My birthday present from Jacob is a Country Living grain mill!!
It should be here Wednesday, so yesterday we went to the co-op and got hard wheat and soft wheat and buckwheat (the only thing I've ever made with it is pancakes, but Jacob has an interest in it because he wants to grow it as a cover crop and for the bees) and oat groats. I am terribly, terribly excited. The Country Living is supposed to be pretty much the best hand mill out there. Clever Jacob even called the company (he made a phone call....that's how you can tell he cares. We HATE calling people.) to see if they had any seconds, and they had one with a powder coating flaw, which, you know, who really cares?, and so he got it for $50 off plus a free "Power bar" extension handle that makes turning easier! So that's an $80 savings because I probably would have wanted the handle. Eventually we'll get it set up in the basement with the exercise bike to power it (see, we knew that stupid thing would be useful someday), but at first I expect I'll want to admire it in the kitchen a bit.
My plan for the first batch of wheat is chocolate chip cookies. That's rather more likely of success first off. I'll also have to make a re-run of the blueberry muffins I made yesterday, for a direct comparison to storebought flour. Then I can work on learning to make bread....though, considering I never find time to even do something as simple as making yogurt, which takes a tiny fraction of the time of bread, I have some....uhh...time-management groundwork to do.
On a very similar note, last week I grew some balls and finally went and got a pressure cooker...I spent the money to get a decent one, so it's stainless with a laminate bottom and handles on both sides, etc. I've used it twice so far and I'm in love. I made swiss steak and chicken broth. The chicken broth I did in 35 minutes and the meat fell off the bone like I'd cooked it for hours and hours. What a fabulous way to save time, heat, and energy! And nutrition, too, since it's cooked for shorter times and much less escapes as steam. Next dish should be beans of some sort. I still have to remember to soak them, but I could put them to soak in the morning and then after only a little cooking have them for dinner. Should be GREAT! The swiss steak was good, though since I'm still getting the hang of the pressure cooker thing I just used the recipe straight, whereas normally I would have modified some seasonings and such. For me, the main thing I learned from that was that cooking the meat and veggies together worked better than I feared. The veggies were as cooked as I could be happy with, and the meat could have been more cooked and it would have been okay, but overall it worked fine. Next time I'll be experimenting with depressuring and adding stuff partway.
Alright, I'm'a gonna go now, because Evelyn and I are just NOT on the same page today.