Peace & Dinner Rolls

Ahhhhhh….. sweet relief.

I fucking love quarantine and unemployment doesn’t suck, either. Losing my health insurance in the midst of a global pandemic isn’t very exciting, but there are far greater problems in the world and it was the first time I’d ever had it- so c’est la vie.

The Dumpling and I have settled into an easy routine. Our days begin around 9 when she climbs into my bed to cuddle. The favorite cat; Dazzle, loves to snuggle in the mornings and you can hear her purr her way from the living room to the tiny space between us. Gone are the stress-filled mornings of me yelling “WE HAVE TO GET IN THE CAR, NOW!” and in its place is a lovely bunch of peace.

Life has calmed the hell down and I’m living for it.

It turns out, two cups of coffee is what I need to get shit done and a few bites of scrambled eggs each morning are helping me overcome the aversion to the little chicken embryos. I still prefer them as a light coating on a veggie stir-fry, but I’m trying.

img_8270My seeds have started to sprout in the greenhouse and I had a lovely chartreuse pop of baby blue curled kale peeking up at me this morning. The shallots are doing their usual crazy root explosion and my gardenia is setting three buds instead of one on each branch. Spring is still coming, in the midst of all this chaos. img_8268

I could have sworn today was Tuesday, but no! I just went to check how much longer my bread needs to rise and it’s Wednesday! Surprise! I can’t remember the last time I lost track of the days of the week, not to mention spent a few in a row in my pajamas. All my clothes are clean and every last bra is washed and hung- with no intention of putting one on. This is bliss, y’all. Pure, unadulterated BLISS.

Since I’ve realized I’m on the wrong day of my domestic plan, I have a snoozy little afternoon full of folding linens, changing sheets and watching the Tiger King live his best life.

I’ve perfected my dinner rolls and finally remembered to write down amounts and take pictures, so here you go! Wash your hands, bake some bread, enjoy your jammies and STAY THE FUCK AT HOME. ♥

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Jenni’s Bomb Dinner Rolls (or bread if you like slices)

  • 2 cups of water ( fairly hot- I like about 110*F)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of yeast
  • 1 1/2 salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 cups of flour. I prefer half bread flour and half unbleached wheat flour but play around and find your favorite.

Combine the hot water, sugar and honey. Stir to combine and add the yeast. Let it sit for 10 minutes. img_8232

In the bowl of your mixer, combine 1 cup of flour, salt and olive oil. Mix thoroughly and add the liquids. Add one cup of flour at a time until it is pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Knead on medium speed in the mixer for 5 minutes or do it the hard way (by hand) for about 10 minutes, it’s up to you.

I am obsessed with my Instant Pot for how well it proofs dough. If you don’t have one, go buy one right now. You genuinely need it. img_8235

Spray the inside of your Instant Pot with non-stick spray and plop your dough in there. Set it to Yogurt setting on low, and set the time to 60 minutes.

Prepare to be amazed. Also clean up your mess- you’ll be lazily eating rolls soon and you won’t want to do it after the gluten coma hits. img_8239

After an hour, open your magical countertop time machine and fall in love with it all over again. Punch that beautiful dough down and dump it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for about a minute, then shape into two loaves or two dozen rolls.

60697291656__b97711e7-0dfd-4cf4-ba39-14798444e351Let rise for about a half hour or until doubled in size. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes!

Mmmm…. They’re delicious! Enjoy! img_8242

 

 

 

 


Clam Bait

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I- I don’t like soup. I like chowder. Clam chowder, corn chowder, etc… NOT soup.

J- You’re splitting hairs. If you put it in a bowl and eat it with a spoon, it’s soup. Call it what you want, but it’s still soup.

I- Negative. I’ve never had clam soup. Never had corn soup. That’s chowder. Never had bean soup either… that’s chili.

J- I’ve actually never made clam chowder.

He looks appalled and I’m a little surprised at myself too. I don’t know why? I guess I just never tried? I love it and I’m inspired, so I started looking for a recipe.

Bonus points if it’s written for the Instant Pot because I LOVE my magical counter top time machine.

I liked parts of each recipe I found but not the entirety… so here’s mine:

Miss Jenni’s Clam Chowder

6 pieces of thick cut bacon, chopped.

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Brown the bacon until the fat is rendered but not crispy, stirring frequently. A non-stick pan is great for this step since bacon burns quickly in the instant pot.

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Add 6 Tbsp butter, 2 cups of diced onion, 2 cups of chopped celery and 6 sprigs of fresh thyme. Cook until the pan deglazes and the onion starts to turn translucent. Transfer to the Instant Pot.

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Add 4 cloves of finely diced garlic, 2 tsp kosher salt, 2 tsp freshly ground pepper and 1 tsp of smoked paprika. Stir to combine.

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Add 5 cups of cubed Yukon Gold potatoes, the liquid from 6 cans of chopped clams, 2 additional 8 oz. bottles of clam juice and 2 Tbsp of fish sauce.

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Put the lid on your Instant Pot and set for 4 minutes on manual. Let it NPR for 2 minutes when it finishes, then do a QPR and remove the lid.

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Pull the thyme stems out… nobody ever won a man over with sticks.

Add a quart of half and half and the chopped clams. Stir, being careful not to bring to a boil.

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(Text him to clarify that live clams don’t scream… he assures me they don’t… so….)

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Dump 2 pounds of live clams into the creamy concoction. Go big or go home when you’re trying to put something delicious in his mouth. Thicken with clear gel or crush half the potatoes- it’s up to you. I did both.

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Serve with crusty sourdough since we’re eating feelings here and there are a lot to soak up.

Mmmmm…. It’s been years since I was inspired enough to make a big pot of bait. Incidentally, the last recipe I wrote for a man made me a blistering fortune at the farmer’s market and I didn’t like that guy a fraction of as much as I love this one so I can guarantee you this is delicious.

I don’t fuck around in an apron. 🙂


Fermented obsession

The thing about having a garden and being moderately OCD is that I grow things I don’t eat, purely for color and shape. I end up with a lot of shallots, cabbage, beets, and so on…

Some of it takes up a huge amount of space after you have harvested the garden for frost. 8 cabbages, for instance. I was trying to juggle other groceries in amongst the giant purple and green orbs, and it was damn inconvenient.

At the last farmer’s market of the year, I bought a jar of beet balsamic sauerkraut.

Not only is it delicious, but it gave me something to do with all that cabbage.

Here’s a recipe:

https://therealfoodrds.com/how-to-make-sauerkraut/

I used regular mason jar lids and burped them every day.

I leave a few inches at the top and flip the jars. It’s worked wonderfully and I haven’t had any issues with anything being out of the brine.

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I’ve had the best luck quartering a whole cabbage and slicing it thinly with my mandoline. Sprinkle with sea salt and squeeze the cabbage to massage the liquids out of the cabbage. Pack tightly into a mason jar (I prefer a half gallon). You can add thinly sliced beets (Paper thin or they’re crunchy strange) and I’m trying watermelon radish for the first time. So far I’ve loved all of it and had to buy some this week because we ate it too quickly last week!

I’ve internalized a lot of my stress this year…  to the point I ended up with bleeding ulcers. I’ve had to learn to speak up and I had to give up coffee. I’ve been able to drink it again after adding this delicious fermented delight to my diet.

It’s supposed to relieve stress and help with gut health. Make some with me! 😂


Not so festive.

I used to love Christmas. I was one of those annoying over-bakers and made all my gifts. I started sewing in July and my children always wore matching, homemade flannel pajamas to sleep on Christmas Eve. 

Gingerbread houses, homemade marshmallows in three flavors, chocolate dipped everything while carols played from thanksgiving to Christmas. It was my favorite time of year. Then my son left, and it’s been difficult, since. Holidays change when you’re missing someone you love. Everything does, really… but especially the days that you’re supposed to be filled with joy and love. 

I am pushing through my reluctance and exhaustion to get it done for the Dumpling. She deserves the same holiday magic her siblings had, but some things have had to shift. The jammies and gingerbread house are store bought because I’m not a stay at home mom anymore and have had to let some things go. 

I’m working crazy hours, into the weekends… and haven’t even started shopping yet. I sort of love leaving it until the last minute and I’m enjoying not stressing about it. Ish.

But I’m a slave to that motherfucking Elf on a shelf. I hate it so much that I wish our dog chewed things up because I’d leave Hallie on the floor in a bowl of dog treats. If the damn thing doesn’t move,  it means your child was naughty and devastation ensues. (Whoever thought this up really hated their parents) I have moved the damn thing on the fly so many times, it’s a miracle I haven’t been caught. Also, to hell with all of you who make your elf do spectacular shit. Chill out. You’re making my lazy, relocating elf, look bad.

I have high hopes for the baking today. I bought all the stuff. I got out the aprons. The kitchen is clean. The Dumpling has a Christmas playlist picked out and it’s going to be a magical day of doing the stuff that makes Christmas feel a little more recognizable to me. I’m trying to find the happy, and that’s the best you can do when you’re just not. 

My gift to you: our family sugar cookie recipe. They are the very best. ♥

Grandma Afton’s Sour Cream Sugar Cookies 

425*  for 8-10 minutes or until lightly brown.

  • 1/4 c Shortening
  • 1/4 c Butter
  • 1 c Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 2/3 c Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/2 c Sour Cream

Preheat oven to 425*. Mix shortening, butter, sugar, egg and vanilla thoroughly. Sift flour and blend dry ingredients into a separate bowl. Add to sugar mixture alternately with sour cream until combined. Divide dough, roll out to 1/4″ thick on well floured surface and cut with cookie cutters. Place on greased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. (Omit sprinkling with sugar if you intend to frost them)

Bake 8-10 minutes or until the edges lightly brown. These are MUCH better under than over cooked.


Jenni’s Heirloom Marinara

The funny thing about being a gardener is that the vegetables don’t care how you feel. When they’re ripe, it’s time to can them or throw all your hard work away. It was a horrible year for my garden, so I am a slave to canning any and everything as soon as it’s ripe.

Yesterday, it was the marinara I’ve perfected after 20 years and I’m going to share the recipe with you in the hopes you will enjoy it as much as we do.

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Also it means I won’t lose my recipe again. 🙂

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Enjoy ♥