Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thank you

I can't begin to thank the people in my life enough for who they are and how they deeply affect my life. I wanted to start making a list of names but knew there would be people I would neglect to put down and it wouldn't be because I am not thankful for them.  So, you know who you are.  I hope you feel from me my deep gratitude for the blessing of your place in my life.  I really hope you do.

I am, at this moment, baking a huge apple pie.  Pumpkin is done.  Going for a run soon.  Playing an enormous game of Capture the Flag with many families and that should simply be the biggest blast ever.  Going to our dear Catherine and Michael's for a feast that will be too delicious to describe, I'm sure.  It is sunny.  We pressed 300 gallons of cider on Monday. Ava and Harry and Jonny are amazing. Things are really good and I am so freakin' thankful.

Now, before I start to cry, or something, please head over to Pacing the Panic Room to see Ryan Marshal's beautiful video of our apple press in action.  It is short and truly worth your time.  He is crazy talented and inspired. In case you don't read his whole post, here is another link that will bring you to Kinfolk magazine, where Ryan wrote and article and contributed the same video.  It is a magazine devoted to celebrating small gatherings and is lovely,

Have a great day and wear loose fitting clothes!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tutorial alert

Hey, did you know that I just posted a new tutorial over on my other blog, Improv Diary? Well, I did.  AND, I even made a little video as part of it so you might really understand how to "draw" with thread on your machine.  Let me know if it is helpful, if you are so inclined.

It is a canvas project envelope, based on a regular paper 9 x 12 envelope.  You can read all about it here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pork Belly

Okay, I am posting about a roast pork belly I made for a picnic up at our cider barn on Sunday.  I have to admit I am torn about posting these shots because they are diametrically opposed to what I just posted over on Improv Diary.  Head over after this and you'll see what I mean.  I am not heartless, just for the record. I feel good about raising pigs to feed my family and friends for many many reasons, but it isn't without its complications.

I have never made a pork belly before so I read a lot before doing it and followed the directions I found here.  I did the slow first, hot second version and it was AMAZING!.  You may have heard this cut called Pork Layer Cake before, and here is the reason:

The lean meat is at the bottom, then comes a thick layer of fat, then atop the whole thing is the skin all crispy and crunchy.  The fat might seem like a bit much, looking at it running off the table (the dog was underneath being bathed in and licking up the treasure) but even I ate it and that sort of thing usually revolts me. This was so NOT revolting.  It was sooooo good.

I cut it up into squares and folks stuffed it into a baguette with a sweet vinegar slaw, mayo, hot sauce, and pickled beans and radish.  It was insane.  I don't have a picture of a fixed sandwich - sorry.  I don't know why I didn't think to snap one. Duh.

 We also had our first press day of the season with our whole new cider press set up.  New and improved. It went off without a hitch and our relief and joy was great.  Everyone went home with some fresh cider and much too full bellies.

This is me pulling the lever that operates the apple elevator.  They fall into the grinder above the press and then fall in a heap at the bootom of that plastic tube.
Here is the ground apples on top of the press cloth.
We wrap the press cloth around the ground apples like an envelope.
 We do it 6-7 times on press racks all in a stack like this.  Then it gets pushed into the press and smooshed.
 The juice runs through a tube into a container outside the barn. We were doing a small run, so it was into a 50 gallon drum with a liner.

Last year fermented cider under snow.

 A very cute boy eating a pork belly sandwich.