A place to store and share the things I make.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

We Brew

So it turns out that making beer is essentially just like making tea.  You take a bunch of dried stuff, add it to boiling water, and let it sit till it's good and ready.  Okay, there are a few more steps to the ale-making process, but it is more similar than I would have ever expected.  Graham has brewed a few batches, but this was the first time I got to be a part of it.  We spent a surprisingly sunny afternoon on the back deck brewing a new batch, and then spent today bottling the batch he and my dad made a couple weeks ago.  Below is a quasi-step by step of the process, which is by no means meant to be an instructional tutorial.  Just a photo-documentary of my interpretation of the process.


Going into the pot of water

Boiling.  This was almost as cool as watching the Mud Pots in Yellowstone

After the grains were strained out of the "tea" (technically wort)

Emergency sewing session (so nice to be needed!)

I made a bag for the hops so we could skip the straining

A handful of hops

Adding the yeast

Sitting for a couple weeks
After the second fermentation, ready to be bottled
 After sitting in the fermentation bucket, the beer is poured into this carboy for it's second fermentation.  Shown here is the batch G & Dad brewed up, but I'm going to skip ahead and show the last steps with this brew.  Remember it's the Cold Smoke clone I mentioned earlier...
Siphoning the beer into the sanitized bottles

Getting every last drop.  There was lots of sediment so we ended up with one "chunky" bottle

Capped and ready for aging

The name came pretty quickly.
That's it!  Okay yes, I skipped some details in there, but you can see that it really is almost as simple as boiling some water and adding a bag of tea.  Almost.  The name pays homage both to the original beer as well as the time spent among the true brewers.  Thanks dad and Graham, sorry I wasn't around to bug you with my camera for the original process.  Off to have a pint!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Lucky Me

I have the best husband in the world.  This was waiting for me on the stove when I got home from a rough Friday.  Photos do not do justice to the beauty of these beets.

Lucky me.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Eggplant Parm

I guess sick days = blog days for mandi.  This is my third today.  I give myself a pep talk after every blog I post, saying "I should do this more often" or "I should just blog about one thing" or "I should blog every time I think about it."  But I'm sure I'll continue on with sporadic posts, 3 in one day then none for another 3 weeks.  Again, the artisan in me.  Another recipe:

Sweat beads on the eggplant
Our Misto Mister

Eggplant Parm (I'm sure there are kudos to a multitude of online sources, but tonight this was mostly from my husbands spurts of input while he was writing emails planning an arts event for Imago) (you should really check it out, I'm kind of proud of him, shamelessly so).

eggplant (we only had one tonight, I'm sure 2-3 would be more appropriate)
tomato sauce
mozzarella cheese
olive oil
cornmeal or Panko

Slice the eggplant in thin slices.  I peeled it this time, sometimes we don't but the skin tends to be a little tough.  (By the way, eggplant is my favorite vegetable; I think it is sexy.)  Salt it and let it sit for 30 minutes to sweat out some of its' moisture (it really beaded up!  I guess I've never actually done this myself before, but always known about it).  I mopped up some of the moisture with a paper towel, I'm not sure if this is normal or not but I did.  I then spritzed both sides of each slice with my MISTO olive oil mister (thanks mom! my new favorite kitchen tool!), and dredged in cornmeal.  Bake the slices for 15-20 minutes on a cookie sheet at 350˚.

When the eggplant is done, layer it in a baking dish: eggplant, tomato sauce, mozzarella; layer till it's all in there, and make sure to end with cheese.  Bake at 475˚ for another 15 minutes then broil so the cheese is browned at the end.  Voila!  Tasty vegetarian lasagna, essentially.  Enjoy!

By the way, on the theme of finishing things, I also finished another book today, Picket Line, written by our oh-so-talented friend Breena (who also did the artwork for the PUB linked above).  Dad started and finished it over one pot of coffee while he was here.  It's a graphic novel, so it's a quick read.  Buy it!  Read it!  Support independent art!  Check out her webcomic while you're there, and there's a free soundtrack too.  Like I said, shameless.  Dinner time!

The Farm to Table

Part dos of mom and dad's time in Portland.  Time with loved ones always involves food and drink, no?  We are foodies, and I think one of my goals for this blog, apart from sharing with all you faithful readers (whether you are out there reading or not), is to keep a little archive of our recipes, a box full of index cards that doesn't get smeared with butter and oil.  We find a lot of our recipes online anyway, and print them out then fish them out of a too-stuffed file folder on the shelf.  And here I know exactly where to go to find them.

We cooked in a lot with mom and dad here, which I love.  And we went out a little too.  I'll let recipes and pictures tell the story.  We'll start at The Farm Cafe on Burnside...
Best beet salad in town
Mom was daring with the tofu
Snapper & Acorn squash
Fall vegetable galette...obviously being enjoyed

On the home front...

Roasted Squash Risotto with Chicken Apple Sausage
adapted from Aidells (yeah, the recipe on the package from Costco.  We don't always use Gourmet)

2 cartons low-sodium vegetable broth
2 T butter or olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 links Chicken Apple Sausage (Aidells is pretty good, and we made it again with some from New Seasons that I dare say was a little superior)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine (I prefer Chardonnay, but we made it with a Reisling too)
2 cups roasted squash (butternut, acorn, summer, winter...)
1 tsp fresh rosemary
salt and pepper
Asiago or parmesan

Roast the squash: cut in half, spritz or brush with olive oil then roast in 350˚ oven 45 min or more until soft when stabbed with a fork.  Let it cool before gutting it out.

Place the stock in a large pot on the stove and bring to a simmer.

In a large heavy skillet or big stock pot, over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Stir in the onion and sauté until fragrant. Add the sausage and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes, until the sausage begins to brown slightly. Add the rice and stir to coat with the olive oil. Stir in the wine and one ladle of the stock. Stir until the liquid is almost absorbed. Add the squash and another 2 ladles of stock. Cook, stirring, until almost absorbed. Continue adding stock and stirring until the rice is plump and tender, about 15-20 minutes. Add the herbs and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat. Garnish with Parmesan.

We made some Chebe bread with it too:

Gluten Free Pao de Quejo ~ Cheese Bread
Makes 12 – 1 1/2 inch wide biscuits/rolls
1 1/4 cups tapioca flour/starch
2 cups shredded cheese
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
2 teaspoons herbs (paprika, dill, chili flakes)
2 teaspoons dried chives
  1. Preheat your oven to 450F.
  2. Mix together all ingredients in your mixer well.
  3. Form in to balls (about 1 1/2 inches or 2 inches) and slightly flatten. like what is in the picture… or leave them as puffed balls! You decide!)
  4. Place on parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes or until golden brown

Cross It Off the List

I am a master at starting things.  I took a "quiz" at a convention during grad school and it labeled me as an "Artisan"; it described an Artisan as one with great enthusiasm for new ideas and energy for starting new projects, yet prone to fizzle out and not follow through to the finish.  Make a to-do list but not cross the last thing off.  That describes me pretty well.  Today, I finished some things.  I finished a baby gift which will now be a Christmas gift.  I finished my book club book, Sometimes a Great Notion (if you haven't read this Oregon classic, go check it out!  It's long but a great read).  And I've been starting and finishing dozens of Christmas ornaments.  Yes, I said Christmas.  I'm getting an early start while I'm excited, anticipating the fizzle out come December.   
Bird mobile pattern from Spool Sewing.
The ornaments were hung on the hooks with care...
Now that I've finished the aforementioned projects, I'm ready to start (and continue) on a couple others.  One of my goals is to finish the quilt I started for myself last year on my birthday, by my birthday this year.  Mom and Dad were in town last week and mom and I did a little shop-hopping while Graham and dad did some hops shopping.  There is a bucket of a Cold Smoke replica burping in our basement as we speak (we'll keep you posted on how close they got to the right taste...looking forward to that), and there are piles of fabric waiting to be turned into baby quilts.  And waiting to be cut and sent out to all you Reimers kin for the next heirloom creation.  The gal at Cool Cottons was oh so helpful picking out fabrics for another quilt that has been brewing in the creative spaces in my brain.  Dad was oh so helpful with moving furniture around to rearrange my craft room and the living room, and mom was oh so so helpful sorting out my fabrics by color so they are in nice little piles instead of a heap-in-a-bin!  I feel like my creative juices are flowing a little more freely with an open and cleaned up room though I know Graham is putting money on the day it looks like a bomb exploded in there again.  But for now, I'll keep it clean.

Watch your mailboxes for your very own swatch!
Shelf from Ikea for $35.  It almost fit in the Subaru...
Mini quilt for Dad

Sunday, October 2, 2011

July's Babes

I'm finally getting to our summer babes!  After all that anticipation and visiting friends with growing bellies and stories to tell, July brought 3 new babes into the world (well, 3 in our circle of friends, I should say).  Here are just a few shots of them. Afton & Ruthie were anxious to see the world, so they came a little early and were so itty bitty.  We like to claim them as our own in conversation...they are just too darn precious not to.  And we finally finished our collaborative quilt project for the twins this week!  They are backed in flannel and turned out so stinking soft I almost didn't want to give them up.  We hand tied them (thanks girls!) and they came together so perfect.  Enjoy some baby drooling!

A few days old in the NICU
2 weeks old wearing the onesie I made.  Not sure which this is...Ruthie maybe?

The finished quilts! 

Ruthie is glad her sister won't steal hers.

Look how big they are!  11 weeks here and their first trip to "Uncle & Auntie's" house

 We finally got to meet Juniper down in Eugene last week, and she has already gotten so big!  It's such a contrast to go from the twins to her, both in size and personality.  She is so smiley and giggly!  Her nursery is covered in bike stuff, so the pink fabric was a perfect fit (duh, that's why I picked it).  I haven't finished one of the projects I started for her way back in March, but by golly, Christmas is-a-comin'. 
Burp cloths