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61  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Edward Gorey Mug Rug on: April 17, 2013 09:46:25 AM
I made this mug rug as a tribute to the Ghashleycrumb Tinies for Wulf in the Completely Ghastly Edward Gorey swap.  The fabric is from Alexander Henry's Ghastlies line. 

62  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Edward Gorey Block on: April 17, 2013 09:38:25 AM
I decorated a little wooden block for the fabulous Wulf in the Edward Gorey swap.  It's about 2 inches tall with bead feet and features some of his iconic artwork.







63  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Risotto on: April 12, 2013 04:52:31 AM
Risotto is one of my family's favorite things.  Any time I have leftover broccoli, peas or especially asparagus in the fridge, we have risotto the next night.  Unlike long grain rice (which is steamed), risotto is cooked without the lid on the pan.  It takes about 25 minutes of cooking time total which is why I always yell at the TV when a chef attempts making risotto on 'Chopped'!



There are just a few ingredients; arborio rice, broth, white wine, olive oil, parmesan cheese and vegetables.  That is leftover grilled asparagus.  I forgot to include garlic in the photo but it's in there, too.  You could also include shallot or onion if you like. 
The rice to broth ratio is 1 to 3.  If you want a large family sized bowl of risotto, you'll need one cup of rice to three cups of broth for this recipe.  This recipe is very easily scaled down if you want to make less, just keep the 1 to 3 ratio.



I crush a few cloves of garlic and saute it in olive oil.  Once the garlic starts to soften, I add in the rice and give it a good stir.


Splash in some white wine and stir it around for a few minutes. 


Add your first cup of broth.  Stir occasionally until the rice absorbs a lot of the broth. 


You'll know it's ready for the next cup of broth when you see the grains of rice plump up (see below). 

Repeat this process.  Add the second cup of broth, stir occasionally until you see the grains of rice plumped up again.


Here it is with the third and final cup of broth added to the pan.  If you don't have leftover vegetables in the fridge, you can certainly cook them with the rice at this point.  Just dice them and toss them in.


When you can see the plumped up rice grains again, test them for doneness. Just take a bite, the grains should not be firm or crunchy inside. 


When you are satisfied with the doneness, toss in the leftover vegetables, 1/4 cup or more of parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper.  This is one of my best go-to recipes, I hope you'll give it a try!
64  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Make Your Own Cheese (You Can Do It!) on: April 03, 2013 08:04:52 AM
We have a small herd of dairy goats which allows me to make feta and goat cheese in my kitchen every week.  I occasionally purchase cow's milk from the store to make camembert, caierphilly, cheddar and romano.  What got me started in cheesemaking years ago was mozzarella.  It's simple, quick and doesn't required a lot of expensive fancy equipment.  Let's get started!


You'll need a big spoon, a kitchen thermometer (WalMart carries a basic model for about $5), salt, rennet, citric acid (more about those in a minute) and a gallon of whole milk.  Don't buy anything other than whole milk or you will end up with less cheese.  It's important not to buy 'ultrapasteurized' milk, so make sure you check the label.  From my personal experience, I never purchase a large chain's home brand. I'm not sure but believe they may pasteurize to a higher temperature to extend shelf life.  What you end up with instead of mozzarella is something the consistency of ricotta.  Not a tragedy, but not what you were expecting. 


You can get either veal or vegetable rennet by mail (I use www.dairyconnection.com), BUT I have seen rennet tablets for sale at Fresh Market and Whole Foods, so check the refrigerator section of your local health food store.


I have seen citric acid available lots of places; including online, Indian groceries and those 'weigh your own herb' sections of Whole Foods and health food stores. 


Mix 1.5 teaspoons of citric acid into 1/4 cup of cool unchlorinated water.  Stir this into your cold milk then start heating it on the stove over medium low heat.  Stir occasionally and watch carefully for this mixture to reach 88 degrees F.  Don't worry if the milk starts to curdle.   Smiley

While it's heating, mix 1/4 teaspoon of liquid rennet (or 1/4 rennet tablet) in 1/4 cup of cool unchlorinated water.  Set aside.


Once it reaches 88 degrees, gently stir the rennet mixture into your milk. 


Continue stirring while heating the milk to 100 degrees.  It only takes a few minutes and you'll see curds startiing to form.


When the milk reaches 100 degrees, take your pot off of the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.


Miss Muffet, you've got curds and whey!  You can save the whey for breadmaking or feed it to your dog.  Not all at once though, it can give them diarrhea.  Ask me how I know this.   Roll Eyes


Drain off the whey and put the curds in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave them at full power for 1 minute.


Drain off any whey that has collected and gently knead the cheese with either your hand or a large spoon to distribute the heat evenly throughout the cheese.  Stick it back in the microwave for another 35 seconds.   


Drain off the whey, add 1 teaspoon of salt and knead again.  Pop it back in the microwave for 35 more seconds.


Knead one last time until your cheese is smooth and stretchy.  That's it!


Once it cools, you can slice and serve it with tomatoes and basil drizzled with a little olive oil and black pepper or put it on a homemade pizza.  Your friends and family will be amazed!   Grin
65  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Shrimp and Roasted Tomato Pasta Sauce (with a little help from a friend) on: April 02, 2013 06:44:14 AM

When I saw batgirl's Best of 2011 Oven Roasted Tomatoes and Olive Oil post, I knew I had to make some... actually a lot!  We love tomatoes and grow a ton of them every year.  I can a bit and dry a few, both techniques are very labor intensive.  Oven roasting then freezing them is so easy!
 


I took two bags of frozen roasted plum and cherry tomatoes out of the freezer, along with some dried tomatoes.  After the tomatoes defrosted, used a strainer to drain the liquid off.  This allowed me to control the thickness of the pasta sauce.  I used just the tomatoes at first, then added a bit of the liquid before serving to get the consistency I was looking for. 



While the tomatoes were draining, I peeled and deveined 12 jumbo shrimp and browned a few crushed cloves of garlic in olive oil.  Once browned, I added a cup of red wine and a few dried tomatoes to the pan.



While the sauce was cooking, I added a Tbsp. of both capers and fresh basil.  We grow our own microbasil indoors in the winter.



Pappardelle (pasta nests) only take 5 minutes to cook in boiling salted water. 



At the same time I put the pasta on, I dropped the shrimp in the sauce to cook.  The finished sauce was served on the pasta with grated parmesan cheese.  If you'd like to try this recipe and don't have a stack of frozen roasted tomato packages in your freezer right now no worries.  Just buy some plum tomatoes at the grocery store and roast them. 

It's early spring and our tomato plants are only about 6 inches tall right now, but thanks to batgirl I served a taste of summer for dinner last night!


66  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Completed Projects / 2013 1st Quarter Pottery, Ceramics and Polymer Clay Featured Projects on: March 30, 2013 04:57:08 AM
Thank you for your wonderful contributions to the Pottery, Ceramics and Polymer Clay corner of the Craftster community!  The selection of our Featured Projects were assisted by the Craftster community via the "this rocks" button and they do indeed rock!

Alice in Wonderland(s) Mugs by AMYoung3


A tiny makeup room by Rachelslittlethings


tutorial: creating hollow bead forms using sugar by maxxev


Latest Custom Order "Salty" by StrawberryAnarchy


Harry:) by Yaqulek


Roller Derby Fairy from Down Under by enchantedwhimsies

67   / JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / 2013 Featured Projects for Jewelry and Trinkets on: March 29, 2013 07:09:24 AM
Thank you for your wonderful contributions to the Jewelry and Trinkets corner of the Craftster community!  The selection of our Featured Projects were assisted by the Craftster community via the "this rocks" button and they do indeed rock!

"Waves of Grace" A Freeform Beaded Necklace by CraftyMamaBee


Raccoon Brooch by Miaka


New Fused Glass Designs by Fusedelegance


Beaded Paisley bracelet by calixita


   
Swiveling Satellite Ring
by illegalcreativity


   
Necklace - somewhat picture heavy
by white_lilyblossom

68  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / 2013 Featured More Art, Less Craft Projects on: March 27, 2013 09:45:52 AM
Thank you for your wonderful contributions to the More Art, Less Craft corner of the Craftster community!  Our Featured Projects were chosen by the Craftster community via the "this rocks" button and they do indeed rock!

"Night Sky Animal Set by audio


Polar Bear Trophy Head! He is Stryofoamy! by mezcraft


Fabric Paper Tutorial by PurpleHeather



Little Lamb by Knickertwist


Party Animals Pet Portrait, with tute (of sorts) by rackycoo


"Inheritance" Gouache, marker and ink  by UnRuli


"el fauno y la luna" - watercolor FINALLY DONE  by rjannelle


Finished! 3rd quilled mosaic for collector 'Shannon's Perfect Tree' by littlecircles


69  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / First Quarter 2013 Featured Cooking Projects on: March 15, 2013 06:06:02 PM
1Q2013 Featured Cooking Projects

Thank you for being a friend.... by hippiejo74    




Lemon: the shy snake cake by BoomerBile    




Guinea Pig birthday cake by mrsflibble    




Farmtastic Second Birthday Cake by kjlutz      




English Muffin Stackers by sweets4ever    




Vegan Roasted Mushroom Soup & Sweet Potato Biscuits by jennieingram    




Holy Pozole! by batgirl    




Naan by MissingWillow    






70  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Caravan Craft Storage on: March 14, 2013 12:34:43 PM
I made this dainty little thing for LimeRiot in the Invite Your Partner swap.  I saw one in her pinterest so was pretty sure she'd like it.   Smiley  It's modeled after a food trailer caravan and is intended to be a sewing box, but can be used to hold all kinds of things.  The wheels are spools of thread.



The license plate on the back is a girl scout patch. 


Like it?  You can make your own!  The pattern is from Moda and it's free.  http://www.modabakeshop.com/2012/03/sliced-audition-tutorial-lonely.html
It's listed as 'ambitious'.  Can I get an amen?!
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