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51  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Fig Preserves and Goat Cheese on: September 05, 2013 10:47:26 AM
Goat cheese and figs are a classic pairing.  I was gifted some beautiful fresh figs a few days ago and decided to preserve them so we can enjoy them with our homemade chevre and crackers over the next few months. 
This recipe was adapted from the Ball Book of Home Preserving. You'll need:
8 cups of figs
4 cups water
2 2/3 cups sugar
1 lemon sliced thinly and deseeded.



Here's what we were gifted, aren't they gorgeous?



The first step is to pour boiling water over them to cover and let them sit for 15 minutes.  After that, drain and rinse them.



Bring the water, sugar and lemon slices to a boil.  Hold at a boil for 10 minutes then discard the lemon slices.



Working in batches, boil the figs in the syrup in a single layer for 15 minutes. 


 
See how they shrivel up after boiling?  When the entire batch is done, pour the syrup on the figs, cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature over night.



The next day bring the fig mixture to a boil again.



Process them in sterilized jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes per standard canning instructions.  They will also be terrific on biscuits, and to fancy up cocktails.  Fig Manhattan anyone?   Grin

52  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Sideshow - Two Headed Pig on: August 01, 2013 02:58:48 PM
My partner for the Sideshow Swap, coocoosnest noted that she likes conjoined, creepy and disturbing things.  My kinda gal!  After much research and consideration, I figured she would enjoy a two headed fetal pig in a jar.  I mean, who wouldn't?   Cheesy 

The banner is printed on cloth, and strung between poles made from candlesticks and chopsticks.  The base is the top of a cigar box. 






The pig is made from polymer clay, suspended in a pimento jar (I do love to make pimento cheese).  I was able to find lots of reference photos for the specimen online. 



The only thing I didn't have in my stash was the light, which I picked up at Michaels in the floral department.

53  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Ornithologist's Curiosity Cabinet on: July 28, 2013 04:49:54 AM
For the recent bird swap, I was inspired to make a curiosity cabinet for my partner goatgoddess.  I blame my inspiration on the oddity research I've been doing for the side show swap!   Cheesy



My favorite part is in the tiny bottle in the lower right of the cabinet.  It's a hummingbird feather that we found in our greenhouse.  The little acorn nest is holding beauty berry seeds from our garden.The bird skull is made from poly clay.


 
This was truly a fun project to make.   Smiley



54  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Second Quarter 2013 Featured Cooking Projects on: July 04, 2013 11:49:23 AM
2Q2013 Featured Cooking Projects

I Don't Care That It's Your Birthday by pottermouth    




Decorated Rolled Cake by patty_o_furniture    




40th Birthday Fairytale cake by P_E_S_T    




Lasagna that your wallet AND your friends will love (even the carnivores) by batgirl    




APPLE CHIPS! *with tute!* by pollyprissypants    




Crockpot Guinness Stew by kjlutz    



55  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Craftster's 10th Anniversary Cross Category Challenge! Cooking Winner Announced! on: June 24, 2013 04:16:17 PM
Craftster's 10th Anniversary Cross-Category Challenge


Craftster is turning 10!! That's right, August marks 10 years of running with scissors all over the internet! In honor of this momentous time, we're hosting a cross-category challenge! Every category will have the same challenge with the same entry times. The 10 category winners with the most votes will be put head-to-head-to-head-to... you get it.... for a GRAND PRIZE PACKAGE!!!

The theme for this challenge is "What Craftster means to me." Now, don't be scared of this theme! Craftster is made by YOU, Craftster can mean different things to different people so whatever it means to you, that's great!! Still unsure it's as easy as I say? Here's some examples that are just the tip of the iceberg!

  • "To me, Craftster means trying new things! Here's a project featuring a technique I've never tried before!"
  • "To me, Craftster means tutorials! Here's a project I made from a tutorial I found on the boards."
  • "To me, Craftster means swapping! Here's a project I'm sending in a swap."
  • "To me, Craftster means a community where I can show off my geekiness! Here's a project that relates to this thing I'm interested in!"

See? Not so bad, eh? Seriously, as long as you can describe why you feel your project reflects something Craftster represents to you, then you're good!

Rules and Suggestions:
  • You may enter in as many categories as you like, but you may only enter a project once. So if you wanted to enter in three categories, you would need to have made three projects!
  • Your project must have been made between June 24th and the time of posting. Your entry should not have been posted on Craftster previously (ie not something you made and posted years ago!)
  • If using a pattern or tutorial, please let us know.
  • You can begin crafting at any time but remember to post your thread in this board from August 7th through August 13th at 11:59:59 PDT. Voting for each category will be open August 14th to August 21st.
  • Although there will be 20 category winners, only the 10 winners with the most votes will go on to a grand prize round! Voting for this will be August 23rd to August 30th, with the grand prize winner being formally announced September 3rd!

Prizes:
The winner in each category will receive a Craftster pin, and a Craftster USB card. We also have some super secret, super special prizes we're working on nailing down RIGHT NOW! Stay tuned for more awesomeness!


PLUS!
The winner in the Cooking category will receive both The Catch: Sea-to-Table Recipes, Stories & Secrets by Ben Sargent and Peter Kaminsky AND Fifty Shades of Chicken: A Parody in a Cookbook by F.L. Fowler
     
Quote
These 100 recipes will teach you how to stuff, grill, saut, fry, roast, smoke, bake, and fillet to perfection, from classic preparations for salmon, shrimp, and clams to chowders using snakehead and blackfish.

Showcasing Bens signature lobster rolls (for which people journey many oceans), The Catch also features recipes such as Catfish Sandwich with Dill Rmoulade & Sliced Jalapeos (a recipe Ben made from his first catch); Mahi Ceviche with Grapefruit, Toasted Coconut & Roasted Peanuts (inspired by the flavors of Central America); Striped Bass Chowder with Broccoli Rabe Pesto (which makes enough to share with friends); Oyster Pan Roast with Garlic Butter Toasts (the perfect dish for two); and Flounder in Grape Leaves (grilled whole over an open fire).
                                                     
Quote
Dripping Thighs, Sticky Chicken Fingers, Vanilla Chicken, Chicken with a Lardon, Bacon-Bound Wings, Spatchcock Chicken, Learning-to-Truss-You Chicken, Holy Hell Wings, Mustard-Spanked Chicken, and more, more, more!
 
Fifty chicken recipes, each more seductive than the last, in a book that makes every dinner a turn-on.  
                                                                   
56  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Pottery, Ceramics, etc: Completed Projects / Bumpy Doodles Glaze on: June 22, 2013 07:48:26 AM
This was my first go at trying Gare Bumpy Doodles glazes.  They're kind of like dimensional fabric paint for pottery and come in a similar applicator.  I'll be playing with them again.   Smiley The piece is wheel thrown and fired to cone 4. 

57  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Potting Bench Transformed Into A Party Bar on: June 06, 2013 05:55:34 AM
We purchased this potting bench at a really nice discount.  It has a slight blemish and was the last one in stock.  It's the perfect setting for an outdoor bar with just a few upgrades. 

We added a bottle opener which we've had sitting in our junk drawer for like forever.  A bathroom towel bar purchased on clearance was added to the front of the bench.  The hooks hold an ice scoop, wine opener and wine charms. 

The bench has a reservoir for potting soil that we could use for ice and drinks but we decided to use a galvanized tub for that purpose and use the entire bench surface for pouring wine, mixing drinks, etc. 



58  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / Tablecloth Weights on: June 02, 2013 05:17:23 AM
It's really windy where we live so I knew I needed to find a solution to keep our tablecloths in place.  After a stop at the auto supply store for alligator clips and the sporting goods store for fishing weights, I got out my jewelry making supplies and fashioned some tablecloth weights.  Besides the clip and the weight, I used a head pin (like the ones you use to make dangly earrings) and two beads.  They worked great!  I need to make another set for our bistro table. 


I made the tablecloth, too, from some heavy weight cotton I got at JoAnn's for half off. 
59  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / Deck Do-Over on: May 28, 2013 08:39:11 AM
Something that's been on our to-do list ever since we purchased the farm is to redo the back deck, and we finally got it done!  For the longest time, we didn't have a clue what we wanted.  We felt the slope of the back yard really limited our options.  We finally got out a measuring tape and figured out how far back it could be pushed out then drew up some plans.


Here's a before shot.  It was an oddly shaped eyesore, too narrow to comfortably sit at our outdoor dining table.  The handrails were a mess of peeling white paint and the floorboards were starting to curl and come unattached in places.


Here's day one of construction.  We hired a contractor for the heavy work but my husband and I did the entire demolition of the old deck. 


Here's a shot under the new roofline.  We're still playing around with furniture placement so it doesn't look like the garden section of a Home Depot. 


We got the little bistro set on sale.  My husband is going to run electricity out there and install two ceiling fans and some galvanized metal pendant lights we have on order.  He also plans to put a handrail around the spa and build a few planters and benches out there.


We've had every single meal out there since it was finished.  I'm so happy it was finished in the spring so we can enjoy it all summer.  I can't believe it took us so long to figure out what we wanted and am so happy it's finally done!







60  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / From Pasture to Table - Goat Cheese on: April 25, 2013 05:11:34 AM
A few people have asked me about making chevre so I thought I'd do a quick post about it.  I just started milking two of our Nubian/Alpine mix dairy goats for the season.  Here's Hermione on the milking stand.  They had (adorable) kids a few months ago who are almost weaned.  Daily milking keeps their milk coming. 



The recipe I use calls for a gallon of pasteurized milk (that's a process that I do ahead of time). 



The pasteurized milk is heated to 75 degrees and powdered cheese culture is added.  After mixing the culture in really well, rennet is added.   Both culture and rennet are available from a cheesemaking supplier. 



The cultured milk comes off of the heat and sits a few hours until a nice curd forms, one that you can cut with a knife.



I cut the curd and ladle it into chevre molds.  These are basically plastic cups with holes drilled into the sides which allows the whey to drain off overnight.



The next morning, the whey is gone and you're left with cheese!  These rounds get salted then stored in the fridge.



It's immediately ready to serve in oh so many ways. 



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