a few words about miss chelsea elizabeth...

she likes: making kites, dancing in the rain, adventures, little-while friends, letters, whole-leaf tea, crayons, bare feet, jumping in rivers/streams/creeks/waterfalls, language, catching the clock as it changes numbers, sleepovers, trains (big or small), cuddling & waking up before the sun rises, among other random things.

oregon-born, seattle-raised, bellingham-bred and franco-refined, she had moved back to the states from her affairs across the atlantic & now resides in columbia city with french husband & love of her life rémy. they spend most of their time taming the garden, taking care of their three chickens & two cats, and preparing the urban homestead for a new little chick of their own.

Monday, December 14, 2009

happy holidays!!!

our first christmas as a married couple, tippen's first snow, our first christmas tree!!! 'tis the season!!!

clermont at night is all lit up this time of year.

there is a HUGE ferris wheel that comes to town every december,
and of course the giant christmas tree.

this is the church about a block from our house in chamalières.
also lit up.

where's tippen???
in his favorite spot this season.
(& mom/dad's least fav spot...)

we even painted the windows with snow!

& i made a wreath out of random branches i found
on top of someone's garbage can.

our first christmas tree!!!!
(with actual presents!!!)
happy holidays from across the pond!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

soy milk!!!

I have been wanting to make homemade soy milk for years now, but it always seemed like it should be really complicated and hard to do. Well, my friends, it's not.

There are basically two ways to make soy milk:

1) Blend, strain, cook.
2) Cook, blend, strain.

The first is the traditional Japanese method, so I decided to try it.
***WARNING***: this method makes a VERY strong tasting milk. If you don't like the taste of soy, I'd recommend trying the second way instead for a milder taste.

What you need:
_Dried soybeans (the yellow, not the green, and I prefer organic)
_Water (you basically use twice as much water as you do beans, but you can always add more if needed)
_Sweetener (optional, but most people will want to add either honey, vanilla or almond extract, maple syrup, or any combination of above to sweeten the milk a bit)
_Cheesecloth (there's no debate here; you absolutely need it)
_A big pot

1: Fill up a big pot with room temp water and add the beans (I used 500g and got about 3L of milk, but you can use more or less depending on your needs). Let them soak over night. The beans will double in size by morning. Rinse the beans with fresh water in a colander. Pick out the discolored/gross-looking ones and any dirt you can.

the beans, the next morning. notice the discolored ones. pick those out.

2: Try to remove as many skins as you can by rubbing the beans between your fingers, but don't sweat it if it takes too long (similar to removing skins off garbanzo beans).

3: Blend the soybeans in batches in a blender with twice as much water as beans. The finer you grind, the more soymilk you can extract, and don't be afraid to add more water.

it should look kindof like a milkshake when you're done blending.

4: Pour the slush through cheesecloth, letting the liquid drip into a large pot. Twist the cheesecloth to extract the milk and let it drip for a few minutes. Put the bean curd, "okara" on a plate to the side.

5: Reblend the okara once or twice more, adding water, to extract all the soymilk you can. Strain it with the cheesecloth as you did before. If you want, put the "okara" in the freezer to use later (there are many many yummy recipes using this, but you must cook it before eating).

the bean curd is also known as okara. it can be used to make meatless patties, meatless meatballs, can be added to soups and stews and is very high is protein & iron. it must be cooked before eating, though.

6: Scoop off the white foam on the surface of the milk. Bring the milk to a boil. Add your sweetener (I added three large tablespoons of honey & a tablespoon of vanilla) & stir. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes, occasionally adding water lost by boiling. As with cow's milk, skin will form on the top layer of the milk. Either constantly stir the milk to avoid the skins or just remove them as they form.

scoop off this white foam, either with your hand or a spoon. otherwise the milk will be bitter.

i used honey & vanilla, but maple syrup is a very good sweetener, too.

make sure it's partially covered when you simmer. this helps keep the temperature up without losing too much water. if it gets too thick or too bitter, add more water as you go along.

some people like to dry the skins on chopsticks and use them in other food. they are useful in making fake meats, and are tasty when added to pretty much anything. i didn't have time, so i just threw them away.

7: Filter, bottle and let it cool in the fridge.

filter just to make sure you didn't let any grains slip by.


8: Enjoy!!!

rémy really enjoys it warm; we use it to make hot cocoa and/or just warmed milk with honey.

like i said, this method results in a very bold flavor, which (if you're not used to soy milk) may take some getting used to. the taste is more mild warm than it is cooled. you can always cut the milk with water, too, to make it thinner later. i plan on trying the other method soon, too, and will most certainly let you know how it turns out!!

Friday, November 13, 2009


so while browsing the book section at our local grocery store, rémy came across this lovely book. i flipped through it and fell in love. marc grossman, the author, is an american living in paris and the creator of bob's juice bar and kitchen (both restaurants in paris). apparently when he first came to france he missed bagels as much as i do & decided to do something about it. years of trial & error led to this fabulous book.

i highly recommend this book to anyone, although it is written in french. i'm not sure if there is an english version available, but with recipes it's pretty straight forward anyway.

i will not be sharing the amounts required, you've gotta buy the book for that. but i will show you the steps on my very own first bagel-making journey!

the ingredients:
the bagels: flour, wheat gluten, yeast, salt, tepid water, malt syrup or molasses, olive oil
for the baking sheet: corn flour, butter
for poaching: water, potato starch, malt syrup or molasses or brown sugar, salt
as garnish: poppy seeds, sesame seeds, garlic, onions, salt, whatever you want!

mix up the dry ingredients.
(flour, salt, yeast, wheat gluten)

mix up the wet ingredients.
(water, molasses, olive oil)

mix the wet into the dry.

knead, twist, pull, punch for a good ten minutes.

form ten even round little balls.

roll each one into a nice thick worm.

wrap it around your fist and gently pinch the edges together.
(if the dough is too dry, you might need to add a bit of water to make the ends stick.)

your rings should look something like this.

place them on a well-oiled sheet, cover them with a clean dish towel & let them rise for an hour or two, until they're about 80% of their final size.

add all the poaching ingredients to a big pot & bring the liquid to a boil.
plop a few of the uncooked, risen bagels in there. after a few seconds they'll float to the surface.
let them poach for one minute, then flip them over for 30 more seconds on the other side.

butter & corn flour a sheet of wax paper (which you'll use to cover the baking sheet).

garnish the still-wet-from-poaching bagels with whatever you fancy.
here we have (from l to r) natural, poppy seed, sesame seed.

and onion (top) & garlic (bottom).

preheat the oven, pop those babies in there & let them cook for 20 - 25 minutes,
until they're nice & golden brown.

ta-dah!!! my first attempt at bagels was a major success!!!


homemade plain bagels with homemade chive/coriander cream cheese.

rémy thinks they're mmm mmm good!

then we made delicious tuna melts.

after two giant bagel tuna melts, mateo was pretty satisfied.
(& might i add that mateo had never tasted a bagel before mine...)

too many bagels!

the next morning, a deliciously toasted homemade bagel with delicious homemade chive/red pepper cream cheese.

honestly, they take a bit of time (with the kneading & rising & poaching & baking & all), but they were SOOO much easier than i had expected and turned out absolutely fabulous. i fell in love with baking bread a few months ago, and i do believe i have just fallen even more in love with making bagels. it is so definitely worth it & i highly recommend giving it a try!
happy baking!