Country Traditions

September 28, 2010

Minestrone Soup With Chicken

Filed under: chickens, freezing food, herbs, recipes — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 11:14 am
self-made bouillon de volaille (chicken broth).

Image via Wikipedia

This hearty Italian soup is a contemporary version of a soup that required hours on the stovetop. This recipe calls for canned beans, chicken broth, and tomatoes, which allow you to prepare this entrée soup in just 15 minutes. While the soup cooks, heat a loaf of crusty bread and toss a green salad to make the healthful meal complete.

Ingredients

    1 tbsp. olive oil
    1 carrot, cut into 1/8-inch slices
    ¼ c. minced onion
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    Two 14 ½-ounce cans chicken broth
    One 14 ½-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
    One 14 ½-ounce cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (see Tip)
    4 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into ½-inch squares
    1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch slices
    ½ c. elbow macaroni
    2 tbsp. minced fresh basil, or ½ tsp. dried
    1 tbsp. minced fresh oregano, or ½ tsp. dried
    ¼ tsp. pepper, or to taste
    Salt to taste
    Freshly ground pepper and freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

Preparation

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the carrot, onion, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes, or until the carrot is crisp-tender and the onion is translucent and not browned.

Stir in the chicken broth and tomatoes with juice; bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the beans, chicken, zucchini, macaroni, dried basil and oregano (if using), and pepper. When the liquid returns to a boil, reduce the heat to medium; cover and cook for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the pasta and vegetables are tender. Stir in the fresh basil and oregano (if using). Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Advance Preparation

This soup will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 4 days.

http://www.kpho.com/food/1941143/detail.html?treets=pho&tml=pho_food&ts=T&tmi=pho_food_1_11000209282010

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September 17, 2010

Don't Forget Vinegar

Filed under: curing meat, dehydrating, freezing food, herbs, home remedies, laundry, poison ivy, recipes, Vinegar — Tags: , , — dmacc502 @ 3:22 pm
Vinegar is commonly infused with spices or her...

Image via Wikipedia

  • Bring a solution of one-cup vinegar and four tablespoons baking soda to a oil in teapots and coffeepots to rid them of mineral deposits.
  • A solution of vinegar and baking soda will easily remove cooking oil from your stovetop.
  • Clean the filter on your humidifier by removing it and soaking it in a pan of white vinegar until all the sediment is off.
  • Vinegar naturally breaks down uric acid and soapy residue, leaving baby clothes and diapers soft and fresh. Add a cup f vinegar to each load during the rinse cycle.
  • Saturate a cloth with vinegar and sprinkle with baking soda, and then use it to clean fiberglass tubs and showers. Rinse well and rub dry for a spotless shine.
  • To remove chewing gum, rub it with full-strength vinegar.
  • For a clean oven, combine vinegar and baking soda, then scrub.
  • Clean and deodorize your toilet bowl by pouring undiluted white vinegar into it. Let stand for five minutes, then flush. Spray stubborn stains with white vinegar, then scrub vigorously.
  • Clean windows with a cloth dipped in a solution of one part white vinegar and ten parts warm water. This works for dirty TV screens, too!
  • For brunettes, rinsing hair with vinegar after a shampoo makes hair shinier. Use one-tablespoon vinegar to one-cup warm water.
  • Soak paint stains in hot vinegar to remove them.
  • To clean drip coffeemakers, fill the reservoir with white vinegar and run it through a brewing cycle. Rinse thoroughly by brewing two cycles with water before using.
  • To remove bumper stickers from car chrome, paint on vinegar and let it soak in. Next, scrape off the stickers. Decals can be removed similarly.
  • Rid your refrigerator and freezer of bad odors by cleaning the insides with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water, then wiping dry.
  • Apply full strength vinegar to mosquito or other insect bites to relieve the itching. (Caution: Do not do this if the affected area is raw.)
  • White vinegar takes salt and water stains off leather boots and shoes. Wipe over the stained area only, and then polish.
  • To remove smoke odors on clothes, hang them above a steaming bathtub filled with hot water and a cup of white vinegar.
  • To prevent mildew, wipe down surfaces with vinegar.
  • Place a vinegar-soaked brown bag on sprains to ease pain and aid recovery.
  • Use a sponge dampened with vinegar to clean shower curtains.
  • To remove salt stains from winter boots, rub with a solution of 1 tablespoon white vinegar and 1 cup water.
  • To loosen a stuck jar lid, hold the jar upside down and pour warm vinegar around the neck at the joint between the glass and the top.
  • Rub cider vinegar on your skin to repel insects.
  • Clean windows with a mixture of 1 part white vinegar and 10 parts warm water.

Uses for Salt & Baking Soda

Filed under: curing meat, dehydrating, farming, freezing food, home remedies, poison ivy, recipes — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 3:18 pm
Sodium bicarbonate, sodium hydrogencarbonate, ...

Image via Wikipedia

  • Rub salt on fruit stains while still wet, then put them in the wash.
  • For mildew spots, rub in salt and some buttermilk, and then let dry in the sun.
  • If you spill wine or fruit juice on your tablecloth, pour salt on the spot immediately to absorb the stain.
  • Apply a paste of salt and olive oil to ugly heat rings on your table. Let sit for about an hour and then wipe off with a soft cloth.
  • To improve your iron, sprinkle salt on a piece of paper and run the sticky iron over it a few times while the iron is hot.
  • To restore some of the color to faded fabric, soak it in a strong solution of salt and water.
  • Mix a tablespoon of salt into the water of a vase of cut flowers to keep them fresh longer.
  • A mixture of salt and vinegar will clean brass.
  • Salt on the fingers when cleaning meat or fish will prevent your hands from slipping.
  • To kill unwanted weeds growing in your driveway or between bricks and stones, pour boiling salt water over them.
  • For perspiration stains, add enough water to salt to make a paste, then rub into the cloth. Wait for an hour, and then launder as usual.
  • Cover spilled eggs with salt, then wipe clean with a paper towel.
  • To freshen smelly sneakers (or any canvas shoe) sprinkle their insides with salt. Wait 24 hours for the salt to absorb the odor, and then shake them out.
  • Pour salt directly onto a grease spill and come back to it later.
  • A new broom will last longer if you soak the bristles in hot salt water before using it for the first time.
  • Stainless steel can be cleaned by rubbing it with a gritty paste of two tablespoons of salt mixed with lemon juice. Rinse well and pat dry with a soft cloth.
  • Rub two to three tablespoons of salt onto the stains inside your glass vases, and then scrub clean with a damp bristle brush.
  • Gargle with warm salt water (1/4 teaspoon salt to one cup water) to relieve a sore throat.
  • Sprinkle salt on carpets to dry out muddy footprints before vacuuming.
  • When silk flowers get dusty, put them in a paper bag with several tablespoons of salt and shake gently for two minutes to clean them.
  • Refresh household sponges by soaking them in cold salt water for ten minutes.
  • BAKING SODA
  • Add baking soda to your bath water to relieve sunburned or itchy skin.
  • Make a paste of baking soda and water, and apply to a burn or an insect bite for relief.
  • Clean your refrigerator with a solution of one-teaspoon baking soda to one quart of warm water.
  • Pour a cup of baking soda into the opening of your clogged drain and then add a cup of hot vinegar. After a few minutes, flush the drain with a quart of boiling water.
  • To remove perspiration stains, make a thick paste of baking soda and water. Rub paste into the stain, let it sit for an hour, and then launder as usual.
  • If you crave sweets, rinse your mouth with one-teaspoon baking soda dissolved in a glass of warm water. Don’t swallow the mixture; spit it out. Your craving should disappear instantly.
  • Add a pinch of baking soda to boiled syrup to prevent it from crystallizing.
  • To remove pesticides, dirt, and wax from fresh fruits and vegetables, wash them in a large bowl of cool water to which you’ve added two to three tablespoons of baking soda.
  • Soak toothbrushes in baking soda and warm water overnight to clean bristles.
  • Gasoline and oil odors can be removed by putting clothes in a trash bag with baking soda for a few days before washing them.
  • Lay down barrier of baking soda under sink-pipe openings and along basement windows to keep carpenter ants, silverfish, and roaches from invading. Roaches eat the baking soda, dehydrate, and die.
  • A light baking soda paste on a damp cloth will remove bugs and tar from cars without damaging the paint. Let paste sit for a few minutes before wiping and rinsing clean.
  • To remove stains from your coffee and tea cups, wipe them with a damp sponge dipped in baking soda paste.
  • Keep your rubber gloves dry and smelling good by sprinkling baking soda inside them. They’ll slip on more easily too!
  • Sprinkling baking soda on your front steps will provide traction and melt the ice. Unlike rock salt, kitty litter, or sand, it won’t damage outdoor or indoor surfaces or shoes.
  • Boil two inches of water in a pan with a burned bottom, turn off the heat, then add half a cup of baking soda. Let it sit overnight. In the morning it will be easy to clean.
  • Sprinkle a teaspoon of baking soda on the bottom of your toaster oven to eliminate the burned smell from drippings and crumbs.
  • A paste of baking soda removes red sauce stains from plastic.

Uses for Lemons

Filed under: farming, fish, freezing food, home remedies, laundry, recipes — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 3:12 pm
Two lemons, one whole and one sliced in half

Image via Wikipedia

Home uses for lemons.

  • For a sore throat or bad breath, gargle with some lemon juice.
  • Clean discolored utensils with a cloth dipped in lemon juice. Rinse with warm water.
  • Toss used lemons into your garbage disposal to help keep it clean and smelling fresh.
  • Use one part lemon juice and two parts salt to scour chinaware to its original luster.
  • A few drops of lemon juice in outdoor house-paint will keep insects away while you are painting and until the paint dries.
  • Remove scratches on furniture by mixing equal parts of lemon juice and salad oil and rubbing it on the scratches with a soft cloth.
  • To make furniture polish, mix one part lemon juice and two parts olive oil.
  • To clean the surface of white marble or ivory (such as piano keys), rub with a half a lemon, or make a lemon juice and salt paste. Wipe with a clean, wet cloth.
  • To renew hardened paintbrushes, dip into boiling lemon juice. Lower the heat and leave the brush for 15 minutes, then wash it in soapy water.
  • To remove dried paint from glass, apply hot lemon juice with a soft cloth. Leave until nearly dry, and then wipe off.
  • Rub kitchen and bathroom faucets with lemon peel. Wash and dry with a soft cloth to shine and remove spots.
  • Fresh lemon juice in rinse water removes soap film from interiors of ovens and refrigerators.
  • Create your own air freshener: Slice some lemons, cover with water, and let simmer in a pot for about an hour. (This will also clean your aluminum pots!)
  • Fish or onion odor on your hands can be removed by rubbing them with fresh lemons.
  • To get odors out of wooden rolling pins, bowls, or cutting boards, rub with a piece of lemon. Don’t rinse: The wood will absorb the lemon juice.
  • Save lemon and orange rinds to deter squirrels and cats from digging in the garden. Store rinds in the freezer during the winter, and then bury them just under the surface of the garden periodically throughout the spring and summer.
  • After a shampoo, rinse your hair with lemon juice to make it shine. Mix the strained juice of a lemon in an eight-ounce glass of warm water.
  • Mix one tablespoon of lemon juice with two tablespoons of salt to make a rust-removing scrub.
  • Before you start to vacuum, put a few drops of lemon juice in the dust bag. It will make the house smell fresh.
  • Get grimy white cotton socks white again by boiling them in water with a slice of lemon.
  • Clean copper pots by cutting a lemon in half and rubbing the cut side with alt until the salt sticks. Rub the lemon onto the metal, rinse with hot water, and polish dry.
  • Suck on a lemon to settle an upset stomach.

September 16, 2010

17th Century Household Duties

Compared to present-day families, the seventeenth century household served a wider range of functions and had more porous and flexible boundaries. It served a variety of productive, educational, religious, and welfare roles that have subsequently been shed to other institutions. It was, first and foremost, a unit of economic production, whose size and composition varied according to the household’s labor needs (Mintz & Kellogg, 1988). Inside the household, the division of domestic roles was far less specialized or rigid than it would later become. This was especially true for women. The historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich has aptly described seventeenth-century mothering as extensive rather than intensive. Households were busy and often crowded places where childrearing responsibilities had to be balanced with other demands on a woman’s time. Mothers were not only responsible for feeding, clothing, supervising, and instructing their own children, but also supervising, disciplining, and training apprentices and servants and assisting in their husband’s economic affairs. An industrious housewife was supposed to be a skilled spinner, sewer, knitter, food processor, brewer, and cook; a productive gardener; a household manufacturer; and a resourceful trader

http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/historyonline/mothersfathers.cfm

September 12, 2010

Freezing Food

Filed under: freezing food — Tags: , — dmacc502 @ 7:02 pm
Various fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains; ...

Image via Wikipedia

The basics of freezing

No matter what type of food you’re freezing, there are several basic guidelines that will make your life easier, and help you get the best results. These are :

Freezing can retain quality, but not increase it. Begin with good quality food.
Try to prevent air coming in contact with the food, and moisture from escaping. Both of these will dry things out, and can ‘burn‘ them in many cases.
Freeze foods as quickly as possible. This will minimise the size of ice crystals that will form, limiting the damage to the food when thawed.
Foods should be slightly undercooked when frozen if they are to be reheated when thawed.
Only put as much food in the freezer as will freeze within the next 24 hours or so (usually about 2-3lb per cubic foot).
Rather than freezing spices, add them just prior to serving a meal. They can change colour and flavour when frozen.
Label things so you know when they were frozen, and when to take them out.
How to freeze vegetables

Most vegetables freeze quite well (they’ll happily stay frozen for several months). Where possible, use the youngest and most tender of those available.

Here’s what’s involved :

Preparation

Clean the vegetables to remove as much dirt as possible.
Trim them, removing any unwanted stalks and leaves.
Cut them into bite-size portions.
Blanching

Many vegetables contain a number of enzymes which cause them to lose their colour and flavour when frozen. Blanching (putting the vegetables briefly in boiling water) stops these enzymes from acting.

To blanch the vegetables, set up a pan of boiling water beside a bowl of ice water. Using a slotted spoon, put a small handful of vegetables into the boiling water for a couple of minutes*, then transfer it to the ice water (to stop it cooking). Pat it dry, and put it aside. Repeat with the rest.

* times vary, so here are the recommended blanching times for a number of common vegetables :

Vegetable Blanching time
Asparagus Wash, sort by size. Snap off tough ends. Blanch for 2-3 min.
Beans Wash. Trim ends. Cut if desired.Blanch for 2-3 min.
Beetroot Wash. Remove tops, leaving about an inch. Cook until tender (25–30 min for small beets; 45-50 for large ones). Cool promptly, peel, trim tap root and stem. Cut into slices or cubes. Pack into freezer containers.
Broccoli Wash. Trim leaves. Cut into pieces. Blanch for 3 min.
Brussels sprouts Wash. Remove outer leaves. Blanch for 4-5 min.
Cabbage Wash. Discard course outer leaves. If shredded, blanch for about 1.5 min. For wedges, blanch for 3-4 min.
Carrots Wash, peel and trim. Cut if desired. Blanch for 2 min (small carrots) – 5 min (large ones).
Cauliflower Discard leaves and stem, wash. Break into
flowerets or leave small heads whole. Add 1 tbsp vinegar to water, and blanch for 6 min.
Corn on the cob Remove husks and silks. Trim ends. Blanch medium-sized ears for 8 min. Wrap ears individually in plastic wrap or freezer bags.
Eggplant Wash, peel, slice 1/3 inch thick. Blanch for 4 min in water containing a tablespoon of citric acid or lemon juice.
Herbs Wash. Snip or leave on stalks. For basil only, blanch for a minute. For other herbs,
blanching is not necessary. Freeze in a single layer on trays or baking sheets.
Mushrooms Wipe with damp paper towel. Trim. May be frozen without blanching.
Once all the vegetables have been blanched and cooled, pack them straight into containers or bags. Alternatively, lay them out on baking sheets / trays and freeze them like this (put them into containers or bags later – they’ll fit better, and can be easily broken up).

How long will they last?
Frozen vegetables will generally last for 3-6 months.Details of the process for common fruits are :

Fruit Preparation
Apples Wash, peel, core, and cut into pie slices. Cover with ascorbic acid.
Apricots, Peaches and Nectarines Wash in cold water and sort. Dip apricots or nectarines in boiling water until skins loosen, about 15 to 20 seconds. Chill, peel, halve and remove stones. Pack with syrup (above).
Bananas Peel and mash thoroughly. Add 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid or lemon juice per cup of mashed banana. Package, seal, and freeze.
Berries Wash and sort. Pack in syrup.
Cherries Wash, sort, stem, and pit. Pack in syrup; add ½ teaspoon ascorbic acid.
Citrus Fruit Wash, peel, section or slice fruit. Add ¼ teaspoon ascorbic acid to some sugar, and sprinkle over each layer. Let stand in refrigerator until fruit forms its own juice. Stir gently, and freeze.
Cranberries Wash, sort and pack without sugar.
Currants (use large varieties where possible) Wash in cold water and sort. Pack in sugar using 1 cup sugar to 8-9 cups fruit. For cooking, pack dry without sugar.
Gooseberries Wash and sort. Pack without sugar or syrup or mix berries and sugar called for in pie recipe.
Melons Wash. Cut flesh into ½- to ¾-inch cubes or balls. Cover with sugar syrup, using 2 cups sugar to 1 quart water. Serve partially frozen.
Pineapple Peel and core. Dice, slice or cut into wedges. Cover with syrup.
Rhubarb Remove leaves and woody ends, wash and cut in 1-inch lengths. Do not blanch. Pack with sugar.
Strawberries Wash, sort and stem. Pack whole, sliced, or crushed berries in a light syrup.
Tomatoes Cook completely (boil) prior to freezing.    http://www.formerfatguyblog.com/2007/11/03/the-ultimate-guide-to-freezing-food.html

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