Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Beer Brewing update

Just racked the Big River Brown ale that I brewed last weekend. It will now sit in the secondary for a couple of weeks before bottling. Gravity was 1.020, which when combined with the original gravity of 1.040 means an ABV of about 2.5%, which is disappointing, but it may of course attenuate a bit further in secondary.

The sample tasted quite good, though, so it should probably work out Ok in the end...

Now I get to relax and enjoy the fruits of a previous batch - the Winter Ale, which has turned out very well indeed, and is the perfect end to a hectic day.

Fall = Leaves

How do you deal with all the leaves that just fall in your yard? Around here, the city will come to your home and vacuum them all up and drive them to a field that gets a healthy layer of composting leaves over the winter.

But one of our colleagues lives in a town where the city doesn't do any pick up. So, we take their leaves and will compost them for them.

I'll run them through my Toro blower/vac that shreds them into smaller pieces (running them through twice breaks them into small enough bits to quickly be decomposed. Sunday, I picked up about 20 garbage bags of leaves. Some of the shredded leaves will go directly in the garden beds, others will be composted. I may also use some as mulch in a couple spots.

How do you deal with your leaves?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Great Baking Ingredient: Flaxseed Meal

You may know flaxseed - the small brown seed that are full of fiber (and a good amount of oil as well). I was looking through some of the specialty flours at the store recently and came across something called flaxseed meal. It's basically ground up flasxseed. The neat thing about it is you can substitute it for oil or shortening in any baking recipe.

So far I've made some zucchini/carrot rolls that turned out great. But I'm really pleased with it in my weekly pizza. The crust turns out more crispy and tastes better than with olive oil. And each slice has about 1.5 grams extra fiber and 1 gram less fat, and 15 fewer calories. Not bad!