Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food and Love

The dirty life

At the beginning of this book, Kristin Kimball is a thirtysomething, single writer living in New York.  At the end of the book, she is married and living on a working farm in Lake Champlain. 

The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love tells the story of how she got there.  What started out as an assignment to write about a young farmer, dramatically changed her life. 

I am fascinated by the concept of living on a farm.  Milking the cows.  Feeding the chickens.  Gathering the eggs.  The author makes it sound doable, but she does not sugarcoat it.  You ride along with her through the ups and downs, the runaway horses, the ruined tomato crops, the planning of a wedding amidst the daily chores of the farm. 

What sets this book above others like it is the writing.  She was (and is) a writer.  The descriptions are fabulous.  The food descriptions alone are exquisite.  She is able to write about her feelings in such a way that you feel like you are experiencing them yourself.  Since I listened to the book, I can't quote anything, but rest assured it is wonderful writing.  

It is such a feel good book.  They had a dream and they made it work.  It wasn't easy, as a matter of fact, it was extremely hard, but they did it. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Garden Tuesday ~Money plant, tulips, bunnies, oh my~


The blueberries are not loaded with blossoms like they were last year.  I expect we’ll have a smaller crop.  I think I still have some of last years in the freezer!

Bluebells and foam flower

Bluebells and foam flower light up a shady part of the garden.

Money plant

This is a money plant.  I don’t know what it’s scientific name is.  After the flowers bloom, it has those large seed heads that look like coins.  We have a purple and white variety.  They pop up wherever they feel like. 

Solomon's seal

We had to move our fig tree, it was getting too big.  The Solomon’s seal is very happy getting all the sun now.  This is the tallest I’ve seen them in ages.  They are just starting out and don’t have their lovely drooping row of flowers yet.

Tulips and purple flowers

Remember my vow to keep flowers on my dining room table all the time?  Well, for the past couple of weeks, I’ve bought little potted bulbs, tulips and hyacinths.  I keep them on the table for a while and then off to the garden they go.  They are about the same price as I was paying for a bouquet, and I get to see them again next year!

garden bunny

And, it wouldn’t be a good spring garden post without Mr. Bunny.  You can see the wild violets in the front and the nodding heads of the hellebores off to the side.

How about you, what’s in your garden this week?

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Quick Pickled Onions

Sidewalk Shoes Quick Pickled Onions

When I was little I didn’t like onions at all.  Not cooked and certainly not raw.  I’ve come a long way since then.  Love onions cooked, a fried onion rings are heaven, but raw, still not so good.  I have been known to meticulously pick out every bit of onion from a salad or a sandwich.  

Recently, however, I made a salad that had such few ingredients (and onions was one of them), that taking out the onions just didn’t make sense.  Since I love all things pickled, I decided to look for a quick pickled onion recipe.  I found it in The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods- the full recipe is actually called Toasted Millet Salad with Arugula, Quick Pickled Onions and Goat Cheese, which sounds amazing itself, but all I needed was a quick pickle recipe.

These onions were fantastic!  So fantastic that I’ve made them again, and we vow to always have a jar in the fridge.  If you make them with red onions you get the lovely pink hue.  These were tart and sweet with the perfect amount of bite.  We’ve added them to sandwiches and have eaten them almost like a side dish. 

Quick Pickled Onions

  • 3/4 cup apple cider or white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons natural cane sugar
  • 1 dried bay leaf (I omitted because I didn’t have any)
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced (I used my mandolin)


In a saucepan combine the vinegar, salt, sugar, bay leaf and cloves and bring to a gentle boil over medium high heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Add the onion, stir, and remove the from the heat.  Let them cool to room temperature, spoon into a jar and store in the refrigerator.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Dr Loosen Brothers Riesling

Loosen Brothers Riesling

Dr Loosen Brothers, 2010, Riesling, Costco, $8.59.  They say:  it is fruity with a refreshingly crisp taste.  We say:  a bit of pear and citrus.  Nicely balanced.  Buy again: yes.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy Caturday!

Calico cat in yard

Coco hopes that you are enjoying spring (or fall – depending on where you are) as much as she is!  And yes, my yard has been taken over with wild violets.  I guess they are almost like weeds, but they are so quaint and old fashioned, I can’t bear to pull them up.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Coffee Liqueur

Coffee Lequeur

Why yes, I did make this coffee liqueur on December 28th and I am just now getting around to sharing it some 4 months later.  I’m so sorry, because this was so good, you really need to make it now!  It’s so easy and tastes so much better than the coffee liqueur that you buy.  Plus you get to have the fun of making your own. 

Coffee Beans

There are many different ideas for how to make a coffee liqueur.  The one I settled on was from The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start MakingShe made me a believer with her Hummus recipe so I was all set to follow her down the coffee liqueur yellow brick road.

It’s so ridiculously easy and so good!

Coffee Liqueur

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee
  • 4 cups cheap vodka
  • 2 vanilla beans

Combine the water, sugar, and instant coffee in a large saucepan and bring to a high simmer, but not a boil. Cover and cook for 1 hour, taking care that it continues to simmer without coming to a boil.

Let the mixture cool and add the vodka, stirring to combine. Transfer to a bottle or jar, add the vanilla beans, screw on the lid, and keep in a cool, dark place for at least 2 weeks before serving (though it will taste even better as time passes).

Seriously, that’s it! 


Foodie Friday

This will be my entry for Foodie Friday at the every so lovely Rattlebridge Farm.