Chocolate Box Cottage Diary, Volume 3
Week 19: May 13, 2023
Have you ever thought to turn a thunderstorm into a reason for a party?
Baking with rye flour
The adventure continues…
I have been most pleasantly surprised to find that rye flour, freshly ground in my grain mill, stands in admirably for all-purpose flour in so many recipes.
I am still tinkering with proportions of flour to milk in my Dutch Baby oven pancake, but the Belgian waffles and Lemon Chiffon cake are wonderful with straight across swaps. The color is more earthy, but the flavor is mild and delicious in every recipe I’ve tried! And homemade cake is always welcome at a birthday party.
Dandelions and morels
I never outgrew my childish appreciation for dandelions. Seeing them bloom always makes me smile.
How about these pink dandelions? They’re so pretty and fun! You can buy a packet of pink dandelion seeds at Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.
It’s also morel season. If you had the good fortune of finding some, you might want to weigh them. It’s fun (and shocking!) to see how much they are worth. (Photo credit Megan Burkhart at Market of Choice)
Hard working hutch
In a day when many people are selling off hutches for cheap, I am using mine on a daily basis. The hutch is so much more than a place to store china, it is a functional piece of furniture, serving as a fermentation station, seed processing station, and indoor salad garden.
After greens germinate inside the bottom cabinet, they are moved to a small side table to green up.
Top view of colorful salad greens!
Sauerkraut fermenting within easy reach so lids be “burped” as needed to release carbon dioxide.
Meyer lemon care
If you have ever battled scale insects and lost, you will be happy to know about Organic All-Purpose Disinfectant and Ant Spray.
I battled a scale infestation on one of my Meyer lemon trees last autumn. Unfortunately, it was quite widespread before I noticed that the tree was suffering. Fortunately, I have a fix for it!
Let me share with you my Organic All-Purpose Disinfectant Spray. With proper care it doubles as insect spray.
To treat a potted citrus tree, first position the tree in the shade away from other plants. Make spray as directed in the link above. Spray the tree evenly, paying attention to areas where scale insects are present. Wait a few hours, rinse with clear water from a hose. Wait 7 days and repeat treatment. By then you should see the brown flake-like insects falling off of the limbs and leaves.
If you notice persistent scale insects, you want to prune away the worst branches, then wipe any remaining scale insects off with a cotton pad soaked in rubbing alcohol or witch hazel. Be careful to wash your hands after handling scale insects to avoid spreading them to other plants.
A gift of herbs
A sweet friend gifted me a generous gift card to Strictly Medicinal Seed Company. These little herb babies are special: Goldenseal, Orris root iris, pitcher sage, rehmannia, astragalus, and passionflower.
My friend Jenna celebrated her birthday this week by inviting her mom and a few friends to come together for tea under her apple tree.
The tree is as tall or taller than her house and the petals were softy falling on us as we drank tea, enjoyed not one but two desserts, and played a beginner game of Catan. Jenna fortunately, is an experienced Catan-player and helped us all play our turns. Meanwhile, half a dozen babies and small children played happily in the yard.
Vintage book Review: Betty Crocker’s Kitchen Gardens by Mary Mason Campbell, illustrations by Tasha Tudor
New and experienced gardeners are bound to appreciate Betty Crocker’s Kitchen Gardens. The book opens with chapters on basic garden skills including compost, tools, and seed sowing and moves into the simplest of garden plants: culinary herbs. You will learn the best ways to cook with a baker’s dozen and preserve their lovely flavors!
A nice, plump chapter on vegetables will fill you in on all the important details about planting, harvesting, and using favorite veggies.
My favorite chapter is the garden plan chapter. Decide between a container garden, salad garden, merry-go-round garden, a diminutive formal herb garden, and several other detailed garden plans.
A smattering of charming vintage recipes for herb vinegars, sugars, and teas rounds out the book. Tasha Tudor’s charming illustrations are not to be missed! Some in black and white, others in color; all are sure to bring a smile to rest on your lips.
Published in 1971 and 1979, Betty Crocker’s Kitchen Gardens is a keeper. Look for your copy at your local used bookstore, on Etsy or Ebay, or use my link to my favorite online used bookseller.
(If you make a qualifying purchase we can both earn points towards free books! )