I'm pretty busy this weekend, so could one of you please come organize my seasonings and spices alphabetically?
It's total chaos....
We'd be friends forever!
Thanks to all my FB friends for throwing out a few intriguing questions for FFF!
Neveryoumind that the whole conversation got completely out of hand with things nosediving quickly from talk of SPAM to disturbing queries about cooking and eating mammals.
Small mammals that crawl on fences with names like Rocky The Flying.
Or marsupials even.
It was a sad, sad thing.
Anyway we did manage to capture a few appropriate, and even down-right normal type questions so here goes.
From Kendra: Lu, do you have a vegetable garden? Ever tried canning? Do you use a crockpot? Do you have a favorite cookie recipe?
Like I've said before, she's inquisitive.
I don't have a garden (well, I have a small herb garden) but I wish I did. Over the years I've planted and produced some pretty good tomatoes and peppers right in my flower beds, does that count? I'd love to have a big garden and would especially like to grow a variety of lettuces. But then again, I'd also love to have a gardener who would take on the task of all the sweating and work involved. Typically, when dreaming of my garden, I tend to leave out the heat,
the manual labor and the weeds.
(Oh, and I should mention that one time I had a very unpleasant experience that involved 103 degree temperatures and out-of-control cucumbers.)
Don't make me talk about it.
Canning? Um. I'm embarrassed to say no. I still remember when I was a girl and my Mom would can all sorts of things. Tomatoes, peas, beans. There was lots of steam and heat. I was honestly terrified of that pressure cooker and still have never used one myself. I know. I know. They're not dangerous and it's easy and all.
You tell that to The Chief when he comes home and I've blown a hole through the ceiling.
The crockpot. I'm not the biggest fan. (Kendra mentioned that her husband thinks everything cooked in a crockpot tastes like a crockpot...any agreement amongst the masses??)
My problem with the crockpot is that I tend to decide what I want to cook approximately 6 minutes before I need to start cooking in order to throw it on the table. To me, a crockpot screams preparation and planning.
Color me paralyzed.
And besides. Just because I put meat and veggies and a can of mushroom soup in a pot in the morning doesn't mean that's what I'll be hungry for at 6 pm.
Fickle is as fickle does.
And I guess it might make a difference if I actually owned a crockpot built in this (or the 20th) century...
Mine is ancient.
And finally K, I do have 2 favorite cookie recipes. One is this one for soft and irresistible Ginger cookies. I usually start making them in Nov. and can't stop. They make the most wonderful ice cream sandwiches too, by the way...
Giant Ginger Cookies
Better Homes and Gardens, November 1998
4 ½ cups flour
4 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 ½ cups shortening
2 cups sugar
½ c. molasses
¾ c. coarse sugar or granulated sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl stir together the flour ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and ¼ tsp. salt. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl beat the shortening for 30 seconds. Add the 2 cups granulated sugar; beat until combined. Beat in eggs and molasses until combines. Beat in half of the flour mixture. Stir in the remaining flour mixture. Using a ¼ cup ice cream scoop, shape dough into 2-inch balls; roll in the coarse or granulated sugar. Place the balls 2 ½ in ches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 12-14 minutes or until cookies are light brown and puffed. (Do not overbake, as cookies will not be chewy.) Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks. Cool. Makes 25 (4-inch) cookies.
Now from Sara.
She needs help baking for her husband who's a diabetic. She says her baked goods come out dry and tasteless when she uses Splenda.
Oh Sara, I am totally clueless. Years ago, I remember my Dad was told to severely limit his sugar intake for an extended time. My Mom (an awesome baker) struggled with baking without sugar. Of course, at the time there were just little packets of pink stuff or tiny white pills in a bottle!
I know there are websites and forums devoted to this. I will defer to the experts. Bless you.
Kristy asks if I really feel that Le Crueset cookware is worth the extra cost and if I find it to be better than other brands.
Honestly, it's probably not worth the cost for everyone. Kind of like I probably don't need a high-end sewing machine when I only pull mine out once every 3 years and then can't remember how to thread it...
I cook every day. Sometimes multiple times a day. I love the heavy feel of the Le Crueset, the durability of the finish, and the ability to go from stovetop to oven. It's pretty funny (or awful) that you asked this question just yesterday as I may or may not have bought another piece of the stuff yesterday afternoon.
I replaced a Le Crueset pot (I gave my old one to my son) that I use for rice cooking. Seriously, I've been cooking rice for a lot of years and until I got this particular pot I never knew how perfect it could turn out.
From Lori - she wonders how you know when your Meyer lemons are ripe and ready to pick.
Before I became a well-known citrus farmer (I kid) , I always thought lemons were a summer thing. You know lemonade stands and all. But most of my Meyers aren't ripe until after it gets pretty cold. Sometimes I leave mine on until January or February! I never pick them if there is any green at all still on the skin, and if the lemon doesn't almost fall off by itself when you try to pluck it, it's not ready. Unless there's a chance of a bitter freeze (Ha. Houston) I just leave mine on the tree until I want to use them.
Here's how mine look this morning...
I have about 22 total and they're all looking pretty good.
Of course, I can't say the same for the leaves. Every year I seem to get a new disease that makes the leaves look just awful. I treated it a couple of weeks ago and it looks a bit better.
Where in The World is Weegie?
My friend Diana had a couple of questions:
The first one, concerning SPAM, is worthy of it's own post, so look for that soon. I want to honor the pork product as it deserves...
Secondly, she asked what my favorite kind of cookie sheet is.
Well. This is my fav...
Shameful, isn't it? But what can I say? It's the best.
Otherwise I do love these Calphalon ones with a khaki-colored finish.
I have them in a variety of sizes and like them all. I don't like insulated cookie sheets - I don't think they brown the bottoms of cookies well, and I don't use cookie sheets with dark finishes (I'm a burner).
I do love my Silpat, though. It can turn a lousy cookie sheet into a good one!
Thanks for the questions! It's been fun. Anyone else?
PS. You can message me and let me know when you'll be here to do that pantry organization work!