Rhythm of the Home

Just a quickie: I'm excited to tell you that I have a little piece in the winter edition of Rhythm of the Home. If you aren't familiar with it, it's a wonderful, seasonal resource for family crafts and activities. Check it out!

A few other things we're excited about around here:

:: An owl who lives somewhere in the neighborhood, and visits at night with his who-who-whooooting. Finn heard it on his own the other night, and was so thrilled he could hardly sleep. Plans are afoot for an owling adventure  ...

::Pork fat from our local egg farmer, rendered into lard! Not nearly as hard as I expected ... and oh, those cracklings are good snacks for a little girl who needs to gain weight. Now visions of pie crusts and fried chicken are dancing in my head.

::Putting together a list of dairy free cookies I can make this year. I'm a firm believer that Christmas cookies should be different than those made the rest of the year (no chocolate chip cookies!) ... but now they also need to be butterless and that's tough. No spritz, no russian teacakes. Here's what I'm thinking so far: both gingerbread and fruitcake bites will be fine with lard instead of butter, since they don't depend on butter for flavor. Fairy pillows (marshmallows) will once again make an appearance in my kitchen, as will almond clouds and chocolate covered pretzels. And I'm going to try a ganache with coconut milk for the fabulous layered peppermint bark. Any other thoughts?

::St. Nicholas visited our house today, for the second year now. I think it's a tradition we're going to stick with, just as a way to honor the man and the generosity that inspired Santa Claus. In our house, we read books and tell stories about him in the days leading up to Dec 6. And then the day itself is a day for getting (a new Christmas book and something handknit to keep warm) and a day for giving--the day we shop for toys that will be given to charity.

::and a little thought for you to inspire some quiet as you go through these busy days:

We can make our mind
so like still water
That beings gather about us
that they may see,
It may be, their own images,
and so live for a moment
With a clearer, perhaps even with
a fiercer life because of
our quiet.

source unknown, attributed to W.B. Yeats 


Chip said...

Do you know what kind of fat it is? Are you making leaf lard? I save big hunks of fat from my bellies and shoulders to use for lard. I'm not scrupulous about trimming every last bit of meat because I don't ever use it for baking and don't mind a little bit of flavor in my lard. I have thought about trying to track down some of the fat for making leaf lard (in all my spare time).

Billie said...

These are really good:
Forgotten Cookies
2 egg whites
¾ cup sugar
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla
6 oz. chocolate chips
1 cup pecans, chopped
½ cup raisins, (optional)
Line 2 large cookie sheets with baking parchment or plain brown paper. Use no grease. Set oven @ 350°. Beat egg whites until stiff. Continue beating as you gradually add in sugar. Add salt and vanilla to egg whites. Fold in chips, nuts (and raisins). Drop by large teaspoon full onto paper, 24 to each sheet. Place sheets in oven on two separate shelves. Immediately turn oven off. Close door and leave in oven for several hours or overnight. Gently twist paper to release cookies.

Monte said...

ooh, thanks Billie. Those sound good! And Chip, I"m pretty sure it's not leaf lard. But it's not too porky flavored, so I'm going to try it in pastry and see how it goes. Even just as a frying and cooking fat, though, it's so cheap! I read about putting the cracklings in cornbread and I"m excited to try that. Sometimes it's nice to be trying to put on weight, isn't it?

L. DeAne Lagerquist said...

Do you meringues? The most recent Bon Appetit has a lovely recipe for peppermint meringues which look so festive.
And.... if you don't know it, I recommend to you The Christmas Mystery as a fine Advent book: a chapter a day, journey from Oslo back through time to Bethlehem.

Chip said...

I love using the lard in Mexican cooking. Even when I'm just doing something simple like scrambling eggs, it seems like it adds some umami and depth to whatever I'm using it for.
I don't know about putting on weight, but it is definitely better for your heart than store-bought lard, which is usually hydrogenated to make it shelf-stable, or shortening.

Krissie said...

I love the Dec. 6th Santa idea! And it's a good way for us to incorporate some of Travis' Dutch Heritage too as they celebrate sinterklaas day then. I think we are going to have to steal this tradition from you.