market day surprises

IMG_5973As spring comes to an end, our garden is beginning to provide us with more than we can eat.  Because we have more freshly picked vegetables than we can eat, we very rarely go to the farmers market to shop.  This past weekend, we ventured down to Merchant’s Square and took a look at what the farmers had to offer.

IMG_5978There was no shortage of plants either; we came home with a Joe Pye Weed for our new bed in the front garden.

IMG_5979Onions and radishes were also plentiful.

IMG_5982Since I discovered roasted radishes, I very rarely eat them raw but we did make some wonderful kimchi with them.  Each week, the market has a core group of vendors that stay the same along with a group that come less frequently.  This week, a group of women from the Williamsburg Weavers Guild was at the market and they were demonstrating techniques for weaving and spinning yarn.

IMG_5986A table top spinner being used to spin cotton into yarn.

IMG_5988It’s all about the tension, keeping it taught creates a fine thread.

IMG_5991Not everyone uses a wheel to spin, some do it by hand with a drop spinner.

IMG_5992The color of this yarn is beautiful, it looks fluffy too!

IMG_5994She worked at this yarn the whole time we were there.

IMG_5995The weavers had Darry’s attention and he asked many questions about the process.  This weaver had completed all of the work you see there in a rather short time, in between demonstrating the technique and answering questions.  After we asked many questions and chatted with the ladies for a while, we headed back to the car.

IMG_5997Not far from where we parked, Darry showed me a patch of King Stropharia mushrooms, a prized edible.

IMG_5998We have a patch of them in our garden too but it is not nearly as successful as this patch.

IMG_5999There were dozens of them and since we did not know anything about the mulch they were growing in, we did not pick any.

IMG_6000For now, we will have to wait for our patch to grow and multiply.

To see the schedule of vendors for the Williamsburg Farmer’s Market, visit the website.

my mother’s garden

IMG_5924Just as there are many types of plants, there are many types of gardens.  Some gardeners work with shade, some with flowers or succulents and others with just vegetables.  Potagers, cottage gardens, rain gardens and so on.  Personally, I have an herb garden, a shade garden and a sunny area planted with perennial flowers in addition to the very large potager style vegetable garden that takes up much of our front yard.

Then there is my mother’s garden which is nestled on top of a mountain in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania in a forest like setting; the rocky soil is deeply shaded, heavily wooded and full of wildlife.  Planting a garden in her yard is challenging because of the large rocks in the soil, the lack of sunlight and the fact that the deer eat everything, including the things they shouldn’t.  Despite all of these things, my mother’s garden is inviting, full of surprises and a wonderful place to visit and sit a spell…

IMG_5927Gardening with deer is a challenge.  Especially when the community you live in is surrounded by state owned forest land.  At times, there can be a dozen or more deer grazing around the yard.  The landscape provides areas for them to sleep and rest and even when you think the small herd may have left the yard, it is entirely possible that some are still there but out of view.  As if the deer weren’t enough, black bears also live in the area and have come through yard and more than one raccoon has raised a litter of kits in a tree near the shed.  If you think deer can do damage, mischievous raccoons and squirrels can also cause problems.

IMG_5931As a result, my mother is a gardener of things.  All around the yard, you will find statues and knick-knacks, baskets of silk flowers and plants, gazing balls.   She finds things in stores and yard sales and has them all over the yard.  Bird houses hang from low branches all over the yard.  Every where you look, little pops of color are present and it truly makes for a restful place to spend the afternoon outdoors.

IMG_5934The deer really do eat just about everything and it was surprising that these little bluets were present since they are usually eaten to the ground.

 

IMG_5940A constant theme in the garden is a smiling sunface.  Actually, sun and moon faces are all over.  That may be partly my fault since I often send them to her!

IMG_5945In a small hillside drainage pond, frogs rule.  They are loud and you can hear them all over the yard.  On this afternoon, I saw four of them in the water and on the rocks around it.

IMG_5947This is one of the few parts of the yard that actually has plants.  The previous owners of the yard placed fencing around plants and shrubs to protect them from the deer.  It was an unattractive sight and my mother has removed most of it.  Although that meant the plants within met a nibbled to the ground death, it greatly improved the appearance of the yard.  One place she left the fencing was around the pond and in this small area, she has a few hostas, several sedums and lily of the valley along with statues and knick-knacks.

IMG_5952Lichens and moss cover all of the rocks in the yard.

IMG_5953The pond is truly the focal point in this part of the yard.  The Autumn Joy sedum has filled in the crevices above and moss and ferns are filling the areas near the water.

IMG_5954Gazing balls are one of her favorite ways to add color to the yard.  She will tell you that they must be colored and not silvered.  Twice, my mother has placed silvered gazing balls in the yard and twice, a woodpecker tried to kill his reflection.  Both of those gazing balls were shattered.

IMG_5957You must walk around the yard to see it all because it is everywhere.

IMG_5959Along the back of the house, she has a simple row of silk plants with pottery and glass accents.

IMG_5960 (1)In that row, tucked in a corner, is what remains of a deer skull.  It seems that this buck died on the property and after the vultures cleaned it, my mother placed the skull in her garden along the back of the house.  Squirrels continually gnaw on the bones to keep their teeth in shape and have chewed up quite a bit of the skull and antlers.

IMG_5962Have you ever heard the phrase referring to “bones knitting,” especially if you have broken a bone?  It is easy to see why they say that when you look at the fuse line going up the skull.  This was one of the most fascinating things to look at in the garden!

IMG_5965You really must look carefully or you might miss something.

IMG_5967And look everywhere, despite being colorblind, my mother has a talent for choosing colors so that they either blend in seemlessly or jump out.

IMG_5968She also has a talent for finding unusual pieces like this pottery base to a planter.

IMG_5928This old bench is so worn out that she has added a board to hold the objects on it.  That gnome looks familiar-he lived in our house in Nashville for years and when we moved, I sent him to live with my mother.  One of the girls, I think Alix, painted the tile and yes, the plants are silk.  At least the deer won’t eat them!  But beware, the raccoons love to move things and you never know what they will do.

a seasonal salad from the garden

IMG_5852It’s salad season in my garden.  Well, specifically, it is lettuce season.  Living in the south means that lettuce is a cool weather crop while all the other parts of a salad, like tomatoes or cucumbers, are warm weather crops.  Luckily, it is always fresh egg season in the chicken coop!

IMG_5848There are a dozen different salad greens in the garden right now.  In the salad above are Bloomsdale spinach, baby beet greens, parsley, salad bowl leaf lettuce, buttercrunch, forellenschluss and arugula.

IMG_5840Simply dressed with vinaigrette, garnished with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and some kalamata olives and served with the paper; my idea of lunch.

IMG_5841IMG_5844IMG_5845IMG_5849IMG_5851Of course, adding a hard boiled egg from one of our golden laced wyandotte hens and a slice of bread makes it a light, refreshing meal perfect for any season.

chaos

Chaos noun, behavior so unpredictable as to appear random, owing to great sensitivity to small changes in conditions, also known as the effects of spring weather on the garden.

The weather this spring has been hard to predict.  Cool at night to highs of 90+ during the day, multiple days reaching 80+ and then in the blink of an eye, drops to the 40’s at night and days that barely cross 50.  Up and down and up and down…stretches of a week or more with no rain for a somewhat dry April, to rain nearly every day for the first full week of May.   Seedlings that emerged and then dampened off or the seeds just rotted altogether.  Plants that did grow at all for weeks and instead, bolted.  Then, suddenly, rain and more rain.  The garden was transformed nearly over night and I am now enjoying fresh picked produce by the basket!

 

IMG_5793This part of the garden does not get much direct sunlight and once the crape myrtle, which is not in the photo, leafs out completely, it gets little filtered light as well.  Last spring I spent a week amending the soil and adding shade tolerant perennials to the bed.  This year, nearly all of them came back except for a bleeding heart plant and they have truly filled the space.IMG_5795The iris actually gets enough light because it blooms before the crape myrtle creates shade.  Also in bloom are azaleas, dianthus and phlox.

IMG_5800Remind me to tell you the story of the gnome sometime… He is watching over the sunny part of the garden.IMG_5806Love the little blossoms on the strawberry begonia.

IMG_5817While I have put a lot of work into the perennial beds near the front door of the house, none of that compares to the amount of work the vegetable garden has taken.  We began in late fall of 2014 by composting the leaves that fell from our trees with grass clippings from the lawn and bags of coffee grounds from Starbucks.  In spring of 2015, I topped each of the beds with that compost and placed 45 bales of straw on the beds in the garden.  Throughout the year, I attempted to grow vegetables in the bales with out a ton of success. In early winter, when the bales began to tip like drunkards, I broke them down and scattered the straw on top of the compost along with more coffee, ground egg shells, compost (that includes litter from our hens) and a topping of purchased garden soil.

In February, we hooped two beds and I seeded them with cold hardy greens and lettuces.  Some seeds germinated nicely, others not at all.  We filled a third bed with purchased starts for cold weather veggies.  Things moved very slowly.  The beds were a little hot for the plants and I was beginning to get discouraged.  Finally, in April we began to see growth and were able to begin picking greens for cooking and salads as well as radishes and turnips.  My collection of lettuces are doing very well and I am picking them regularly.

IMG_5818Peas were slow to get going but have finally come on board.  Gotta love the tendrils and the way they tie themselves into knots.

IMG_5819Everybody loves surprise potatoes!  Must have missed one when I harvested them last fall.  not sure what it is but I am thinking it is most likely a yukon gold but the alternative is red norland; either way works for me!

IMG_5820A lot of firsts this year.  Ailsa Craig onions along with some radishes from an 8 year old package of seeds I found lurking in the box!  We have lots of mushrooms coming up in the beds.  Did you know that is a good thing?  There is a relationship between plants and mushrooms and when some combinations are grown together, you can actually improve your yields-this pairing was random and not of my doing but my fingers are crossed that it helps.  Want to know more about it, pick up a copy of Mycelium Running and read about it!

IMG_5822Chinese cabbage is doing so well-and I grew this from seeds!

IMG_5823The way chard glows when backlit never gets old.

IMG_5828These rutabegas are taking off in the garden.  If you grow them, be sure to eat the greens too!  Cook them as you would collards and the plant will be doing double duty.

IMG_5829Another of the firsts in our garden, salsify.  Have no idea if we will enjoy it but I saw some plants in Colonial Williamsburg in the garden the the local master gardeners maintain and decided it was pretty and it needed to live in my garden too!

IMG_5831Speaking of pretty, these radicchio starts have been stealing the show for a while now.  We pull a few leaves off from the bottom and are letting the heads fill out.

IMG_5832More starts, celery is taking its time.

Welcome to my garden, my little slice of earth.  Feel free to wander through and admire the plants, dinner will be ready just as soon as I wash the lettuce.

Virginia Bloggers Meetup; Whisk Bakery in RVA

IMG_1033Last weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting with a group of ladies who also happen to be fellow members of the Virginia Bloggers.  It was a rainy and somewhat dreary Saturday morning but it was perfect for drinking coffee and eating freshly baked sweets.  Whisk is located in the Shockoe Bottom neighborhood of Richmond and this was the first time I had ever been to that part of the city.  (pardon the lousy cell phone photo, please!)

IMG_1034Most of these ladies knew each other, or at least were familiar with each other, but there were a few that were new to the group, myself being one of them.  The bakery is a bit small but we pulled a few tables together and spent our time chatting, trading business cards and getting to know each other.

IMG_1037Of course, there were a few cameras out on the table and a bunch of cell phones so that we could all take photos.

IMG_5549It was great to meet such a friendly bunch of ladies and trade information.

IMG_5551My hope is to attend more of these meet-ups but it is a bit of a drive from Williamsburg, however, if the destination is another place like this, I will take one for the team!

IMG_5553Before leaving, I picked a small selection of sweets to take home to Darry.  These two were all but glued to the showcase-can you blame them?

IMG_5552Most of the ladies that came out despite the rainy weather.  If you are a blogger and live in Virginia, join the group and if you are interested in what is going on, visit the website.

lawn likker; it’s a southern thing

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a sample of the flowers from our yard with the common purple violet on the bottom right 

Spring rituals vary from region to region but throughout the south, gathering violets and turning them into jam and liqueur is a popular activity.  Pay enough attention to it and you will also hear stories of red bud blossoms being gathered for jam making as well.  Personally, I love the look of a lawn full of violets and I am tempted to pull out the weeds and just let the violets fill the space but my husband has other ideas.

Most violets found in lawns are viola sororia and are an herbaceous perennial plant that can quickly become a weed due to the fact that they spread through rhizomes as well as seeds.  In my yard, they are allowed to fill spaces that we do not use for gardening, generally the lawn areas, and my husband mows them over along with all of the other weeds that make up the green sections of our yard.  The only exception to this is the two weeks in spring that these lovely little flowers are in bloom; he does not mow until I pick as many as I can!

All my life, I have always thought that violets were always purple.  White violets were not as common but I can recall seeing them on rare occasions and assumed they were a mutation.   It is also worth noting that on even fewer occasions, I encountered yellow violets.  However in our yard, here in Virginia, the vast majority of the violets are white with purple veins, lavender or a lighter shade of purple.  These are a variety commonly referred to as Confederate Violets and regardless of the color, all violets have edible flowers.  IMG_5541Making liqueur is a bit tedious because you must pick large quantities of the blossoms.  For the batch I made this year, I must have picked about 3 pints.  For a single pint of liquer, I placed 2 cups of blossoms into a pint sized jar and added 2 cups of potato vodka and allowed the flowers to steep for a couple days, shaking it once a day.  After it had sat and the flowers faded and grew limp, I strained them out and filled the jar with another 2 cups of blossoms.  To this, I poured the previously infused vodka over the blossoms and allowed it to steep, shaking it daily for a couple of days and then I repeated the process a third time.  My goal was to get a nice dark liqueur and a strong floral flavor.

IMG_5543Having allowed the last batch of flowers time to infuse the batch, I strained them out and this was the result.  If you look at the top of the liquid, you can see that it is a deep violet color, almost grey.  Despite everything, it still had a strong alcohol taste but the aroma was all flowers-and honestly, I am not much of a vodka drinker so it was hard to not taste the vodka in the background but there was definitely a floral flavor there as well.  And now that it has aged for a couple weeks, it has mellowed a bit.

This was an experiment for me, whether or not I try it again is hard to say.  While crawling around the yard picking cup after cup of blossoms, I managed to get a tick bite and that and my nearly broke back may have me think twice.  Although, I would like to try making some jam…violet jam, redbud jam, maybe even some redbud likker…

 

When we were living in Nashville and working with the Master Gardeners, an extension agent once described the weeds found in a winter/spring lawn as the native winter wildflowers.  He went on to describe how these plants were the only nectar and pollen sources for pollinating insects during the season.  It was those words that convinced us to leave them in the lawn where our bees might benefit from them.  As a result, we often leave the lawn a little longer and shaggy in comparison to our neighbors.

IMG_3396This beauty is henbit and is commonly found in lawns.  It is also edible and last year, I made a batch of wildflower liqueur with violets and other wildflowers growing in our lawn and dubbed it lawn likker.  If you think violets are tiny, henbit is even smaller!

IMG_3401A close up shot of the flower; look at the hairs on the back of the bloom and the tiny little stamens!IMG_3408Dead Nettle is a close cousin of Henbit, both are in the mint family, but if you look closely, you will see that these leaves are heart shaped and gradient in color from the top of the plant to the base while Henbit has round leaves with teeth.  Another thing, Dead Nettle flowers make the blossoms from Henbit look huge!IMG_3410Dead Nettle flower on the top, Henbit flower on the bottom.

IMG_3416A third player in this game, Ground Ivy, also called Creeping Charlie because it trails like a vine and can quickly cover an area.  These blooms are the largest of the three.  While some publications will tell you that it is best to make teas rather than eat the leaves, I don’t think there is any real danger in adding a handful of blooms to a batch of likker-although, your back may cry foul!

IMG_3427My first batch of lawn likker from last year, it has since changed color and is now a bright golden yellow and looks more like a bottle of urine than likker but trust me, the flavor is still floral and so is the aroma!

Want to give it a try?  Here are a few links I am bookmarking for future attempts.

Kell Belle Studio

Life in Mud Spattered Boots

A Gardeners Table

macarons; another one for the baking bucket list

IMG_0836It seems that to call yourself a pastry chef, one must know how to make macarons.  Well, maybe not but that is the impression I have been given.  A baker’s version of the Holy Grail, your cookies must be perfect little circles with slightly glossy, smooth tops sans cracks, and those famous “feet” and they are also the thing anxiety attacks are made of.  They are fussy, subject to all kinds of results (and not many that you want) and quite capable of intimidating even the most experienced bakers.  Of course I am speaking with experience.  My own efforts landed with mixed results and I was beginning to hate the little things.  This was only aggravated by the plethora of blogposts and pinterest posts from bakers and their dogs bragging about how easy they were to make…It was time to take action and by action, I mean that it was time to get over my fear of failure (again) and to actually try making them.  First I needed to find a better recipe and I did; Joanne Chang has a video tutorial and an article in Fine Cooking that explains making macarons in a way that simplifies the recipe and shows intimidation to the door!

When made properly and that includes the filling, they are wonderful.  Sadly though, most that I have tasted fall squarely into the “meh” category.  Luckily, the recipe for the macarons also comes with recipes for fillings.  To make mine, I added a little pink paste food color, after all, I was making these as Valentine’s Day gifts and then I filled them with raspberry paste and ganache.  To make the cookies, follow the link for the recipe.

Some hints to help!  Do follow the cookie recipe, bring your laptop or tablet to the kitchen with you and watch it as you go; stop and rewind if you have to-I did!  If I can only give you one hint, use a scale to measure.  No arguments, go to the store and buy one if you do not have one.  Seriously, they can be purchased for less than $20 and I know this because I spent about $15 on mine!!!  The filling recipes make more than you need so you can make multiple batches of macarons now, use the fillings in another recipe or freeze them for another day.

Raspberry paste:  Place 6 ounces of raspberries (thawed with the juices if using frozen) into a small sauce pot with 1/3 cup sugar.  Over medium-low heat, bring to a simmer.  Mash the berries and continue to simmer until it thickens up a bit, about 15 minutes-reduce the heat to low if it looks like it is sticking before it thickens.  Pour the mixture into a mesh strainer and press it through to remove the seeds.  Do your best to extract as much of the fruit as possible.  Discard the seeds and chill the paste.  Once chilled, it will be a loose paste, nearly a jam in consistency.

Ganache:  Place 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate into a heat proof bowl and set it over a pot of nearly simmering water to melt.  In a small pot, heat(don’t boil, just heat it to help melt the chocolate) 3 tablespoons of half and half with 2 tablespoons of booze (I used Pennington’s Strawberry Rye but you can use what you like-or just use more half and half).  Add the heated half and half and whisk until smooth.  Let it sit until it has the consistency of mayonnaise.

To assemble the cookies, on one half of the cookies, spread a thin layer of the raspberry paste on the bottoms.  Set each one, paste side up on a clean tray.  On the other half of the cookies, spread about a teaspoon to a teaspoon and a half of the ganache over the bottom of the cookies.  Pair the cookies together so that each has a raspberry and a chocolate cookie and gently press them together.  Allow them to sit long enough for the ganache to completely set and then you can package them to give as gifts.  Mine are rolled into clear cello with the ends tied shut.

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cinnamon heart candied popcorn

IMG_5206Popcorn is one of those snacks that I cannot give up.  My idea of perfect is a big bowl of corn popped in coconut oil and liberally sprinkled with salt.  Caramel corn comes close and so does real state fair kettle corn but I can live without the sweet and 99% of the time, it is just a sprinkle of salt on top for me.

With Valentine’s day approaching, I was thinking of my girls and how much I wish I could spend more time with them but since we are scattered now, mailing a box of goodies to each of them would have to suffice.  That’s where the corn comes in; it is light weight and easy to ship.  But honestly, who wants to get a box of plain old popcorn?

While searching for a recipe, this one caught my eye-blame it on the red color  of the corn.  When I saw the recipe used cinnamon hearts, I knew this sweet and spicy combination was just what I wanted.

IMG_5212Have you ever really looked at popcorn?  The stuff you get in bags and at the fair always seems so much larger when it pops than the kernels you get from the supermarket and there is a good reason for that.  Believe it or not, there is a special type of corn out there that will pop into large round puffs and it is called mushroom corn.  Take a good look at the puff above.  Notice how it is a larger, rounder puff with a texture on the outside that looks a little like a mushroom cap?  You will have to seek this one out, search for it online and if you are lucky to live near a store that carries it, buy some and try it out.

When we moved from TN to VA, I had to get rid of a bunch of things and the old avocado green corn popper that I had since my days at the CIA got the old heave ho.  These days, I make my popcorn on the stove top and when I pop mushroom corn, I love how nearly all of the kernels pop.

IMG_5216All bagged up and ready to ship.  If you make this, let me share a few hints with you.  Make your popcorn first!  If you can get the mushroom corn, use it because the little nooks and crannies on the outside will catch the candy nicely.  The original recipe for this called for 8 cups of popped corn from 1/3 cup of kernels, I doubled up on the recipe and 2/3 cup of mushroom corn made about 12 cups of popcorn so I made a second 12 cups.  However, when I doubled the syrup, it made a huge amount and I personally would suggest you make double the popcorn called for-to me it was way too much candy for the amount of popcorn.  Instead, dump the extra hearts into a bag with the candied corn as a garnish.

Cinnamon Heart Popcorn

Recipe from Debbie at One little Project

8-24 cups of previously popped corn, in a large bowl or pot

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1 cup cinnamon hearts

Preheat the oven to 250F.  Line two sheet pans with parchment paper or silpats and set aside.  Place the butter into a heavy bottom saucepan and over low heat, melt completely.  Add the corn syrup and the cinnamon hearts to the melted butter, turn the heat to medium and gently stir it continuously to melt the candies.  It should come to a steady boil for several minutes and the temperature will be somewhere around 230F.  Carefully pour the syrup over the top of the corn and using a metal spoon, stir it to coat the corn evenly-you can pour it in portions, stirring in between to make sure it is all coated evenly.  This mixture is very hot and can burn, pour it away from yourself and don’t even think of using your hands to mix it!!!

Dump the corn out onto the two sheet pans and bake for 15 minutes, rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back and bake for 15 minutes more.  Allow it to completely cool before bagging or placing into an airtight container.

Clean up is best done by placing all the tools into the pot and filling it with hot water, set over low heat and the candy mixture will melt.

 

 

lemon-parsnip cake; a tuesdays with dorie post

IMG_5068The cake for today’s challenge is supposed to be a tangerine-carrot cake but after a quick check in the fridge, I could only find lemons.  Then I spied the last lonely parsnip and decided that I should keep going in this direction and change it all up.   We have been trying to cut back on snacking and it has been a while since I made a cake.  The fresh eggs from our hens are stacking up on the counter and it was a chance to use a couple.

IMG_5082The change from tangerine to lemon meant that the acid level was increased and I am pretty sure that it changed the texture of the cake and made it a little denser than the description in the recipe.  Even so, it was still pleasingly moist and a little firm.  The parsnip mellowed during the baking and honestly, you wouldn’t know it was there unless I told you.

IMG_5087The only other observation I made was that the batter amount baked up just fine in my 8 inch tart pan.  After greasing the ring and bottom and dusting it with flour, I set it onto a sheet pan to prevent leakage in the oven.  It came out of the pan and off the bottom beautifully.  This was such an easy cake to make and honestly, the potential combinations are numerous so I can see myself pulling this recipe out again when I need a quick and foolproof cake!

Please consider picking up a copy of Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan and baking along with us.  To join in on the fun, visit the website and see how the other bakers made out with this recipe!

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cornmeal-currant biscotti; a tuesdays with dorie post

IMG_5013It has been a while since I baked with the TWD gang.  The holiday season is generally a hectic one for me and with all that I was baking for gifts, I just decided not to bake anything more, because baking it means eating it and I have gained more weight than I care to admit at this point.  (thanks menopause…)

Even so, I am a sucker for anything that claims to be a biscotti and to make matters worse, I apparently hoard cornmeal.  When I checked the pantry for cornmeal, I found a complete rainbow; white, yellow, blue, roasted yellow and bloody butcher red.  A quick look at the different colors led me to choose between the organic blue and the organic bloody butcher and since the latter was more coarsely ground, it was my first choice.

IMG_5027Stone ground cornmeal is always more coarse than the regular grind but the bloody butcher had a large range in particle sizes and makes it very easy to see the meal in the dough.  This particular batch was grown and ground right here in Virginia and it is from Blenheim Organic Gardens which is located in Washington’s Birthplace, yes, that is the name of the town and no, I did not make that up!  They come to the Williamsburg Farmers Market when it is open and I look forward to the return of the Market in March.

IMG_5023There was a box of currants lurking in the pantry and since they were a little dry, I added several tablespoons of dark rum to them and heated them so that they would plump up.  To offset the extra liquid, I cut out the extra egg yolk and that made the dough slightly drier than I would have preferred.  However, now that we have our own egg laying hens, I hate the thought of wasting an egg white.  The recipe calls for the dough to be formed into a log and cut into scone-like wedges.  After asking one of the other TWD bakers how they worked out like that, I decided to go with a slice and bake log which is what most of the recipes I read called for.  The result was a crunchy, crumbly cookie.

IMG_5056The weather took a sudden turn towards winter today and turning on the oven was comforting in many ways and so was the scent of cookies baking-although, I really do not need to be eating cookies at this point!  The bottom line, I love currants and cornmeal but it is not likely that I would think to make these again, at least not with this recipe.  Personally, I would like them to be a little sweeter and a little crispier.  Either way, these cookies are a lovely accompaniment to a cup of hot tea, especially on a chilly day!

To see how the other bakers fared, visit the Tuesdays with Dorie website and consider baking along with us!

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