"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority ... the Constitution was made to guard against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." - Noah Webster

"There is no worse tyranny than forcing a man to pay for what he does not want just because you think it would be good for him."
-- Robert A. Heinlein

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Snug At Home

I want to hit on several things.  There is no single theme to this post.  It's kind of a "what-I've-been-up-to-the-past-twenty-four-hours-and-I-need-practice-hitting-the-hyphen-key-with-my-ring-finger" post.

Had to brave it down the mountain yesterday in spite of all the ice, because Twyla's prescriptions were in and she was out of one of them. Yes, we slid a couple of times and it was scary.  But the positive side was the fact that we got a couple of great shots.  To wit:

Near the road on the way in to our part of the mountain they built a little decorative water wheel.
It left no doubt that it was cold.

We do have to venture outside to feed and water the chickens, and I have to spend a bit of time out there collecting more wood for the stove.

This is a great time to be experimenting with cooking exclusively with the wood stove.  The other morning we baked potatoes inside it. Wrapped in aluminum foil and nestled just above the coals. They were done to perfection in about 45 minutes.

Twyla got a craving for corn bread, so she mixed up a batch and poured it into the cast iron skillet and set it atop the stove.  There's a cast iron lid that fits both the skillet and the dutch oven that she put on top.  It cooked through well enough, but the top didn't get very brown.  That's just fine.  I suppose had we pre-heated the lid on top of the stove first, it might have been different, but the cornbread came out with a fluffy, cake-like texture that was awesome, with darker brown crispier bottom.  It was delicious.

If you are a follower of Twyla's blog, you may remember her writing about our great frugality and regular visits to the various thrift stores around here.  You just never know what you might find.  About a week or two ago, I spotted an ice cream maker for $6 at the Humane Society thrift store.  Had to get it.  There's just something about homemade ice cream.  Besides that, I just love experimenting with recipes.  So, I made a batch, but it was more like ice milk, even though I did add some whipping cream to it.  We went through that pretty quick with both cranberry relish and blackberry cordial.

This morning, I woke up at 02:00.  The fire had gone out and so I had to rebuild it.  Of course, by the time I did all that, I was wide awake.  What to do.  What to do.  Make more ice cream.  I bought more heavy whipping cream yesterday, so why not?  Let's improve the recipe.  Less milk and more cream in the ratio.  Two extra tablespoons of sugar compared to the first batch.  Three fresh egg yolks.  The high lecithin content is a fantastically smooth emulsifier.  I thoroughly pureed all the ingredients with the stick blender (that is one of my all time favorite kitchen tools!) put it in the maker and put it outside to run.  Hey, it was 14° F out there at 02:45, so I figure I can just put the inner container in the bucket and let it run. No ice, no salt.  Makes sense, right?
Moxie tries to herd Brewster

Meanwhile, I decided to take some store bought, whole wheat flour that somebody gave us for the dog, and make up some dog treats.  Old leftover chicken bouillon cubes, left over saved chicken fat (yes, we really don't waste anything) little salt, enough sugar to feed some yeast and I've got my basic dough.

Time to check the ice cream.  All that had happened was the liquid mixture had gotten pretty cold, but it was still very much liquid after 40 minutes.  Fail.  You apparently do need the ice and salt slush to supercool the ingredients while the paddle scrapes the sides. I go grab the spatula and the rock salt and fill the bucket.  Back to the biscuits.  What's a quick easy way to cut or shape them?  Hmmm.

By the time I had the first batch of dog treats ready to come out of the oven, Twyla is up and had come out to the fire to have her first cup of coffee.  She opens the oven to see what I'm cooking and starts laughing.

Yum, yum.  Moxie treats.
"They look like little turds!"

"I thought that it was quite appropriate for Moxie.  After all, she likes chicken poop."

More laughter.  Yep.  Doesn't matter how many times I scold her, when I move the chicken arks, Moxie is right there looking for a choice morsel.  This is why I think people who are lured into spending incredible amounts of money on "gourmet" or special blends of dog food have more money than sense.  How discriminating of taste can one be when one licks its own butt?

These little gems for the dog have a texture kind of like a scone.  Maybe we could call them "scurds?"

I only made one tray like that out of three, because it's much easier to roll out a flat ball of dough and then cut it into strips and then cross cut into little rectangles.  I didn't want to spend all morning on this project.

"I know how to be a lady!  Psst! Got any scurds?"
From looking at the weather forecast, we have most of this day's light to secure lots of firewood to a covered location, but then after dark we are due to get a lot of snow.  I just hope that the temperature stays well below freezing so that it does fall as snow and not as rain to then become a glaze of ice.

If we get snowed in again tonight, I'll have to come up with something else really clever to do.  Maybe it's time that I tried baking a loaf of bread on top of the wood stove with a makeshift aluminum foil tent.

I really am hoping for that six inches of snow so I can slide down the driveway.

Before I go, Twyla has created a new page on her blog to showcase her beautiful watercolors.  So make sure you head over to Green Acres and check them out.  It's in the sidebar titled Twyla's Watercolor Gallery.  In addition, Twyla has decided to create a second blog that has to do with her little fun experiment in Bible study.  Go check out My 316 Notes.  You might find it interesting.

Thank you for stopping by my blog, especially the persons in Moscow, Russia, and Stuttgart, Germany; whoever you are.

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