Friday, October 24, 2008

Kitchen Talk

I wanted to try to freeze pumpkins this year as I've never done it before and have heard how yummy they are. Last week I found pumpkins at a local farm and bought 13 at .75 cents each. Seemed like a good deal. So the other night I employed my husband (read heavily coaxed) to help me do the pumpkins. All truth be told, I had a consultion and left my hubby high and dry for a little over an hour and he got stuck with the brunt of the work. Well, here's what "we" did:
washed and dried the pumpkins. You can see that in the photo.
Cut pumpkins in half and scooped out the center yucky stuff (saved the seeds).
Cut the pumpkins in large pieces.
Cooked the pumpkins on the stove in a veggie basket for about 25 minutes. Here's where it took a looooong time. We had to do it over and over again. Really, a pressure cooker would have been much faster and we will do it that way next year. I hate to say, "I told ya so", but I did tell the 'boss' and he didn't listen! So it was a long night...
Next, we put them in the mixer and gave it a few whirls and packed the finished pumpkin into quart jars. I didn't even take a photo as it was nearly midnight and my hubby already put them in the freezer. At this point, I was VERY hesitant to ask him to bring them back for a pic. No... that wouldn't have been a good idea...

Here's a pic of a few of my favorite kitchen helpers: my mixer, grain mill, and yogurt maker. The two latter are pretty new but I've used them both quite a bit. I love being able to grind my own fresh flour, and I really like the yogurt maker. The yogurt is delicious and so much cheaper. It will pay for itself very soon.
Can you see the pretty Singer sewing machine table? I bought that at a tag sale a few weeks ago and it houses these things perfectly and it looks pretty, too. The tatted cloth underneath was worked by my grandma, whom I miss very much; but she's still with me everyday as I look and admire her handiwork scattered around my home.

Here is an old juice maker that my parents used when I was a kid. I don't know why they didn't want it anymore, but I was happy to take it. I've been making cordial out of it lately and we all have been enjoying it very much. I got the recipe from the Down to Earth blogspot (see side-bar) but I think it's O.K. if I share it here.
You take fresh lemons or limes, wash and cut in half. (I use 5, 6, 7, whatever is on the 'rack of shame'. (I'll explain that in a minute) Juice. On stovetop, make a syrup of one part water and one part sugar. I did 2 cups water and 2 cups sugar. Add the sugar at boiling and stir to dissolve. Remove from heat. Add in juice. I put my cordial in a mason canning jar. When ready to use, use 1/4 cordial to 4 parts water and pour over ice. This is just delicious! And frugal!
The rack of shame is what my kids have nick-named the produce rack in the back of the produce department. You know, where the 'old' stuff is... the reduced produce. That's where I buy apples for pies, bananas for the freezer for smoothies, and the lemons and limes. Now the 'shelf of shame' is where I sometimes buy donuts or rolls or other goodies that I normally wouldn't buy. That's located at the end of one of the aisles in the store on a shelf with reduced bakery items; hence the name 'shelf of shame'. We all laugh about it, but I'm having the last laugh, as now that my 16 year old son, Casey, is working part time at Stop & Shop, he sometimes visits the 'shelf' to buy himself and his sisters treats on pay day!

Here is the finished products of the yogurt (half gone) and the cordial.

Just had to share our afternoon picnic with you. The weather is just delightful with a brilliant blue sky, sunshine and crisp temperatures, but nice and warm in the sun. We set out a blanket and enjoyed hot tea, crackers and cheese for lunch. Ahhh... savoring the last bit of nice weather before winter sets in!


Mrs. Darling said...

Ive been wanting to buy a wheat grinder too. My kitchen is very well stocked but I feel like there a few essential things missing; a wheat grinder and a food dryer. Now i have a food dryer but it is a huge old thing. I want a little one to sit on the counter.

I love yogurt and used to make my own but its not really a passion of mine and I dont like it as well as the bought.

Wouldnt baking the pumpkins and scooping the cooked pumpkin from the shell have been easier. I dont know, Ive never cooked raw pumpkin but thats how I would have done it...more like squash.

bumblebeebags said...

what a beautiful pic...enjoy!!!