Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cold Temps = Kitchen Projects

For the past few weeks, we've experienced the coldest temperatures for the longest period of time here that I can remember (we've been in this area almost 20 years).  Our wood stove is getting a workout, that's for sure.  The size we have is perfect for our normal winters with occasional dips into the single digits, but this winter it's required additional attention- adding wood during the night and shoveling out hot coals to make room for building big fires.  The kitchen side of the house gets the wind and is farthest from the stove so when it's cold outside and the kids have snow days, I take to cooking projects.  It warms up the house, adds moisture to the air and the free time that snow days bring allow me to catch up.

snow path to the hen house

roasted butternut squash to be pureed for breads and pie (page 95 in the cookbook)

glorious moisture, thanks to the squash 

 warm pumpkin bread (page 17 in the cookbook)

 a family walk in the snow

pie crusts (page 86) to re-stock the freezer

the garden under blanket

some of the big batch of pureed sweet potatoes being turned into a casserole (with the help of little hands)

 bee hives with roofs tied and weighed down to guard against wind- we can still hear buzzing in two out of the three

my attempt to guard against wet and mud
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  1. We are in single digits where I live and wind chill in the negatives! Doing lots of cooking a baking as well to help keep the house warm. Stay warm! :)

  2. Have any of those boots ever been outside? Your kids are better foot wipers than mine, for sure. :)

    1. Ha! It's all the recent snow that's kept them clean:-).

  3. The kitchen is always the warmest place to be in the winter at our house. Something is always baking and stewing or simmering. In the summer I avoid just these same practices to keep the house cool. We were -23F last night. They cancelled school again. They seldom cancel for snow here because of the plows but the buses don't run great when the diesel freezes up.

    Do you cross country ski? We used to ski around the property a lot when the children were younger, as they got older I stayed in and let them go on their own. Breaking a trail through a foot of snow just isn't that easy anymore the older I get. So my job became having snacks and drinks ready for them. We have a pond too, so lots of ice skating.

    Do you always freeze your pie crusts right in a pan? I mix up 10 at a time but I have always just frozen them as discs. I have six glass pans and two metal. I suppose I could try freezing a few in pan. Though I still have nine frozen apple pies ready to bake. They are in aluminum pans I've collected.

    What's a sweet potato casserole? Is that like a souffle?

    1. I've cross country skied once in VT and loved it (even though I was surprised at how often I fell!). We just don't get enough snow here to invest in a pair- I wish we did! I do freeze my crusts in pie plates. A few years back I made pies for a friend's wedding and had bought enough glass plates. Prior to that, I would freeze them in disposable aluminum pie pans. It's just one less step later on but freezing them in discs is a great space-saver. There are different variations of sweet potato casserole but the one we like uses pureed sweet potatoes, milk, egg, brown sugar (although sometimes I use maple syrup), salt, and vanilla with a streusel topping. The next time I make it, I'll take a picture and share the recipe. It's a great Thanksgiving side, so it seems like a treat to have it on a regular day:-).

  4. yep, lots of baking and cooking going on here, too! I simmered down stock and pressure canned it. I confess I'm getting a little tired of always feeling chilly around the edges in our old house. . .

  5. Always use baking to help with the warming of the house. We too have had the coldest winter that I can remember - multiple days with windchills around -40 to -50. Baking in the kitchen helps the wood stove out tremendously, and the family doesn't argue either!

  6. Jane... I use the same idea to make a turnip casserole with a streusel topping. I add some applesauce . Family members who do not like turnip were sure they were eating applecrisp.:) Love the family pictures of you outside enjoying the snow.

  7. Your pictures made me ridiculously excited to cook with squash - and I don't even like squash. Looking forward to making some bread. Love the newspaper for the boots. Why didn't I think of that?

  8. Loved this post Jane. Thank you for the peek into your life these days...it feels warm and cosy...even with the snow! Hugs to you! Camille


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