When I was growing up, my mom would make a molasses rye bread that we called “Dorothy’s Bread.” As far back as I can remember, it was the only type of bread that we ever made in the house. If we made bread, it was Dorothy’s Bread. Round loaves, soft and brown with a coating of butter fresh out of the oven. And we would never wait. We’d dig in and eat half a loaf of bread in one sitting, covering it with butter and filling up on pillowy soft bread goodness.
It’s been a crazy few weeks over here. I’ve fallen off my blog-writing schedule, but it’s because James and I have been working on other business-related issues. As you may know, the whole point of this website and this blog is to ultimately promote our future product, the Cave. And now that we have set a start date in May for our pre-sales, we’re kicking it up a notch. There are still so many things to do to get ready. There are promotional items to put into place, but we also need to finish sourcing parts and figure out some small bugs that are in the system. And maybe you didn’t notice, but we gave our website a facelift. Busy busy busy!
I didn’t grow up drinking eggnog, but a few years back James and I made our own, and we’ve been hooked ever since. To be honest, we keep failing at making it. There was the one time that James added valerian root extract instead of vanilla (why yes, that’s something else we’ve made). It tasted a little “off.” And then there are plenty of times that we’ve curdled the eggs in our haste to bring it up to temperature. (I think we both like to multitask in the kitchen, which isn’t all that great when you’re supposed to be stirring constantly.) But you know what? Even our failures were pretty delicious. Homemade eggnog is the best, even with the occasional curdled bits of egg in it.
So of course, because we love our homemade eggnog so, I began to wonder if there was a way to ferment it. Because, as you should know by now, everything tastes better fermented. I wanted to know if I could make eggnog yogurt.
You may have noticed a bit of a lag in my postings the last couple of weeks. The truth is, I have tried to be away from the computer as much as possible since the birth of our son two weeks ago. Since bringing our new little man home from the hospital, we have been filling our days with all the newborn activities you might expect: diapers and nursing and naps and lots and lots of newborn cradling. We are head over heels in love with this tiny new person who has popped into our world.
I don’t usually spend too much time or thought on snacks. But this is one that I’ve been thinking of making for a while, ever since I saw this post over at Nourishing Gourmet. These snacks are conveniently portable and easy to munch on, plus they have the added benefit of being full of healthy probiotics.
I love caramel apples. They’re sweet and seasonal and festive and the perfect dessert for Halloween. This year, we took our caramel apples up a notch with homemade caramel made with crème fraiche, and it made the process extra-special. This is our version of crème fraiche caramel apples.
Who doesn’t love soft, warm, pillowy, sweet bread? I don’t make it very often (I have this thing, where I find it almost impossible to make a bread product without adulterating it with whole wheat flour), but it is oh-so-very-good. These are sweet little sourdough surprise buns filled with gooey insides. And if you make them like me (haphazardly and without a map) they really will be a surprise, because you won’t know what’s inside each one.
This last Sunday was the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. I’m not Chinese, and I don’t have a history of celebrating this festival. I only even learned about it, because I brought home a children’s book from the library to read to my littles. That was a few months back, and I’ve since been unable to find the book, but I liked the idea of sharing this ethnic and cultural tradition with my girls.
There are plenty of reasons why people delve into DIY projects. We’re motivated by any number of reasons. Yet I believe that the “good” in DIY ventures goes beyond our motivation behind why we do them. I can’t clearly put into words the “why” behind my food-related DIY obsession. To be honest, I think that my desire to ferment sausages or make cheese or harvest wild yeast goes beyond a logical explanation. I could explain these things away by saying that my own versions taste better or are less expensive . . . but there’s more. I think it’s a soul thing. And I can’t touch that with words.
Here at Swiss Hills Ferments, our motto is “Bringing back traditions.” We want to encourage the resurgence of cooking, curing, and preservation techniques that have ebbed away, and in many cases, been replaced by modern technology or mass production. But just as important as bringing these techniques back, is creating food traditions that will keep that knowledge alive.
My 3-year-old always prefers to go grocery shopping with her dad. Granted, she prefers James over me for plenty of activities (I’m just not as exciting since she sees me all day). But I suspect the grocery shopping in particular has a lot to do with the fact that whenever they go shopping together, he buys her cereal. He likes to buy her treats that he remembers eating from his childhood: all sorts of things that curmudgeonly Mom won’t spend the money on.
I am a mother of two (soon to be three). And as a mother, I am put in a unique position in which I am allowed to shape the lives of these tiny people that I happen to be deeply in love with. There are plenty of other people that I care about, but I don’t have the same control over their lives as I do over my own children’s. I have parental power over my daughters’ daily schedules, eating patterns, friends, and well, just about everything (at least at this time in their development: my children are only 1 and 3). Parents exert a whole lot of power, and their influence can be positive or negative. I think a lot about what I want for my children and try to shape my role accordingly.
I have plenty of goals and dreams for my daughters. And one of the many things I care about is their diet. Food is an important part of who we all are, and I want to shape my daughters to have a positive relationship with food.
The word “parfait” in French means perfect. And this recipe for cultured parfait is pretty darn close. Now when I say “parfait” you’re probably thinking layers of yogurt and fruit and maybe some granola. Nope. This recipe is more like a creamy, fluffy version of ice cream. And because it’s made with crème fraiche instead of regular whipping cream, it’s got a touch of tart to it. And the best part? You don’t even need an ice cream maker to make this.