My first thought was soup. It’s a cool night, but I had no saltine crackers. I did have a recipe for home made crackers but it seemed involved. Next thought: hot dish. For those who don’t live in MN or ND or thereabouts, that’s a casserole. I had one in mind that started with a jar of organic garden pasta sauce, but I must be getting weak, because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t open the jar. Ok, so while I pondered what to have for a main dish, I thought I would bake a pineapple cake. I had a bowl of crushed pineapple in the refrigerator. I must have underestimated the time it had been there, because there was mold on it. That got dumped out. What other kind of cake could I make? The old timers made hot milk sponge cake, which I’ve never tried. The name sounds easy and I quickly found a recipe online. It, too, is involved, and i had to melt butter in milk. Couldn’t find a kettle. There are two kitchens on this place and the pots and pans sometimes migrate. Finally I located one that was halfway suitable. The butter is churned from jersey milk and although it’s carefully rinsed, it sours before its time. Sour cream butter is ok; I don’t mind it. But I seldom bake cakes and the cake pans were wedged in the cupboard, and needed a rinse. The only flour I could find was whole wheat. That didn’t seem right. Finally I located the all purpose flour in an unopened bag, but try as I might, I never did find the vanilla extract so I flavored the cake with almond extract. Back to the main dish. By this time I don’t feel like making an omelet so I decide to hard boil the eggs. That casserole will have to wait until there’s somebody here to open the pasta jar for me, or I obtain a jar opening device. As an afterthought I cook rice, and get out some carrots to bake. I have two antique refrigerators, one older than I am (and people tell me I’m no spring chicken, whatever that means), and the carrots froze because the thermostat was stuck, so they are slimy and no good. Have to discard them. I have a half bag of california blend vegetables. By this time I’m not hungry. Wish I had gotten a sandwich up town, or that I had a frozen pizza to heat up. Postscript: the sponge cake turned out picture perfect. Maybe will serve it with blackberries.
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Trying to improve the food I eat. I’ve been conscious of food sources for years but a person gets careless. Rather than dwell on what I’ve done wrong, I am attempting to make positive changes, even if they aren’t the ultimate. Am going into the production of non-homogenized milk (pasteurized only) from cows that a neighbor is milking. Jerseys. The difference in taste is noticeable. So far we’ve separated milk and made butter, yogurt, ice cream and cheese. I don’t buy eggs from the store anymore. All are free range and locally produced. I do think, though, that vegetables and fruit should predominate in a person’s diet. To become more self sufficient in vegetable gardening and foraging is at the forefront of my plans for the upcoming summer. I found a site that advertised 69 free seed catalogs and I ordered them all. Some plants have been started already. These include vegetables and herbs, but I think flowers are important, too. Some are edible, and others are for pest control. Their main purpose, though, is to brighten and beautify the surroundings.
The origin of this soft cheese is northern India. It is made by boiling milk (be careful not to burn it) and adding a curdling agent just as it starts to boil. I used balsamic vinegar because I didn’t have the recommended fresh limes. I didn’t save the whey because like the cheese itself, it took on a brown color from the vinegar. Dump the contents of the kettle in a colander lined with a towel or muslin, rinse with cold water, and drain. You can make it drier by pressing under a heavy kettle.
The cheese is very bland and somewhat rubbery but pictures of the dishes made with it look flavorful and delicious and I know it’s good for you.
I got a late start on my garden and didn’t plant any seeds, just purchased plants. These include tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbage, collards, swiss chard, watermelon. I think plants do better if you plant the seeds directly into the soil. These seem to get pummeled by rain and then the sun comes out and scorches them. I know that’s not exactly how it is but it seems that way to me. I also planted flowers, and I intend to go pick up some more herb plants for pots. I always have to try gardening each year even though sometimes it’s not a success.