Does Your Corn Need a Shave?

I made chicken corn chowder for dinner the other day.  This is the best way I’ve found to shave corn off the cob, without ending up with corn kernels scattered all over my counter tops and floor.  You know what I’m talking about.

Place a small bowl upside down inside a larger bowl.  Trim off the tip of the cob so you have a flat surface for it to stand on.  Then, shave away.

And, voila!  All the corn kernels end up neatly inside the bowl.

Also, don’t forget to extract the “milk” or pulp from the cob after all the kernels are cut off.  Use the back of your knife and run if along the cob, pressing hard.  All the left over bits left on the cob will come off clean as a whistle.

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Keep Store-Bought Herbs Fresh

Have you ever bought a big bunch of basil in the plastic container, used a couple of leaves and the rest turned brown and limp and then you end up throwing it all away?  Yeah me too…………until now!

Basil does best at room temperature, not in the refrigerator.  I treat them like fresh flowers and trim the stem just a bit and place them in a glass of water on my counter top.  This glass of basil started out limp and lifeless.  After about a day in the glass each leaf crisped up and looks fresh again.  This is a great way to prolong the life of your basil.  Give it a try!

I love buying green onion because I know that I will get about 3-4 more uses out of each stem.  Cut off and use only the green parts of the onion and put the stem in a glass of water.  The green leaves will continue to grow to full size!

Talk about getting your money’s worth, huh?

Make sure to change the water every few days, when it gets murky.  Enjoy watching your onions grow!

Chickens = Eggs


I have always wanted to raise chickens for fresh eggs.  We’ve finally moved to an area where we are able to do that, so we are very excited to announce that we’ve added two new members to our family.

This is our Rhode Island Red chick, which my daughter named Ribbon.  She’s one week old here in the picture.

Isn’t she the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?

This is Chocolate.  She is an Ameraucana chick and she is 2 weeks old here.  She will lay blue-colored eggs and Ribbon will lay brown.   Of course we have about 5 months before they will be old enough to lay eggs, but in the meanwhile the kids are having a great time with our new pets!

I look forward to posting lots of egg-related recipes in about 5 months.

Sweet and Savory Bread Knots

These are the fresh garlic basil bread knots that I made today to accompany my chicken corn chowder.  This is such an easy recipe and it was fun tying up these little knots of dough.  My kids actually ate the garlic and basil too, I was shocked.  My daughter usually scoffs at anything green on her plate.  These little things are an easy two-biter and they’re gone.

The kids had some friends over after school when these came out of the oven.  So I tossed these in some cinnamon sugar for a sweet after school snack.  Of course they were a hit with the kids!

Start by blooming your yeast in some warm water and sugar.

                     Yeast in full bloom after 10 minutes.

In my stand mixer, I have the flour mixture with the yeast poured in.

Here’s the poor dough getting beat up by the dough hook.    I had to stop the mixer a few times to scrape down the sides.  The stand mixer is such an easy way to make bread.  I hardly had to touch the dough at all.  The hook does all the kneading for me!

Here’s the ball of dough all oiled up and ready to proof.

The dough doubled in size in about 2 hours.

Split the dough into 4 quarters and cut into thin slices.

Tie those babies up and let them rise a second time for 2 more hours.

This is the olive oil, garlic, basil and scallion coating for the savory knots.  Paint this mixture on right when the knots come out of the oven.

Sweet and Savory Bread Knots

Adapted from Simply Recipes

Prep time: 3 hours

Cook time: 14 minutes

Yield: Makes 24 knots

Dough:

  • 3/4 cup warm water (105°F-115°F)
  • 1 package (2 teaspoons) of active dry yeast (check the expiration date on the package)
  • 1 3/4 cups bread flour (can use all-purpose but bread flour will give you a crisper crust)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil, more for coating
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Garlic-Butter Coating:

  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 scallion, minced
  • 1/4 cup basil, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

Cinnamon-Sugar Coating:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar and yeast in the warm water and let it sit for 5  minutes. Stir to combine and let sit for another 5-10 minutes, until it begins to froth a bit.

2 In the mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the olive oil, then the yeast-water mixture. Using the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer, mix this together to form a soft dough for 5-10 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and lightly coat with olive oil. Put it back in the mixer bowl, top the bowl with plastic wrap and set it at room temperature to rise.

3 When the dough has doubled in size, anywhere from 90 minutes to several hours, cut it in 4 quarters. Set out a large baking sheet and line it with a silpat or parchment paper. Working with one piece at a time, flatten into a rough rectangle about 5 inches long 1/2 inch thick.

4 Using a sharp knife, slice the dough into strips of about 1 inch wide by 5 inches long. Take one piece and work it into a snake, then tie it in a knot. The dough will be sticky along the cut edges, so dust these with flour before you tie the knot. Set each knot down on the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough. Remember that the dough will rise, so leave some space between each knot.

5 Once all the knots are tied, paint them with a little olive oil. Loosely cover them with plastic wrap and let them rise again until doubled in size, anywhere from 90 minutes to three hours or so. Toward the end of this rising period, preheat the oven to 400°.

6 Uncover the knots and bake in the oven 12-15 minutes, or until nicely browned on top.

7 Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small pot and cook the garlic gently in it just long enough to take off that raw garlic edge, about 1-2 minutes over medium-low heat. Add the basil and green onion and stir to combine. Turn off the heat.

8 When the knots are done, take out of the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Paint with the olive oil and basil mixture and serve. For sweet knots, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.  Paint with some melted butter and toss in the sugar mixture.  These are best warm, but are good at room temperature, too.