Wednesday, March 28, 2012

If You're In Vermont, It's All About Maple

Late March in Vermont is always about the Maple!  When the days turn warm but the nights are still cold,  and the sap starts to run in the maple trees that cover much of Vermont, "sugaring" - making maple syrup and sugar - goes into high gear here.

 When I was a girl, maple was made much as it was when Laura Ingalls Wilder was a girl, a story that she shared in Little House in the Big Woods.  (That story has been turned into a delightful picture book for younger readers - Sugar Snow (My First Little House)) Earlier I found some marvelous photos from the 1970's that show "The Way It Was."  Taken not far from me in Randolph Center, Vermont,  the original caption on this photo from the National Archives  reads "This Dairy Farmer near Randolph Center, Vermont, Averages About 400 Gallons of Maple Syrup Each Spring. Thirty to 40 Gallons of Sap Are Needed to Make One Gallon of Syrup 04/1974"

Things have changed a bit since this picture was taken.  This is what a modern collecting operation looks like - not as picturesque, but far more efficient:

Monday, March 26, 2012

It is a gorgeous day here in Vermont!  I wish I could show you a picture but my camera is packed in preparation for the Big Move come Sunday.  It is going to be so nice to be back in a kitchen of my own with room for all of my pots, pans and gadgets.  I can even unpack all those pretty dishes I haven't seen in a couple of years.

Earlier, one of my friends on an Amazon Discussions  thread mentioned that she had made her first loaf of bread and that it had taken twenty minutes  to knead the dough.  Here's a video from Epicurious that might help cut that time down some:

Many of you have heard me talk about the Windowpane Test to tell whether or not your bread dough has been kneaded adequately.  Here's another video showing just how to do that.  If you were standing on the other side of the dough she is holding that center area would be very translucent.  The way this was photographed with the light shining on the dough from the camera side makes it a little hard to see.

Feel free to drop me an email!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Just a Quick Note -

Tomorrow I'll actually write something.  Have a nice evening!