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Overnight Baking

Overnight Cookies

You will need:
1 egg white
1/2 cup superfine sugar (or crush granulated sugar between two sheets of waxed paper with a rolling pin)
1/2 cup ground almonds
generous 1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup candied cherries, chopped (or substitute cherry-flavored dried cranberries)
2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 425º. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Whisk the egg white in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Add sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking until mixed. Fold in the almonds, chocolate chips, cherry bits, and coconut. Place by spoonsful on the baking sheet. Place in the oven, close the door, and turn the oven off. Leave overnight (6+ hours); serve for breakfast.

Lemon Meringue

You will need:
5 egg whites (save the yolks!)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups sugar
Pie plate (no crust)

Preheat oven to 400º. Beat the eggs until they’re foamy, add the salt and cream of tartar, and beat until peaks start to form. Mix in the sugar gradually and beat until stiff. Spread the meringue in the pie plate and hollow out the middle (like IT’S a crust.) Place in the oven, turn it off, and leave overnight (5+ hours.) Fill it in the morning with lemon filling:

You will need:
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
4 tblsp lemon juice
Grated lemon rind
1 cup whipping cream

Beat the yolks, and slowly add the sugar. Blend in the lemon juice and rind, and stir over boiling water (in a double boiler, natch) for six or seven minutes. Beat the whipping cream and put half of it in the meringue shell; pour the lemon mixture over the cream and top with the rest. Refrigerate until set.

How To Prune Neglected Rosebushes

Many of these techniques will work just fine with non-neglected roses; I’m just talking about the ones that haven’t been pruned for a while and are straggling all over the place.

Before you begin, it is wise to check the weather report and make sure there will be several clear days after you trim. Cuts will heal better if they aren’t waterlogged.

Roses are vicious beasts, so make sure you have proper protective gear. This should be jeans, gloves (gardening gloves are a minimum, though it’s better to wear heavy-duty equipment gloves, preferably leather), long sleeves if you’re a novice (obviously, hot weather can be an issue), and possibly glasses if you don’t wear them normally. (I personally like the idea that I’m not going to have a branch whip across my eyes.) Know that it’s very rare to do anything with roses and to be able to come away unscathed, and have your bandaging ready.

You will also want bypass cutters or loppers, and a green waste bin or wheelbarrow to transport. I much prefer loppers for the extra safe reach they give me, and I can pick up rose branches with them to avoid handling the thorny bits with my hands.

Do you know what kind of rose you have? If there are leaves on the rose, that can give you a clue; hybrid roses tend to have larger leaves than a rootstock. (One common rootstock is Dr. Huey; it is a flat-open reddish rose with yellow centers. There are also pink ones.) Rootstock roses can be pruned down to the ground if necessary; hybrid roses should not be pruned closer than nine inches to the ground. If you have two types of leaves on the plant, the small ones will tend to be springing from low to the ground and are rootstock. Make sure to prune those all the way down to the ground as you get close to the plant.

Work from the outside in; cut long straggling branches as you get near to them, in pieces that will fit into your bin or wheelbarrow. Trim off all straggling branches unless this is a trailing rose (in which case you will want to move those branches out of your way carefully as you work, until you can trellis them.)

Remove all dead wood. If you can’t tell if the wood is dead, leave it for the moment, but black stems are always dead. Brown canes may or may not be dead, and some roses have reddish canes. Dried stems are also dead.

Once you’ve gotten to this point, it’s time to prune down. There are supposed to be arcane rules for this depending on the type of rose, but I’ve found that it’s hard to go wrong with a height of about eighteen inches—or about knee height. (Obviously, that varies, but roses are forgiving.) Make sure you’ve cleared all the cut branches and leaves at this point so that you can see the next steps clearly.

If you only have a couple of stems at this point, do leave them—but usually a rose will have a small forest at this point. Prune off the ones on the outside that are likely to grow sideways (out of a shape that you like, of course; if you need a branch to grow off to the side, keep it!)

Is the shape of your rose good, but still way too thick in the middle? This is the tricky part. Prune off the oldest canes. Those ones will be thick with thorns, with drier, thicker skins—they may even look like they have bark. Angling in to get these will be the time you’re most likely to get injured—and it’s also when you might prune the wrong thing when trying to get in. So it’s not always necessary, but it can open up your bush nicely.

Now you’ve got this sad little shrub of a plant. Don’t worry; roses can recover from just about anything. I once pruned some rootstock roses level with the ground to get rid of a fungal disease (rust) and they came back fine with the spring. (Still have the occasional rust issue, but nothing like I did.) This also makes them ready for transplanting.

I transplanted three rosebushes on Saturday, why do you ask?

Cornish Pasty

British food is sometimes unfairly maligned. Partly that is because many of the basic British meals were incorporated into American cuisine (such as eggs and bacon, or sandwiches) and sometimes because the names just sound funny.

Cornish pasties are the simple, filling meals that laborers used to take to their jobs. I encountered pasties again at the Renaissance Faire and decided I had to both look it up and share with everyone. The following recipe is a conglomerate of the many recipes I encountered on my search.

For the crust, you will need:
4 cups plain flour
1 1/2 cups butter or lard (or shortening)
1/8 tsp salt
8-10 tsp water

Mix butter and flour until rough lumps form. Add salt; gradually add water until dough forms ball. Put aside in cool place.

Or do the shortcut, frozen pie crust. Turn the crust over on waxed paper; remove tin as soon as it releases from dough. Let it thaw and flatten gently.

For the filling, you will need:
Beef— ground beef, chuck steak, round steak, any except stew beef
Raw potato
Raw rutabaga or carrot or celery or mushroom
Small onion
Parsley or green onion (optional)
Salt and pepper
Bouillon cube (optional)
Butter

Cut meat into small pieces. Slice potatoes and other vegetables into small pieces no more than 1/2 inch across; dice onion finely. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick, cut out circles and moisten edges. Layer vegetables, then meat; repeat but do not overfill (or you get what happened to me, a messy pasty. Oh well.) Sprinkle with spice (and bouillon if using), dot with butter.

Fold the pasty and crimp the edge (mine got away from me). Brush with egg. Bake at 400º for 15 minutes, then lower to 350º and bake until golden— 10-15 minutes if small and up to 40 for large pasties.

Pasties, of course, have a large variance in fillings. I’ve seen it suggested that you try chicken, or parsley, shallots, spinach, egg, and bacon, or even the traditional pie apples and brown sugar. On site even suggested having a savory side and a sweet side, marked so that you can eat from dinner to dessert in one pasty. (If you do that, make sure the two sides go together, such as sausage and potato with apples and cinnamon.) Once you get good at them (I’m not), you can prebake them and wrap them up to take to work.

That is what they’re designed for, after all.