Monday, September 14, 2009

Jamfest 2009

My awesome friend Janice graciously volunteered to help me with cooking and canning the strawberry jam that we're going to use for favors at the wedding. Thus Jamfest '09 was born.

The 'jammin begins....

We had two batches going at any time, and once we had done two batches we got down to it; Janice decided on an improvised assembly line and off we went and canned 84 6oz jars of strawberry jam.
Yes, you read that right. 84 jars. My kitchen was COOKING during jamfest. I cannot wait for that electric bill....

"The Jammers"

(I was making my mom a salad for lunch. She was doing hard time with Sean on the walkway outside, and so the very least I could do was to make her lunch. So no, we did not add avocado and mushrooms to the jam....)

The final product turned out good. A few of the jars did not seal all the way, not even after a second hot water bath. Next time, I will do more research to find smooth side canning jars with double lids so that I won't have to worry. On the flipside, all the jars that didn't seal are in my fridge now, begging to be eaten.
Final pictures will be posted once I have the fabulous labels (ordered via Ms Pickles Press on Etsy because Mrs. JP reminded me to not do everything myself!)

Less than 4 weeks left! :-)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

223 pieces of bread

My dear friend came over a few weekends ago, and brought her KitchenAid mixer. It was time to bake bread for the wedding.
I had already decided on a simple recipe for good rolls, that wouldn't require a lot of hand-shaping or kneading for that matter.
I made these rolls a few weekends before for my bridal shower and everyone loved them, so....I'm hoping everyone will love them for the wedding as well!!!

I froze some after the shower and they turned out fine, so hopefully being frozen for 6+ weeks won't hurt them.

Sean was busy outside with our neighbor's digger digging a trench for the flagstone walkway. It's going to look great. Gotta love a man that knows how to operate heavy machinery. :-)

With my Electrolux mixer (30+ years old, and still kicking!) and her KitchenAid, we made a dozen sets of dough. My mixer made 2 to hers making one, so we did pretty well.

The dough looked like little mushrooms rising under the towels.... This dough requires no kneading and after rising, all you do is tip it out onto a surface with some flour on it and cut each set into 12-14 pieces, irregular shape is fine.

We put parmesan cheese on some, some with sesame seeds, some with sea salt and some just plain. Then we baked them for 12 minutes or so, and voila - after at least 8 hours of baking (and cleaning) we had 223 rolls of bread.

Minus the three that I had right out of the oven.
Minus the three that Julie had right out of the oven.
Minus the four that Sean ate coming in from digging the walkway outside.
Minus the two that Kane stole off the dining room table when I wasn't looking. (with cheese of course.)
Minus the five that I let Julie take home with her.

Here's the recipe for wedding rolls:
3 3/4 tsp dry yeast (I use bread machine yeast, if you don't here's a conversion table)
500 ml or 2 cups + 3 tbsp water (body temperature)

100 ml or 1/2 cup of kefir, plain yougurt or milk
2 tsp salt

1 tbsp honey

5 - 5.5 cups all-purpose flour

Mix all ingredients except the flour in a bowl.
Add half of the flour at first and mix until you have a nice shiny dough. Add the rest of the flour.
The dough will be a bit looser than what you may be used to.

Place a towel over the bowl and let it rise at room temperature for 1-2 hours.

Turn your oven on to 425 F.

Pour the dough out onto a surface well dusted with flour. Do Not Knead!!!

Use a sharp knife or dough scraper to cut into 12-15 pieces.
Add toppings if you wish. Toppings tend to stick better if you brush the rolls with a little water first.

Bake them for 14-16 minutes, preferrably with a bowl of water in your oven to get some steam.
Let cool on a wire-rack.
Eat promtply with butter. Yes, butter. The real stuff.

Once they have cooled, you can freeze them if you wish.
Find a friend to bake with. I highly recommend it.

Somewhat of a garden bounty

The happy harvesters.

The kids came over again (see Let's plant potatoes) came back to dig up their potatoes and were sorely disappointed....sadly enough, they only got a few potatoes from their two rows. Our potatoes just did not do well this year.

Luckily the rest of the garden is delivering, so they got to pick green peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, hot peppers and cucumbers. The day was saved! (plus - who doesn't like digging in the dirt? lol)

Hope you were able to share your garden(s) this year!