How to Make Stock

...oup, for instance, you might start with a stock made with lemongrass or ginger. Otherwise, I’d skip adding the strong flavors until you’re actually cooking with the stock. Keep it simple. Want to work harder? I learned this one from Mark Bittman. To bring out more savory flavors in a veggie stock, you can chop all of your veggies (except the parsley) into smaller pieces and then saute them in some oil in the bottom of your soup pot ti...

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Plantago coronopus, a.k.a. Buckhorn Plantain, a.k.a. Erba Stella

Cruise down the produce isle of a supermarket in the United States and you’ll only find highly domesticated foods. Thumb through the pages of the Silver Spoon (the Joy of Cooking of Italian Cuisine) and you’ll discover entire chapters devoted to the use of wild or semi-wild plants. This summer I grew one of these semi-cultivated Italian vegetables, Buckhorn plantain (Plantago coronopus) also known as Erba Stella and Barba di frat...

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DIY Christmas Trees

...but even as a book lover and author, I don’t feel this has to be a bad thing. If you’ve ever perused the book section of a Goodwill, you know that there are books out there which could do with re-purposing. My picks for the chopping block are celebrity bios and inexplicable runaway best-sellers like the Da Vinci Code and 50 Shades of Grey. These publishing phenomena are like biblio oil slicks, cluttering up shelves and choking out end...

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Saturday Linkages: Orange Peel Lamps, Axe Porn and Craft Rooms

From Portugal Smallholding a orange peel lamp. Lamp made from an orange: http://www.portugalsmallholding.org/how-to/make-an-oil-lamp-with-an-orange/ A clever planter made from an Asphalt Handbook: http://www.recyclart.org/2012/03/asphalt-handbook-planter/ Hand-made Axe porn: http://bit.ly/GA0KWp Our friends at the Tangled Nest create an inspiring, low-budget craft room http://shar.es/pvLY5 And, yes, a toilet brush chandelier: http://...

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Bushcraft Video

...hannel I will watch when I’m in a more hardcore mood belongs to Dave Canterbury’s Pathfinder School. They cover a lot of stuff that I don’t do, like hunting and blacksmithing, but I admire the grit. Here you can learn how to make a lamp out of raccoon fat and crap he scavenges from an abandoned cabin. This project is appealing (???)  to me because it combines homemade oil lamps, which I love, with a more recent interest in novel...

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L’hamd markad – Preserved Salted Lemons

...ks before using. To use, discard seeds, and rinse lightly if necessary. Once opened, store in refrigerator where they will keep up to 6 months. In the photo you will see that we added some spices to our lemons. This is an optional thing. A traditonal spice blend would be something like 3 peppercorns, 3 cloves and one cinnamon stick. Also, we found it impossible to follow the command in the recipe to cut the lemons this way and that, cleverly lea...

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More on our gardening disasters

...ts that attract me for some idiosyncratic reason. Fun plants, in other words. Above, I re-posted that picture of the heart-shaped flax bed I created planted back in 2011. Planting a few square feet of flax was not the most practical act in the world, but it was fun. I’d never seen flax growing before, and I wanted to get to know its ways, because it’s such an important plant– the source of linen and linseed oil and of course, fl...

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A Favorite Tool: Canning Funnel

...nging it and spilling a lot, or fashioning funnels out of newspaper. Life is just to short to chase beans around the kitchen. I use this thing every day. Here’s a hint: If you have one of those little mesh tea strainers made to fit in the top of a tea pot (they always sell them in Asian markets), you’ll find it fits perfectly both into the funnel and into the mouth of a quart jar. Using one with your funnel, you can strain off tea, o...

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What to do with all those hot peppers: Harissa!

...bundance of very large, hot Italian Long Peppers. Thumbing through some recipe books we realized that we had all the ingredients to make Harissa, a spicy Moroccan condiment. The recipe is simple and quick. We cut open five of our hot peppers, discarded the seeds, and combined them in a food processor with: 1 tsp salt1 tsp cumin1 tsp caraway seeds2 tsp coriander seeds1 tsp fresh mint3 garlic cloves Turn on the food processor and add enough olive o...

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Cornmeal Zucchini Pancakes

...liked it a lot. These are savory pancakes that suit for breakfast, brunch, or even dinner. I imagine if you made them without the onions they could be served sweet, with syrup or jam, as a veggie-infused breakfast pancake.  Note: She calls for yellow zucchini or summer squash, but we used green zucchini. Cornmeal Zucchini Pancakes 1 1/4 cup cornmeal 3/4 cup all purpose flour 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1 tablespoon of sugar 3/4 teaspoon sal...

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