Prickly Pear Jelly Recipe

...we’ve got a hell of a lot of cactus fruit to deal with this season. Next year we’ll take a crack at makinga batch of Tiswin, the sacred beer of the Papagos Indians of central Mexico (usually made with saguaro fruit but prickly pear fruit will do in a pinch). This August we’re making jelly. Here’s how to do it: 1. Taking reader Steven’s (of the fine blog Dirt Sun Rain) suggestion, burn off the nasty spines by hold...

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Kevin West’s Saving the Season

...books out of the water bath. Full disclosure here: I’ve tasted a lot of West’s jams. I teach a bread making class at the Institute of Domestic Technology. After my bread demo West does a jam making session and I stick around to watch and, hopefully, filtch an extra jar. Those West jams are coveted items around the Root Simple household. What makes Saving the Season different from other preserving books is West’s masterful use of...

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Hoshigaki Season

Astringent persimmons (such as Hachiya) are in season now which means that it’s time to make hoshigaki, a Japanese delicacy made by hanging peeled persimmons up in a window to dry. Hoshigaki are chewy and subtly sweet. The texture of hoshigaki is different than what you would get if you just put persimmons in a dehydrator. And if all goes right the sugar comes to the surface making it look like the fruit has been dipped...

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Saturday Linkages: A Mega-Reference for Homesteaders

CD3WD: A Mega-Reference for Homesteaders CD3WD: A Mega-Reference for Homesteaders http://brinkoffreedom.net/homesteading/cd3wd-mega-reference-homesteaders/?utm_source=feedly … BreadStorm http://www.farine-mc.com/2013/09/breadstorm.html … Get Fit Like a Wild Man: A Primer on MovNat http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheArtOfManliness/~3/6JaxlN5A7Kc/story01.htm … Tooth Fairy goes pneumatic http://hackaday.com/2013/09/13/tooth-fairy-...

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Tips on growing great garlic

...don’t forget to pick off the flowers if they appear. The flowers pull energy from the plant that is better spent making big cloves. The flowers are also edible: some farmers are actually making more money selling the flowers as culinary exotics. Growing garlic in hot climates I’ve had mixed success growing garlic in Los Angeles. It turns out I was growing the wrong varieties. Most garlics appreciate cold weather, including some time spent under a...

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Shoemaking Advice?

...wl. More rarely a Holly Hobby-type figure. Here endeth the lesson.) Free People actually seems like a fine book. It basically steps you through making one basic type of shoe that you can modify in different ways. Erik wailed about the horrible hippie-ness of it all when I showed him the illustrations of what I might make, but he wears cheap Chinese martial art shoes, so I don’t think he has moral or aesthetic high ground here. The other boo...

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Meet our book & web designer: Roman Jaster

...e a Visiting Designer talk about his work at his alma mater, CalArts and made that lecture public on YouTube. In it, he talks about his childhood in East Germany, the decisions he made early-on which determined his career, his working methods (which are really interesting, combining coding with design) and talks about the concepts behind some of his projects, including Making It. This all may be a little off-topic for the blog, but I’m sure...

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Choosing the Perfect Tortilla Press

...limsy ones I found at our local market, a cast iron press will last several lifetimes. And their heft helps when it comes time to press the masa into discs. And I opted for the smaller, 6 1/2 inch press as small tortillas are used in authentic Mexican street food. Making corn tortillas is much simpler than I expected. All you do is get masa harina (a limed corn flour), mix it roughly 50/50 with water and let the dough rest for a half hour to an h...

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Chicks, Mayonnaise and Personal Responsibility

...launched called BuyingMayo.com. We’re letting consumers know that baby chicks are killed in the process of making America’s #1 condiment: Best Foods & Hellmann’s Mayonnaise.” Following the link, I found an emotional video pairing sentimental, sun-drenched images of a mom making a sandwich for her toddler with factory farm footage of dead chicks jostling down conveyor belts. The website says, Most of us don’t consider t...

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Worth Doing From Scratch: Corn Tortillas

...in a sporadic series about stuff that’s easy and economical. Now you should be suspicious of any tortilla making advice dispensed by a gabacho. Let’s just say it’s easy and the results are way better than those dry tortillas you buy at the store. Some things I’ve learned: I have a cast iron tortilla press that works great but my Mexicano friends in the know suggested a wooden press. Making masa from scratch is a huge amo...

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