April 14, 2013

DIY Projects from Klatch Home

I have been obsessed with Jennifer Reese's Make the Bread, Buy the Butter book. Author embarked on a series of DIY projects to evaluate the quality, pain-in-the-butt factor, and cost of outcomes. Home-made soy ice cream? Check. Our own vanilla extract? Yep, in the pantry. Tamales from scratch? Why, yes, and not a bad tamale. Here are a few other recent projects from our home.

This is Toothy. An itty-bitty pillow for tooth fairy's visit. A forgotten toy, a scrap of felt, and in 20 minutes we were ready for the visit from the dental deity.

tooth fairy pillow diy
Yes, make it! It made for a memorable occasion and was pretty darn simple if you know how to use a needle.
Made at home stocks are Mr. Klatch's department. Aromatics mixture gets sauteed (carrots/celery/onion). Then add veggie scraps for vegetarian stock or chicken bones for chicken stock. Simmer and in the freezer it goes.

home-made stock
This is a no brainer, do it!

Yes, you can make marshmallows at home. And yes, they are better than store bought. Is it worth it? Make them once and judge for yourself. Here is how to make marshmallows.

make marshmallows at home
It is a sticky business so your call if it's worth it or not.

Donuts! Everyone should own a donut pan and you, gluten free folk, need to master the art of donut.

home-made gluten free donut
These are very very good. Make them and invite me over.

Broken up crayon scraps, melted into pretty shapes. I am not saying run out and invest in a mold, but if you have one laying around, it's super-easy and fun. Here is how to remake crayons.

old crayons melted
So fun!

I always forget about granola but it is so good when made at home, fresh and toasty. Oats, coconut, raisins, this is well worth while.
Home made granola
Home-made granola is a definite yes.

What projects are you tackling?

April 10, 2013

Soup with a French Accent

I am not a disciplined cook and so soups are just the thing for someone who isn't so good with precision. And this soup, a hot version of Vichyssoise, has a lot going for it. It's fancy enough to serve to guests and easy enough to make any time. It is vegan (unless you sprinkle bacon on top!) and gluten-free, but will appeal to all palates and is a good choice for a get-together periled by the Venn diagram of dietary restrictions. This soup is also a good choice to make with the youngest members of your household, but more about that later.

Hot Vichyssoise
Leeks, potatoes, and fennel, that is pretty much all that is required.
Ingredients are easy but there are a few tricks.
  • 4-5 stalks of leeks - you want to trim the dark green parts and only use white and lightest green. If you've never cooked with leeks are are filthy and if you don't want a dose of grit in your soup so a good soak is a must. 
  • 2-3 potatoes - a little goes a long way! Red potatoes are better, they are less starchy. We went rustic and did not peel the potatoes and by that I mean couldn't be bothered!
  • 1 bulb of fennel - the whole thing goes in, fronds and all. 
  • Vegetable stock (or chicken stock will do the job too)
  • Nutmeg, sea salt, freshly ground pepper.

Leek fennel potato soup rustic
Leeks are vastly underrated!
The cooking part is easy, saute chopped up vegetables in a little bit of oil for a couple minutes, add stock and water if needed, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and let simmer for a bit (once veggies are soft, it is ready).

Blend the soup - I recommend immersion blender, easy and less mess. That's it.

The smallest Klatch member busied himself scrubbing potatoes and cutting them up. His knife skills are still emerging so the chunks are irregular shape. Never mind that, since the soup is  puréed, it does not matter if the chunks are, um, awkward.

cooking with kids
This puppy knife from Kuhn Rikon is awesome, sharp enough for chopping but not sharp enough to cut little fingers. 
All photos by ModernKlatch.


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