the farmwives kitchen :: once, or twice, a year

I pull out the stops for the kids birthday cakes.  It’s just two times a year, right?  I’m not sure I could handle it for many more kids than two.

Lulah asked for an architectural wonder of a cake this year, and I gave it my best shot.  Hours worth of my best shot, in fact.

It’s a pound cake (10 eggs, one at a time) in a bundt pan.  But, you take a little batter and dye it, a bright color, and bake a thin layer of it in a flat pan.  Then you cut out a simple shape with a cookie cutter, and “plant” it in the white batter.  Fill in the edges with white.  Ideally, slices come out with a colored shape in them.

Ours was in imperfect first attempt.  But not bad.

Next year, maybe I’ll be willing to try again.star cake

Happy Birthday Lulah!  We love you so very much!

the farmwives kitchen :: salsa under the stars

It sounds like I’ve been out dancing with my Fellow Man, doesn’t it?  Heh heh.  Not quite.  Though fitting two people into our small kitchen makes for a bit of dancing!

The day had already been full.salsa 1

Between other projects I weighed out a big batch of paste tomatoes that had been waiting for the time to make salsa.

At 5 p.m., we realized that if we didn’t make salsa today, it wouldn’t happen until the weekend, and the tomatoes wouldn’t wait that long.  The shorter days and cooler nights have made the tomatoes seem all the more precious than they already were in this funky growing year.  That bit of thinking lit a fire under our tail.  We made a pot of rice for dinner, sent the kids to bed on their own, and got to work.

Back in my carefree younger years, I did all my canning at night.  It was cooler.  I was busy during the day.  It worked for me.salsa 3

It doesn’t work quite so well now, but it happened anyway.

With the well-choreographed help of my Fellow Man, we chopped, mixed, fired up two canners and put up 28 pints of salsa.  All mild, for the kids sake, bless their sleepy hearts.  We could easily eat more salsa than that between now and the next tomato season, but by golly, if that’s the salsa we’ve got, we’ll be thankful for it when tomato season comes to a close.salsa 4

Tightening the last jar lid in the cool night air, I took one more glance at the stars.  Isn’t it fine, this life?  The days are full of things to do, and the nights are full of salsa, and stars.

salsa 2

the farmwives kitchen :: pop

Does anyone remember the part in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Farmer Boy when Almanzo eats popcorn with milk? He wonders at it.  He ritualizes it. He relishes it.

We’ve recently learned why.

We get popcorn from our friend Susana at Salamander Springs Farm.  It’s real good.

We get our milk from Annie.milk from annie

Combine the two, and they become an entirely different kind of treat.  Puffed grain cereal is the nearest thing in the standard American pantry reminiscent to it. The popcorn absorbs the milk, but leaves a satisfying crunch in its core. You can have all the snap and crackle you want.  We’ll be eating popcorn.  popcorn cereal