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All posts in December, 2013

Well, we finally got approval from the Maine DOT to build a driveway where the access to the hay field already exists.  It’s too late in the season for it to actually happen, so we’re still in West Virginia, waiting, until Spring springs in Maine and we can get started.  At that point, we’ll get the driveway, septic system, well, electricity, etc. set up.  We plan on having a pad poured for building a house on, for the milking area (since it’s required for licensing of our milk) and for the creamery (milk filtering, etc. area).  The house will be the last built, of course, so that we can start selling milk as soon as possible!

We were thinking of finding a mobile home to move onto the place for now, but now we’re thinking that we can wind up with a better place for about the same amount of money if we build a small house ourselves over the summer, while living in a travel trailer.  We’re planning for the small house to be the size of a 2-car garage, and converting it to that with an upstairs apartment when we’re able to build a larger living space.  That larger living space will have to wait a few years, while we make papercrete bricks to build it with!

What an adventure!  Stay with me as our story unfolds, and you can share in our interesting times.

Love to all!

Deborah

 

I’ve always loved eggnog.  When I was young, we always drank it made with raw eggs, usually made in the glass when we wanted some–just break an egg in, stir it up with a fork, add sugar until it “looked right” and stir, then fill the glass with milk, stir, and sprinkle nutmeg on top.  This was a wonderful after-school treat, and fresh-tasting!

These days, I generally cook my eggnog.  It’s not as fresh-tasting as the raw stuff is, but it has a more substantial mouth feel and a more complex flavor.  I’ve looked up and used recipes, but they’re always a bit thick and sweet for me–like it’s anticipated that you’ll add booze to it, which I don’t like in my eggnog.  Thus, I increased the milk.  For rounder flavor, I split a vanilla bean to cook into the custard instead of using vanilla extract.  I found that a double boiler isn’t necessary, either.  It came out pretty good!  I hope you enjoy it, as well.

Eggnog

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons sugar, honey, or maple syrup (adjust to your taste)
  • 4 cups whole milk (divided)
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Whisk eggs in medium-sized saucepan.  Whisk in sugar and 2 cups of the milk.  Cut your vanilla bean in half, then split and toss in the pot.  Stir with a wooden spoon over low heat until custard is steamy, coats the back of the spoon, and gets that slippery feel as you stir.  Turn off heat and keep stirring while it cools a bit (until it stops steaming).  Remove the vanilla pods, scrape out the seeds and add them back to the custard along with the nutmeg, then whisk just to make sure it’s nice and smooth.  Stir in the remaining 2 cups milk, pour into a glass pitcher or quart jar, cover and refrigerate until cold.  You may sprinkle more nutmeg on each glass for decoration, if you’d like.  Enjoy!

Love & Merry Christmas to all!

Deborah

This is my FAVORITE EVER pie crust!  It really is foolproof and simple and flaky and tender and perfect every time–plus being super easy to handle.  It’s not terribly sensitive to coldness of the fat or the water, either.

Actually, that’s what makes my version different from others you’ll see out there.  Except for the hot water pie crust, recipes always seem to say to use cold ingredients and ice water.  I’m here to tell you that with this recipe, temperature clearly doesn’t make much difference.

I did put together cold flour & fat, but good grief!  With that much flour and fat, cutting it together was a major chore!  I used my pastry cutter for a while, walked away … came back and tried it again for a while, and walked away again.  I came back and tried using two butterknives, thinking that might be a little easer–and it was, so I finished it up that way (with another break in between).  In all, it probably was a good 2 hours from start to finish in the cutting.  I guarantee you, all was room temperature by that point!

I stirred in a cold egg whisked with room temperature water from my Berkey and room temperature vinegar.  The dough was quite wet when I was done mixing.  If I’d been following the typical directions for making pie pastry, I’d have been sure that I had too much liquid in there.  I wrapped up the 4 disks anyway, putting 3 in the freezer and one in the refrigerator for pumpkin pie.  Let me tell you, this makes the flakiest, tastiest pie crust ever, quite able to hold up to a wet filling.  It’ll roll out easily and so thin that you can see through it, yet be super easy to handle, holding together very well.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 2/3 cup lard or a combination of lard and butter
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 egg
1/2 cup very cold water

Mix together the dry ingredients, then cut in the fat.  Whisk egg and stir in vinegar & water, then add to the flour mixture & stir until incorporated.  Divide into 4 (or 5) discs or balls and refrigerate for at least an hour before rolling out.  This dough may be frozen until needed.