For some reason, I’m on a homemade kick lately. Today at lunch, I started two whole chickens on the stove. Once they were boiled, I drained off that broth, stripped the carcasses, and then tossed the bones back in to boil for several hours. I had enough broth to make homemade chicken & noodles for dinner tonight (with enough leftovers that I can make another double batch of noodles tomorrow and have another dinner!), with a huge Tuperware container of broth in the fridge, and four quart jars in the freezer. (I’m just praying the jars don’t break. I made sure to use room temperature broth.)
I’ve got a nice headstart on Thanksgiving! (I used homemade broth last year for the noodles.) But in all honesty, we’ll probably have most of this broth used up — I plan to make homemade rice pilaf again and I’m dying to try a Mexican enchilada “gravy” that uses chicken broth.
Meanwhile, I also started a few kitchen experiments. I have a jar of lentils sprouting, another jar of sourdough starter bubbling on the counter, and the celery root chopped off a fresh bunch from the store that supposedly can be planted. The kids are all interested in these experiments — hopefully at least one or two will work out!
I also bought some local dairy farmer’s milk in glass jars at the store. It’s still pasturized, but tastes incredible, but is so darned expensive (by the time I pay the deposit on the glass jar) that I don’t know if I’ll stick with it or not. I do want to get us drinking and eating more local produce and this is a start, but I can’t make butter out of this milk, and I’m really wanting to try homemade butter! Thursday, we’re going to investigate the local farmer’s market for some co-op shares. Supposedly a different dairy farmer has a raw-milk share and will be at the market. We’ll see.
So why all this interest in homemade stuff? I grew up on a farm, for one, and I’ve always loved to cook. Suzanne McMinn’s blog has been a great influence on me — I get so many recipes from her! I want chickens and my own Beulah Petunia! However, with both of us having full-time jobs, I don’t know that we’ll ever be “farmers.” I do like to dream, though, and meanwhile, I can support my local farmers as much as possible.
I also stumbled across two sites tonight and bookmarked a dozen recipes and ideas: Kitchen Stewardship and Heartland Renaissance. More to come, I’m sure. I just hope my sourdough starter doesn’t blow up on my counter (I had some bad experiences with the “easy” yeast experiments at school!)