Tuesday, May 6, 2014

feeding our families - may


On my kitchen mind this week is…

Moving to the land and setting up an outdoor kitchen!

Spring foraging.

Packing up the house kitchen, moving to the land, setting up an outdoor kitchen.

Campfire cooking!

Setting up an outdoor kitchen at the land.

Feeding my family (from scratch, whole foods) without the use of a regular full kitchen!

Building an outdoor bread oven!

An outdoor bread oven is something that has been on our minds for years. Now is the time to get it done for real. Because as you may have figured out by now, we bake a whole lot of bread around here. (I shared a few bread baking tips here. And if you happen to have any outdoor bread baking or bread oven tips for me then I would be happy to know…)

And speaking of bread… I have been making Mel's soaked grain bread recipe and it has been turning out really great. As I predicted (to myself) it has become our everyday bread, even though it has only been about 10 days, that is already 5 batches of bread. I have the recipe memorized, I've made substitutions, turns out good every time. I have been doing 100% fresh ground whole wheat flour, usually yogurt instead of vinegar to soak, and sometimes just water instead of milk. One of the greatest things about this recipe is that I do much of the work the day before. A bowl sits below the grain mill and at some point in the day the grain will be ground, after dinner I mix up the soaker and the sponge. Then in the morning I finish up and get the dough rising in the bread pans. Simple. Bread baking has always been part of our kitchen rhythm, either way it is fairly simple for us at this point. But a bonus of this overnight soak method (besides nutritional benefits) is that we have to wait less hours for fresh bread in the morning.
(In my head I call this Melanie's Wonderful Bread, which means that not only the bread is wonderful but that Mel is wonderful too. I actually usually put the emphasis on Melanie rather than on the bread…)

(The braided bread is not the soaked grain bread. It is just the plain white flour Challah that we bake for Easter…)

Well if we were going to go back to that on my kitchen mind list, it was going to continue rather repetitively…
outdoor kitchen,
spring foraging,
outdoor kitchen,
spring garden,
spring foraging, spring foraging, spring foraging.

The garden may be producing only chives and green onions at the moment, but Mother Earth has greens bursting out everywhere! Dandelions, daisy greens, salsify. I'm sure lamb's quarters are sprouting up out there somewhere. If only I knew where the nettles are! (I mean, if only I knew where there were nettles nearby, as I do know of some good patches, but nothing that is not quite a hike away…) (Must get some nettle seed and start our own patch!)

Outdoor kitchen.
I keep forgetting that technically there is a little camper kitchen too. Propane stove, and an oven big enough to hold bread pans, a small casserole dish, but not big enough for cookie sheets. Well there's a tip I just though of for myself! Make outdoor bread oven big enough to hold cookie sheets!

Obviously it's going to be getting more interesting here in my kitchen world…

Oh, and I plan to have a lot of fun with our cast iron dutch oven!

And on a kind of side note, it sure is nice to have shared the moving to the land news. Things where going to be feeling too awkward and vague here otherwise. Now we can continue on with the adventure…
(And of course many thanks for all the kind and supportive comments and emails!!)
(Phooey to malfunctioning comments, I don't know why people have such an issue with trying to comment here, maybe someday I can figure out something to help it work better…)

Happy kitchen time to you all…

Enjoy visiting my friends in their kitchens…


Mama Ash Grove said...

I am so glad the bread works so well for you! I've got two loaves of it rising just now. . . and now I'll think of you whenever I make it because I think you're pretty wonderful too.
Again I am so thrilled for you all! And excited about your outdoor kitchen, and hoping to see it in action through photos!

Tonya Gunn said...

I know you know this Renee, but I am so excited for you and your family and can't wait to see how your small home takes shape. You have inspired us to find a way to live even more simply.
Love, Tonya

Sarah-Our Island Home said...

Your new outdoor kitchen, bread oven and foraging plans sound sooooo exciting! I hope you will share more about it all! Once again, your bread looks yummy! Love, Sarah xx

Clarien said...

This is so nice! On my blog I had a topic ´feed your family´ today. And surfing around on the net for inspiration, I found your blog, with beautiful posts! Living in separate universes, we have so many common interests! Great to meet you Renee, I´ll come back here! Love your pictures and kids. Feel free to scroll my blog (it is in Dutch though..)

Zena said...

Your bread looks so warm and nourishing. Moving is so stressful; hope it goes smoothly for you. Outdoor kitchen sounds exciting; we like to make damper in the firepit.

taisa said...

I am so excited to hear about your land! I can't wait to hear more about cooking in your outdoor kitchen- and the cast iron dutch oven! I keep meaning to give Mel's bread recipe a try- going to try for it this week, thanks for the reminder!