Adventurous Homemaker

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My half year resolution of being forgiving in general and of myself was pretty successful. Having a more general resolution is very helpful in being able to see results, even with something as unspecific as a virtue or practice. This year I want to continue to have a conciliatory and healing outlook, but I also want to approach the world with the urgency and graveness that our times deserve.

My hope for this blog when I first started it was that I could go beyond the idea of homemaking as a primarily consumerist endeavor to a thoughtful practice that contributes to bettering the world. It was made out of both a response to and reverence for the shelter/design blogs that were so inspiring to me at the time as a homemaker. Many of these had a strong do-it-yourself and frugal ethic, and made me think of the importance of design in my daily life. I believe that there is a very important place for bringing beauty and design into the home, however I also know that there is potential for so much more as homemakers and families than having a beautiful home. As I read these blogs I felt like there was something missing for the part of me that wanted to contemplate the meaning of being a homemaker and mother, I also felt like only lip-service was being given to the important ethical concerns of the age. However. I tried to work within the current model of home and family blogging and interject my own way of thinking into that framework. It was ill-fitting from the beginning, so it didn’t work.

Blogging ain’t easy, so I have only respect for the women out there able to make a living from it, they inspire me and I look forward to hopefully begin engaging with that community. But will there be a place for me there? Stay tuned.

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American Frugal Housewife is a sort of manifesto of good economy and frugality. First published in 1828, the tips were likely of good use to homemakers of the time.  Although the instructional material may not seem as accessible to today’s reader, it at least provides an interesting historical perspective:

Her philosophy is just as pertinent today as it has ever been. My favorite call to arms is in the furniture section:

 

 

 

One of my favorite things about pre-industrial and turn of the century works is the imagery and even the touch of folklore embedded in the day to day accounts. I love this bit about rose-water.

Rose water? Aged cheese carefully wrapped in paper? It makes me long for another time, (I am not squeamish about insects, so that part doesn’t bother me).

 

I’ll leave you with my favorite recipe, this one is for Wedding Cake. I think I could make this, I know I could eat a slice:

 

 

These images were found in the Google scanned book. American Frugal Housewife is in public domain and widely available.

Here is the source link.

Sushi doesn’t have to be a decadent, once in a while meal. Basic rolls are easy enough to make to become part of a regular meal rotation. The versatility of sushi means it can be adapted to varying budgets and tastes (no raw fish necessary!) While these may not always be authentic Japanese rolls, they are still nourishing and fun to make.

Once you have the base ingredients, nori (the wrapper) rice and vinegar, you can whip up sushi with a wide variety of fillings. The only other tool that is necessary is a bamboo rolling mat. I also like to keep around wasabi powder, soy sauce and ginger but you could live without them if you had to.

Sushi lends itself well to no-cook ingredients like fresh vegetables or creamy fillings like spicy tuna, making it perfect for the hot summer days ahead. For me, the trick to getting creative with sushi is to try to think of it like a modern tea sandwich, then the possibilities are endless.

This week I made some tasty rolls with carrots, garden picked dill and cream cheese. I had some imitation crab aka “fish protein” (Soylent Green anyone?) on hand so I put that in there as well. It was my first foray into using herbs in sushi and it was delicious!

 

My toddler loves rice, so she loves sushi!

 

Some notes on Rice:

When I finally learned how to cook rice without it sticking to the bottom of the pan it was “a  moment of zen”. It is quite simple: stir occasionally till it comes to a boil, then turn it off, cover and let it sit till done.

Sushi rice calls for a 1 ½ cup of water to one cup rice, rather than double the water to rice. This is what makes it sticky.

Vinegar is essential to a balanced flavor. Rice vinegar is really mellow, but white vinegar is a fine substitute. When I put together this roll I was low on white vinegar so I mixed it with fresh lemon juice and really liked the results. Adding salt and sugar helps balance out the vinegar and the entire result is quite tasty.

When making your rolls rinse your hands with water before applying the rice, this helps to keep the rice from sticking to your hands.

Accoutrements (Not needed if you don’t have them. But nice to have)

Ginger is considered a palate cleanser between rolls, but is also just tasty. I don’t buy pickled ginger instead I follow the How to Cook Everything recipe for “Quick Pickled Ginger” Which is thinly sliced ginger soaked in sugar, salt and rice vinegar (or white if that’s what you have) for 30 minute to 1 hour.

I prefer making my own wasabi paste with wasabi powder. It is simple and I think it tastes better than the tubed stuff.

Soy Sauce may seem essential but it doesn’t have to be if you don’t have it!

Sushi, both the making and eating of it is largely about the process and ritual behind it, embrace this to make your dinner even more special. This is good advice for any meal.

Any more ideas for sushi from your neck of the woods?

Read more:

Sushi making with kids:
http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/children/summer-project-make-vegetable-maki-sushi-with-kids-087091

Instead of spicy tuna try this variant:
http://www.food.com/recipe/spicy-tofu-sushi-186808