Monday, January 26, 2015

Home made mustard with fresh herbs

we can make most of them using whole, unprocessed ingredients, in all their natural beauty, with no additives or preservatives whatsoever. And because most times DIY is so easy and satisfying!

So get your jars out and start filling them with raw, unprocessed, home made mustard in all it’s wholesome goodness!
Home made mustard with fresh herbs
Author: TalesofaKitchen
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 1.5 cups
  • 2/3 cup (120gr) yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • -
  • 2 TBSP fresh thyme
  • 1.5 TBSP fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes (depending on how hot you want the mustard you can use mild chili flakes or hot ones)
  • 1/3 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp raw honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup water at room temperature
  1. Mix apple cider vinegar with water and add mustard seeds. Leave to soak for 2 to 3 days. The mustard seeds will absorb almost all the liquid and will start to smell like you’re about to make the best mustard on the planet.
  2. Add mustard mix to a blender, together with the rest of the ingredients, and blitz until you get a smooth consistency. If you think it’s too thick, add 2 TBSP of water at a time and continue to blend until you get it smooth.
  3. Spoon into jars, leaving no air bubbles if you can, and keep covered in the fridge.
Mustard should keep well in the fridge, for up to few months. Though it’s best to consume it as fresh as possible. Start making those delicious honey&mustard salad dressings!

Preserving Herbs in Salt

Preserving Herbs in Salt

 This method is new for me this year, and I am trying it with shiso leaves and basil. Doing this is very simple: you just make alternating layers in a jar of herbs and coarse salt. Put a thicker layer of salt on the bottom of your jar and at the top, but between each layer of herbs, you just need enough to cover the leaves of the herbs you are using. I’m going to store my jars of salt preserved herbs in the refrigerator, and I plan to use both the herbs and the salt in recipes.

 I imagine that after the herbs have infused in the salt for a while, you could also pulverize them together and use as a seasoning. This is true of the herbal sugars, as well: feel free to blend them up to make sprinkling into recipes easier.

Thanks to Healthy Green Kitchen for the tutorial 

Preserving Herbs in Honey

Preserving Herbs in Honey
Honey is a another wonderful preservative and is great for making tasty preparations that can be used in cooking or as medicines. I keep a large jar of garlic cloves infused in honey in my refrigerator all winter long- when I’m feeling like a cold is coming on, I try eat a clove every hour until I’m feeling better.

 I also like to preserve herbs such as lemon balm and anise hyssop in honey. Above you see an herbal honey that I made by combining these two herbs with some ginger. To make it, I chopped all the herbs fine, placed them in my jar, and then filled it to the top with honey (I prefer to use honey that is raw and local, but any kind is fine). Like the other herbal preparations, you should allow your herbal honey to infuse for 6 weeks or more before you use it. Herbal honeys can be used for their yummy flavor on toast, in tea, or they can be taken by the spoonful as medicines for sore throat and other ailments.

Thanks to Healthy Green Kitchen for the Tutorial


Preserving Herbs in Sugar

Preserving Herbs in Sugar 

Thanks to Healthy Green Kitchen for the tutorial

 I learned about making herbal sugars from Nigella Lawson’s book: How to Be a Domestic Goddess. I have kept rosemary sugar in my cupboard for years: I like to add a teaspoon or so to batches of homemade tomato sauce as well as meat stews. I recently made some with basil in addition to rosemary and I plan to use it the same way.

Other herbs that can be used to make herbal sugars are mint, thyme and sage, as well as lavender. Adding a vanilla bean to a jar of sugar is also a great idea (though I doubt very much you have vanilla beans in your garden). For a subtle herbal touch, you can add just a few sprigs of your preferred herb to a jar containing 2-4 cups of (preferably organic) sugar. Or, if you are looking for more herbal flavor, you can use more of the herbs and bruise and chop them before adding to the sugar. These sugars last for a long time, especially if you are like me and you don’t use sugar all that much.
Sugars made with sweet herbs and edible flowers are also lovely- here is a sugar I made from finely chopped lavender leaves. Like a vanilla sugar, I think it will be nice in tea, or perhaps I will use it to flavor winter porridge or mix it into plain yogurt.

Preserve Herbs IN Vinegar

Preserving Herbs in Vinegar
I also love preserving herbs in vinegar and I make several batches of herbal vinegars every summer. Here is a strawberry lemon balm vinegar I made several weeks ago. To make it, I combined 2 cups of clean, dry, organic strawberries from my garden with 2 cups of lemon balm leaves in a 1 quart jar, and then filled the jar with apple cider vinegar (I use organic unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, but any kind will do).

Besides being easy to prepare and surprisingly tasty, herbal vinegars are also quite nutritious because vinegar extracts minerals, including calcium, magnesium and iron, from the plants you use to make your preparation.
When you make herbal vinegar, there is pretty much no chance of contamination: vinegar is a great preservative and the acidity keeps out any potentially dangerous bacteria. I like to use plastic lids when making herbal vinegars (vinegar can eat away at the underside of the metal ones); if you don’t have a plastic lid, just put a piece of plastic wrap under your metal lid before screwing it on.
After giving your herbal vinegar 4-6 weeks to chill out in a dark place, strain out the herbs (and whatever else you’ve used in there: in this case strawberries- you can eat them but I am not sure you’d want to!) and pour the vinegar back into a glass jar where it will keep pretty much indefinitely (or at least for a year or two). Use anywhere you would use vinegar: in dressings, over cooked greens, etc.

How to Preserve Herbs In Oil

Preserving Herbs in Oil*
Here is an herbal oil I made with calendula (marigold) flowers (I used about 8 in this small 8 oz. jar), the peeled cloves from 1 head of garlic, 1-2 handfuls of fresh basil, and a small hot pepper (omit if you don’t want your herbal oil to be spicy) steeped in olive oil. I love this oil and have made it many times before; sometimes I also add a few sun-dried tomatoes.

To reduce the risk of any mold forming in your oil, make sure your glass jar is very dry before you fill it with your herbs. The herbs you use also need to be very dry: moisture makes it more likely that mold will form. It is also important to make sure your herbs are completely covered by the oil; if not, some mold may form on any herb(s) exposed at the top. If you open your jar and notice that this has happened, discard the top layer of herbs and top off with a little more oil.
Allow to sit for up to 6 week to infuse. After this time, strain out the herbs and transfer your oil to a clean, dry jar. Herbal oils are wonderful in salad dressings, as well as drizzled over pasta, grains or veggies.
*Please note that according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, “Herbs and oils are both low-acid and together could support the growth of the disease-causing Clostridium botulinum bacteria. Oils may be flavored with herbs if they are made up for fresh use, stored in the refrigerator and used within 2 to 3 days. Fresh herbs must be washed well and dried completely before storing in the oil.” I personally have never had a problem preserving herbs in oil the way I described above, but it’s important to keep this warning in mind…Clostridium botulinum is nothing to food around with!

Preserve fresh Basil for up to two years

Imagine the possibilities here.
*fresh basil all year
*infused basil flavored olive oil to use in everything
*perfect for sauces, soups, sandwiches, subs, salads, garlic bread, etc.
*so incredibly good for you

 So here’s how you do it…
You will need 4 things: container, basil, salt, olive oil.
Clean your fresh basil in cold water, and let it air dry well.
Find a clean glass container with a lid.
sprinkle a little salt (I used Kosher) on the bottom of the jar.
Add a little basil.
Add a little olive oil.
Repeat salt, basil, oil.
Repeat salt, basil, oil.
Repeat until your container is full, or your out of basil.
Be sure to press down so to cover all of the basil with oil & salt.
Put the lid on it.
Label your container with the date.

bon app├ętit!
FYI: When you put olive oil in the refrigerator, it solidifies.  No worries, it’s normal.  All you have to do is scoop out the amount  of basil leaves you need with a spoon and allow them to sit in a bowl until it’s room temperature.  Feel free to rinse the leaves in warm water if you prefer less oil.  You may also notice that the basil leaves turn darker in color.  This is also normal.    Be sure to add more olive oil to the container if the leaves aren’t covered.  

This is what mine looked like after I took a little scoop out and let it warm up on the counter for 5 minutes:

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Swedish Meatballs (Ikea style)

Swedish Meatballs (IKEA Copycat)
Makes about 35-40 1" meatballs


  • Meatballs (see notes):
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 1/3 cup white onion, mince (or a couple TBS. of dry minced onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or 2 tsp. pre-minced garlic)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1/2 lb. lean ground pork
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 egg white, beaten
  • Gravy (see notes):
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 2 TBS flour
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (I also added a splash of soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  • Parsley (optional - garnish)

  1. To make the meatballs: Heat the butter, in a skillet, over medium heat. Saute the onion, garlic, allspice, salt, and white pepper, for about 5 minutes, or until garlic and onions are soft. (Using dried minced onions will take less take to cook) Add the milk and Worcestershire sauce to the mixture, and bring to a simmer.
  2. Dump the breadcrumbs in a bowl. Pour the hot skillet mixture over the breadcrumbs and stir together. Add the beef, pork, 1 egg and 1 egg white to the bowl, and mix until combined. 
  3. Spray a sheet pan to grease, and roll the meat into 1 inch balls, and place on a baking sheet. 
  4. Cover your sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate the meatballs for about an hour. (We skipped the chilling step and had no problems.) 
  5. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and bake the meatballs for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through.
  6. To make the gravy: Melt the butter in a skillet and add the flour. Cook for a few minutes while whisking. Pour in the beef broth and Worcestershire sauce, bring to a simmer. Finally, add the heavy cream and the cooked meatballs. Let simmer, until the gravy thickens, about 10 minutes Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Serve with good quality noodles and garnish with parsley.

Scottie Dog pot holder

Potholder No. 7
Art. 690 Lily Cotton Yarn Skeins or
Art. 930 Sugar 'N Cream Yarn Balls
1 skein or ball Rust and
Art. 21 Lily Six Strand Floss
1 skein each; Bright Green and Black.
Crochet Hooks Nos. 0 and 5.
BODY—Starting at tail with Rust and No. 0 hook, ch 26, sk 1 ch, sc in next 9 ch, hdc in next 9 ch, sc in next 7 ch. ROW 2—Ch 1, turn, sc in 9 sts, hdc in next 10 sts, hdc and sc in next st, sc in next 2 sts, sl st in next st. ROW 3—Ch 1, turn, sk sl st, sl st in next 3 sts, ch 2, hdc in next 4 sts, sc in next 16 sts. ROW 4—Ch 2, turn, hdc in 1st 3 sc, sc in next 14 sts, hdc in next 3 sts. ROW 5—Ch 1, turn, sk 1 hdc, sc in next 14 sts. ROWS 6 thru 13—(Ch 1, turn, 14 sc) for 8 rows. ROW 14—Ch 1, turn, 13 sc, 2 sc in end sc. ROWS 15 thru 17—(Ch 1, turn, 15 sc) for 3 rows. ROW 18—Ch 1, turn, 2 sc in 1st sc, sc in next 13 sc, 2 sc in end sc. ROW 19—Ch 1, turn, sk 1 sc, sc in next 15 sc, 2 sc in end sc. ROW 20—Ch 5, turn, sk 1 ch, sc in next 4 ch, sc in next 15 sc, draw up a lp in each of 2 end sc, yarn over and draw thru all 3 lps on hook (a decrease). ROW 21—Ch 1, turn, sk 1 sc, sc in each remaining sc. ROW 22—Ch 1, turn, sc in each sc across with a decrease in 2 end sc. ROW 23—Ch 1, turn, sk 1 sc, sc in next 15 sc, hdc in next 2 sc. ROW 24—Ch 1, turn, sk 1 hdc, sl st in next 6 sts, sc in next 2 sc, hdc in next 7 sc, work 7 sc across ends of rows up to top corner of neck. Head—Ch 1, turn, sc in 7 sc, hdc in next 2 sts, dc in next st. ROW 2—Ch 7, turn, sk 1 ch, sc in next 6 ch, sc in next 10 sts. ROW 3—Ch 1, turn, sc in 14 sts, a decrease in next 2 sc. ROW 4—Ch 1, turn, 15 sc. ROW 5—Ch 1, turn, 14 sc, 2 sc in end sc. ROW 6—Ch 1, turn, 15 sc, 2 sc in end sc. ROW 7—Ch 1, turn, 17 sc. ROW 8—Ch 1, turn, sc in 1st 3 sc, hdc in next 14 sc. ROW 9—Ch 5, turn, sk 1 ch, sc in next ch, hdc in next ch, dc in next 2 ch, sk 2 hdc, sc in next 6 hdc, sl st in next st. Fasten off =, Edge—Join to bottom of back leg and work sc around. Join and fasten off. Repeat from beginning for 2d half, turning work over before working Edge.
EYE—With Black Floss and No. 5 hook, ch 3, 2 hdc in 3d ch from hook. Fasten off. 2d Piece—With Black, ch 12. Fasten off. Fold ch-12 in center around 1st piece and sew on head as illustrated.
NOSE—With Black make 8 long sc around nose, inserting hook into one st in 2d row from edge. Repeat Eye and Nose on 2d piece. With White sewing cotton make a small French Knot on each eye for a high light.
COLLAR—With Green Floss ch 100, sk 1 ch, sc in next ch, hdc in next ch, dc in each ch to 3d from end, hdc in next ch, sl st in end ch. Fasten off.
Steam and press dry each half on back thru a cloth. Line back of each with Green cloth. Sew 2 pieces tog. from bottom of neck around head, across back and around to base of tail, leaving legs free. Tie Collar around neck, inserting a bone ring in knot. Tack one end of Collar down on each side of Body.

double needle thread hack

I don’t have a lot of experience with a double needle. If you do, you probably know how great they can be when it comes to making double...