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The Cure for What Ails You

With cold season upon us, I thought it was a good time to re-post this recipe. Enjoy!

A few months ago, my friend Jerry told me that he always keeps a jar of his special cold remedy on hand- honey with lemons and ginger- so when he gets sick he can stir it into tea or hot water. I had an abundance of honey on hand from our own hives, so I decided to give it a try. I had no idea I would be needing it so soon!

Honey Ginger Lemon

Jerry was a little sketchy with the details, so I just sliced up one Meyer lemon (that’s what I had on hand; a regular lemon will work just fine) and a small knob of ginger, about the size of my thumb. You can use less ginger if you aren’t a fan. Put the lemon and ginger in a jar and cover with honey.

Cold Relief

I keep mine in the refrigerator and it seems to get better the longer you infuse it. I don’t know that it’s actually making my cold better but adding a dollop to my hot tea is certainly making my throat feel better! I call it Wonder Honey!

Wouldn’t it be lovely to keep a few small jars of Wonder Honey on hand to gift to friends with colds?

The Gnocchi Update

** Susan here! A few weeks ago we posted about the dogs of Juniper Moon Farm and several of you asked for a Gnocchi update. I am pleased as punch to let my (other) friend Amy bring you up to speed on his adventures.  (Other) Amy lives in the same town as the farm with her husband (other) Paul. We met them when Amy came to Shepherding Camp a few years ago. They are just lovely and perhaps the only people I would have even considered allowing to adopt sweet Gnocchi.**

 

 

Remember that sweet little dumpling of a puppy who was the runt of Lucy’s litter?

 

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Well, Gnocchi’s all grown up now and guarding a flock of his own.

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In August we were so fortunate to adopt Gnocchi for a livestock guardian dog at our little farm. It only took a Ziploc full of cheese, ½ lb of sliced ham, and 2 fresh eggs to bribe Gnocchi to get in the back of my Subaru to ride from Juniper Moon Farm to his new home 20 minutes away at Sweet Gum Farm. That, and a lot of TLC and patience from me, Amy Karasz and her daughters Oona and Neve. Leashes and cars were new to Gnocchi, but he was such a good sport. He settled right in and now watches over 3 wool sheep, 3 dairy goats, and 7 chickens.

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Gnocchi spends his days lounging in the grass or the barn with the sheep and goats. He greets me every morning and evening with the most adorable bouncing happy-dance. He is super snuggly and eager for a scratch behind the ears. Whenever I pet one of the sheep or goats, I can almost guarantee he’ll insert his head between them and my hand to get attention for himself. But if he hears one leaf rustling in the woods, he’s off– always on duty! At night he patrols the pasture, and I’m reassured when I hear his deep WOOF in the darkness.   I’m thankful he didn’t inherit his mother’s wanderlust. He’s never once tried to go over the fence.

 

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Gnocchi also gets along well with our other two dogs, Gus and Maggie. Gus is a border collie, and as you’d expect, too obsessed with fetching and herding to pay much attention to anything else. But Gnocchi’s especially enchanted with Maggie, a 7 year old mutt. He would sniff her butt all day if he could. I guess he likes older women.

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I adore this big white teddy bear of a dog. And I sleep easier at night knowing he’s out there watching over our livestock.

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Happy Wovember, Everyone!

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is the greatest month of the year- WOVEMBER! Wovember is the project of one of my very favorite people, a friend that I haven’t met in person yet, Felicity Ford.

Here is how Wovember is described by it’s creator:

“The idea is to show our collective appreciation of WOOL by wearing as much of this fabulous fibre as possible, and celebrating WOOL and its unique qualities in stories and pictures throughout the month of November. We hope that through our enthusiasm and creativity we can raise awareness of WHAT MAKES WOOL DIFFERENT, and jointly create a force for WOOL APPRECIATION strong enough to effect changes in how garments and textiles are described and marketed.”

As knitters and sheep enthusiast, you will undoubtably want to visit the Wovember website every day this month for amazing photography and thoughtful, well-researched articles about  sheep, knitting traditions, cottage wool industries and so much more.  Where most of what you can find on the internet barely skims the surface, the folks at Wovember dig deep into their subject matter and what they publish is one a whole other level of wool scholarship.

This Wovember is an extra special one for Felicity because it also marks the publication of her book, KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook.

 

Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook by Felicity Ford

Can I tell you a secret? I have been agonizing over how I could possibly write a review of this book that would begin to do it justice. I feared that my writing skills weren’t up to the task because this book is important. It’s also lovely and sublime and everything I hoped it would be. I caused myself all manner of anxiety over writing about it because it is a book that is worthy of more than the few cursory sentences that my pregnancy-addled brain can manage this week.

Well, lucky for all of us, the amazing Ms Ysolda Teague has written a review of Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook that is worthy of Felicity’s book. Please, please, please do yourself a favor and pop over to Ysolda’s blog to read it. (You should be reading Ysolda’s blog on the regular anyhow. She is one of the smartest young women I’ve ever met and I admire the hell out of her. I have also had the pleasure of watching her knit– it was like watching a master paint a portrait.)

Then come back here because, in addition to my own copy of Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook, I ordered a copy to give away to one of you.

To put your name in the hat, just leave a comment on this blog post between now and Friday morning at 10 a.m. EST. One will will be chosen at random and I will announce the lucky duck here on Friday.

If you cannot wait to get your hands on a copy of Stranded Colourwork or you just aren’t feeling lucky, please do order a copy for yourself. Don’t be put off by the fact that it ships from the U.K.– mine arrived in just a couple of days.

Cinnamon Rolls with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing

Every once in a while, I get a great idea.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing

I am not a huge bagel person (they are just so big and ready and full of calories! Plus I aways have a blood sugar crash about 2 hours after eating one.) But Michael knows about my obsession with pumpkin so a few weeks ago, he returned from Einstein Bros with a pumpkin bagel with pumpkin cream cheese for me. The bagel was pretty good but the cream cheese was AMAZING! I’ve have a few more pumpkin bagels in the intervening weeks, but only as a vehicle for the delicious pumpkin cream cheese. And then one day it hit me.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing would be incredible.

Cinnamon Rolls with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing

Yesterday I made several batches of cinnamon rolls and whipped up a batch of Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing.

Cinnamon Rolls with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing

I made the cinnamon rolls in lined muffin tins, because I prefer the way they look when they are baked this way.

Cinnamon Rolls with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing

The Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing was so good and so easy!

1  6-oz tub of Pumpkin Cream Cheese

1 stick unsalted butter

2 cups powered sugar

1/3- 1/2 can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

Cream together the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of your electric mixer. Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until it’s all incorporated, then add the pumpkin. I wanted to make pipe-able icing for my cinnamon rolls, so I needed it to be on the thin side. Therefore I used 1/2 can of pumpkin. But if you are icing cupcakes, you’ll want it to be thicker so you should use less pumpkin.

Enjoy!

Probably something you would like…

 

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Still need a Halloween costume? These downloadable and printable masks designed by Wintercroft are amazing! (Thank you, Elizabeth S. for sending me these!)

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Um, how great is this Alexander McQueen cabled skull sweater? For $1000 bucks and some change it could be yours! Or you could chart something similar and make it yourself.

What’s making you happy this Halloween week?

Stuffed and Roasted Pumpkin

You know, there are times when- in spite of all your good intentions and planning- outside event conspire to bite you in the ass.

Yesterday was one of those days for me. I had planned to make and serve my new recipe for Stuffed and Roasted Pumpkin on Tuesday, and then blog about it on Wednesday. But Tuesday got a way from me a bit and by the time I started preparing my mise en place together, it became obvious that it was too dark in my tiny kitchen to take photographs with natural light. FOILED!

I decided to put the project off a day so that we could have good pictures for the blog. And woke up Wednesday morning to a gloomy gray, cloud-covered sky. That lasted the whole damned day. FOILED AGAIN! This time, I decided to soldier on.

The thing about a recipe such as this one is that you don’t really need a recipe. All you really need is the idea– then you can run with it and make it your own.  It’s sort of like Thanksgiving stuffing. You find a version you like and then you tweak it to make it your own.

So here’s my version of a Stuffed and Roasted pumpkin.

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Step 1: There is really no way around this. You are going to have to cut the top off your pumpkin Jack O’Lantern-style (reserving the lid) and clean it out. There is not much i this world I hate as much as cleaning out pumpkin guts. That feeling of the pumpkin juice drying on your forearms is just too much to be bear.  But it must be bourn, I guess, if you want to eat a stuffed pumpkin. Scrape out all the seeds and stringy stuff- I find it helps to think really hard about something else while you’re doing it.

Rinse the pumpkin inside and out and then pat dry with paper towels.

Step 2: Assemble your stuffing ingredients. You will need bread (preferably day-old) cut into one inch cubes. I use a round Italian loaf from Harris Teeter, La Brea Bakery brand, I think. I actually cubed my bread the night before because the drier your bread is, the most deliciousness it will absorb.

Pretty much everything else is optional, depending on our taste. For this stuffing I used:

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1 large Honey Crisp apples, diced

1/4 pound of gruyere cheese, cubed

6 ounces of pancetta, died and browned

a handful of dried cranberries

four or five sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped

one minced garlic clove

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Throw everything in a large bowl along with your bread crumbs and mix well. I used my hands because, after spending half an hour elbow deep in a pumpkin, I was up for anything.

I DID NOT add salt to the stuffing mixture. There was plenty of salt in the pancetta and the gryuere to season the whole recipe, but I did add a few twists of fresh ground black pepper.

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Step 3: Stuff everything into your pumpkin. You can really cram it in there, sense there are no food safety issues here as there are with stuffing a turkey. Fuller is better.

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Step 4: You’ll need to add some kind of liquid to your stuffing at this point. I used one pint of heavy cream, because that’s what Dorie Greenspan used, and what my friend Sean used when he made a version of this last weekend. Sean referred to the results as a savory bread pudding stuffed in a pumpkin, and that was the result I was going for here. You could also use 1 1/2 -2 cups chicken stock here, or even vegetable stock. You want to add enough liquid to moisten the stuffing very well, but you don’t want it to be soupy.

Step 5: Pop the reserved pumpkin top back on and roast the pumpkin on a baking sheet at 350 for two hours, removing the cap for the last ten minutes to allow a bit of the liquid to evaporate. You wan the pumpkin to be fork-tender but not collapsing when it is done.

Now, by this point in my cooking process, my kitchen was almost completely dark. I couldn’t even get a bad picture with every light in the kitchen on. So I am going to rather shamelessly swipe my friend Sean’s picture of his version of this recipe so you can see what this thing will look like when it comes out of the oven. We used very different kinds of pumpkins but the idea is the same.

Stuffed and Roasted Pumpkin

Now here’s the fun part. Doris Greenspan says that you can either use a big spoon to stir everything together, scraping the pumpkin from the side and mixing it into the pumpkin like I did (delicious but not so pretty) or you can slice the pumpkin the way Sean did. Sean is a braver man than me.

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Obviously, Sean’s way makes for a much better presentation. Who could be unimpressed by this?

My friend Susie made another version of this recipe and posted it on her blog.  She is the former editor of the only cooking magazine that matters, Fine Cooking Magazine, and is a much better planner than I, as all her photos are lovely and taken long before sundown. Also, she and I used the same kind of pumpkin– the Long Island Cheese pumpkin, and you should pop over there just to see how mine would have looked if I had been born more organized.

The Stuffed and Roasted pumpkin was absolutely delicious. My family was skeptical until they tasted it– it is positively ambrosial! The combination of the salty pancetta and the sweet apples was sublime. And the gruyere! Oh my Lord, the gruyere!

This would make a great Thanksgiving side dish, although I encourage you to try it at least once before then as a confidence booster.

Probably something you would like… Halloween Edition 2014

[So I had planned to have my new stuffed pumpkin recipe posted today, but I got kind of a late start with dinner yesterday and quickly realized it was way too dark to take good food pictures. So my family had take-out Thai and you are getting a PSYWL post today. But come back tomorrow-- I'll be starting dinner early today and those pumpkin pics will be glorious!]

 

eyeball cookies

Eyeball Cookies. Because EYEBALL COOKIES.

Garlic Soup

I originally wrote this Garlic Soup recipe for Valentine’s Day but it’s also probably your best defense against vampires on Halloween. BONUS: It’s delicious and you will want to eat it every day of winter.

Halloween for Preggos

Guess what this pregnant lady is going to be for Halloween? Yup, I finally got to order this t-shirt that I blogged about so many Halloweens ago. (I blogged about this two years ago. I NEVER thought I would be the pregnant lady who actually gets to wear it. Life is nothing if not unexpected.)

Pumpkin-Dream-Cake

Every year, I say I am going to make Pumpkin Dream Cake. This is the year, dammit!

I never remember to soften the butter when baking. This is pure genius.

Unplugged Wedding Photography

Okay, this article is actually infuriating but  I want you to read it anyway. Please don’t be this wedding guest. Pretty please.

If you are the easily queasy type, DO NOT WATCH THIS VIDEO. For everyone else, check out this crazy relative of the star fish called the Basket Star.  So creepy but I can’t stop watching!

How to Properly Construct a Sandwich

As everyone who knows me knows, I hate sandwiches. When someone is trying to give you a sandwich they are cheating you out of eating something good. (Ironically, most of my pregnancy cravings have been for sandwiches. I am becoming that which I loathe the most!) This article about proper sandwich construction should be must-reading for everyone who has ever championed those soggy excuses for a meal.

Pumpkin Fondue!

Dear Lovely Readers, I originally posted this recipe way back in 2009. Since then, it has become a yearly tradition in my house and it never fails to wow a crowd. Thanks to my friend’s Susie and Sean, (and my honorary friend, Dorie Greenspanwhom I’ve never met but I’m convinced I would really like in real life) I am working on version 2.0 of this beauty today. It will be more stuffing/bread pudding than fondue, but I have great expectations for it. I’ll post the new recipe tomorrow but, in the mean time, this one is awfully damn good.

 

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What do you do with a boatload of winter squashes and pumpkins that you bought to use as decoration? That’s the very question I was asking myself this morning. Because I have a PATHOLOGICAL aversion to wasting food, especially now that money is so tight. Seriously, I think I must have gone hungry in a former life because I can’t sleep when I know that the milk expires tomorrow morning AND THE JUG IS HALF FULL!!! Makes me want to wake up the whole house and force everyone to enjoy a delicious, icy cold glass of very-nearly-spoiled milk. YUM!

So about those pumpkins and squashes. First I poked each of them and determined which were likely to keep in the pantry the longest and which had to be dealt with. Then I roasted the squashes, scooped out the good stuff and froze it in gallon ziplock bags. I wanted to save the pumpkins for pies so I sliced three of them into wedges and roasted them as well.

I set aside the biggest pumpkin for tonight’s dinner and it was so lovely, so comfort-foody, so perfect for a rainy, depressing, day-after-Christmasy kind of a day, that I took pictures so I could share it with you. The recipe is from the new Gourmet Today Cookbook. (The one with the sticker on the cover that says, “A subscription to Gourmet Magazine is included with the purchase of this book.” It’s still a great book though.)  It’s called Roast Pumpkin with Cheese Fondue (page 632) and more perfect it could not be.

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Take a pumpkin that’s around 7 pounds, wash it to get all the dirt off and then cut a smallish hole around the stem, jack o’latern style.

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You now have the unpleasant task of scooping out the seeds and goo. I use a big metal spoon with a long handle to cut down getting sticky pumpkin guts on my hands. An ice cream scoop works well too.

If you are lucky, you’ll have someone in your house who loves roasted pumpkin seeds and is willing to pick through the goo to liberate the seeds. In my house, that person is Erin.

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So now you have a scraped out pumpkin suitable for filling. Let’s fill it up, shall we?

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You will need 1 cup of chicken stock or broth (please don’t tell anyone that I am using boxed broth- I haven’t had time to make my own since we moved) 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

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Combine with a whisk set aside for a minute.

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In addition to the chicken stock/cream concoction, you will need one baguette, cut into half inch slices and lightly toasted, and 2 cups of grated cheese. I used half Gruyere and half white cheddar. The recipe actually called for Gruyere and Ementall but I had a ton of Irish cheddar in the fridge, so I used that.

Put a layer of bread in the bottom of the pumpkin, followed by a handful of cheese and a half cup of the stock/cream mixture and then repeat. You may not use all of the bread or cheese but you should definitely use all the stock/cream. Just pour any extra on top at the end.

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Once your pumpkin is stuffed, popped the lid back on it and place it in an oiled roasting pan. Then brush the pumpkin with a little olive oil and pop it in a 450 degree oven for an hour and 15 minutes to hour and a half.

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Here’s what it looks like when you take it out of the oven.

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Hot and bubbly. Slightly browned.

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Oh my goodness. Serve by scooping out some of the cooked pumpkin with the cheesy bread filling.

This dish is crazy good and just perfect for a cold and rainy weeknight. It would also make the most amazing Thanksgiving side dish. Grab a pumpkin before the season’s over and give it a try.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: A reader who tried this recipe nearly had a disaster when the stem of her pumpkin CAUGHT ON FIRE in the oven.  I strongly advise you to either pop the stem off your pumpkin before putting it in the oven or soaking the stem in a glass of water until it’s thoroughly wet. You could also try wrapping the stem in aluminum foil before baking.

My current Work in Progress

Now, y’all know I am never happy unless I’m working on the next big project. Well, this one may be my biggest one yet.

Gibbs-Ferritto Baby

This gorgeous baby will be joining be making his or her appearance at the end of April. We are over the moon.

At last, our Moonshine Design Contest Winner!

You know what the worst part of taking time off is? All the stuff that you fall behind on while your away! I will be playing catch up for the next couple of weeks on some things that are long over due.

First up is announcing the winner of the Moonshine Design Contest that we sponsored in conjunction with my good friends at Jimmy Beans waaaaay back in June. We received so many amazing, lovely and thoughtful entries! I was certainly very glad that I wasn’t in charge of choosing the winner, because it would have been impossible for me to pick just one design.

The folks at Jimmy Beans selected a pattern named Lianaby first time designer Gus Baxter, and then worked with him to turn the pattern into a four skein pattern that created a more generous wrap.

Here’s a bit about Gus, in his own words: “I took knitting lessons from Close Knit in Midland Park, NJ (previously in Wyckoff, NJ), in January 2014.  A month later, I was offered a position to work at the shop.  Being around my coworkers, who are all more accomplished and skilled than myself, has instilled a sense of fearlessness in me.  Even if I run into trouble with a difficult pattern or stitch, there is a shop full of talented knitters that can always help me understand it.  So I have been knitting for 7 months now.  I love it.  This is my first original design.  I have a bachelors in Biological Anthropology from Drew University in Madison NJ, where I studied the human skeletal system and our biological history in great detail.  Structure is an important influence for me.  The human body would be immobile and shapeless without the skeleton, much in the same way that a building would collapse without its internal structure.  Structure is found everywhere in nature, from the smallest cell wall in a plant cell to the largest tree that makes up a forest.  I like using these structures as the inspiration for my design elements. “

So, for those of you keeping score at home, Gus learned to knit in January of this year, got a job at a yarn shop, designed his first pattern, entered a design contest and won it six month after picking up a pair of needles. I suspect that we have discovered a future knitwear designing superstar here, y’all.

And without further ado, I give you Liana.

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How much do I love this shawl? Very, very much.

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[FYI, this pick are of the 3 skein version of the pattern. The four skein version is just that much more lovely and amazing.]

Sadly, I had to say goodbye to Liana this week. I overnighted it back to Gus this weekend so he can take to Rhinebeck this weekend. If you see Gus and his shawl at the festival, please do go up and introduce yourself. I would love for him to be recognized by fans! But if you aren’t going to Rhinebeck, feel free to leave him a comment here– I’ll make sure he sees them all. Now, you are probably wondering how you can get hands on this pattern. So glad you asked. Liana is available with Jimmy Beans amazing Moonshine Bouquets. I got to see these in person when I was in Reno this summer and they are absolutely adorable. The stems are knitting needles, of course.Yarn Bouquets for Knitters!  http://www.jimmybeanswool.com/knitting/yarn/JimmyBeansWool/YarnBouquetsReviews.asp?showLarge=true&specPCVID=60027#detail   More later this week, including a sneak peek at the very exciting project I’m working on.   Big congrats to

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