Thursday, February 21, 2008

Goats are grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat!

Since I went to yarn school this past September I've been really interested in goats. Well, to be honest, my interest started before then. I love goats cheese of several varieties (I am a little Greek girl after all.) But at yarn school I met some lovely pygora goats (a pygmy/angora cross) from Laura's Pygoras and learned that my friend Sarah (who was one of the instructors at yarn school) also has these cute little guys. Marissa and I are also doing a fiber CSA through Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm and I can't wait to see the mohair we're going to get for our spinning projects.

So I've decided that the next place Hubs and I move to has to have a little land because we are GETTING GOATS! I would like a small dairy herd and a fiber herd. But as most of you know, my loyal readers, I am not exactly well versed in the farming arts. Currently I am reading this, but that doesn't give me hands on training....So I asked my friend Kris (who works at my University) if I could spend some time on her dairy goat farm. She was very enthusiastic. Last Saturday was my first day on the farm. I learned a lot and had the opportunity to be there as two little doelings came into the world. I can't wait to go back.

The Girls Laying in the Hay

Miracle the Mama and Her Two Kids

Miranda and Mike Take a Snooze

Fidget (Mama) Welcomes Gidget and DellaMae into the World

DellaMae Is Up on All Fours

Chiffon and Rayon Say "Welcome" to Fidget's Girls

Briana the Guard Dog in Training Loves a Pet or Two

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pasta! Patsa!

Making fresh pasta is one of my favorite dinners because it is so simple but so delicious! I went through several recipes before finding one that I feel really makes the best, most elastic, most authentic dough. Believe it or not, I did not find this recipe in a cookbook but on the back of a package of semolina flour (which is a must, Must, MUST!!!)

In your mixer attach a dough hook.
Combine 1 1/2 cup semolina flour and a generous pinch of kosher salt.
Make a well (I just let the hook stir a few times) and add to the well 2 large eggs, 2 tbsp. olive oil and 1 1/2 tbsp. water.
Turn the mixer on stir and let it do it's job! This should be relatively quick before you have a nice dough all pulled together.
The dough should look like the picture. If it is too dry add a tsp. of water. If it is too wet add a bit more semolina.
Let the dough hook kneed the dough a bit more.

remove the dough and cut into 1/4s. Wrap each in plastic wrap and place in the fridge.


My recipe says to leave it 20 min in the fridge. But in my experience it is much better to leave it at least 5+ hours. I've even left it a few days. This seems to make the dough more elastic and a better finished product.

Roll out the dough with a pasta machine. I like to roll my dough out until the penultimate setting (no. 5 on my machine) Keep the dough in sheets or use the slicing attachment
Crucial step: allow the rolled out dough or cut pasta (or formed pasta if your making something like ravioli or bow-ties, etc) to dry for 30 minutes. I use a handy-dandy pasta drier.

Boil your pasta in salted H2O. It should cook in under 4 min. Best when al dente.
Here are some bow-ties in pesto.

Here is some tagliatelle in a marinara.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The great outdoors

The weather this weekend was so wonderful! We spent a lot of time outside and did some things to get ready for our garden this summer. I cleared away some vines and plants that were growing along the fence where we are going to plant. We are going to use the Square Foot gardening method and thus some plants will be growing up the fence.

This is the composting area. The left side is dedicated to yard waste and the right side is from our bokashi system! I can't say enough good things about the bokashi method of composting. It uses bacteria to ferment waste products. After a two week period in an air tight bucket it goes into the "ground" (now our compost zone, previously we put it in pots and covered it with dirt) for an additional two weeks and presto-chango you have wonderful compost to use in the garden.

When I was a little girl, I tried to make a solar oven (with a overturned metal pot and clay pot) to make my mom a birthday cake. This was not a bad idea as we lived in California and the sun was very strong, but California also has many ants which were soon drowning in my flour, egg and of all things maple syrup batter. Recently Hubs has purchased a "Sun Oven!" So we decided to test it out. This thing became very hot very fast (within a 1/2 hour) and reached temps as high as 325 F! I was quite impressed as this was a sunny but cool winter day. I can only wait for summer when it's much hotter and the sun is much stronger. Our potatoes were not entirely cooked after 2 hours, but they were cooked.

After my last post I decided I had to finish the yarns. Some are here on Hub's head. He's really too cute isn't he?

Also I received some Jacob's Wool from Hub's (and I guess now my) friend Michelle. I hope that I can repay her generosity soon! (And visit her farmlette.) (Oh and p.s., I cast on for the Hourglass Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts this weekend too! More on that to come.)