Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Coconut Cream Pie

Winter weather & baking seem to go hand & hand. Lately we have been indulging on pies.


¼ c. cornstarch
2/3 c. sugar
½ tsp. salt
3 c. milk
3 eggs, separated
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. flaked coconut
1 baked 9 inch pie shell

Combine cornstarch and 2/3 cup sugar with salt in top of double boiler. Gradually add milk, stirring until smooth. Cook over boiling water, stirring constantly, until thickened. Cover; cook 10 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Beat egg yolks; blend a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks, mixing well. Stir egg yolks into remaining hot mixture. Cook over boiling water 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from water and stir in vanilla and coconut. Cool; then pour into pastry shell.

Meringue: Beat egg whites until foamy and add 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar. Continue beating; add 6 table¬spoons of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over pie and seal edges well. Sprinkle ¼ cup coconut over the top. Bake at 425° for 5 minutes.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Royal Palm

Here is his baby picture-

Below was taken early last month, while locked up during hunting season. The turkeys got a reprieve during the holidays when first my large cooler went down. Then after that was repaired, the refrigerator decided it was it's turn to quit working.

Think this dude may just become part of the farm, have enjoyed his strutting and following me around. Still planning on getting those two Black Spanish turkeys, you can see in the beginning of the video, ready for the table soon. Have enjoyed raising both of these breeds, they are calm and get along great with the chickens.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Infusing herbs in oils

An infusion is simply made by steeping herbs in oil or water to extract the soluble properties out of the herbs and into the liquid. This can be done by using either a cold or hot process. Making a cup of tea is an infusion.

In making infusions for soaps and lotions herbs are usually chosen for their known skin soothing properties. Calendula is a favorite choice here and the method most used is hot process.

Any oil may be chosen for infusion, the most popular mentioned seem to be olive and/or sweet almond oil, but you may want to use a recipe that doesn’t utilize these oils. Here, considerations are made based on what oils are in the recipe, the oil’s shelf life, along with the healing and moisturizing properties of the oil itself. Also, consider the recipe -do you want the highest percentage of oil in your recipe infused? Or maybe you would rather have just a touch of the herbal properties in your recipe? You may even want to blend oils for your infusion.

Even though exact potency of the end product isn’t known, notes are kept on quantities of ingredients used, time spent steeping and draining. This helps to give some consistency with batches made for recipes used repeatedly.

Herbs are placed in a crock-pot and enough oil to cover completely. Your mixture may swell slightly as it warms, so leave a bit of room to avoid overflow. Care must also be taken not to heat your mixture too high so you don’t cook away the benefits you are trying to capture. Don’t let your oils heat over 110°. If your crock-pot is able to heat the mixture higher than 110°, turn it off before it gets too hot and let the mixture steep. You may reheat and steep several times during your infusion period. A 24 to 48 hour period is considered sufficient time with heat extraction.

Once the infusion is finish, you need to drain the oil off the herbs. Pour mixture in a funnel or colander lined with a coffee filter or cheesecloth, letting gravity do the work. Stir the herb occasionally and surprisingly you will retrieve most of your oil. Store in a clean container and keep in a cool, dark place till you are ready to use.