Sunday, October 30, 2011

an omnivore's chilli - eggs noodles 'w' kefir cheese 'n' porcini mushroom - smokey oatmeal cardamom sourdough slow to rise flatbreads

it's sunday and we though we have been up since early, we are not pushing the day along at a rushed rate of speed.  these are the days when it's lovely living in the central texas area.  the temperatures dive into the cool and shiveries at night while the days offer cool aire with sunny warming nice to take a nap in character.

it's 11:23am and i am still in my jammies.  keep in mind jammies for me are also equal to work clothes.  i have feed the chickens, wabbits and kitty creatures, been over to the neighbors to feed their puppy and kitty creatures, shared conversation with neighbors readying for a morning run and tending to bits here and there around the garden all in my jammies.  i love the fact that i live in a neighborhood where chatting in jammies on a sunday is celebrated.  even if it's not, i choose to see it that way.  so far, my jammie universe has not been shunned.  so far...

sunday is also the day i cook up goodie goods for the week's eating.  yesterday we made a loverly butternut sqash soup that proved divine.  today i'm cooking up an omnivore's chilli with smoked paprika - oh my, oh my the smell wafting from the pot - warm and seductive - no kidding!

hippychick's omnivore chilli

1 dry cup white kidney beans
1 dry cup red kidney beans
1 quart water
1 large onion (white or yellow)
1 lb carrots
1 lb corn - fresh off of the cob or frozen
1 lb ground bison (organic grass fed preferred)
2 quarts stewed maters in their juices (lovely to pull your own put up maters from the pantry)
alder smoked salt de mer  (or any good sea salt - i love smoked salts)
smoked paprika
fine ground black or white pepper
fresh chopped basil
fresh chopped rosemary
olive or walnut oil

cookery process

hydrate your beans - place your dried beans in a large container and cover with the 1 quart of water.  allow the beans to soak overnight.  you may skip this step if you choose to use pre-hydrated beans.

the next morning
- coat the bottom of your chilli cooking pot with 2 tbs of oil
- place the ground buffalo in your chilli cooking pot
- add spices to your liking (smoked salt, smoked paprika, marjoram, dill, basil and pepper)
- message spices and oil into the buffalo meat
- set your stovetop to medium high heat and place your cooking pot on the burner
- chop your carrots and onion and add them to the pot
- slowly cook until the onions begin to show translucence

- now add your beans with water, 2 quarts of stewed maters and corn.  the liquid from the soaking beans and stewed maters should prove enough to slowly cook the chilli, if not feel free to add more water and/or broth or liquid of your choice; possibly beer or wine for extra flavor.  a nice red wine would prove excellent in this case.

- turn the stovetop heat to just below medium, set the pots cover loosely over the top and slowly cook until beans are tender stirring every now and again to make sure goods to not stick to the bottom of the pot.  the chilli may take an hour or two to cook through, less if you have used pre-hydrated beans, more if your beans have not soaked a full 6-8 hours.

- while all is slowly cooking, you might consider prepping some yummy toppings
  • roasted pumpkin seeds
  • a good sharp cheddar cheese
  • a good reggiano cheese
  • creme fraiche
  • roasted chillis
- once all is tender, enjoy!
- we'll be munching ours down with a nice slice of home baked bread.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

eggs noodles 'w' kefir cheese
this one is easy
- cook up some egg noodles (homemade noodles are best)
- stir in kefir cheese (you may substitue yogurt cheese, creme fraiche or sour creme)
- add a dash of good salt de mer
- add several dashes of fine ground dried porcini mushrooms
- top it off with a handful of fresh chopped basil
- oooh baby!

*notes -  to make kefir cheese, drain kefir milk in a coffee filter or fine mesh strainer over night.  the process is very much in the same way one makes yogurt cheese.  as for the porcini mushrooms - i purchase dried mushrooms and grind them until fine in a coffee grinder.  it works great. i keep an old one for the purpose of grinding herbs and such goodies regularly.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

smokey oatmeal cardamom sourdough slow to rise flatbreads

- i obtained my sourdough starter from cultures for health.  i use their basic sourdough bread recipe and change it up as i feel whenever the urge strikes.  here is their basic recipe.

  • 2 1/3 cups Fresh Sourdough Starter (see below)
  • 3 1/3 cup Flour
  • 1 – 1 ½ cup Water (approximate)
  • Scant Tablespoon Salt
 This recipe can be used to make a basic loaf of sandwich bread or artisan-style bread.
Mix sourdough starter, flour and salt together. Use enough water to make bread dough (a moist dough is preferable to a dry dough). Knead dough until it passes the “window pane test” (a small piece of dough will stretch between four fingers thin enough to allow light to pass through without breaking). Split the dough in half. Shape each half into a loaf. Place in a pan, proofing basket or on a board. Cover lightly with a towel and allow the dough to rise for 4-24 hours. If desired, a short (4-12 hours) proofing period can be used and the dough can be punched down, reshaped and allowed to rise a second time but a second proofing period is not required. If desired, slice an X shape in the top of the loaf with a very sharp knife or razor blade.  Bake at 400 degrees until the internal temperature reaches 190-210 degrees (use a meat thermometer inserted into the bottom or side of the loaf). Bake 30-60 minutes (depending on loaf size). Allow the bread to cool before slicing. Makes two standard size loaves

check out their how to make sourdough site for tips and tricks that help one make a great loaf.

here's how i modified the above sourdough bread recipe.

i substituted
- whey for the water

i added
- 1 cup of oatmeal
- 2 tablespoons of cardamom
- 1 cup of kefir milk
- 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds (sprinkled on top)

i then followed the above directions, kneeding by hand.  i split the dough into four equal sized pieces and shaped them into small round flatbreads.  i then brushed each round with a bit of olive oil before sprinkling the sesame seeds over the top. 

they are now on the rise - photos and the yum yum factor report on the way.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

- cozy bits on a saturday - butternut squash soup -

a day at home
a day of happiness
a day of cozy cookery

hippychick's butternut squash soup
* no moo-ilk or butt-ahhh in this one *

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 quart preserved peaches
  • 1 cup raisins
  • sea salt
  • cardamom
  • clove
  • nutmeg
  • curry
  • mint
  • water 
cookery process
  • peel the butternut squash and chop into small-ish chunks.
  • place squash into a large soup pot.
  • add a dash of good sea salt.
  • add just enough water to cover the squash.
  • cook over medium high heat until squash is soft.
  • remove from heat - do not drain.
  • using a potato masher,  carefully mash the squash in the pot.
  • add peaches and raisins.
  • and spices to your liking.
  • place the pot over medium heat.
  • keeps goods at a slow simmer stirring often until desired thickness is achieved.
note: if you prefer a smoother soup - place all goods in a processor and process until smooth but be careful so as not to burn yourself.


chicken footie!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

later mater!

had a good morning
put up 12 quarts of later maters

yummy oh dear yummy yummy

that's all i could get through today as i'm now busy at work in the theatre
there is bread on the counter rising rising rising
long and slow goes the sourdough

tonight i'll bake
and eat bread with butter

come on now
*  *  *
who can resist fresh out of the oven bread

certainly not this here who
that's fo' sho'!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

it's raining! it's raining! it's raning in texas!

i am so excited i cannot even spell the word raining properly the third time out

- bless the gods of the wet falling skies -
- rain is falling in texas -

 the rainwater harvesting collection tanks are finally seeing some action.  the smaller of the two tanks is full to the brim while the large has room to spare.  given our chances for continued rain today, it might just fill.  it is nice to breathe a long sigh of rain relief.

we might just see some green before year's end
wouldn't that be fine?
quick planting update to start the day off
white carrots
daikon radish
a winter cover crop of winter rye, annual rye, hairy vetch, crimson clover and field pea for areas of the yard that need a bit of building up.

i am still in need of kale - they are seeds i currently have not.

now it's off to the metal shed to prep the wee chickie nursery for the babes that arrive this week. 
i love this part of chickenmamahood

Saturday, October 8, 2011

a few steps forward

 - happy day - 

i built a new pair of brand spankin' compost bins - out of recycled/repurposed wood pallets of course.  for me, there is no other way.  it was time as the few that have been in service for the last five plus years had finally rotted away.  they did a fine job while they lasted and now they too are headed into recycle land.
 - check out these beauties -
looking mighty fine if i say so myself.  

i made the decision to pull out one of the garden beds in the east side garden.  it was a spot that always proved particularly dry and thus required a regularly scheduled frequent and deep watering that current drought conditions cannot support.  i pulled up the raised bed frame thinking i might be able to use it elsewhere but no - it too had served its time and was ready for the reuse universe.  the boards simply broke into smaller bits.  i can use them to edge other smaller garden beds or construct a happy toad, lizard lizard, buggy bug woody wood pile.  over time the boards will break down completely - it happens faster than you think - don't blink.

we do our best to make sure that nothing gets wasted around here.

oh my aching back!
today proved to be a turn the soil over until you can't turn the soil no more kind of day.
i got a good bit of soil turned over yet there is a good bit still in need of turning.  there's a nice mix of soil, grass clippings and composted chicken bedding along with any smallish pulled up plants and such from the hotty hot hot summer garden fry fest.

things are feeling fluffy and nice and should hold water quite well given we are blessed with a good soaking rain.

i relocated a few veggie plants from the outback shady garden.  three pepper plants and five swiss chards now reside in the sunyside east garden.  they are looking a bit wilty at the moment from the shock of the move.  fingers crossed they perk up in the next few days or so.

and just look at all that darn johnson grass growing between the beds
it never goes away

 some of the beds were blessed with mr. bunbuns fertile poopy poops and discarded alfalfa from his nibbling bits.  rabbit poo is safe just as it is for garden soil.  it need not be composted but you may compost it if you wish.  

just turn it in like everything else. 

 i moved the loverly lemon grass today after giving her a good haircut
she's now a featured beauty on the southside of the beds.

all the while 
i thought i was working hard
until i spied those busy buzzing ladies who work far harder than myself

beautiful bees
feeding and flying and feeding and flying
collecting fall's bounty for the benefit of the hive

so at current the garden is planted with
fall maters
swissy chards
greeny peppers
fragrant basils
rosey mary
millet spires
cheery chives

it is a bit slim for my liking as i feel this is a very late start for a fine fall garden
but you just can't beat the
heat oh heat oh heat

and now that the temps have cooled
the list for planting grows
- up next -
and more kale

! super exciting !

Friday, October 7, 2011

guess what i'll be cleaning up this weekend - wooohoooo!

it all starts here with darn good dirt and compost

 then you've got to flip it and turn it and soften the soil
this is the sweaty - cursing part
give your sweeties a bit of support
and some sweet sunshine

stop a while to admire the flowers

and eventually the messy bits will begin to look a bit more like paradise

what you see above are the hearty survivors of this now famous drought ridden steamy texas summer - pretty amazing if you ask me.

i am just getting started.  
the garden at present is really quite a mess but we'll get there.
baby steps - baby steps

Thursday, October 6, 2011

coming back soon!

hey there!
yes i have been away a while but i'm coming back soon and very excited for it. 

for those kind folk who have asked about the condition and safety of the hippychick universe; first off thank you and second off, we were not destroyed by the fire.  all are well.  and there are new baby weechicks on the way. oh my, oh my!

outside of that
i am giving this new look of the blog a go
what do  you think?