Friday, April 20, 2007

Kitchen Tools

I decided I'd better make some bread pudding today to use up some old bread we had and, besides, it's DH's favorite dessert. While cubing up the bread to put it in the bowl, I thought about some sort of kitchen gadget I'd seen "out there" (on the web) that was touted as perfect for cubing bread. I thought that maybe you might need such a thing if all you did was cube bread all day, but for six slices of bread, that might be a little bit of overkill. Which lead me to think about Ivonne's (my baking goddess) question to me way back when we were making crostata. She asked me if I had a food processor. Not an unfair question to be sure, especially in today's world. But it got me to giggling, then finally laughing uncontrollably.

After I got the dogs quieted down and assured that, no - mom has not lost her mind (completely), I decided to post my "food processor".

AND, it comes complete with attachments!

On the left is my pastry blender and on the right is my food chopper! See? I'm completely modern and up-to-date in all the latest kitchen utensils. And, yes, that is a cast iron knife brought from the nursing home. Even though I've bought two new knives from Pampered Chef (and they are lovely knives) this is still my "go to" knife for chopping. It's light weight and easily sharpened. It does, however, tire my hand if I have too much chopping to do (like during apple season). Maybe my new knives will be used more then. Who knows.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Spring Planting

On my way home from Algona this morning I passed a farmer in his big John Deere 4-wheel drive tractor sitting forlornly at the entrance to his field. Looking in my rear view mirror I saw him back slowly out onto the highway. Like many others, he is chomping at the bit to get into his fields and start planting.

This time last year most farmers around here had their corn completely planted and were bravely holding off planting beans until May or June. The last two years have been extremely warm and dry during April and have allowed the farmers to get a jump on spring planting. But the 8 inches of snow we had two days ago (!) have made the fields impossible to work. Luckily we had a very mild fall and winter which allowed them to get most of their spring field work done. Now all they need is a few warm (please God!) days to dry off the fields and they'll be working day and night to get it done.

Coming from "the bottom" ["The bottom" is what the valley between our hills and the hills of Nebraska were called. Long ago the Missouri River cut a wide swath between the two, leaving fertile ground behind. I'm guessing it was about 20 miles wide and FLAT, FLAT, FLAT! Onawa is located on the bottom. I think that's why I always hated that town - it was too flat.] in Western Iowa, this drive to get into a field amuses me. Farmers around there are never in a hurry - mostly because they're farming gumbo. The standard "joke" is that gumbo is only workable one week out of the year. If it's too wet you can get a tractor stuck tighter than a tick on a mule. But when it drys out its like trying to farm cement and will break a cultivator like a candy cane.

I'm feeling bad for the farmers. I guess my little patch of garden is not such a big deal after all. Last night the weather guy said that the normal temperature for this month is supposed to be in the 60's - it's 48 right now and is the warmest it's been since the "heat wave" in March. Snow storms in Texas, tornadoes in Mississippi and cold up here in Northern Iowa. This should be an interesting year, to say the least.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Spicy Coleslaw

Today is the Chamber's Annual Meeting and DH told me that "he'd" been asked to bring a salad for it. (Board members usually provide the side dishes.) When he told me this on Sunday, I knew exactly what I was going to make - my Spicy Coleslaw.

I make this throughout the year because it is so simple and so good! I'm not fond of mayo-based slaws, so when I found this recipe several years ago I was thrilled. It sounds like a whole lot of pepper, but, trust me - this slaw rocks!

Spicy Coleslaw

1 16 oz. package of coleslaw mix

5 green onions, chopped

2/3 cup olive oil (Important - use the good stuff for this!)

1/4 cup white vinegar (I've used wine vinegar and tarragon vinegar also)

1/4 cup water

1 large clove of garlic, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Whisk together the dressing and pour it over the cabbage and onions. The longer it sits the better it gets. Enjoy!