Saturday, September 13, 2008

Not So Balls Out (Excuses, Excuses)

In response to Laura's post: I am also having trouble sleeping at night. After 8 hours of sleep in a 3 day period I finally took some of Mike's clonidine and went to be at 630 (1830, that is) and woke up at 0650 the next morning, thank goodness. So that made things a little better but now I am going all crazy obsesive about my house, cleaning out closets and things . No one wants to read about spot-cleaning my stairs. Mike even had to buy bread this morning, for the first time in over a month.

And the reason for this? We are going to Disneyland! And we have some house-sitters comming. God forbid they find out I am not a perfect housekeeper. Like it's a secret! So I am not balls out till we get back. But when I do get back I want to can tomatoes with you, Laura. And make a thousand quarts of applesauce. And start a sewing project. So see you all after we get back from the happiest place on earth!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Things could be going better...

Well, my jars of peppers sealed! We even had dinner made with one chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. Pretty cool! Of course, we couldn't actually eat the dinner because it was WAY to spicy for us... and then I spent the entire night in bed wondering when I was going to die of botulism and whether or not botulism could pass through breastmilk. Sigh. I did stay away from Dr. Google though... so I don't actually know any of the symptoms of botulism. Aren't you all proud?

When the pepper lady comes to the farmers market next weekend, she will be bringing me several pounds of red jalapenos. I can hear you all now: "WHAT?!?! You are going to do that again? That four-day disaster? Again? Are you CRAZY?" Well... yup. I am going to do it again. But I have learned some things! It will be better this time! For starters, I am going to use red jalapeno peppers (the pepper lady says they are a little sweeter and less hot, which may make them edible for us!). Next, I am going to remove the seeds and stems from a few of them. This should make them less potent. Finally, I am not going to can them. Why not? Since you only use one or two at a time and they are preserved through drying, canning seems redundant.

I made this the other night - it was pretty good. I would recommend a few changes to the recipe though. Even though the tart pan is cool and fun to use, I think the crust would be better as crackers and the filling as a spread. Don't get me wrong, the tart was really, really good - just a little too much filling to crust.

So I was going to do a blog entry on sourdough. Really, I was. Megan called the other day for sourdough info and I was all set to blog away. I made more bread yesterday and took pictures and everything. But then, last night, as I was loading the bread into the fridge for its overnight stay, I dropped the loaves on the floor. Yeah, they were covered in plastic, but they still got a little... well... flat. And that is how they looked when they came out of the oven. Flat. I am sure they still taste fine. Ah well. In any case, KAF just blogged about sourdough. Check it out. I am guessing they didn't drop their loaves. If they did, they didn't admit to it. :)

Managed to make cheese this morning while Ava slept. I used whole milk and lemon juice. When it was all done I added chives from my garden. I hope it is good - I need a very clear cut success.

Hope you are both getting sleep...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

So, I haven't been very balls out lately, I'm afraid.  Mostly it has a lot to do with working (and not sleeping at night anymore even when I'm not working - hence the 3 am posting. . .).  Also, the fact that the weather is beautiful and I'm trying to pack as much outdoor time in as possible before the weather gets all nasty and Oregon-ish.  However, I would like to try to can some tomatoes this week.  First I have to find a source of them however.  Hmmm.  Anyway.  Back to trying to get to sleep.  Ha.  Sleep?  At night?  What is that?

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Smoke peppers - check. (Even if it took 48 hours and they were the wrong color)
Make adobo sauce - check. (Even if I had to triple the recipe)
Process in hot water bath - check. (Mom was here so that actually went well)

Now, I just have to wait for the jars to pop. Waiting, waiting, waiting...

Then, I just might make this recipe for dinner.

After Aaron saw my meager four pints sitting on the counter, he asked if it was worth all the work. I don't know the answer to that yet... but I am sure that I will be able to tell you after I have cooked the first meal with my peppers.

As a side note, they would be prettier if they were red jalapenos.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


48 hours later, the peppers are smoked. The recipe said that 10 pounds of fresh peppers would yield 1 pound of dry peppers, and that is what I have! I wasn't sure about the amount of moisture to leave in the peppers so I was excited to see the kitchen scale read 1.05 pounds! So, tomorrow afternoon my mom is coming over to help me can. Things are starting to look up...

Friday, September 5, 2008

You aren't going to believe this...

So this morning, I walk outside to check on my peppers. They had finally started to dry! I was so very excited. But then, a little nagging voice in my head started to talk. It said "I thought chipotle peppers were red when they dried. I wonder when my peppers will turn that lovely shade of red?" Hmm....

I came inside and did what any self-respecting person would do. I googled "chipotle pepper picture." Yup. Definitely red. Interesting. So then I read a couple of articles that came up in my search. Cue ominous music now.

Turns out that chipotle peppers are made out of red jalapenos. Not green ones. Red ones at the start. I have been smoking, for 3 days, green jalapeno peppers. 3 days. My house smells, my hair smells, I scrubbed a filthy fishy smoker, and now I find out I AM NOT SMOKING THE RIGHT COLOR PEPPER?!??! Seriously? Seriously.

Apparently, I am making "jalapenos chicos" - smoked green jalapenos. Otherwise known as "stupid gringas." My recipe didn't say anything about red vs. green jalapenos - not one little peep about this whole color business. Evidently they assume you will know what color pepper to use. Ug.

So. Where do I go from here? I am going to take the peppers out of the smoker in an hour or so when the last of the wood chips is all smoked out. I will rotate them and stick them back in (I am invested now people). When they are done, sometime in 2025, I will make some adobo sauce and can them. Why not? Red, green, whatever. Those damn peppers are going to dry and I am going to eat them and I am going to like it.

So there.

Still Smokin'

Or "Just Shrivel Up and Dry!"

So begins day 3 of the pepper smoking. They are starting to look drier, but still look quite a way from dried. So much for an 8-12 hour smoking process. At this point, I am thinking 8-12 days. But, I will not be discouraged. I have come too far to quit. Besides, my house already smells like a curious mix of smoke, peppers, and fish. Why stop now?

I will post some pictures later for pepper comparison. Just wanted you all to know that I hadn't burned the house down yet...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Peter Piper Picked A Peck...

... of Peppers!

10 lbs of jalapeno peppers to be exact. I'm smokin'! Well, the peppers are smoking. I am making (or attempting to make, depending on your confidence in my abilities) chipotle chillies in adobo sauce. After successfully completing that, I will be canning them.

Now, you are probably thinking that I am way to ambitious for my first canning project. 10 lbs of peppers, 12 hours of smoking, canning... but this is the Balls Out Domestic Club! There is no halfway here!

Yesterday I hauled myself down to the farmers market to purchase the peppers. I am sure the very nice lady at the veggie stand though I was crazy. But she took my eight dollars anyway. Then I drove to my parents house to pick up my Dad's smoker.

The article I read about making your own chipotle peppers said that you should have a new smoker devoted entirely to peppers. Riiight. Barring that, the smoker should be perfectly clean and free of all food particles. Seeing as how a new smoker is not quite in my budget at present, I elected to borrow my dad's well-loved smoker. I say well-loved because it seems rude to call your father's smoker, loaned to you free of charge, filthy. Filthy and used exclusively for fish. Yah, fish (we are Scandinavian after all).

So I spent most of yesterday scrubbing the smoker. It still smells faintly of smoked salmon and perch, but it is all I've got so we are going to try it anyway. I prepped my peppers (with rubber gloves on) and loaded the smoker. As of now, we are smoking away. In 8 to 12 hours, I should have chipotle peppers. Chipotle peppers that may or may not smell like fish. Wish me luck.

In other news, we spent the long weekend putting wood by for the winter. You can see the fruits of our labor below. I also made Dilly Bread with freshly dried dill seed from the garden. It was wonderful!

Today is baking day, as I have to be here all day for the peppers. I already have my sourdough starter on the counter and I will make buns during Ava's nap. I will keep you all posted on the pepper odyssey.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Nobody Blogs on a Holidy Weekend

Laura and I were so busy at work this week and we had no time to update the blog. We were going to write a statement about our blog project and what we thought the point of the blog is and why it got started. But we were SO busy we had no time at all. (Read this with sarcasm, not the busiest weekend ever, we just pooped out on it)

So I might write out a little something this week and see what you two think. I would love to have a statement to have as a permanent part of our blog. Just what is so important about feeding and taking care of our families, and taking so much time and effort doing it. Let me know if you have any ideas.

Also Grace and I have a very busy week coming up. Kindergarten starts the week after the other grades, so she doesn't go back until the 8th. We are going to make a ton of lunchbox food and frozen dinners and snacks. We also have a ton of cleaning to do before we go on vacation so the house can be clean for the dog sitter. I think we will be playing an extended game of "Cinderella."