slow life

I was going to post about making beer vinegar today.  I am not because I had an interesting conversation with a pastry chef/baker this weekend.  It ties right into making vinegar.

She believes in slow food.  The using of yeastie beasties to make bread.  The putting the pork shoulder on for hours to braise.  The fermentation of mustard to make tastiness and to make other tastiness.  But she does not feel she gets appreciated.  Especially when a whole loaf of bread or a tray of rolls that took two days to bake are gone in 30 minutes.  

I do understand where she is coming from and I understand her perspective.  I also know what has helped to create that perspective because I know some of the chefs she has worked with and what kitchens she has worked in.  She was not appreciated.  Bread was reviewed by diners and food critics and not thought well off.  I have boyos who thank me for every cup of tea I bring them.  I am also told things like my hummus is as good as the best in town.  Koda Bear tells people we do not have a menu but we have good food here.  We can just bake something out of dough.  Or I bake something out of dough with the help of his hands.

We live such a fast life.  A life that if we send the words out we expect to get a response immediately.  This type of life makes it hard to understand that mustard should ferment for three days minimum.  That it takes a month to make beer vinegar.  That it takes six months to make bitter or orange extract.  That you may eat the cabbages right away but they can sit and ferment on the counter months at a time and they are still good to east.

I know I have been talking about food but there is such a thing as slow fashion.  Mend something.  Remake.  Make from scratch and do not even go to a store.  But it is not instant.  There is no instant reaction to what is hanging.  "Oh, I want that.  Now."  It all takes time.  And thought.  Is it really what you want.

My Father loves to point out when I am crocheting that the fastest part of the process is actually making the sweater, hat, mitts, or shawl.  I have not raised the sheep.  I have not shorn the sheep.  Yes, many times I do wash the fleece, card it, and spin it.  It adds so much more time until the garment is finished.  It is why I understand that if a sweater is out grown it should be made in away that it can be taken apart and made into another garment.  Even if a stripe of a different color needs to be added.  This is all slow.  It all takes time.

It adds up to a slow life.  A slow life is always what I wanted.  Where I made or grew most of what was in my life.  I am much closer to that now then I have ever been before.  I still feel like I move to fast some days.  But I keep working on moving slower.  I have people who appreciate slower in my life. 

I just wish more did appreciate the slow.  A slow life is a very good life.


an i am alive post

I thought I would share the sun rising from my walk this morning.  There  is an actual "cold" front coming through Houston currently.  The crazy thing is that normally does not happen this time of year.  I am hurting more then I expected.  The humidity is high as well.  That combination is what gets me.  I am just slowly going forward.  Much like a tortoise.  I admit to just wishing to be some place more comfortable then in front of the computer today.

I hope you are having a lovely day where ever you are.


sushi rice

I am doing it again.  I am writing a recipe down here that is easily searchable but I am going to build on later.  Rice has become a platform for many of the lunches and easy dinners around here.  I love sushi but making sushi is a pain.  Making a poke bowl with sushi flavors is easy.  I can also use canned fish in a poke bowl which makes life so much easier!  

But there are foundation blocks for poke bowls.  Rice is one of those possibilities.  I really do not like plain rice in them so either the Indian rice I make is used as a foundation or sushi rice.

So, here is my recipe.  Then I can point to it when I am asked.  Because I will be!

sushi rice

Note:  This is my favorite proportions for the rice.  Reading recipes, it is all over the place.  Use similar proportions but what tastes right to you.

2 cups Carolina Gold rice cooked in 2 1/2 cups water

4 1/2 tablespoons rice or beer vinegar (I will get there for the beer vinegar recipe as well)

4 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons salt

Cook the rice in the water.  When it is done, let it cool.  Make sure it is not in an aluminum pan.  A non-reactive pan is best.  The rice pictured actually started with four cups of uncooked rice.

Mix the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl.  It needs to be mixed very well, as dissolved as possible.

Pour the vinegar mixture over the rice and mix it in with a wood spoon.  This is not a fast process.  Mix it very thoroughly.  It now can go in the refrigerator and be used for poke bowls or sushi.  



sweater for a bear

I do believe I may be one of the few women who has boyos who go into a yarn store and feel like they need to sit in the chairs.  Not because that is unusual but because they want to touch all the yarns, all the soft, and all the colors!  Yes, even Koda Bear.

Koda Bear told me his favorite color is yellow currently.  He went and touched every yellow in the yarn store.  But he also touched greens.  I asked if he would like me to make him a sweater.  He said yes.  I told him to pick the yellow he wanted.  That is the color above.

I have started the sweater.  I am hoping to get it finished before he goes north but I do not think it will happen.  I work on it every day but I forget how much I do.  I am not going to get to everything I wish to finish today before I leave the house to coach.  Too much and a curve in the path today.  There will always be too much and curves though.  That is life!

There is more of this sweater done then is pictured here.  I am making it in such a way that I will be able to take it apart when he grows and maybe add that green he so liked.  Grandma Bear's can plot!



I picked up an Icelandic cookbook from the library, North.  Huge mistake because now I wish to go see it even more then I did before!  Iceland, Greenland, Finland, Norway, New Zealand, Chile.  These are all places that I would wish to see some day.  I will slowly get there.

I did have a couple things that I wished to try from this cookbook.  One of those was skyr.  It is in the yogurt section of my grocery store but is not considered a yogurt.  It is considered a cheese.  I use it instead of mayonnaise for any sandwich or dressing I may be making for when food is taken out of the house.  I do not have to worry about refrigeration.  Or if I wish to make a poke bowl to go out.  Again, I do not have to worry.

I liked that you could use non-fat milk to make it and it did not seem as fussy as yogurt.  I did not have to make sure I saved some yogurt from the last batch I made to make it.  Or wait for the milk to cool down and hope I did not kill the starter.  This recipe was like if you have it, use it.  If you do not, do not.

The one thing I would recommend is a good thermometer.  I had to go buy a new one since my last one was broken for me.  Also, good standing shoes.  Stirring goes on.

I like the flavor of the skyr.  It is a cheese.  The process works in my head.  It is just about patience which much of my life revolves around.  I have five forever shawls in the works currently.  Bread started.  Dye going.  It should just say what happens.

Just be patient.


Note:  I used the recipe from North.  I am fairly certain this does not stray too much from the traditional.  I did not have a non-stick pan like they suggested so I closely watched temperature and stirred constantly.

1 gallon non-fat milk

Pour the gallon of milk into a pan that it will fit in.  Put in a thermometer.  Turn the heat on med-low to medium.  Bring the milk up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and let it remain there for ten minutes.  Stir the whole time.  You do not wish the milk to burn to the bottom of the pan.

Take the milk off the heat.  Let cool to 104 degrees Fahrenheit.  Put the milk in a place  to keep it warm for the next 16 to 24 hours.  Not much warmer then 104 degrees and it can cool over time.

After the milk has sat for 16 to 24 hours, put a piece of muslin in a colander that is sitting in a bowl.  Pour the milk into the muslin.  Knot the muslin so it can be hung and whey can be strained off.  I use the whey in bread so I save every bit I can.

Strain until it is as thick as you wish.  I could have strained it more but the request was for a yogurt consistency.  Put into jars and put in the refrigerator.

I find it lovely.  You can save some to add to the next batch.  You add it when you have cooled the milk down to sit.  But you do not have to.  

Cheese.  Yogurt.  Who cares.  This process works better in my head.