Just letting you know that I’m still here. I’ve …well…you read the title of this Blog….a bit overwhelmed by life. It is truly amazing, but gets crazy too, doesn’t it?!
Lately, I’ve been putting by everything that doesn’t run faster than me. And if I can find someone who will do a bit of hunting for me…well then…all bets are off on that too. We also have had a lot of Bygone Basics guests come to learn how to make these heritage recipes themselves, while immersed in old-farmhouse style atmosphere and tools…they are always surprised how easy old-fashioned baking and home canning really is. Especially when I show them (if they wish to know) how a few of today’s tools can speed things up with out reducing the quality of the food.
I’ve also added pies to my line of baked goods that you can order through the Bygone Basics pantry. Right now a lot of various types of apple pies are going through the ovens. Pumpkin pies are following in popularity.
I’ve submitted an application for a Special Use Permit to turn our old manse into “Amanda’s Bequest – A Heritage Immersion Bed & Breakfast.” More on this in the future.
As the season changes into autumn and the weather is colder, so is my house (because when I’m the only one in it I can put on a sweater and I hate high fuel bills).
Did you know that in the past, home baking served a dual purpose? Food was baked, not only for the table, but also to keep the house warm.
I follow that principle as well. Lately, I’ve been baking squash for pies, breads, and savory dinners. Squash is such a nutritious and versatile fruit. It is just as tasty in desserts as it is in the main meal. It is surprisingly cheap and easy too. Here’s my simple treatment of it:
Cut the squash in half or smaller if it is really large (by squash, I refer to pumpkins and other winter squash such as acorn, Hubbard, and butternut). About 4-5 inch chunks are good. Don’t worry about peeling, just wash and cut up. Remove the seed portion with a spoon easily once it is cut.
Line a large pan (cookie sheet or 13×9) with foil and spray or wipe with oil. Place the squash cut side down. Place in oven (as many racks as you can fit for maximum energy use) at 325 F. Bake until fork slides easily into squash to shell. This may take two or more hours and is dependent on ripeness, variety, and cut up size of squash (smaller pieces cook faster). Really easy right? I must warn you, it will start smelling really good towards the end and you will want to serve some of that for dinner!
Once soft throughout, take out of oven and cool for 15 minutes. Use a knife or spoon to scrape the flesh from the shell. At this point it is perfectly useable in recipes and for dinner. I take it one step further. I press it through my cone shaped food mill with a wooden pusher (that is ages old, but works like a charm!). That takes all of a few minutes. You can use any type of food mill you have. Voila! Yellow Gold!
Make pumpkin pie using eggs from your free range chickens (I do anyway); serve it with butter (or bacon grease) and salt/pepper for dinner; can it for future yums!! It makes great sweet breads and even baby food. You can even add brown sugar and butter for a great “Thanksgiving sweet potato” taste…
I promise to look the other way if you decide to add marshmallows to the top.
If you didn’t have the space to grow squash, it is incredibly reasonable to buy this time of year and stores until you have time to bake it. I’ve even been known to bake the flesh of my jack-o-lanterns on Halloween eve. Why not? I’ve already gone through the work of removing the seeds and since I carve my pumpkins the day of Halloween, it is still fresh. Waste not – Want not.