Is Taproot's latest issue WEAVE in your hands yet? Has it got you itching to make something? Let's get to it! We hope you'll join us for our first ever Taproot Makealong! It's easy, all you need to do to join is make something from the Hands section of WEAVE, and share it with us for a chance at the crafty grand prize (pictured above).
~ Make anything from the Hands section of WEAVE, Issue 21 of Taproot. Knit, bake, crochet, weave, whatever your passion is, go for it!
~ Post your progress and finished creations on Instagram or on Facebook with the hashtag #taprootmakealong
And that's it! We'll draw a winner from the posted photos by May 1st, and send the grand prize off to the lucky winner! The grand prize, which includes: A one-year Subscription to Taproot Magazine, A Taproot Tote Bag, Taproot Ceramic Mug, 5 skeins of Quince & Co's Tern (for making the Rosemond Scarf in WEAVE), 1 skein of Stone Wool (for making the Quill Hat in WEAVE), plus four books by some of our WEAVE contributors! This bundle is sure to keep your hands busy...until the next issue of Taproot finds its way to you!
We hope you'll join us!
PS. We wish it weren't true, but mistakes DO happen! Be sure to visit our WEAVE issue page to see if there are any errata from the patterns or recipes in this issue.
Erin Benzakein has been a frequent contributor and constant friend to Taproot since our beginning, sharing her ideas, inspiration and tips for growing beautiful flowers whether for your kitchen table or for market. She has just released her first book Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden: Grow, Harvest, and Arrange Stunning Seasonal Blooms. We are thrilled to carry her new title, as well as to have her in the pages of WEAVE, sharing her tips on growing Cosmos.
Here today, she shares with us an excerpt of her new book (courtesy of Chronicle Books), timed perfectly for the upcoming spring season of May Day baskets and Maypole dances! Enjoy!
~ Amanda Blake Soule
Spring Flower Crown
(Excerpted from Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden: Grow, Harvest, and Arrange Stunning Seasonal Blooms by Erin Benzakein. Chronicle Books, March 2017.)
There’s nothing quite like a crown of fresh blooms to put you in a celebratory mood. These floral accessories are no longer seen only at weddings—a flower crown can be worn to just about any special occasion.
All you need to create one of these pretty halos is a few handfuls of flowers and greens and some basic floral supplies. Once you learn how easy they are to make, you’ll likely be making crowns for you and all your friends.
You will need:
2 feet (60 cm) of paper-covered wire
Ten 6-inch (15-cm) pieces of floral or paddle wire
A roll of floral tape
6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 m) of decorative ribbon
2 stems of viburnum, with 8 to 10 blossoms removed
12 stems of muscari
9 or 10 stems of ranunculus
1 stem of Canterbury bells (Campanula medium), 8 blossoms removed
8 to 10 small stems of larkspur
1. Determine the crown’s diameter by wrapping the paper-covered wire around your head where you want it to sit. Leave a few extra inches/centimeters on either end for fastening together later. Make a loop on one end and leave the other straight. (After fitting the crown to your head, straighten it out before adding materials.)
2. For large, heavy blooms like ranunculus that need extra support, wire the stems individually for added stability before securing them to the bundles. Make a hairpin with floral wire and slip it gently down through the center of the flower head. Then tape the wire and stem together.
3. Put together mini bouquets of roughly 4 to 6 stems each, using a mixture of the listed greens and blooms. I generally use 8 to 10 mini bouquets for an average-sized crown. For a delicate crown, make the bundles petite; for a fuller finished piece, make the bundles bigger. Cut the stem ends so that 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm) of stem are remaining.
4. Wrap each mini bouquet’s stems together with floral tape, starting at the base and going around each mini bouquet until the stems are fully covered. Floral tape gets sticky when gently stretched, so be sure to pull on it slightly as you work, and it will adhere to itself.
5. To build the crown, take one of the mini bouquets and lay it along the paper-covered wire. Wrap floral tape around the mini bouquet and the wire a few times until it’s thoroughly attached.
6. Add the remaining mini bouquets, facing them in the same direction as the first and placing them so that each hides the previous mini bouquet’s stem ends, until the paper-covered wire base is covered.
7. After all of the flowers are attached, tie a few pieces of ribbon on either side of the clasp in the back.
8. Place the crown on your head and secure the two ends together by looping the straight end of the wire through the loop on the other side and twisting to secure it.
9. If you won’t be wearing the crown right away, store it in the produce area of your refrigerator for up to 2 days to keep it fresh.
Rose Petal Rice Pudding
1 tablespoon packed fresh rose petals, or 1 teaspoon dried
½ cup hot water
1 cup cold water
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon butter
2 tablespoons dried rose petals (in tea strainers)
2 cups milk
Two 2-inch cinnamon sticks
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the cold water, rice, salt, and butter and place over high heat. Bring to a light boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the rice is mostly cooked, 15 to 20 minutes. Add more water if necessary. Set aside.
In another medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the milk, rose petals in strainers, cinnamon, and sugar and place over high heat. Bring to a low simmer, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until fragrant and the sugar is dissolved, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the rice mixture into the milk mixture and increase the heat to medium. Strain the reserved rose petal tea into the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until the desired consistency is reached, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract and remove the cinnamon sticks. The finished pudding can be served hot or chilled. (Makes six to eight 1/2-cup servings.)
Making Simple Upcycled Mittens from Out-of-Use Sweaters
Note: Use the bottom hemline or the cuffs of the sweater as the bottom edge of your mittens. This way the edges will be finished already, with no extra sewing required. Even better, if the hemline or cuffs are ribbed, the edge of your finished piece will have a nice stretch that allows for a good, close fit without being restrictive.
Makes 6 (5” X 3”) or 2 (9 ½” X 4 ¾”) loaves
The above recipe card is available as a free download to print at home. Includes both 3" by 5" & 4" by 6" formats.
3 pounds of dried (not candied) fruit, a combination of your favorites
½ pound nuts (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, or almonds)
½ cup dark rum, or peach brandy
½ pound butter, room temperature
½ pound unrefined sugar
2 cups unbleached flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground mace
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
oil for greasing pans, parchment paper
½ cup milk
½–1 cup dark rum, or peach brandy to brush on finished loaves
Rich Winter Herbal Hot Cocoa
The combination of bitter dandelion root and silky chocolate is enlivening and restorative. This recipe calls for 2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar, which is just enough to take the edge off the natural bitter flavor; try using beet sugar, sucanat, or even molasses. Since you’re using powders here, there is no steeping time required.
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Salted Caramel Apple Pie
1 recipe of your favorite (2-crust) butter pie crust
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
1 stick (1/2 cup) fresh unsalted butter
1/2 cup fresh heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (recommended: Maldon sea salt flakes)
apple pie filling
4 to 6 lemons
5 to 6 medium to large apples (Baker's Note: A mixture of Crispin, Granny Smith and Cortland is nice)
apple spice mix
1/3 cup raw sugar (castor, unrefined, large granule sugar)
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 to 3 dashes Angostura bitters
for the assembly
1 egg beaten
raw sugar, for sprinkling on top
1 teaspoon sea salt (flake)
special equipment: mandolin for slicing and a pastry brush
To make the pie crust:
1. Prepare one 2-crust batch of your favorite all-butter pie crust. Roll the bottom crust to fit a 9-inch pan, and cut the top crust as a lattice, approximately 1-inch in width or as desired. Chill the rolled crust while you prepare the salted caramel and apple filling.
To make the salted caramel:
1. Cook the sugar and water together over low heat until just dissolved. Add the butter and bring to a slow boil.
2. Continue cooking at a low boil until the mixture turns a deep, golden brown color, almost copper. Cook's Note: This process can take a while depending on the heat source. Keep an eye on it, if the caramel begins to smoke, you've burned it and you'll have to start over.
3. Once the mixture has turned a copper color, remove it from the heat and immediately add the heavy cream - the mixture will bubble rapidly and steam. Be cautious as the sugar will be very hot.
4. Whisk the final mixture together well over low heat and sprinkle in the sea salt. Set the caramel aside while you prepare the apple filling.
To make the apple filling:
1. Juice the lemons into a large mixing bowl. Core, peel, and thinly slice the whole apples. Cook's Note: A mandolin works great for producing very thin slices.
2. Dredge all the apple slices in the freshly squeezed lemon juice to prevent browning and to add flavor. Set the prepared apples aside.
To make the apple spice mix:
1. In a large measuring cup or small mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and Angostura bitters. Sprinkle this mixture over the apples in the mixing bowl. Use your hands to gently mix and coat the apple slices.
To assemble the pie:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (depending on the hotness of your oven).
2. Gather your rolled pie crust, salted caramel, and apple mixture. Begin by layering 1/3 of the apples in the bottom of the crust so that there are minimal gaps. Pour 1/3 of the caramel over the apples.
3. Add 1/3 of the apples and caramel for a second layer, and then add a third layer of apples and then the caramel again. Cook's Note: Save a small portion of the caramel to pour on top once the lattice is assembled.
4. Assemble the lattice crust and flute the edges of the crust. Pour the last bit of caramel on top. Brush the crust with the beaten egg and lightly sprinkle with raw sugar and sea salt.
5. Bake the pie on a baking sheet larger than the pie pan for 20 minutes (otherwise the caramel will bubble over and burn on the bottom of your oven). Reduce the oven temperature to 325 to 350 degrees and bake for 25 to 35 minutes. You can test the apples for doneness with a long toothpick or small knife. The apples should be just soft.
6. Let the pie cool, then slice and enjoy.
Sausage, Kale & Potato Casserole
Warm and hearty, this is the sort of comfort food you want to turn to when the mercury dips. It can be made gluten-free by simply replacing the all purpose flour with a gluten-free option mix. Serves 6 to 8.
2 pounds sausage links (such as bratwurst)
1 onion, diced
2 large bunches of kale, stemmed and chopped
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup half-and-half or milk, at room temperature
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
8 ounces grated cheddar cheese
3 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 pounds white potatoes, cut into ¼ inch-thick slices
2 pounds sweet potatoes, cut into ¼ inch-thick slices
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400º F. Liberally butter a 9 × 13-inch casserole dish and set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the sausage links and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on the outside and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.
3. Return the pan to the heat and add the diced onion. Add more olive oil if necessary. Sauté the onions for five 5 minutes, then add the kale. Cook for 5 more minutes.
4. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until all of the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a separate large saucepan. Add the flour and cook, whisking continuously, until beige and bubbly, about 1 minute. Whisk in the half-and-half and cook, stirring continuously, until fully incorporated and hot, about 1 minute.
5. Add the Worcestershire sauce, about two-thirds of the cheddar, and half of the Parmesan and stir until smooth. Remove from the heat.
6. Lay half of the white potatoes in an even layer on the bottom of the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Layer half of the sweet potatoes over that, and sprinkle with another pinch of salt and black pepper. Spoon half of the cheese sauce evenly over the layered potatoes. Cut the cooked sausage into ¼-inch slices, and layer half of them the slices over the cheese sauce. Layer half of the kale-onion mixture over the sausage.
7. Repeat this process for the remaining white potatoes, sweet potatoes, cheese sauce, sausage slices, and onion-kale mixture. Top with the remaining grated cheddar and Parmesan.
8. Bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, until cooked through and browned on top. Allow the casserole to sit for at least 20 minutes before serving.