in your kitchen?

Flash Sale! 3 Hours only…right NOW!


Yep. This is happening. Right now. For three hours only, or until whatever time after that I finish changing all the prices back. And if you refer a friend to join one of the Calendar Clubs, you will receive double the fiber or yarn for your first month of membership! I’ve added a few more versions of the club…a little something for everyone!

(including this new worsted yarn club. so excited! click the pic for the listing!)



All prices will go back to normal at 10:15ish EST. Have fun!

Hunker Down Hand Pies and…a Sale!


As promised (but a day late), here’s the story: I had this great plan for amazing spinach-feta pastries for dinner a few nights ago and, even though a bitty little snowstorm was in the forecast, I didn’t make it out to town. Well, that bitty little snowstorm kept us all away from work and school and, consequently, town and the Co-op. There really isn’t anywhere within a twenty or thirty minute drive (in good weather) to get a missing ingredient, so here I was with a pile of pastry dough and no spinach. In fact, I didn’t have any greens to speak of at all, fresh or frozen. And not really enough feta. *note to self: freeze kale on purpose instead of just letting it while it’s still out in the garden.

Here’s what I found instead:

*one long-pie pumpkin
*1 1/2-ish pounds cremini mushrooms
*two onions
*leaves from daikon radish (okay, so I found a little something green)
*a small block of feta
*salt and pepper

Peel and cube the pumpkin, or any winter squash, and saute in butter until fork-tender. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add more butter to the pan to saute the onions (sliced) and the mushrooms (sliced). When they are cooked through, add greens if you have them, and cook just until wilted. Toss this into the pumpkin and mix it all together. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste, and either feta, chevre, or another favorite fresh, salty cheese.

If you’re new here, you should know that if it’s food, I’ll probably ferment it. I used the Yogurt Dough recipe from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook as my pastry dough, which admittedly makes for more of a Fork Pie than a Hand Pie. If you have a favorite pastry dough, that’s what you should use here. I have also discovered that I can tolerate Einkorn flour, in moderation, with no ill effects, so I used that as the flour in the Yogurt Dough. It does contain gluten, but very little compared to modern wheat flours.

And here is the basic recipe for Yogurt Dough:

Blend 1 cup yogurt and 1 cup softened butter, then add 3 1/2 cups flour and a pinch of salt. Set aside at room temperature for 12 – 24 hours. Tangy-in-a-good-way, delicious, and easily digestible. My favorite words to describe food.

Whatever pastry dough you like to use, pinch off a ping pong ball worth and roll it into a thin circle. I was able to fit about a 1/2 cup of filling onto each dough circle, and then I folded it and pinched it closed, like a won ton. If you use more dough and have thicker walls to your crust, it will be easier to hold these in your hand, if that’s what you prefer.

Onward to the SALE…


Before Christmas, I listed some new fiber clubs that I’m really excited about. I’m calling them the Calendar Club (available on two different fibers and also sock yarn) because there will be a brand new, repeatable colorway to honor each month of the year. Club members get to experience the new colorway first, and then it will become available as dye-to-order for the general public at the end of the month. I listed them for full year subscriptions, as a gift idea, but realize that this may be out of reach for a lot of folks who want to try it. So, tonight, I will not only be putting the year-long subscriptions on sale, but I will also be listing a six-month membership to each version of the Club, AND a season-long membership to each club (three months).

And for ONE WEEK ONLY, you can take 20% off your total order of anything in the shop, including the already-reduced Club price (for the one-year) by using the code CRAFTY2014 at checkout!!!

Did I mention that I’m really excited about this club? The polwarth/tussah silk blend is silky-soft amazingness, the falkland is just divine and my favorite forever, and who doesn’t love a good sock yarn?

Check in at 8:30pm for all the new listings and price reductions!



A little Stream-of-Consciousness style list for a Tuesday morning, and for all of 2014. GO:

*daily yoga practice (so far, so good!
*daily gratitude journal
*cultivate farmer’s hours: early to bed, early to rise
*root in self not circumstances
*pre-dawn “office” hours
*laugh more
*leave sometimes (to explore, to breathe)
*check my first response (patience, patience)
*learn coptic stitch
*learn how to use my sewing machine and make a thing to wear
*earn more through writing
*teach more art classes
*be okay with slowing down sometimes
*be okay with quiet
*be okay with doing my best
*start the garden earlier, even if we have to do without the greenhouse
*create a big-boy workspace for O. He’s ready.
*tackle unexpected projects with joy rather than desperation
*find the silver linings (see above)
*get back on the road bike
*learn how to maintain said bike
*learn how to change a tire (on a car)
*learn some basic carpentry with C
*learn how to tan a hide
*revive my fiber business in an unexpected way
*menu plan to save time and money and brainspace
*read more
*make more
*believe more
*keep in better touch
*use USPS instead of gmail (see above)
*keep on top of deadlines
*use a calendar, like really use a calendar
*print photos
*be conscious of protecting myself from other people’s drama
*remember that it’s usually not personal (see above)
*give more, even when I don’t think we have anything to give
*remember that time is a wonderful gift and is often needed (see above)
*take piano lessons
*learn how to milk the goats
*purge our life of unused/unwanted things this Spring. They might make someone else happy.
*make a trip to Denver to see my dearest
*spend some time in the homeland, but just a little.

This seems like enough for right now. Have you made a list of goals for 2014? Link it, yo.