Monthly Archives: September 2018

Stripes on stripes

My hoodie cardi is still growing slowly but steadily. At this rate I’ll have a lovely fingering weight cardi just in time for winter weather (did you hear the irony there?)

I’m half way through the stripe pattern, so if I’m really lucky (aka if my row gauge and math agree) then I’m half way through the body. If my math or gauge is way off I suspect I’ll ball the whole thing up and stuff it in a corner…

The construction of this cardi is a lot of fun. After the shawl-like raglan yoke there are short rows to make the body level again, and the decreases along the back add visual interest, especially as they interact with my added stripes:

I keep thinking that with only sleeves left I could have this done for Rhinebeck. Then I remember that it has sleeves AND a hood…

Sourdough success!

The loaf of sourdough I made this weekend is pretty munch perfect. Soft on the inside, not too crumbly, good crust, perfect tangy flavor.

Windsor ate two slices the first day, plus the centers out of two more while I wasn’t looking.

Sourdough is a bit imprecise, but here is how it went:

Hold over about 1/4 cup of starter when making the previous loaf. Mix in 1/4 cup each of flour and water. Tuck in the back of the fridge for 3 days (Saturday, sunday, and monday.)

Add another 1/4 cup each flour and water and put back in the fridge for another 2 days (Tuesday and Wednesday.)

Feed the starter again, this time leave it on the counter overnight (Thursday.)

Friday: take a 1/4 if starter and put it in a clean mason jar. Put the rest of the starter in a bowl. Add about 1 cup of water and 1.5 cups of flour. Mix briefly, you want the dough to be just a bit wet and right at the point where you’d turn it out to knead it. Instead put a lid on it and let sit for 24 hours.

Saturday: mix bread yeast in a little water with a bit of sugar and let it start to bubble. Turn the bread dough out onto a floured surface and make a well. Pour the yeast in, sprinkle on some salt (I used 1tsp and that’s about right.)

Knead! Add flour as necessary. Let rise for at least and hour (we went to a birthday party, so it was more like 5hrs) Punch down, knead again, put into an oiled loaf pan.

Let rise for about an hour. Bake at 350F I think this was about an hour too. But I forgot to pay attention. Next time!

Succulents in teacups


Years ago I had an awesome sourdough starter. I cultured it out of the air when we lived in Johnson. It was tangy and stable and made good bread.

Around the time Windsor was born (five years ago, how’d that happen??) I realized I wouldn’t be baking so much. And after a little googling I froze my starter and hoped for the best.

This summer Windsor decided she loves sourdough. She’s making pb&j on sourdough bread. Almost 5 year olds can eat a lot of bread. So I dug the starter out of the deep freezer and let it thaw. I fed it, and 24 hours later it was bubbling.

That’s the first dough I made. I didn’t give it nearly enough rise time and it baked into a delicious smelling brick.

The second week I let the kneaded dough rise overnight. But it barely puffed at all. In the morning I folded dry yeast into it and kneaded it again. This loaf was edible, especially with home made jam. But it was still pretty dense.

The great thing about this hobby is it doesn’t require much. I just add a little flour and water a couple times a week, then do the kneading and baking on the weekend.

For my third loaf I acknowledged the sourdough starter needs some help. So I added bread yeast to the batter starter the night before, and kneaded and baked in the morning.

It looks great! I mean, it is great. It’s light and fluffy on the inside. But it’s not sour.

So I’ll try again. I think this weekend I’m adding the yeast AND all the bread flour 24hrs before baking. Then letting it ferment longer…


This Wednesday is not wordless. Oh well.

Two weeks ago we made pickles. This past weekend the girls and I made jam. On the left is peach jam with cherry brandy. On the right is plum cardamom.

The cherry brandy was not the good stuff. It was literally the dregs of a bottle of cheap brandy that tasted like cough syrup and had been left behind by the previous owners when we bought our first house in 2006.

But it adds a decent, not overwhelming. amount of cherry to the peach jam. And I can finally recycle the bottle. Phew.

The plum cardamom is a redo of the jam I made on a whim a few years back. Sadly I didn’t have any dried orange zest this time. So it’s not quite as good. But it’s still really tasty. It’s just blue ribbon jam and not best of show jam.

Also? The date 9/9/18 is really fun to write over and over.


Canning with kids


It’s been years since I made pickles. And I’m not really sure why… They’re so easy! This long weekend I made up for that oversight in a big way.

First the cucumber pickles. These are classic dill with a twist. There’s ginger in the spears, and the coins have a zesty orange chili blend in them (along side the usual dill, garlic, and mustard.)

These are refrigerator pickles. I’ve tried canning cucumber pickles a number of times and they always end up mushy. I figure I have space in the back of my fridge for a couple tasty jars. I use the old farmer’s almanac recipe except the vinegar is half white and half apple cider (because I ran out of white.)

Next up: dilly beans! Are you sending variations on a theme? I had purchased a large bunch of fresh dill, and wanted to use up as much as possible.

Beans, garlic, shallot, dill, and mustard seed. I followed this simply canning recipe.

I didn’t have 4 pints of green beans, so I used the same brine to make:

Pickled cauliflower:

with dill, garlic, shallot, and corriander.

Pickled romanesco:

with dill, garlic, shallot, and green peppercorns.

And pickled carrots:

with dill, garlic, shallot, and clove.

I checked that the processing times for all these veggies was still just 10 minutes (it is) and switched up the spices as labeled. I think they’ll all be delicious. I’ll have to resist opening all 4 at once to compare flavors…