Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cob Salad and Putting up Wood

The rule at my house is that there has to be more wood put at at home than at moose camp.  Those boys really like their fire out there.  Since they leave for camp on August 31 and stay until about Sept. 25, or until they get the moose they want, they do go through a lot of wood.

Well, it is that time of year and I began to whine about the woodstove, so the "boys" spent several weekends getting wood cut, split and stacked for the winter.  We went through about 8 cords of wood last year, and I don't see us going through any less this winter.  They worked hard for several weekends, and now we have about 1/2 the wood we are going to need.
Dave is cutting the logs, the son and brother in law are splitting and stacking.
They were satisfied with our stock, for now.  They promise me I have more wood at home then they have at camp (I am doubtful).  But I don't go to camp so there is no way to prove it.
Our oldest son and brother in law in front, my husband in the background.  Hard, dirty work.

At the end of the day they were tired, dirty and hungry.  I  made Cob Salads with grilled chicken and made them eat on the deck.  No need to bring the woodpile in the house (or any part of it) any sooner than we really need to.

Cob Salad with Grilled Chicken

4 chicken breasts
3 heads of romain, chopped
4 hard cooked eggs, sliced
2 carrots, grated
4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
6 strips bacon, fried until crisp and chopped
1 avocado, sliced
4 small Roma tomatoes (there were from my greenhouse *big smile*), sliced

Pound chicken breasts until uniform in thickness.  Season with salt, pepper and other favorite seasonings (I like Mrs. Dash tomato-basil blend).  Grill on med. heat until cooked through.  Let rest.

Plate lettuce on 4 plates, dividing evenly.  Top with carrot, blue cheese, avocado, egg, and bacon in stripes across top of salad.  Slice chicken and place one chicken breast on top of each salad.
Serve with blue cheese dressing or favorite dressing.

August 28, 2013  Daylight 15 hours, 2 minutes, 2 seconds   Temp. H 61/ L 46°F

Monday, August 26, 2013

Rhubarb Muffins

It froze last night.  We got our first good frost for the Fall.  That is the end of the zucchini plants.  They were really the only thing left in the garden.  Dave cut the last of the zucchini and I pulled the wilted plants for the compost bin.

Winter is inevitable, I told Donna we should just embrace it, it is going to come.  But I'm not really feeling it either.  I am not looking forward to the cold mornings, the cold trip to work, plugging in the car, building a fire every, every evening, the snow, the ice fog... nope, I'm not into it yet.

So to save off the cold in my kitchen this morning, I made rhubarb muffins.  The oven warmed the kitchen, the muffins filled the house with the scent of cinnamon, sugar, and oatmeal.  The muffins were sweet with a tender crumb.  The tart rhubarb was delicious next to the sweetness of the brown sugar in the muffins and the raw sugar crunch on the top.  I could pretend that it was still summer and winter was not knocking on the door.

Rhubarb Muffins
adapted from Bourbonnatrix Bakes

In a small bowl wisk together:
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup oil
1 egg
1 tsp. cinnamon

In a large bowl, combine:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

Make a well int he middle of the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients and mix until evenly combined.

Fold in 2 cups chopped rhubarb.  Fill paper lined cups 2/3 full.  Top with sugar in the raw (optional).

Bake in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes.

Makes 18 muffins

I linked to Homemade Mondays.

August 26, 2013   Daylight 15 hrs, 15 min. 34 sec.   Temp. H 66/ L 36°F

Friday, August 23, 2013

Happy Homemaker - Drink of the Week

There really isn't much to say.  It is Friday, I am home, that makes me happy.

Here is to a happy, restful weekend.  What will you be drinking doing this weekend?

The Happy Homemaker

1 oz. coconut rum
2 oz. pineapple juice
lemon lime soda (I use Fresca)

Add rum and pineapple juice to shaker with lots of ice.  Shake until very cold.  Strain into glass top with about 2 oz. soda.  Enjoy, and be happy.

August 23, 2013   Daylight 15 hrs. 35 min. 56 sec.  Temp H 54/ L 45°F

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Lemon Bars

I am tired.  Not the "I stayed up too late one night" tired but the tired to your bones and the "I can't deal with anything that throws me for a loop right now" tired (feel very sorry for my husband).

School is starting, so it is a very busy time at work.  There are a couple of really big frustrations at work with technology not working properly, so that makes it even worse.  We are working really hard to have everything up and running for students, and then technical difficulties get in the way. I left work Friday very frustrated after a long week, and very tired.

My mom had a special dinner request and I was also planning a dessert, very ambitious for a Friday, but they were leaving soon and I didn't want to disappoint her.  I ran into the store for a few things on my way home.  One of the things I needed for dessert was graham crackers.  I went to the cracker aisle and found the grahams.  There were two brands to choose from, the regular brand I usually buy and the store brand.  There were two flavors to choose from, honey and cinnamon sugar.  Well, I didn't want honey or cinnamon sugar so I looked and looked for the regular plain graham crackers.  There were none to be found, only honey and cinnamon sugar.

Well, that was it.  I had it, and I started to cry.  Nothing went right all week and now I couldn't even find stupid, plain graham crackers.  At this point of my upset, I began to have my own tropical vacations (a.k.a. hot flash, I am 51), and started stripping off as many clothes as I could and still remain somewhat decent.  There I stood, pulling off clothing, dripping sweat and tears, and muttering to myself about honey graham crackers.  At one point an older woman stopped and asked, "Are you o.k.?"
"Yes," I muttered, "just frustrated."
"I understand."  she stated and kept walking.
I left the cracker aisle and finished my shopping.

When I got home I checked my old box of graham crackers.  The brand is Honey Maid and on the box in small yellow letters it says, "honey grahams."  The new box has a big yellow honey comb that says HONEY.  Yep, they are the same, just a newly designed box.  Holy Cats.

So, I didn't make the recipe I had planned, I made lemon bars instead.  This recipe comes from the Bun on the Run cookbook my friend Katie gave me at Christmas, and while I will still go back and get the honey grahams for that other recipe, these were so much better than what I had planned.  These have a bright, in-your-face lemon flavor.  They are not for anyone except for those who love a good lemony-lemon bar.  You might cry when you eat these, but they will be tears of joy.

Lemon Bars
from Bun on the Run Cookbook

3/4 cup butter
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 3/4 cup flour

6 large eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
zest of one large lemon
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line 9X13 inch pan with aluminum foil, leaving handles hanging over short ends.  Butter foil well.

Cream butter and sugar together, add flour and mix thoroughly.  Press into pan forming a 1/2 inch lip around the edges. The crust will be thin.
Bake about 13-14 minutes until golden.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs and 1 1/2 cup sugar.  Add lemon juice and lemon zest.  In a separate bowl mix 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup flour.  Add flour to the lemon mixture.  Stir to remove all lumps, but do not beat.  Pour into pre-baked crust until set, but not browned, about 23-25 minutes.

Cool completely.  Remove bars from pan with aluminum foil handles, cut into squares.

August 21, 2013  Daylight 15 hrs. 49 min. 33 sec.  Temp. H 61/ L 40°F

Monday, August 19, 2013

Oatmeal Cream Sandwich Cookies

I had very difficult pre-teen and early teen years, I know most of us did.  But, did you have braces, not such a big deal these days but back then yikes! And a mother who was obsessed with Afros?  Well, I did, and being the skinny white girl with braces and an get the picture.

We had to drive 30 minutes to the town with the orthodontist, there weren't a lot of choices in rural Kansas.  We would go to the "city" do some shopping and stop by a Woolworths lunch counter for a burger before my orthodontist's appt.  After the adjustment I usually went a couple of days eating only soup and pudding, so my mom wanted to get some meat into me before the fast.  One of the things I loved about this particular Woolworth is they had a bowl of individually wrapped cookies at each booth.  You ate what you wanted and then just told the waitress what you ate so she could add it to the bill.  I usually ate about 6 of the oatmeal cream sandwiches.  This was a time to load up, and my mom never once said anything about the quantity of cookies I was eating.  I loved those cookies.

While I have outgrown the braces and the afro, I have not outgrown my love of oatmeal cream sandwich cookies.  These are my grown up version with a soft oatmeal cookie and a Nutella-mascarpone filling.  The best part about these is I can eat them as often as I want and I don't have to suffer with a sore mouth after.  Now, this is a walk down memory lane I can live with, no afro required.

Oatmeal Cream Sandwich Cookies
adapted from Perfecting the Pairing
 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp salt
3 cups quick cooking oats

from Cook Like a Rock Star, Anne Burrell
1 1/2 cups Nutella
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl mix the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until well combined.  Add the eggs and vanilla, mix until completely combined.
In another large bowl mix the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Combine with a whisk.  Stir in the quick cooking oats.  Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in two batches until thoroughly combined.
Scoop the cookies onto the lined baking sheets.  Lightly wet the bottom of a juice glass and press down on the cookies to flatten them into a disc.  Bake 10-15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.  Watch the cookies closely.  Remove from the oven when the edges start to brown but the middle is still slightly soft.  Allow to cool completely on racks.

Meanwhile combine Nutella and mascarpone in a large mixing bowl.  In another bowl beat the heavy cream to soft peaks.  Add a spoonful of the whipped cream to the Nutella mixture and stir until you don't see any streaks.  Using a rubber spatula, fold a third of the remaining whipped cream into the Nutella.  Repeat this process two more times with the remaining whipped cream.  
When cookies are cool spread frosting between two cookies.  Continue until you have sandwiched all of the cookies.  Refrigerate until ready to eat. 
*I would recommend filling the cookies on the day you will eat them.  Otherwise keep them separate.

August 19, 2013   Daylight 16 hrs. 3 min. 13 sec.   Temp. H 65/ L 49° F

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Rhubarb sauce

Wow!  How did half of August get by me?  This is a very busy time of year, but yikes!

My parents have been here most of the summer.  They used to live here full time, now they are snowbirds.  One of the things my mom loves is rhubarb, and she misses having a freezer full for the winter.  Rhubarb grows rampant in Fairbanks.  It is not the spring treat it is in the real world, but a summer and fall treat.  Then we freeze as much as we can to get through the winter.

One year I canned some and sent it to her for her birthday.  This year, they came up in a their motorhome and while they don't have freezer space, they do have storage space.  So, I spent one afternoon canning rhubarb sauce so I don't have to mail it my mom can take it with her (I'm thoughtful like that).  I filled 12 jars so they have one for every month of the year and had some left over.  I made rhubarb crumble bars with this recipe, subbing the rhubarb sauce for the blackberries.  It was so delicious we were eating too fast to take pictures.  And the boys across the street took the rest home.

My mom likes tart rhubarb, so the sugar is slim in my recipe.  You can add more if you like a sweeter rhubarb, but leaving it tart was perfect against the sweet crumble crust and topping.  I also like it tart and swirl some into my yogurt in the morning.

I've made a couple of batches of the sauce, I froze some of it and I have a jar in the fridge for yogurt.  I also have bags frozen now.  I'll pull those out in the middle of 40 below and make a pie, some muffins or a cake with it and dream about the summer.

Rhubarb Sauce
12 cups rhubarb, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix rhubarb, sugar, and salt in large stock pot.  Let sit for a couple of hours to draw out some of the moisture.  When some liquid is in the bottom of the pan and the sugar had dissolved some, place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until rhubarb is soft, sauce-like and at the consistency you want.

Use this rhubarb for these crumble bars, or keep in the fridge for your yogurt, toast, or other treat.

To can, fill hot, clean jars with rhubarb sauce, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe edge of jar and cover with lid and ring.   Process in hot water bath at a full boil for 15 minutes.  Start timer when water returns to a boil.  Remove from hot water and cool completely.

August 15, 2013   SRise 5:39 am SSet 10:09 pm  Temp H 82°/ L 54°F