Thursday, March 4, 2010

Wine to Vinegar

Making Vinegar From Wine

If you make wine (as oppesed to apple) vinegar, you can dispense with the apples and the press. You'll want good quality wine that's not too strong -- 10-11% alcohol -- because too much alcohol inhibits the activity of the bacteria that transform the wine. If the wine is too weak, on the other hand, the vinegar won't keep well.
There are several ways to proceed.
The simplest is to leave an open, 3/4 filled bottle of wine in a warm place for a four weeks.
Check the taste every 2 weeks and you can leave it longer just taste once a week to your liking.
This technique yields just one bottle, however. For a steady supply of vinegar, take a wide-mouthed glass jug whose capacity is at least a gallon and pour a quart of wine and a cup of vinegar into it. Keep the container covered most of the time, but open it for a half hour every day. In a couple of weeks the madre, a viscous starter, will have settled to the bottom of the jug, while the vinegar above it will be ready for use. Add more wine as you remove vinegar to keep the level in the jug constant.
If you want to make wine vinegar in larger batches, procure a 1-gallon (5 liter) cask that has a spigot at one end. If it's new, rinse it with vinegar and let it dry. Next, fill it to within a couple of inches of the top with wine and put it, uncovered, in a place that's about 68 degrees F (20 C). In a couple of weeks the wine will be vinegar. Drain it from the cask using the spigot, and, if you can, bottle it during a waning moon because it will be clearer. Replace the vinegar removed with more wine, pouring it into the cask with a length of hose so as to leave the surface molds undisturbed.
As was true for apple vinegar, homemade wine vinegar will be more delicate and have greater depth than commercially prepared vinegar.

Marbled Easter Eggs

What you'll need:
Eggs (hard boiled or raw)
Food coloring
Cooking oil
Containers for the dye mixture (mugs will work)
Paper towels
A few spoons

How to make it:
In each container combine one tablespoon of each of the following: oil, vinegar, and your choice of food coloring.
Add enough water to make the liquid deep enough to cover an egg.
Swirl the liquid with a spoon, and quickly lower and raise an egg into it.
Pat dry with a paper towel, and repeat with a second color.
Swirl into a third color, if desired. Some white areas can be left on the egg.
Gently pat dry the completed egg, leaving a bit of the oil to give the egg a varnished look.
This craft requires no special materials and produces beautiful results with very little effort. The eggs can be blown when completed, but the project is so simple that you might just discard the eggs and make a fresh batch each year.

Homemade Limoncello Recipe

Recipe for homemade limoncello, a popular after-dinner drink from Southern Italy:

•1 liter of 100 proof vodka (Absolut is the most popular 100 proof brand)
•1 1/2 cups water
•5 large lemons - NOT lemon juice
•2 cups sugar

Wash the lemons, quarter them, and squeeze out as much of the juice as you can. Discard the juice.
Pour the vodka into a large mason jar, or other airtight glass jar.
Add the lemons, seal the jar, and put it in a dark cool place for 5 days.
After 5 days, put the water in a pot, add the sugar and bring to a boil.
Keep at low boil for 5 minutes, stirring often.
Cool to room temperature.
Stir in the vodka and lemons, wait an hour.
Remove the lemon pieces (best to strain them out).
Pour the mixture into glass bottles and make airtight.
Put the bottles in your freezer overnight.
Store in freezer until your next dinner event or cocktail party. In Italy, limoncello is traditionally served in small ceramic cups. It can be mixed with tonic, if preferred.

Read more at Suite101: Make Your Own Limoncello: This liquor is best homemade, and great for cocktail parties.

Herbal Dryer Bags

Materials Needed:
5″ x 5″ cotton muslin or cheesecloth squares (2)
Dried Lavender
■Sew large “tea bags” out of the muslin or cheesecloth squares, leaving an opening at the top to fill with lavender. Sew the top shut. No need to sew fancy, just place the squares together and sew a single seam along the top about 1/4″ from the edge.
■Roughly squeeze the bags before tossing in the dryer with wet laundry. When laundry is done the scent is light, not overwhelming at all. Especially nice to use on loads of bedding (sweet, fragrant dreams).
■Bags are reusable! When the lavender is no longer doing its job, take a seam ripper and open about 2″ on one end, empty the bag, refill and sew shut. For one last kick at the can, crush the used lavender and toss it around your carpet. Let sit for about an hour then vacuum.
Make more than one dryer bag so that the same bag isn’t in one load after another, alternate them so each bag has a chance to cool down before being used again.
Also good with Fresh  Rosemary

Free Pattern Download Painted Market Bag

The Painted market Bag Free Pattern can be found HERE

Rosemaling Baby Steps

I love to paint and used to decorate everything.
I found one of my favorite techniques as a free lesson located  HERE
Rosemaling or Swedish Folk Art in an easy first lesson.