Archive for May, 2011





Lemon Curd

Monday, May 30th, 2011





Little Miss Muffet

Ate The WRONG Kinda

Curds!







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Fresh lemon curd cooling to go into the frig



A number of posts ago, I put up my own, special scones recipe and intended to post my favorite lemon curd recipe shortly thereafter. As good intentions usually go, mine disappeared into the oblivion of a ‘To Do List’.


Does anyone ever really do what’s on their ‘To Do List”? I mean, my list grows to at least three pages and then I see something on page three that should have gone onto page one and the next thing I know, the list is in the trash and I’m digging around for something to eat. I know. You’re supposed to just list the most pressing items in the manner of “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” However, I’ve never even thought about eating an elephant and I’m not all that good at determining which is pressing, which is nagging and which is “get it done now or the IRS is coming to put you under a bright light for interrogation!!” And so my list grows exponentially and I get sidetracked. I’m easily diverted.

Take for example, today, while working in the garden. I had a mental “To Do List” that was at least five pages long and I decided to tackle #2 on page four – weed the onions. We’ve had some good rain and a really strange grass has grown up for the first time ever in my onion rows. My onions have been coughing and gasping for help and so I felt that this might be a “pressing” matter. I began weeding and had that wonderful sensation of accomplishing something as foot after foot of dark, rich dirt became exposed and completely clean around my Texas 1015′s. I had finished row two when a bright red color caught my eye. Two beds over, more raspberries were ripe! Oh! And blueberries too. I had to go get a bag to pick them and left my other rows of onions helplessly begging me to please continue the weeding. Ignoring them, I picked berries, sneaking a lucious bite on occassion, and finally headed in to wash them and get them laid out onto cookie sheets for freezing.


As I patted the raspberries and blueberries dry, they made me think of making jam, which made me think of things on which to put jam, which made me think of scones, which made me think of lemon curd which reminded me that I had not posted my favorite recipe. Add to that, a gentle reminder from one of my readers to post it or else (actually, it was my sister-in-law but she’s a reader), and lemon curd went to the top of my ‘To Do List’ that really doesn’t exist. And so, the onions have been left for another day. Hopefully, you are more disciplined than I, but I have to say, it’s not so bad. Mr. Fix-It says that I wake up each day to a whole new world. That’s good, right?


Lemon Curd

  • 3 large Eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (no bottled)
  • 4 Tblsp butter cut into cubes( 1/2 stick)
  • 1 Tblsp fresh lemon zest
  • VARIATIONS: Substitute Lime juice and lime zest or raspberry juice and 1 tbsp crushed raspberries or concentrated orange juice and orange zest


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    I have a double-boiler and you can use one if you like, but I like to use a shallow stainless steel bowl over a pan of boiling water in which to make my curd. It makes it easier to whisk the entire area of curd without having to deal with the side crevices of a pan. This gives me a much smoother curd that does not have to be strained for lumps.


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    Place three large eggs into the bowl or double boiler


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    Add 3/4 cup of sugar


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    And 1/3 cup of lemon juice


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    Just as a hint, I buy my lemons in bulk when on sale and juice them all, freezing the juice in ice cube trays. I pop them out and store them in the freezer in bags. I freeze the leftover rinds for easier zesting. This is one recipe where my dehydrated lemon zest is just not as good. I melt the frozen juice in the microwave




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    Place bowl over boiling water and immediately begin whisking


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    Continually stir with the whisk and do not let the curd stand idle at all in order to keep from getting lumpy


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    The curd will begin to thicken to the consistency of thin pudding. This takes about 7 -10 minutes. If your curd gets lumpy, you can strain it through a strainer.


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    Remove from heat and immediately add butter


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    Stir until melted


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    Add lemon zest and stir in


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    Pour into a container and allow to cool. Place in frig. If you do not plan on eating all of the curd right away, you can pour it into ice cube trays or small refrigerator dishes to be frozen. Remove from freezer and allow to thaw about 20 minutes before serving.


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    There is just nothing like lemon curd on scones. Here, I am serving our Victorian House Scones made with 1/2 cup white chocolate chips and 1/2 cup Craisins added. The Victorian House scones are wonderful to keep on hand when you don’t have time to make them from scratch. One package makes 16 large scones. Check them out at the shopping page.




    Happy Cooking!



    MB
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    Facebook Memorial Day Giveaway

    Monday, May 30th, 2011





    We Have A Winner!





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    The Oklahoma Pastry Cloth™ Company can be found at Facebook and one of the perks of following us on Facebook is that every so often we have a giveaway just for Facebook members. Today, we randomly drew a name from the members who entered this month’s really special Memorial Day drawing and the winner is….drum roll……Kay Butler! Kay wins a Tea Party gift basket complete with a tea pot for two, one of our signature loose teas, a tea infuser, scones mix and an Oklahoma Pastry Cloth™ on which to roll out her scones. Congratulations Kay!!


    MB
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    Fighting My Dragon

    Thursday, May 26th, 2011





    A Root Canal Has

    Nothing To Do With

    Panama



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    I know. Everyone says, “I hate going to the dentist.” But not everyone says it in the screaming, overemphasized, “I HATE GOING TO THE DENTIST!!!!” way that I say it. Most people, though they are uncomfortable with instruments, drills and hands in their mouths, suck it up, grit those teeth on their good side and stoically march to the dental chair with the air of one heading to an execution. I, however, hold each side of the doorway moulding with fingers of steel, while wedging my feet at each corner of the bottom of the door frame and dare anyone to push or pull me through. There is no screaming. There is no crying. There is just a resolute, “uh-uh – not gonna do it.”


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    I believe the beginning of this abnormal relationship with dentistry began when I was six years old. It was at that time I determined, with what little deductive reasoning a first grader may possess, that [parents = gift after dentist = pain → parents = good such that dentists = mean]. My first journey into this equation involved the fact that my baby teeth were falling out in God’s time and not Man’s time. Because Man’s time is the guage most depended upon by the medical community, it was decided that a few of my teeth had to go, in order to make room for those adult teeth which God’s time had not even produced yet. That encounter gleaned me a small, shiny, red bike with training wheels. A few years later, my final “dental trip-equals-gift” experience also included removing baby teeth but I had progressed to the fourth grade and wasn’t so easy to bribe. I had graduated to a full meal at my favorite McDonald’s Hamburger restaurant and the movie, FLIPPER, on the big screen. It was later that I realized that my parents and my dentist were in cahoots and I no longer cut my parents any slack.


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    In the summer after eighth grade – at that awkward age of 14 – my parents took me to a dentist who then sent me to an orthodontist. I had no clue what that was, but because the dentist didn’t do anything to me except clean my teeth, I figured this new kind of doctor couldn’t be all bad. The orthodontist ‘ummed’ and ‘ohhhed’ as he pulled my cheeks back, pushed my gums and tapped different teeth. My parents tried to squash the tendency to lean over to look at what he was observing. Finally, the awful verdict was issued and my parents checked me into a hospital to have MORE teeth extracted and wires put under my gums around hidden canines with a prognosis of 5 years in braces. My parents let me start high school, the angst of every budding teen, with stitches in my gums, unable to smile and with lips the size of a cartoon character. Several weeks later came the inevitable ‘railroad tracks’ which then became my nickname. And to make matters worse, there was no prize, no gift, no bribe to lift my self-esteem. Evidently, I had “grown up”.


    To add to my misery, I had to stretch tiny little rubber bands from a metal hook attached to the wire under my gum on each side of my upper mouth to a metal hook on a band around a bottom molar on each side of my lower jaw. These rubber bands were no bigger around than the end of a large pencil and so the pressure on them was enormous. Teachers and friends alike had to pay attention where they were standing in proximity to my face because when I spoke, it was not unusual for my mouth to shoot a rubber band with the accuracy of a slingshot. “Humiliation” became a new variable in dentistry for me. I wore those braces through my first year in college and today, as a result of all that effort and humiliation and thousands of dollars, I can smile with a mouthful of fewer teeth, visible canines and pearly-not-so-whites that look like a row of dominoes after a minor earthquake.


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    Then came the extraction of four wisdom teeth which also had to be done in the hospital because it was in the stone-age, also known as the ‘70’s. The young man who was next in line for surgery, lying on his gurney outside the surgery room door, could hear the surgeon grunting and yelling because my mouth was so small and my teeth were so big. That evening, this same young man came to my room to see how I was doing (and to brag that he was getting a steak from Steak and Ale), only to find me with a swollen face, bruised cheeks, mouth split at each corner and begging for morphine. Two dry sockets later, I vowed that dentistry was akin to torture. My disgust for all things dentist was established for life.


    Fast forward to last week. I had broken a tooth – I’m talkin’ 2/3 of that sucker was gone. I wasn’t crazy about our family dentist office and I figured it was time for a change. So, I found a new dentist, in the Yellow Pages, whose sole attraction was the words, “Comfortable and Stress-Free.” Comfortable and Stress-Free is good! And they really are gentle at OKC Smiles in Oklahoma City. I loved the office workers. Those people were so nice and they made great effort to make me feel comfortable and welcome. I got my teeth cleaned without the usual bleeding gums, swollen cheeks and uncomfortable throb throughout the next day. I was not the least bit perturbed about this dentist working on my teeth because the atmosphere was so relaxing. That is, until I was informed that the broken tooth would involve a root canal.


    A root canal? I had heard of those things and nothing about them had been good. In fact, I had heard horror stories about them and so, when my new dentist friend informed me that he does “sedation dentistry” my answer to his question of , “Do you want to be sedated?” was, “How stupid do I look? Ok, don’t answer that question. Yes.” I was given a little blue pill and sent home with directions to take it one hour prior to my next appointment. Oh yes, and Mr. Fix-It was to be my designated driver.


    On the day of my major surgery – ok, so when it comes to dental work, I like to exaggerate – Mr. Fix-It and I headed out the door to drive the nearly hour it takes to get to my new dentist. I had taken the pill and was happily waiting for it to kick in. Halfway to the office, Mr. Fix-It realized that he didn’t know where he was going and turned to ask me directions. My chin was slumped against my chest. I was snoring. He managed to wake me to get spotty information and attempted to find the dental clinic. He was smart – or just lucky, but he found it and helped me out of the car. I did not hold to the door frame or refuse to enter, but obediently shuffled into the plush waiting room to sit down with Mr. Fix-It at my side. From that point on, all I have is Mr. Fix-It’s version of the story.


    According to him, my head lolled downward and to the side when, all of a sudden, I hiccupped. I didn’t just do a little hiccup. I let loose with a high-pitched, body-wrenching, air-gulping hiccup and my head flew backwards. My chin then dropped back down onto my chest and I hiccupped again, going through the same motions of head pitching backward and then slumping forward. This continued as my dear husband, who is supposed to be my advocate and protector, could not contain himself and exploded into gales of laughter. Another patient, a man, entered the waiting area and sat down across from us just as I let loose with another jarring hiccup. He looked embarrassed for me and Mr. Fix-It said, “She’s sedated. She gets these hiccups sometimes.” I let loose with a big one. Mr. Fix-It giggled loudly.


    Thankfully, the nurse ushered me to the dental chair and got the hiccups stopped. My kindly dentist did his work, determining that I did not need a root canal after all. Tooth temporarily capped, I was carefully monitored for blood pressure and heart rate and the hiccups commenced again. Mr. Fix-It assured me that they reverberated throughout the entire building. I am wondering what the office personnel are saying about that day. Do they have conversations that begin with, “Did you hear that lady….?” or “Was that hilarious or what?!” I have to go back to have the permanent cap affixed. I am not sure I can show my face.


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    All I know is that dentists and I have a very strained relationship. However, I think that if this new one will still have me, I will stay in his care because I have to admit that my experience there has been the most pleasant of any. I will say, though, I don’t think I’ll be taking any of those little blue pills again. As I told Mr. Fix-It, while still in an inebriated state, I think, next time, I’ll take some of that “Noxious Oxide” instead. Somehow, I have a feeling that my inserting “noxious” for “nitrous” is a harbinger of things to come.


    Happy Flossing!



    MB
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    Tornado Alley

    Wednesday, May 25th, 2011





    Another Difficult Day





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    I had planned on doing a funny post today, but somehow it doesn’t seem like today is a good day to laugh. Many people in Oklahoma are hurting after a day of tragedy and devastation yesterday. Lives and property were lost and people have been left with nothing but the clothes on their backs. My cousin in Joplin, Missouri is in that very situation as well. Oklahoma and Missouri are certainly stunned over the past few days of tornadic events.


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    Be sure and go online to find the various organizations which are gathering up items and money for the victims of the tornadoes of late. Two organizations that are already on site are the American Red Cross
    and
    The Salvation Army



    Tornado near the OPC™ digs from Ben Holcomb



    If you feel led, please give what you can to help out. And pray. These are our neighbors and fellow Americans. We help each other. That’s what America is about.


    I’ll save the humor for tomorrow.


    Thank you for praying



    MB
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    Strawberry Muffins II

    Saturday, May 21st, 2011





    Buttermilk Strawberry

    Muffins




    As in the previous post, at the request of OPC Facebook Fan, Melissa, and because the strawberries are rolling in, I’m posting two separate recipes for strawberry muffins. The first one is Mr. Fix-It’s favorite and is pretty basic while this one is more along the lines of a soda banana bread. They are larger than the previous muffins with a different flavor. They are quite light for muffins.


    Buttermilk Strawberry Muffins

  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick or 4 tbsps)
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar with 2 tbsps of it set aside to toss with strawberries
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp strawberry flavored extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose or pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups topped and cut-up fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 2 tbsps torinado cane sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 – 6 cup muffin tins or 1 12 cup muffin tin


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    Preheat oven to 375º. Place strawberries in a bowl and use 2 tablespoons of the sugar to toss with the berries. Set aside


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    In a batter bowl or large mixing bowl, place butter and shortening


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    Add flour and cut butter and shortening into flour until it resembles course crumbs


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    Add soda and salt


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    In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk and sour cream


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    Whisk until smooth


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    Add strawberries to flour mixture


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    Stir until strawberries are coated with flour


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    Add strawberry extract flavoring to the egg mixture


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    Stir egg mixture into dry ingredients.


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    Continue stirring until all ingredients are incorporated. Do not over stir.


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    Mix Turbinado sugar and cinnamon in a small container


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    Evenly distribute muffin batter between muffin tins. Sprinkle tops of muffins with sugar mixture. Bake at 375º for 25 – 35 minutes on the center rack. Depending on your oven, 25 minutes is usually long enough, but test with a toothpick or knife for doneness.


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    As you can tell, these muffins are larger. They have a unique taste and are very flaky. They also may be frozen and reheated.


    Happy Cooking!



    MB
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    Strawberry Muffins I

    Saturday, May 21st, 2011





    Traditional Strawberry

    Muffins




    At the request of OPC Facebook Fan, Melissa, and because the strawberries are rolling in, I’m posting two separate recipes for strawberry muffins. This first one is Mr. Fix-It’s favorite and is pretty basic. These muffins are easy to freeze and heat up nicely. They are scrumptious with butter and if you really want to “gild the lily” get out some of that strawberry jam you’ve just canned and spoon some on!


    Traditional Strawberry Muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose or pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup melted shortening
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk, half and half or cream
  • 1/2 tsp strawberry extract flavoring
  • 1 cup cut up fresh or frozen strawberries tossed with 1 tblsp sugar
  • shortening for greasing muffin tins
  • Turbinado Sugar for topping


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    Preheat oven to 400º and grease two 6 cups or one 12 cups muffin tins with shortening. (I use a paper towel to get a good coat of shortening.) These are my favorite tins, as you can tell!! I use the shortening because nonstick pans and oil sprays do not give the same crisp outside texture that we like.


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    Toss strawberries with 1 tblsp sugar and set aside


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    Add 1/2 cup sugar to 1 1/2 cups flour


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    Add 2 teaspoons baking powder


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    And 1/2 tsp salt


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    Measure 1/4 cup shortening into a microwave proof container. Microwave until melted


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    Add strawberries to flour mixture


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    Toss until berries are covered and incorporated


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    In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, milk and strawberry flavoring.


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    Pour into the flour mixture, the milk/egg mixture and melted shorting


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    Stir well until all dry ingredients are moistened and incorporated. This batter is very heavy and stiff.


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    Spoon batter equally into muffin cups.


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    Sprinkle Turbinado sugar over the tops of each muffin, about 1 tsp each. Bake in 400º oven for 20 – 25 minutes on center rack


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    Serve hot with butter or butter and jam. Enjoy!!


    Happy Cooking!



    MB
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    Home-Cured Ham

    Friday, May 20th, 2011





    Home-Cured Tennessee

    Country Ham



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    Country Ham and Red-eye gravy made with a dash of coffee, eggs, grits and biscuits – yum, yum!


    I have to preface this post with the smart-aleck comment made by Mr. Fix-It this morning. As he was looking through the photos being chosen to include and saw the title of the post, “Home-Cured Ham”, he asked, “The ham’s sick? What’s it got? Swine Flu?” Yes, you can groan too.


    Though I was born an “Okie”, I spent most of my “growing up years” in East Tennessee. If one lives in East Tennessee long enough, one eventually falls in love with the local treat – Tennessee Country Ham. This salty, aged and sometimes smoked miracle of meat is only improved when accompanied by beans, “red-eye gravy”, fried okra, biscuits and Spoonbread or grits. Because it is salty-salty, slices are soaked for a few hours to overnight, depending on the amount of saltiness enjoyed, and then pan fried in a cast iron skillet for a crusty delicacy.


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    Various stages and amounts of mold can cover salt-cured hams

    The unique feature of country ham is the layer of mold that forms on the wrapping paper and ham surface as it hangs and ages. Newbies who receive a Tennessee Country Ham for a gift usually freak when they unbag their present and then unwrap the paper that has shrouded the meat all during the curing process. A nice, moldy carpet coats portions of the rind and paper. This is simply removed by scrubbing the ham with a mixture of vinegar and water or with plain water and a stiff bristle brush. The meat is sliced with a saw just 1/4″ thick.


    Having worked in a meat department that was constantly visited by local farmers toting their treasured cured hams to be sliced, I learned that it was ‘bragging rights’ when it came to how long one of these hams were hung. Three years was the limit, but it seemed that the more mold and the longer aged the better these ‘specialists’ viewed their product. Hog killing commenced around Thanksgiving, hams, bacon and shoulders were cured and smokehouses were loaded with the goodies to be smoked or to be used without smoking.


    I remember one farmer’s story about a most disastrous year. He had corn fed and slaughtered his pigs to put up meat for the year. After a gruelling day of salting down, wrapping and hanging portions, cutting up roasts, chops, ribs and other cuts for the freezer, grinding sausage and rendering lard, this industrious man and his family went to bed and slept the sleep of hard workers. The family went about the rest of the year and on into winter with the happy knowledge that come Fall, there would be good eatin’s from the smokehouse for sure. Sometime during the summer, the farmer went to the smokehouse and opened the door. To his horror, all that he found hanging from the rafters were bones tied with rope and picked totally clean of any shred of meat. Rats had crawled along the rafters, shinnied down the ropes and feasted on the cured meats without so much as asking!


    In the meat department, we cured hams all year long. We purchased fresh hams from our local packing plant, which you can do as well. We let them warm at room temperature for a couple of hours and then coated with our cure, hanging them in the cooler for the first 12 weeks. As meat begins to cure, it must be kept cool. This is why the farmers always waited until Thanksgiving or later to kill their hogs. With a walk-in cooler or refrigerator, however, the curing process can take place any time of the year.


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    Boning the loin to make boneless pork chops and babyback ribs

    I thought that I would give you a step-by-step lesson on how to create these wonderful hams with the help of some great kids. A group of home schooled students got to mix an anatomy and physiology class with learning to cure meat at the Oklahoma Pastry Cloth™ digs. We had purchased a hog that was taken to our local packing house and then we picked up the quarters to process ourselves, including curing the hams. As you will see, curing meat is a pretty simple process and is a wonderful way to preserve meats for a long time. One note, however, once these hams are sliced, the meat must be wrapped in freezer paper and frozen or, if eaten soon after slicing, kept in the refrigerator for a short time.


    Cure Mix For One Ham

  • 3 cups salt without iodine
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon saltpeter (purchase at pharmacy)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper


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    Open two paper bags to lay flat and tape together or use butcher paper. Center ham onto paper. Mix ingredients together into a bowl and pack, little-by-little, around the meat



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    Force cure into crevices, under flaps of skin or fat and into and around any protruding bones.



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    Fold paper bag or butcher paper over the ham and tape as a tight package



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    Tape completely shut and tape around shank area so that final product has the shape of the ham



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    Place in a bag – we use old pillow cases – with the shank end into one corner of the bag. Twist top tightly and tie a rope around the twisted end. Hang in a refrigerator with shank down by tying the rope to one of the refrigerator shelves. An old extra refrigerator works great for this as other shelves can be removed, using only one shelf from which to hang hams. The temperature should be normal frig temperature. Hang for 12 weeks. A pan should be put below the ham because fluid will drip from it for those 12 weeks. At the end of the three months, remove ham from refrigerator and hang anywhere convenient at room temperature. We like to hang ours for a year but some people hang them for 8 to 9 months.



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    When the ham has cured for the desired length of time, take it down, remove the cloth sack and cut away the paper.



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    Wash the ham, using vinegar and water or just water and a good bristle scrub brush



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    Cleaned ham ready for cutting



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    Cut off rind and trim fat



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    Slice with a hand saw or band saw or take to your local meat packer to have him slice it for you. Wrap slices in freezer paper and freeze



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    To cook, soak meat in water for a couple of hours in the refrigerator and then place in a heated cast iron skillet coated with a little bit of olive oil. Brown on both sides and add water to nearly cover. Allow to cook for about 15-20 minutes until water cooks down to nearly gone. Remove ham and add more water plus about a tablespoon of coffee. Cook down until the consistency of thin gravy for “red-eye” gravy.



    So there you have it!!


    Happy Curing!



    MB
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    Dehydrating Mushrooms

    Tuesday, May 17th, 2011



    Dehydrating Part IV


    Dehydrating Pt V: Dried

    Mushrooms – A Kitchen

    Staple




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    Our local Aldi’s had a sale. And what a sale. Mushrooms were 69 cents for an 8 oz box! Can you believe it? And they were beautiful. So what is a sale junkie to do? Well, dehydrate them, of course!! There’s nothing like having dehydrated mushrooms at your fingertips for soups, spaghetti sauce and even to put on top of steak, sautéed with onions and green peppers! Mushrooms are easy to rehydrate and only require covering with water, to be placed in the frig overnight, or for quick rehydration, by covering with hot water and allowing to sit for an hour or so. Canned mushrooms are great, but to me, the dried ones keep more of the original mushroom flavor and consistency than canned.


    So, of course, I loaded up on mushrooms and trotted home with my prize. This past weekend, I set to the task of getting them dried.


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    Wash mushrooms well and pat dry with a towel.



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    Slice mushrooms about 1/8″ thick. While slicing, watch the OKC Thunders skunk the Memphis Grizzlies, to move on to the NBA finals. Pay attention to fingers. Go Thunders!!!



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    Toss with recommended amount of Fruit Fresh. I am using two tbsps here



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    Place the sliced mushrooms on dehydrator racks and spread out evenly



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    Store in canning jars, plastic container or ziploc bags. I like to vacuum seal mine. And there you go!!



    Happy Drying!



    MB
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    The Good Ol’ Days

    Monday, May 16th, 2011





    The Good Ol’ Days




    On Saturday, I got to play and work all at the same time. Mr. Fix-It and I made a lovely trip down to Tishomingo, Oklahoma – my old stomping grounds – and participated in the first annual “Back To The Good Ol’ Days” festival, sponsored by the Johnston County Historical Society. Held inside and outside what was the original Chickasaw Territorial bank in Tishomingo, the ambiance was perfect. All of us were dressed in period costumes and the purpose was to educate visitors in the ways of life in the early to mid 1900′s. I donned a bonnet and floor-length dress and apron and demonstrated grinding grains and rolling oats, as well as – of course – the Oklahoma Pastry Cloth™. The oat rolling was the favorite of the many children who strolled through. They bent down to look under my stainless steel wonder to watch the oat groats go from kernel to flat oatmeal. They had no idea that the oatmeal they ate in the morning didn’t come already smashed right off the farm. I had more than one adult who was equally impressed!

    To my right was Nina, who demonstrated sewing on a gorgeous old black, Featherweight Singer sewing machine, and on my left was Ada, who kept a crowd of children around her as she let them embroider their own projects. Opposite me was Tammy, who was cheerfully making Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls. Outside of the bank building was a demonstration of old timey laundry days, complete with washtub and board, clothesline, wooden ironing board and heavy metal iron. Handmade Indian flutes and stickball raquets, as well as various antique household items, occupied several booths and best of all, there was a game center with the games of yesteryear. Jacks, checkers, pickupsticks and paperdolls were available for quieter play, while marbles and hopscotch provided livelier entertainment for the young and young at heart. Visitors even voted for their favorite candidates by filling out a ballot designed just like the original Johnston County paper ballots. They dropped these into an original metal “ballot box” made secure by a padlock. Candidates included Sleezy Joe McGough for County Clerk, Gene Deadeye Smith for Sherriff and Hang ‘m High L. Taylor for judge. The aroma of pinto beans and cornbread permeated the air and at noon, for $5, visitors were served a bowl of beans, a corn muffin, old fashioned chocolate gravy cake with chocolate/nut icing and a glass of tea.

    My heartiest laugh came from a couple who stopped to watch my demonstration and who shared just the funniest story. Leroy and Rosalie Ussery stopped by my table and Leroy explained, as he watched my grain grinder in action, that he and his wife had grown wheat. He said that at the time, their son was in the second grade and as is the case with most second grades, Show-And-Tell was an important part of class each week. The Ussery’s son was eager to show his classmates all about the wheat that his family raised, combined and sold and so he took a sheaf of the grain to school. When his very young teacher saw the stems bending over with the grain heads, she was excited that her class of children would get to see the true origin of one of their foods. She completely took over the son’s Show-And-Tell moment and began explaining to the children that the flour used to make their biscuits, pancakes, etc came from the grains encased in the heads at the end of the stalks. She carefully removed a few of the grains and said, “Now watch” and started peeling back the husk around the grain. She told the children that when she squeezed opened the grain kernel, flour would fall out. The kids watched expectantly for puffs of flour to escape as she attempted to open several kernels with no luck. She finally said, “Oh. This wheat must not be ripe yet.” Mr. Ussery’s son was very distressed over the incredible misinformation given by the teacher but when his father asked what he had said to the class and the teacher, he replied, “Oh!! Nothing, Dad” Mr. Ussery encouraged, “Good call!” Yep, it isn’t healthy to make your teacher look stupid!!

    Here are a few pictures from the day.


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    The focal point of Tishomingo, Oklahoma is the beautiful and restored Capitol building of the Chickasaw Nation. Tishomingo is considered the capitol city for the Chickasaws.



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    Down the street is the historic Chickasaw Bank building, now the home of the Johnston County Historical Society and Chamber of Commerce. Different examples of early American living in Oklahoma were set up along the sidewalk in front of the bank.



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    The bank has been kept in its original layout, including the counter where people placed their deposits and withdrawals in early, pre-state Oklahoma.



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    An old rolltop desk sits in the corner



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    The ceilings are gorgeous



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    A beautiful staircase leads to more exhibits upstairs



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    There are many exhibits donated by locals



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    Women, in costume, prepared the table of silent auction items to raise money for the Historical Society



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    Learning to roll the hoop


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    A game of checkers


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    Wash Day!


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    Blowing bubbles through wooden spools using soapy water


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    Pickup Sticks!



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    Hopscotch and stilts



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    I demonstrated rolling oats and grinding grains. The stone grinder is in the background



    It was a cool day and just perfect for an educational Saturday. As I was leaving, I overheard some of the society members talking about next year! If you are in Oklahoma, take time to visit this great town and friendly people!


    Happy Reminiscing!



    MB
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    Wheat Germ!

    Thursday, May 12th, 2011





    The Accidental

    Discoverer!

    Or “You Are What

    You Wheat”



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    You know me by now. I can’t leave anything alone. I have to tweak it, experiment with it and see how many ways I can change it before I can be still. And “IT” can be a recipe, a sewing project, a painting, dehydrating/canning or the directions to a new movie theatre in Oklahoma City. My motto is, “Waste Not, Want Not” and though some might try to convince that this statement comes from the Bible, (Like “God helps those who help themselves,” right?) I’m pretty sure it came from my dad – or Benjamin Franklin – or that Wesley guy. Whomever coined it, it is ingrained in my chromosomes.


    Therefore, when I made my most recent batch of bread for the week, using a combination of 3 parts Prairie Gold Hard White Wheat flour to 1 part barley flour, I wound up with my usual 1/2 cup of wheat germ sifted out of 5-6 cups of the flour after a round of four siftings and did not want to waste it. Yes, I sift the fire out of my freshly ground flour to add air and lightness and to take out some of the heavier germ/hull which makes bread heavy. Mr. Fix-It likes his bread to carry him off like a magic carpet of the mouth. He says, “Open Sesame” and it floats right in! Anyway, I had all of this germ and I didn’t want to throw it away. I continue to toss that 1/2 cup of germ in with the other 1/2 cups of germ in a freezer bag to store in the freezer. I have always known that I will use it for something like on salads, in peanut butter or to sprinkle on top of risen bread loaves for crunch and appearance, but that won’t use up as much as I have!


    It was then, with my Okie Pioneer spirit, that I hit on an idea. Here it is in pictures. Oh, and by the way, it worked!!


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    I brought 1 cup of water to a boil and added a pinch of salt and 4 tbsp of the wheat germ, and stirred then until everything was smooth.


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    I boiled the mixture for 6 minutes until it was nice and thick, uncovered, stirring occasionally.


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    You got it!! Cream of Wheat!! And it was good too, especially with butter and brown sugar. I now have a new breakfast favorite with 4 grams of fiber to boot! See, I could have survived in those pioneer days!!



    Happy Experimenting!



    MB
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