Saturday, November 25, 2006

Cranberry-Orange Bread Pudding

King Arthur Whole Grain Baking
Page 119

Made several changes to the recipe but it was really good and the children loved it! It made a nice creamy/moist dessert after a dinner of the leftover wild rice and sausage with chopped turkey. It was not overly sweet and I think it will be fine to serve to the children for breakfast in the morning.

  1. Used 3 c whole milk and 1 cup heavy cream since I had no half-and-half.
  2. Used succanat instead of brown sugar.
  3. Lost the bottle of vanilla extract (How is that possible I ask?!), so I squeezed a bit of vanilla seed out of one of the beans I have soaking in vodka.
  4. For bread, I used the leftover rolls and loaf bread from Thanksgiving. There were lots of nuts and dried raisins and cranberries so I didn't add the cranberries called for in the recipe.
  5. I think it would have been good with just milk and then use the cream over the top when served...more bang for your calorie buck!
  6. I think some coarse sugar sprinkled on top would have added a nice crunch.

End of the Season

I have only one rose bush left. It's in a pot on the back patio. This was the last rose of the year from my little bush. I love old fashioned roses.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Lard and Cracklings

Well, last week I decided that with Thanksgiving coming, I had to learn how to render lard. I had this HUGE box of fat and skin from the last hog we bought. It was taking up a large space in the freezer and I needed room. I had this idea that the kitchen would be full of grease and that the entire house would smell for days. I had visions of getting burned and that somehow the entire process would be difficult. Boy was I wrong!


  1. The lower, the slower, the better...seriously. It took about 8 hours and I think I could have gone even slower. I cooked it on my back left burner. Next time, I should use my back right burner with the ultra-low simmer.
  2. This was the best starting place on how to do it At the last minute I decided to skip the step of putting it in water, chilling it overnight, then melting it and jaring it. Instead, I removed as many of the cracklings as I could and set them to drain. I let the lard cool in the pan for about an hour and then drained it through a flour sack towel. It looked completely clear so I decided to jar it up. If it had particles I could always remelt it and then take the other steps. Turns out it was perfectly clear and creamy white when it cooled.
  3. It was not hard! There was very little splashing. I used my largest stock pot which is 3 gallons and used about 10# of fat and skin. I was able to get 4 quarts of lard and 3 large plates full of cracklings. There was very little smell. Overall, a great experience.


I came across a deal a couple of weeks ago on vanilla beans. I never thought I would be able to afford to make a large batch of vanilla extract, but I have always wanted to try.


I used Absolut Vodka and 28 vanilla beans. I am shaking it every few days and after a week it already has a strong vanilla flavor. I am thinking it will be about 8 weeks or more before it will be close to being ready. I would not be suprised if it takes much longer.

The County Fair

I usually enter the local fair but usually only one or two items. This year I entered 8 out of the 9 categories and did very well with the judges.


Fruit-Whole Cranberry Sauce (2nd)
Vegetable-Boston Baked Beans
Jam-Carrot Cake Jam (1st)
Jelly-Red Pepper Jelly (1st)
Preserves-Apple with Lemon Preserves (3rd)
Butter-Carmel Spice Pear Butter (1st)
Pickles-Pineapple Pickles (2nd)
Relish-Dill Relish (1st and overall Sweepstakes Award for outstanding canning)

This canning season was one of my very best. I learned a lot of new things and tried things that I have never done before. I had some big mistakes and some great successes. I love the fair and I am so glad that I was able to get my friend Cynthia to enter. Next year we will both enter all of the categories. Next year I will also find some one else to enter and I have challenged Cynthia to do the same. It's sad how few people know how to do these things in the kitchen anymore. I love that I have been able to put locally grown wholesome food in the pantry for my family.


Yesterday was Thanksgiving. Ralph and I both had to work but we had a beautiful dinner and friends over. Alexander got sick mid-afternoon and slept through the meal.


Herbed Maple and Honey Roast Turkey with Pan Gravy
Sweet Potatoes Baked in the Jacket
Whole Cranberry Orange Sauce with Grand Marnier
Roasted Carrots, Parsnips, and Brussel Sprouts
Wild Rice with Sausage and Vegetables
Fruits of the Earth Bread
Pull Apart Cranberry-Pecan Buns
Golden Pumpkin Pie
Cranberry-Apricot Surprise Pie
Fresh Whipped Cream

Oh, and there was a Mixed Greens Salad with Pears, Toasted Walnuts and Gorganzola then tossed with an Orange Vinegrette.


  1. Love, love, love the brine,1977,FOOD_9936_25005,00.html The only problem is that is is VERY expensive to make a double batch for a large turkey. I have one turkey left to cut up and freeze. I think I will use the left over brine to soak the other turkey in parts and then freeze prior to cooking. If it doesn't work well then it will still be good for soup.
  2. The 2 pie and both breads came from my new favorite cookbook I was a little heavy handed when adding the almond extract in the Cran-Apricot Pie, otherwise all 4 recipes were excellent. The stars were the pie crusts in my opinion, both were fabulous.
  3. I made the Wild Rice recipe up while in the kitchen. I didn't account for the water in the veggies when I cooked the rice so it was a bit "soupy". I had an extra box of rice and added it and cooked it for about anther 30 minutes. As it turned out there was a very pleasing combination of textures. One of those flops that you rescue and they turn out really well!!
  4. I used a Merlot in the gravy and it was good but the Madeira would have been better.
  5. This year was about not doing a lot of the same ole, same ole. It was nice and I didn't miss any of my Mom's old heavy casseroles...well, yeah, I did miss the Frosted Cranberry Squares... :)
  6. When I made Turkey Stock a few days ago, I forgot to add the extra necks and it really does affect the quality of the stock.
  7. Pastured birds cook really fast! I thought last year was a fluke, but it happened again this year. 26 pounds and it was done perfect in 2 hours and 15 minutes. If I had not used a continuous read thermometer it would have been dreadfully overcooked. Thankfully, it was perfect!