Thursday, February 9, 2012

Vinegar and a Challenge

This week has not been the best week for me in the kitchen.  Do you ever have times when nothing really goes the way you planned?  I am a firm believer that once things start to go south in the kitchen, it is time for me to get out of it because they will only continue to plummet due to frustration. 

I was really hoping to share my wine pound cake, but I had decided to try to adjust the recipe so that it did not make as much batter and bake it in mini muffin pans.  The image in my head was that of perfect little violet-colored cakes, domed on top and covered in a translucent glaze.  What I got on my first attempt at this new version of an old recipe were sunken little cakes which looked as if someone had poked a finger in the middle of each one.  Discouraged, I cleaned up my mess (taking several breaks to scoop cake batter out with a spoon as a snack) and decided to continue to work on this recipe in the future.  I will not give up! 

In the meantime, I wanted to update you on the vinegar-making process.  The picture quality is not great, but you can see a thin film of gelatinous "mother" floating on top.  There is also what I imagine to be an expired mother floating around toward the bottom, but I have no way of removing her at the moment so she will just have to hang out down there.  The vinegar was started in mid-January, and as of last week, I have added all of the wine called for into the jar.  Now it is time to be patient (up to 10 weeks) as the wine slowly transforms into vinegar.  I can't wait!

In addition to my progress (and lack thereof) in the kitchen, I was very excited today to see, after visiting Food in Jars, that Sustainable Eats has issued an Urban Farmstead Challenge for 2012.  It looks very informative, educational, and doable, and I am definitely going to give it a try.  It consists of eleven challenges (you get one month of reflection) beginning this month on topics ranging from gardening, preserving, and home dairy to crafting your own holiday gifts and baking with whole grains.  I have no idea if I can be successful at each month's challenge, but it sure will be fun to try!

I will keep you posted on my progress with the vinegar and the challenge, and if you decide to tackle the challenge as well, let me know.   

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