Sunday, December 22, 2013

Fish Stock from Pole to Pot

We recently took a much needed vacation to regions South.  All the way to Key West, and beyond, as a matter of fact.  We spent an entire week in the Keys, just exploring and enjoying the sun.
On one of our excursions, my husband and I chartered a small fishing boat for two.  The captain was wonderful and took us all over the waters off of Islamorada to fish for Grey Snapper among the many Mangrove islands.

While we were out, near the end of the trip, we came across a shiver of Lemon Shark (doesn't that sound cool?).  We spent and hour or more just fishing for them.  My husband caught one and managed to reel it in...not an easy thing...they are so strong! He also came close to nabbing a Bull Shark!  That would have been amazing...and scary!!!

                    (please ignore the crazy-faced laughing...I was a little awe struck, lol.)

We had so much fun.  I personally think it was the best time of the entire trip!  In the end, we caught nine Grey Snapper and two catch and release Lemon Shark.

When we got back to the docks...
The birds hoping for a share of the loot at our Captain's slip.

...we waited for Captain Dave to bring our fish up for cleaning...

... which he graciously did for us with much skill.
That crazy pelican ruled the roost!  He was determined to keep all the other birds away!

These fellows were not easily deterred though!
When the Captain was done, I asked for the fish heads and the carcasses, so I could make some fish stock.  He said it was the first time he'd been asked and that it would make wonderful stock.  He makes it himself!

We kept our fish in a small cooler with dry ice for the trip back to the Midwest.  When we got home a few days later, we unpacked the cooler, which we padded with newspaper...

  ...threw the fillets in our home freezer...

 ...and got busy on the stock.

I used the recipe found in Nourishing Traditions, page 119, as a guideline for making my stock...

I had 9 Grey Snapper carcasses
4 T. organic butter
3 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 small-ish organic carrots
1/2 t. dried thyme
3 springs of fresh home grown parsley
2 fresh bay leaves
1 c. white wine
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
and 6 quarts purified water

Melt butter and saute the vegetables and herbs until tender, add wine, bring to a boil, add fish carcasses, water and vinegar.  Bring to boil again and skim scum.  Reduce heat and simmer for 4 hours, covered.

After 4 hours...

...all that's left is separating the bits from the broth by straining.

When all was said and done, I ended up with 8 quarts of beautiful fish stock, which I placed in containers varying in size from 1 c. to 1 pint for freezing...

At the stories are things you should know.  
1.  If you get out to the Florida Keys, find Bud n' Mary's, it's where you'll find fun!
2.  When you find Bud n' Mary's, find Capt. Dave Butler.  He was amazing.  He had so many tips and tricks he was willing to share, and as a newbie scaredy-cat, he never made me feel like one.  Like I mentioned earlier in the was the best part of the vacation.  Truly fun.  Thank you, Capt. Dave.

3.  Save your fish carcasses...the stock was amazing.  It was rich, gelatinous and full of incredible flavor.  So thank you, Sally Fallon Morrell, for the recipe help, and Capt. Dave, for the extra encouragement!

I hope, if nothing else, this has been an encouragement to step out beyond your comfort zones...both food-wise and fun-wise (I can't swim...terrified of the water!), it's where all the interesting things in life lay.  

Thank you Florida, for the break from winter...

Yep, this is what we came home to.
Merry Christmas to all and a very Happy New Year,

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Glittered Pine Cones

Today, I thought I'd show you how I made these beautiful glittered pine cones.  I made a version of these back in the 90's, via a similar idea I think I gleaned from Martha Stewart Magazine.  Now, thanks to the internet and the abundance of German glass glitter, they are ready to be updated!
Here's what you'll need:

A brush
(I used a Simply Simmons #10 Chisel Blender for it's short stiff bristles, purchased at Michael's)
Aleen's Tacky Glue
A saucer (for diluting glue slightly)
1/2" Small Screw Eyes (I found mine at Ace Hardware, product #52387)
A Drill with a very small bit
*1 oz. Silver German Glass Glitter (here is where I purchased mine) see update at bottom of post
1.5 qt. Pyrex dish (for the glitter)
Pine cones
Wax Paper

First things first, screw the 1/2" eyes into the top of your pine cone.  If you have trouble, use your drill to start a pilot hole.
Squeeze out about a quarters worth of your glue into your saucer and dilute it slightly with water.  I found that Aleen's Tacky Glue was a little too tacky and started drying before I was ready to sprinkle on the glitter!  So use whatever glue you prefer.

Pour out about a quarter of the glitter into your Pyrex dish.  I liked the rectangular dish size, it "fit" the pine cones shape.

Lay out some wax paper, so it's a ready surface for your pine cones to dry.

Ready?  Grab your pine cone, paint brush and glue and start painting the scales (ends) of the pine cones.

I found that working from the pointy end toward the wider end, and in sections, was the easiest.
So...paint, glitter, move up and paint, glitter...

As you glitter (using the spoon really helps), shake off the excess.   Unlike the chunky store glitter so widely available, the glass glitter shakes off like a dream.

Keep going like this...
...until you are done.
You can do what you want at the top.  I chose to pretty much cover the whole thing.
Now set them on the wax paper to dry.

I made 6 of these today and had plenty of glitter left to make at least 3 or 4 more.  I think I'll be hanging some of these in garland form across the fireplace mantle or across a door frame or two.  They also may be really special hung with ribbon between the rails in my stair banister!  And don't just think you need to stick with silver.  I also bought some beautiful pale pink, teal and white glass glitter (though I think the white will just disappear on the pine cones).  The possibilities are too wonderful!!
Hope you enjoyed this.  I think I'm going to glitter up some critters for the fireplace mantle and maybe try to spray paint and then glitter a few pine cones for a basket...A la Pinterest...

Have a merry and blessed Christmas season,

*Update 12/22/2013~~  If you decide to buy the silver glitter, remember, it will probably tarnish.  
Mine has gone from a beautiful, brilliant silver, to a silvery-gold in a very short time.  

 The patina is very beautiful and antique-like, however, I was wanting a more glisten-y, snowy effect.  Maybe a pale teal or blue instead?
Just and FYI.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Spider Corn Bread

With Halloween just days away, it seemed somehow appropriate to share a "seasonal" recipe.

I have been collecting vintage cookbooks off and on for years and recently some pamphlets dating back to the 19-teens have found their way to my shelf.  Among them was...

Copyright, 1918, Royal Baking Powder Co., Mfrs. of Dr. Price's Cream Baking Powder

All through the pamphlet you find recipes that use barley, buckwheat, whole wheat and cornmeal as the flour(s) of choice.  This was to free up white flour for the troops, presuming white flour would not go rancid as quickly as other flours. 
To read more on the subject, click here.

Spider Corn Bread

1 egg
1¾ c. milk and water  (I used 1¼ c. whole raw milk and ½ c. water)
1 c. corn meal
⅓ c. flour (next batch I'm trying home-milled whole wheat!)
2 T. sugar
1 t. salt
2 t. Baking Powder
1 T. shortening

Beat egg in bowl and add one cup of the milk and water combo; stir in corn meal, flour, sugar, salt and baking powder which have been sifted together; turn into 10" cast iron frying or oven-proof pan in which shortening has been melted.  Pour on remainder of milk and water, but do not stir.  Bake about 25 minutes in a 425° oven.  There should be a line of  creamy custard through the bread.  Cut into triangles and serve.
Serves 8-10.

  •   This did have small ribbons of creaminess running through it, almost like grits
  •   If you wanted a "spider web-like" appearance on top, you could get clever when pouring the remainder of the milk and water over the top, although, the pattern would be faint.
  • This recipe is adapted/updated from recipe on page 3

Fun Fact!
Did you know that Dr. Price, of Dr. Price's Cream Baking Powder, is the grandfather of the famous American actor, Vincent Price

                                              The Bat, 1959, with Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Little House Needlework's "Needleworker"

Here is another great little pattern I'd like to share!
Pattern Name:  Little House Needleworks, "Needleworker"
It has that "primitive" feel to it that's so "in" right now. 

I liked the cute little birdie...
...and the cherries...
...which were fun to shade just right with Crescent Colours threads.

The only part I played with, was the needle....
...I thought the original thread called for in the pattern was too dark.  So I added one strand of that "shinier" DMC floss, E677, to the mix.  I really have mixed feelings about it.  I now understand why they used the darker thread in the pattern...if you go can't see the needle!!  That is my self created dilemma.  I've toyed with the idea of pulling it out and redoing it in the original pattern color, but I'm basically lazy lately...and just don't want to mess with it at this point. 
So...we'll call this an object lesson, buyer beware, or "so you think you know better"... learn from me.

As always...on went the "signature"...

...and I was done.
I'll add a picture of the piece framed at a later date.

Some stats:
Finished design area:  approx. 14" x 3.5"
Pattern cost:  $26.  (this was sold as a "kit " which included floss)
Floss used:  7 skeins Crescent Colours (included in kit),
                    2 strands over 2 threads 
                    1 skein DMC E677  
Time to complete: 3½ weeks
Recommended project?:  yes, but a little spendy

Time has been very limited this year due to family stuff, so you'll excuse me for keeping this short and sweet.  I just got tired (and got tired!) of the photos sitting in my "Blog Folder" whining at me...yes, I am an appeaser....

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Things You Find...

My dad is ill. The bad kind of ill.  He is 90 and was placed into Hospice care this week.  

 My dad is a wonderful man.  I love him very much and have learned so much through his careful guidance and tender heart...

....I'm not really sure where I'm going with this tonight...I guess I just wanted to lighten my load and focus on something else for a while by sharing an interesting and kinda historic pamphlet I found going through his stuff. 
My dad is a WWII vet.  After his discharge, he and the rest of the country were thrown, almost directly it seemed, into the Cold War, therefore it was not surprising to find this 1950 booklet titled "Survival Under Atomic Attack".  Fascinating.  So I thought I'd share it with everyone.  There is no copyright, as noted on the last page.  It is free for all to share.  

So here is your dose of the 1950's for the day...
Here are the direct links for you to view and download your own copy...
Direct Links:

Something I noted...on pages 16 & 17, at the bottom, it tells you to "Remove this sheet and keep it with you until you've memorized it."  Dad's booklet was permanently folded back on itself at those pages...he took it seriously.

The booklet will now go to my brother.  It is his treasure and I thank him for  entrusting me with it's safety.

PS...I found this video on YouTube, which I can only assume is a companion to the booklet, and  thought it might be an interesting extra.

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Primitive Hare's "Red Riding Hood"

After a few weeks in Oregon, I'm home again.

My dear, dear Papa had two nasty strokes and we did what all close families do at such times, we close ranks.  He is now back home after his close calls and rehab time.  Things are a little different, but he knows who we are and has still got some spunk!  Not bad for a fella a couple weeks shy of 90!

Just before I left for Oregon, I had finished The Primitive Hare's "Red Riding Hood", which I totally LOVED! 

The minute it showed up at The Stitching Cottage, I knew I had to stitch it. 

Maybe it was the bold colors...

 ...or the geometrics...

...or the whimsy...

Whatever, it was...I was hooked and completed it in about 5 weeks. 

As a result of family business...I do not remember where I placed all my information regarding materials for the pattern.  Argh.  So I'll wing it as best I can.

I used a 30 count linen, which my friend at The Stitching Cottage tea dyed for me! 
I used the floss suggested in the pattern and stitched the whole thing with one thread over two.
The pattern, as you can see, cost $19.50.
This was not one of my less expensive projects, but oh...I would certainly do it again.  In fact, I'm quite seriously considering purchasing a couple other of The Primitive Hare's patterns, most especially among those is the Pride and Prejudice Sampler. This, I would add to the The Christmas Carol Sampler already in my collection!

I have plans to place this on the wall in my Library once framed.  I hear through the rumor mill that there may be more fairy tale patterns to come...and they will all join this one. 

I still have one other project to share, which was stitched while I was in Oregon.  A quick and easy.  It will be up soon.

Hope everyone out there is staying cool this summer.  It is 10:00 p.m. as I type and it is still 91° outside!!  Yikes!