It’s Up

Friday after Thanksgiving is the day we always cut our tree.  Luckily, Claire was home for Thanksgiving weekend so we got it decorated with her help.  The tree farm is about 20 miles from here, up the mountain.  It’s massive, but since I’m still using a cane, we pretty much parked and said hey, that one looks pretty good and were done with it.  Normally we walk all over the place.  Not bad for $28 (sorry too all of our relatives in FL who pay that for a Charlie Brown tree!)

Chicks No More

Protected in our chicken tractor with a warming light and a tarp, our heritage buckeye chickens have moved from the brooder into their own spot inside the big barn.  They have all of their big girl feathers so the winter shouldn’t cause them any worries.

Baby It’s Warm Inside

Despite the fact that our temperature has been below freezing overnight, our ghost and habanero peppers are happily growing beside beets, carrots, spinach and buttercrunch lettuce.  We’re trying some peas and potatoes in our indoor beds, too.  We harvested beet greens and rutabaga this morning.  I need to make a new batch of pepper jelly.  I’ve been dehydrating the peppers then running them through a food processor.  It makes hot ass pepper flakes!

Grapes and Apples are Good

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Our good friend brought the wine for Thanksgiving dinner yesterday.  A dozen of them, half with bubbles (including sparkling hard apple cider), all spectacular!  How many folks did we have for dinner?  Five.  We didn’t open every single bottle, but tried!  :-)

Too Big For It’s Britches

Thanksgiving’s bird was a 20 pound pasture raised (by us) bird that was too big for my huge roasting pan.  It was fantastic!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Getting Away

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I’ve been off for a few days because we’ve just had our first real vacation in two years.  My parents came up early for Thanksgiving to take care of our farm while Brian and I got away to Las Vegas.  A friend asked me if I was most looking forward to the shows or gambling and I answered, “Neither, I’m looking forward to the food!”  We started our culinary adventure at the fabulous Michael Mina restaurant at Bellagio and ended it with Bally’s Sterling Brunch, which is where these crappy cell phone photos are from.  It’s pricey but they serve unlimited Perrier Jouet champagne, sevruga caviar, lobster tails and cappuccino (among a hundred or so other things).   We’re foodies who live in a rural culinary wasteland, we have our priorities!

Chocolate Caramel Apples

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Williams Sonoma makes the most amazing chocolate caramel apple.  We usually send one to our daughter Claire for her birthday but since she was home for it this year, we made her one ourselves.  You start with the best crisp large apple you can find.  We’ve used fuji in the past but are now fans of the giant honey crisp apples.  To cover two apples, I used a half of a bag of caramels.  These were melted very slowly in the microwave at half power, like 10-25 seconds at a time.  Once they were melted, I stirred in about 2 Tbsp. of corn syrup to soften the finished caramel and then added about a half tsp. of good vanilla.  This caramel mixture gets spooned onto the apples, which set up in the fridge on a square of waxed paper.  Once they are set, in about 20-30 minutes, I spoon on gently microwave melted chocolate.  Claire likes semisweet so that’s what I used.  We’ve also used milk chocolate and bittersweet in the past, too.  Once the chocolate sets up – just slice, core and serve.  A guaranteed crowd pleaser!

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