A Recent Culinary Experiment: Curing Egg Yolks

Close up of cured egg yolks coated in kosher salt flakes on a bright blue plate

I recently experimented with curing egg yolks following the directions provided in the recipe for Asparagus with Cured Egg Yolk in the Le Creuset cookbook.

Close up of the cover of Le Creuset: A Collection of Recipes From Our French Table on a brown countertop

The Le Creuset directions for cured egg yolks call for 6 egg yolks, a mixture of sugar and kosher salt, and time.

Bette’s hand lowering an egg yolk into a round glass baking dish full of salt

Yolks were deposited carefully by hand into round indentations made with the back of a wooden spoon, sprinkled with salt mixture until just covered, then covered completely with a tightly fitting lid and refrigerated for 5 days until firm.

Close up of cured egg yolks coated in kosher salt flakes on a bright blue plate

Resulting yolks were indescribable but I will try my best: salty complex umami flavor when grated over bitter salad greens with a simple balsamic vinaigrette, luxuriously silk and rich when grated over warm buttered toast with avocado – some delicious sort of witchcraft takes place when grated over hot buttered noodles… forgive me, I’m drooling now.

Bette’s hand holding a clear 8oz jam jar to the light containing 6 cured egg yolks separated by small squares of parchment paper

Good for 30 days in the fridge which was the perfect amount of time for me to use the whole batch testing out various applications. I think for the right foodie recipient, a nicely labeled jar of cured egg yolks would make a fantastic holiday gift. Maybe with a microplane (aka a rasp grater, and FYI every kitchen needs one), a loaf fresh bread, and a wedge of good cheese?

You can tell what my priorities are (eating good food)!

Best, Bette

Stitch-meditation: October Untitled

October Untitled, cotton thread on flour sack

A quiet meditation held steadily in my hands and in my mind throughout the month of October.

Hundreds of tiny hand-embroidered knots in a 4″ hoop testify to countless hours spent stitching slowly, silently.

When I gaze upon this finished piece I feel: washed in warm – nestled someplace soft.

Best, Bette

Lemon-Lavender Shortbread Cookies

Round shortbread cookies with scalloped edges on a dark purple plate next to a mug of coffee in the middle of a messy desk covered in colorful knitting and embroidery projects in progress

Shortbread cookies are hands-down my favorite kind of cookie when I’m feeling cozy and nostalgic, namely Walkers shortbread which I used to scrimp and pinch my pennies as a child to buy from World Market.

I’ve never been to Scotland – I can’t speak to the authenticity of this shortbread recipe but the resulting cookies are tasty and beautiful, and tick all of the necessary boxes for me so I will call them “shortbread cookies” and sleep just fine tonight.

Lemon and lavender cut through the richness of the butter (use the highest quality butter you can find for this recipe because you will taste it) and waltz the tastebuds effortlessly between tart and floral, tart and floral, tart and floral… mmm… butter… *Homer Simpson voice* mmm donuts… I mean cookies! I mean biscuits!?

I digress…


Close up of Bette’s fingers holding a Lemon-Lavender Shortbread Cookie in the foreground, colorful knitting out of focus in the background

The recipe

  • 1 cup (208g) good quality salted butter, softened/room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, spooned into measuring cup and leveled with a butter knife
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cups (180g) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon food grade lavender buds, finely ground in a spice grinder or by hand with mortar and pestle (my method of choice)
  • zest from one lemon that has been soaked in a 1:1 water to white vinegar solution to remove surface residues, rinsed, and dried

Some tips to consider before starting

  • I find that weighing my butter and flour first yeilds a more predictable outcome as opposed to scooping or eyeballing my way along and wondering why they don’t turn out quite right. You will find the weighed ingredients in the recipe prescribed in cups and grams – if you don’t yet have a food scale for baking, now is a fine time to get one!
  • It is critical to let the butter come all the way up to room temperature to soften, which will take some time – maybe even several hours depending on the temperature of your home. Be patient and know that the butter and sugar will cream together much more uniformly resulting in a better cookie overall. If I know I’m going to bake cookies on say, a chilly Saturday afternoon in late October, I’ll weigh out my butter when I first wake up and leave it on the counter with plenty of time to soften up, then make my dough after lunch.
  • If you don’t have powdered sugar on hand, it is easy enough to make with regular granulated sugar and a blender or food processor. I usually make a batch in my blender using organic cane sugar granules so I always have a bit around on hand for recipes like this.
  • Feel free to omit the ground lavender and lemon zest if you don’t have them or if you’re going for that classic buttery shortbread taste, or experiment with adding other dry flavorings. Chai powder is delicious, and finely ground rose petal are just plain ol’ lovely.

To Prepare

Close up of room-temperature butter chunks and sifted powdered sugar in a stainless steel mixing bowl

In a stand mixer affixed with paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl with sturdy spoon or hand mixer, add butter and powdered sugar (sift in the sugar to prevent lumps) and cream together until uniform.

Gently incorporate the vanilla and lemon zest into the creamed butter/sugar mixture until combined. Sift ground lavender into bowl and discard the few reedy bits that were too large to sift through (these will add an unpleasant texture to the cookie and too much floral flavoring).

Sift flour into bowl to prevent lumps in dough and work together with stand mixer on low speed, scraping the sides down occasionally as you go, or mixing by hand with a stiff spoon or hand mixer until combined.

Dough should be fragrant and uniform in texture, sticking to itself at this point.

Bette’s hand holding the paddle attachment of a stand mixer which is covered in cookie dough

Shape into a tidy ball in the center of the bowl and cover. Refrigerate covered dough in bowl for an hour.

Bette’s hand holding a 2-inch round cookie cutter

Roll dough out roughly 1/4″ thick on to a lightly floured surface. Using a lightly floured 2″ round cookie/biscuit cutter, proceed to carefully cut cookies, placing them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet or large plate as you go, and re-rolling remaining dough as needed until you have 24 total cookies.

Shape any remaining dough scraps into free form shapes of roughly the same size as the cut cookies (so they take roughly the same amount of time to bake) or feel free to eat remaining cookie dough scraps raw as it is eggless.

I have also been known to chop up the scraps into cookie dough “bits”, freeze them in a single layer on parchment paper, then fold them into homemade vanilla ice cream with heaps of finely grated dark chocolate for a slow food interpretation of cookie dough ice cream. Yuh… it’s goooooood.

Refrigerate unbaked cookies uncovered for an additional hour.

Preheat oven to 350º.

Close up of cookies on a parchment paper lined baking sheet after being sprinkled with lavender buds and sugar

Working in batches of no more than 12 cookies at a time, transfer chilled, unbaked cookies to a room temperature baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Top each cookie carefully with a few whole lavender buds for color and a small sprinkling of granulated sugar. Proceed to bake for 8-12 minutes, until the bottoms are just starting to turn a light golden brown – visible when the edge of the parchment paper is gently lifted up from the baking sheet for a quick peek.

Cookies will seem fragile and are likely to crumble if picked up at this point. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow cookies to rest on the hot baking sheet an additional 5 minutes, then transfer them very carefully using a flat spatula to a wire cooling rack until cooled completely.

Close up texture shot of a baked and cooled cookie which looks crunchy and buttery

Once cooled, the cookies with firm up nicely with a gentle crunch and hold up impressively against repeated dunks in hot coffee. Store in an airtight container in a single layer or stacked in layers and separated by pieces of parchment paper. These cookies will keep on the kitchen counter for several days, in the fridge for a week, and in the freezer for a month.

Bette’s hand dunking a cookie into a mug of coffee with a ball of wool yarn in the background

Serve with coffee or tea and enjoy thoroughly .

Best, Bette

DCOTD (dish cloth of the day): Ricochet Lace

I’ve taken to knitting cotton dish cloths again in a continuing effort to eliminate paper towels from my home, and as a way to grow my toolbox of knitted textures, cables, and stitch motifs.

The pattern is Richochet Lace Dishcloth by Hannah Maier, which features the Baby Fern Lace Stitch and is available as a free download via KnitPicks.

Yarn is good old affordable (US grown, Canadian spun) Lily Sugar’n Cream in the color Tangerine.

Dish cloth? Wash cloth? Face cloth? Cotton scrubby? Trivet? Doily? These decorative, machine washable workhorses go by many names and serve a thousand various functions in my house.

I say “dishcloth of the day” in jest – although they are quick projects and the idea of knitting 365 cotton dishcloths in a year isn’t totally unrealistic for me, I won’t be posting a new hand knit dishcloth daily. Let’s shoot for weekly? we’ll see…

Until next time xx Bette

A good hair day: soft fluffy braid-out

If you have a good hair day but don’t take a bunch of selfies, does it even count?

Ok, ok, I’m feelin’ myself today and in a great mood so let me have my fun…

It’s been 1 year and 5 months since I started growing my hair out again after wearing it short for several years (like, buzz cut short) and can honestly say this is the fastest my hair has ever grown.

Trimming it every 6 months, hardly fussing with it, and it’s growing like a weed…

I attribute the improvements in length retention, growth, and overall health to:

  • Detangling, washing, moisturizing, and combing into simple protective styles like braids or 2-strand twists every 1-2 weeks.
  • Always wrapping my hair in a satin scarf before bed. Literally every single night – I’ve been so diligent, y’all, this is a first for me! Edge game on 1,000! Very few single-strand knots! Hooray!
  • Eating well, staying hydrated, and abstaining from alcohol.
  • Finding out I was pretty anemic via bloodwork and finally supplementing correctly for that.
  • Never using any kind of heat styling tools. Air drying only (which takes some rather significant time management skills and a bit of planning as my hair continues to get longer), and getting creative with tools like old school foam roller sets.
  • Never detangling or brushing dry hair.
  • Never using any kind of chemical processing agent, color-lifting agent or dye.
  • Cleansing only once weekly maximum, usually every 10-ish days but it depends on where I am and what I’ve been doing.
  • Learning to feel confident regardless of what my hair is doing and lovin’ on MY OWN UNIQUE TEXTURE exactly as it grows!

Happy Saturday! Bette

Dutch oven bread and hand-mended clothing

Two things that have been bringing me joy lately are fresh loaves of bread baked in the Le Creuset Dutch oven Kaleb got me for my birthday this year, and thoughtfully hand-mending my clothing.

For much of my life I prioritized quantity over quality when it came to clothing. I think moving from Arizona to St Thomas, US Virgin Islands, then up to Washington in just under a year forced me to whittle my wardrobe down to versatile basics, pack light each time I moved, and to treat what I have with care – all skills I now consider essential and am grateful for.

This patch is one I ordered from The Far Woods and had been saving for a special occasion. Covering an unfortunate bleach spot on one of my favorite shirts felt like I was finally putting it to good use.

Just listed: Hand knit pima cotton cropped summer t-shirt

This cropped t-shirt sweater is such a great wardrobe addition for all seasons (I would love to see this over a tank dress with colorful tights and knee boots this fall, just sayin’) but is a MUST for summer. Hand knit using 100% ethically sourced pima cotton from Peru.

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Click here for the full listing.

– EK