...Growing, Building, Cooking, Preserving, Crafting...

2006 began our urban homestead when I broke ground on a garden, which now includes perennial fruits, flowers, & many vegetable varieties. We dream of solar panels, keeping bees and hens. Until then we'll continue growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, building what we can for our home, cooking from scratch, and crafting most days.


Using MORE Preserves Creatively...

I don't have much to say for myself lately other than I've been cooking a lot.  Craft projects have been laying idle, nothin' much doin' outdoors (unfortunately), and no progress made with paging through seed catalogs for 2012's growing season.  What's been consuming me mostly is the final plan for our kitchen remodel which should start by the end of this month.  That should produce some interesting posts--or at least before and after photos.

A couple of recipes that drew special attention I made for Sunday dinner this past week with our in-laws.  Slow Cooker Curry Chicken was the center of the plate--and put me at ease as far as preparations went--but this coleslaw garnered the most hoorays.

Marinated Coleslaw
Serves 4-6

It's amazing what can happen when one chooses to leave the sugar out.  As my mother-in-law agreed, many people think everything needs to be so sweet, but we all really enjoyed the sheer sourness of this simple slaw (that can mostly be prepared in a food processor, if available).  And I used more of my pickles from 2011 as well.  The cabbage is still storing well from our Thanksgiving CSA box.  I love the texture of Savoy!

1/4 head Savoy cabbage, shredded (by hand or with slicer plate of food processor)
1/2 c. pickled ramps, chopped by hand or in food processor
1/2 c. pickled green peppers, chopped by hand or in f.p.
2 carrot, peeled and grated by hand or in f.p.

Combine all vegetables and set aside.

1/4 c. white wine vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil
1 t. salt
1 t. ground pepper
1 T. Dijon style mustard

Boil all ingredients in a saucepan for about 3 min.  Stir well.  While hot, add to the vegetables.  Let sit about 15 min. Taste for seasoning.  Serve!

Nice and sour!
Butternut Squash Cake with Chocolate Icing (Gluten-Free)
Serves 12-16

The original recipe from Better Homes and Gardens used sweet potatoes in cupcake form.  I adapted it as a gluten-free cake using some of our cellared winter squash and coconut oil instead of butter for the cake and icing.  The texture turned out very well, though it was slightly more dense than usual--likely because of the coconut oil and not the gluten-free status.

Have your Gluten-Free Cake and Eat it Too!
2 c. all-purpose gluten-free flour
2 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. xanthan gum
1/4 t. salt
1 c. coconut oil, room temp.
1 1/4 c. granulated xylitol (or sugar)
3 large eggs
1 lb. butternut squash, roasted, peeled, and mashed
1/4 c. milk (cow's, almond, etc.)
1 t. vanilla extract

12 oz. semi-sweet gluten-free chocolate chips
1 c. coconut oil, room temp.
1/2-1 c. powdered sugar (depending on desired texture)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and line a 9-inch baking pan with parchment (I think a springform pan makes it easiest.)  In a medium bowl, combine flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt; set aside.  In large bowl, beat coconut oil with an electric mixer on medium for about 30 seconds.  Add xylitol; beat until light and fluffy, about 2 min.  With mixer on low, beat in eggs one at a time, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl between additions.  Add butternut squash, milk, and vanilla.  Beat on low until combined.  Add flour mixture to xylitol-egg mixture; beat on low just until combined.  Pour batter into baking pan and bake 40-45 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for several min. then remove from pan and let cool fully.

For icing, in double boiler, melt chocolate chips.  Remove from heat and cool 15 min.  With electric mixer on low, beat chocolate 30 seconds.  Beat in coconut oil.  Add sugar gradually, beat until smooth.

To assemble:  Cut fully cooled cake in half cross-sectionally.  Spread/pour/coax chocolate icing over cake layer then place second layer on top and repeat icing.  Let set then cut and serve.  Icing will eventually solidify at room temp. for more of a "ganache" like coating.

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