How to Make Soba Noodles

Last month I took an amazing class with author and chef Sonoko Sakai on how to make soba noodles by hand. She’s a great teacher and I managed to make a halfway decent couple of servings of noodles during the class. Like many Japanese arts, soba making has a series of very precise steps. The recipe itself is simple (just buckwheat flour and water), though you do have to pay close attention to the temperature and humidity in the room. Whil...

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Cleaning the Sink with Baking Soda and Lemons

...ite and shiny without bleach or other toxic cleansers. I took pictures this week while I was cleaning to prove it. Below is our grungy sink. A photo can’t quite capture that particularly scuzzy quality a dirty sink has, that gunky bacterial record of all the dishes and greasy pans that have sat in it over the week. In the lower right corner you can see my homemade scrubby–just a few of those red plastic net bags that fruits and veg...

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Fermenting culture wih Sandor Katz

...ury mustache! His first book, Wild Fermentation, was one of those really important, life-changing books for me. It might sound strange to say this about a book on pickling, but it opened my eyes in many ways. And it taught me how to do vegetable and salt ferments, which are the backbone of my pickling practice. The daikon pickles we wrote about in The Urban Homestead are due to Wild Fermentation. Now he’s got a new book out, The Art of Fer...

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Beans 101 (Return of Bean Friday!)

...nt. Or a Parmesan rind! Okay, now put everything in a big pot.  Transfer your drained, soaked beans to a big pot and toss in your vegetables and any spices. Cover it all with fresh water. The beans will sink and the fresh stuff will float. You should have about 2-3 inches of water above the beans. Add water to cover the beans by 2 or 3 inches Here ends your work. Now you’re just waiting. Bring the beans to a gentle simmer...

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Cat Poop Compost Installment #2

Drum full o’ cat litter WARNING: Human waste and cat waste contain dangerous bacteria.  I fully believe that composting is a safe and sane solution to a waste stream problem–that’s why I’m writing about it, after all– I also know that it can be handled badly. (The stories we hear!) So please, read up on the subject before starting. You should have a solid foundation in regular compost to begin with, because...

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I like my chamomile stressed

...Mrs. Homegrown here: I made a mistake–I predicted a while ago that this would happen, and here it is. When we remodeled the yard and I set aside space for The Phan of Pharmacy ™ my goal was to maximize the production of herbs and flowers.  I prepped the ground in the fan like a fine flower or veg bed: double dug and richly amended. It was only after I planted my chamomile starts in it that I realized the soil was...

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Tippy Tap, Beta Version

...veloped for use in areas where there is no running water, usually fabricated out of simple found materials. Erik and I both love appropriate tech, and this is a really good example of the form. The tippy tap literally saves lives by allowing people to wash up after visiting the bathroom. Erik included a tippy-tap, a rather fancy version of one, it turns out, in one of our link roundups.  I’d never heard of such a thing, and, intrigued, prom...

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Adventures in Gardening Series: Wrap up on the Hippie Heart: Growing lentils and flax

...d reason, since a lot of seeds we can buy in bulk bins may be hybrid, sterile or irradiated. But I wanted to try it anyway. This first season I planted the Heart with bulk bin flax seed and lentils from a boxed lentils. The results were mixed. Sort of interesting. Not super-productive, but not a failure, because I learned lots. First, both flax and lentils are very pretty plants. In its prime, the Heart was an attractive thing The flax grew stra...

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July Linkages

Mrs. Homegrown seen creating a “hyperlink” in between gardening and food preservation duties. Over at Small Measure, author Ashley English is hosting a contest and giving away a jar of “lip-smacking Peach & Lavender Butter” to promote her upcoming series of homesteading books. Look for a new contest each month. English’s “Canning & Preserving”, published by Lark Books, will be available April...

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Erik Thoughtstylin’ in Urban Farm Magazine

...whole quote: The action at the top of the to-do list on the path to true sustainability is not a tangible thing. It’s a change in perspective, a breaking down of the barrier between what is “within” and what is “without.” It is a recognition that our internal intentions and actions expand ever outward, transforming our households, communities and, ultimately, the world. We are alchemists. Our compost piles, beehives...

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