Mid-winter Bokeh-esque

What is bokeh? Find here and here.

Grapefruit (marmalade)

So while I was meeting some new friends, I also met my first citrus tree. It was a grapefruit tree.

So...naturally we picked some grapefruit ('tis the season for grapefruit, apparently).

Now this all happened the week of Christmas...quite some time ago...what to do with with all of this rapidly-becoming-overripe grapefruit? Can it, of course...

We made grapefruit marmalade (I haven't opened it yet, but I tasted it before canning and it was quite tart...something that I would like on an english muffin, but not to everyone's taste.)

So, without further ado...here's what we did (amounts from the recipe are approx, as we doubled-ish):

Grapefruit Marmalade (adapted from the Ball recipe)
Yield: about 3 half-pints (We canned 8 jelly jars after doubling the recipe)

- 2/3 cup thinly sliced grapefruit peel
(the recipe claims that this is about one medium grapefruit..we didn't find any of the equivalencies to hold true for our grapefruit..it was more like 2 of ours)
- 1 and 1/3 cups chopped grapefruit pulp
(I poured the majority of the juice out and put it in the fridge)
- 1 quart water
- sugar

Here's our peel...ready to go

...and this is our pulp.
I tried to actually remove the membranes as well as I could...messy, juicy work!

Cover grapefruit peel with water; boil 10 minutes; drain. Add chopped (ha! chopped? Have you ever tried to chop the inside of a grapefruit?!) pulp and 1 quart water to drained peel; boil 10 minutes. Cover and let stand for 12 - 18 hours in a cool place. (Ours actually ended up 'sitting' for more like 20-24 hours....) Then cook rapidly until peel is tender (only took us another 5-10 min).

Here's the mixture...tenderizing the peel

Measure fruit and liquid -- add 1 cup sugar for each cup fruit mixture (we doubled the recipe, and I recall had about 6 and a half cups of mixture), stirring until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly to prevent sticking (ours really didn't have a sticking problem--unlike most canned jams/jellies/butters we've made). Cook rapidly until almost to gelling point (I believe gelling point is 120 Fahrenheit--use a candy thermometer)

Skim foam if necessary (it wasn't...). Ladle hot marmalade into hot, sanitized, jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath canner.

**I included more information in an earlier canning post about the process. These are by no means exhaustive or even all-inclusive instructions. If you're not familiar with canning, consult an expert or your local cooperative extension office for safety information.

If you're not comfortable with canning, you can always make a small batch and keep it in the fridge for a week or less (if it even lasts that long--yum).

Ducks in Winter

I've been using photobucket to host images, but recently I've noticed a quality decline.....ie what I upload is not what it looks like on that site or on the blog a week later. In fact, some of the photos have been looking downright bad--pixel-y. So earlier I was using flickr, but I also noticed that some of those images had oddly-declining-quality as well. Bummer.

So for the past few posts I've been going back and using picasa.....World of difference (we'll see if the quality holds). I still need to change out the buttons on the right side of the template (awful and pixely, right?). But I changed out the header image first (because yikes).

Oh, and has anyone used picnik? Very cool. My new favorite website. :-)


On New Year's eve we made ravioli, stuffed with spinach, tomato, and tofu. I don't really have a recipe, since, well...we didn't really follow a recipe. :-) Good reason, right?

I know there are a lot of people lately who have been into the whole making-ravioli-using-pre-made-wonton-wrappers thing (I won't knock it...as I've never had them that way and I'm sure it's faster and easier). But we made the pasta the old fashioned way instead...with a mix of semolina and all-purpose white flour (and egg, of course).

Then comes rolling out the dough...

...and used the pasta machine to roll it thinner...

Simultaneously mixing up the filling:

Then we scored the dough (with a pizza wheel), filled it, folded it over and crimped it with a fork....voila.

And 4 or 5 large bags of homemade ravioli for the freezer. (No, S. can't spell...)

Egg Slow-down

This week, the chickens seem to be slowing down in production...we've been down to 5-a-day for the past few days (even 4 on one day). Of course I may be cursing myself by saying so! :-)

Usually pullets don't slow down much for their first year (no seasonal molt when they're this young)-- but yikes.

New Year's Dinner

Just a few pictures...


A Bit of Green


Just one more...

I couldn't resist just one more post before the holiday season is fully past...

One of my favorite parts of this time of year is getting & decorating a Christmas tree. Everyone who celebrates that tradition has a treasured collection of ornaments, from family...friends...and special occasions. I think that's part of the reason I like Christmas trees so much...I like remembering where each ornament came from...windows into various times and places. (I have a collection of holiday music boxes that I love for the same reason...but maybe I'll write about that next year) Plus ornaments are fun to photograph! S. and I have a tradition of buying an ornament each year -- we started last year with our first Christmas after we were married, and in a new house.

This is our 2008 ornament. A cute li'l owl.

Here's our 2009 ornament: a painted reindeer.


(Today's temp. was about 20 deg. and windy as heck---I'm going to try to keep better track of this since it'll be helpful for garden planning. Today the 175 watt lightbulb wasn't enough to keep the chicken water from freezing. Instead, we put the old brooder bulb in the coop--so we'll see how that works overnight. We brought in the coop waterer to thaw by the woodstove :-) )
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