American Heirlooms - November 2018




Harvest season is a busy time for our family. We’re weeding, pruning, tilling, canning, freezing, and preparing for a long winter. Bethany and I have had a garden all 19 years of our marriage. We’re passing on this useful skill to our children as we teach them how to grow, harvest, prepare, and store crops. The garden is one of Bethany’s favorite hobbies. She grows strawberries, lettuce, peas, string beans, and sweet and regular potatoes. Our boys like to grow corn, sunflowers, watermelon, cantaloupes, snack peppers, and pumpkins — picture Almanzo Wilder from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Farmer Boy.” We’ve always had a garden, and as our family has grown, so has our plot. The best-tasting fresh food we get is from the first harvest we pull in late spring and early summer. All winter, we eat our canned and frozen produce, but come early spring, there is nothing like the fresh, crisp taste of your own crop straight from the garden to your mouth. As with any weather-dependent hobby, when we find a window to get out and enjoy it, we pounce on the opportunity. During one particular weekend this fall, we found a dry Saturday to tend to the garden after a week of incessant rain. We weeded, tilled, and cleaned up the space, and on Sunday morning, as we looked out over our garden before leaving for church, we felt satisfied about our hard Saturday labor. Transforming it from a jungle was stressful, but as a two-day rain soaked our fresh soil, we were grateful for the small window we had been given.

As our boys learn their way around the garden, I’m also showing them how to fish from the pond. We mostly catch catfish and the occasional bass, but when anything bites, they get excited. Their reactions make me laugh. We invited friends to come catfishing for my son Malcolm’s eighth birthday this year, and a whale of a fishing tale came out of it. Around dark, we went inside to enjoy cake and ice cream while our friend, Marlin Miller, kept fishing. Unfortunately, a suspected 30–36-inch catfish snapped his line, and he was unable to pull in the prize. We decided a landing net should be included in our future fishing expeditions. Sure, Marlin only glimpsed the monster catfish but we all got a great story out of its fight and disappearance. This fall, we made more memories as we went to visit my brother, sister, and their families in New England while also sightseeing the changing leaves. When we sat down to eat at Marvin and Regina's house in Brownfield, ME there was a total of 12 children at the table. At Jason and Michelle's house in Wolcott, VT there were only 11 children at the table. This means each of our children have cousins close in age, and as you can imagine, a lot to discuss. The simplicity of visiting with family, seeing the changing leaves, sitting down to a meal you harvested, or watching your son reel in his first catfish adds to a wholesome life.

As I look at my tilled garden toward the end of this harvest season, I’m already looking forward to springtime’s first harvest and this winter’s fresh supply. And I’m just thankful to have a family who wants to join me.

–Ethan Zimmerman

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Throughout November, everyone is eagerly looking forward to Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, but you shouldn’t let the rest of the month slip past you! Enjoy these other fall activities with the whole family. Homemade Caramel Apples Homemade treats are no doubt far better than their store-bought counterparts. Try your hand at making your own caramel apples for the whole family to enjoy. You can also add a number of toppings to liven things up, such as nuts, white or milk chocolate, coconut, sprinkles, or pecans. Backyard Bonfire During these cold months, you may be tempted to stay indoors, but heading outside for a bonfire is a great way to spend time with your family while enjoying the brisk weather. If you have a fire pit in your backyard, now is the perfect time to take advantage of it by bundling up with some hot chocolate and s’mores. Autumn Arrangements It’s time to get crafty! Creating your own fall arrangements will ensure that your home has the seasonal decorations you want. Making beautiful fall flower arrangements for your kitchen table or wreaths for your front door to greet guests will create the desired autumn vibe you’ve been searching for.

Home-Cooked Food When autumn rolls around, pie and warm cider may be high on your list of tasty treats you’re eagerly anticipating. This fall, encourage your family to take part in making annual goodies and sharing them with your neighbors. Nothing warms the heart more than receiving a loaf of freshly baked pumpkin bread during these increasingly cold days. Knitted Scarves If you’re handy with knitting needles, now is the season to put them to work. Hand-knitted scarves are great gifts to give throughout the fall and winter, and you can also make it a family activity! Take some time to teach your kids how to knit and crochet to create scarves of their very own.

The kitchen is the heart of your home. It’s where you prepare meals for your family and where you and your guests will inevitably gather. It becomes a hub of activity during the holidays and where you start your day with a cup of coffee or a hearty breakfast. A functioning kitchen is necessary for daily living, but if your kitchen feels dull and outdated, it might be time for an update. A knee-jerk reaction to this renovation is often to tear everything down, adjust the layout, and construct a completely new kitchen. If you’re looking to update your kitchen’s look, experts in today’s renovation industries suggest focusing on updates to components — rather than the entire room — and utilizing what you already have to create a new space. You can renovate your space with simple replacements, including swapping your old cabinetry with timeless, custom cabinets. Your cabinets are an essential part of your kitchen and can revamp the entire flow, feel, and functionality of your space. Replacing your outdated cabinetry with custom cabinets can give your kitchen a

face-lift without drastic changes to its layout. For example, adding light maple cabinets to darker kitchens will pull in more light, or installing deep cherry woodworking to an open-concept kitchen will create a warmer aesthetic. Furthermore, when you work with a custom craftsman, you can design cabinets that work best for you and your family. You can transform your standard kitchen into a farmhouse paradise with classic country-style cabinets, or you can add a contemporary touch to your rural homestead with sleek, painted cabinetry. Once you have the perfect cabinets selected, you can begin adding paint, updated appliances, and backsplashes that pair perfectly with your new pieces to give your kitchen a fresh feel. For as much time as you spend in the kitchen, why not create one that fits your lifestyle without diving into a complete kitchen overhaul. Update your cabinets for a simple kitchen remodel by calling our shop at 302-653-2411.


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Maple is another variety of wood that offers two different styles. Fans of soft maple will recognize its gray and white tints, while hard maple ranges from brown to a light tan or white. Both wood types are used in furniture and cabinets, but hard maple is seen in bowling alleys, shoe heels, and toys. Also, soft maple can be found in boxes and crates. If you want a sophisticated feel, select a walnut . This wood is known for its grain patterns and reacts well to paints and stains. It’s used primarily for furniture, cabinets, flooring, paneling, and indoor trim. Elm is the opposite of its classic cousin, walnut. It’s grain is wild and unpredictable, and it offers a broad range of colors, such as gray, white, red, and brown. It shapes easily, and like the oak and elm, it is used in farm tools and furniture. If you’re looking for a quality piece of custom furniture, selecting the right wood is the place to start. Seek our craftsmen’s expertise by calling 302-653-2411.

When you order custom pieces of furniture or cabinets, you’re looking for a particular feeling that cannot be replicated on a large scale. The basis for any piece of furniture is the material, and when combined with a craftsman’s custom touch, it accentuates a home’s ambiance. Material requests at our shop have included a tree from someone’s yard, and siding off a barn. These make for great pieces, but the timeless wood styling we specialize in still remains popular. Red oak, maple, cherry, white oak, elm, and walnut each offer a unique feel and style. It’s just a matter of finding the right wood for your project. The oaks , both red and white, are heavy materials with distinct grains. Staying true to its name, red oak offers a red-brown tint, while white oak is golden brown. The sturdy nature of the oak varieties makes it ideal for posts, furniture, farming equipment, and casks. Known for its distinct, deep red-brown coloring, cherry is a hearty wood that bends well. Its grain styling is popular among craftsmen and consumers. It’s common to see cherry used in furniture and kitchen cabinets, but it’s also a popular selection for instrument cases.

Let there be light, Lord God of Hosts! Let there be wisdom on the Earth! Let broad humanity have birth! Let there be deeds, instead of boasts. Within our passioned hearts instill The calm that endeth strain and strife; Make us Thy ministers of life; Purge us from lusts that curse and kill! Give us the peace of vision clear To see our brothers' good our own, To joy and suffer not alone: The love that casteth out all fear! Let woe and waste of warfare cease, That useful labor yet many build Its homes with love and virtue filled! God, give Thy wayward children peace!


3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons kosher salt

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2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon black peppercorns 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

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3/4 cup sugar

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 large onion, peeled and diced 1/4 cup celery, diced 2 large sprigs thyme

1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)

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1. In a large stock pot, bring salt, sugar, and 4 cups water to a boil. Stir until all ingredients are dissolved.

2. Turn off heat and add remaining ingredients. Place brine in the fridge, uncovered, until cold.

3. Add 6 quarts cold water to brine. Add turkey and submerge completely. Brine chilled for up to 72 hours.

Inspired by Bon Appétit magazine

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Brought to you by Kenton Chair Shop Builders of American Heirlooms and Penns Creek Furniture The Swiss Craftsman


P.O. Box 280 • Kenton, DE 19955 • Phone: (302) 653-2411

Inside this Issue

Fall Family Activities Page 1

Caramel Apples, Knitting, and Bonfires Remodeling Your Kitchen Page 2 Selecting the Right Wood A Simple Brine for Succulent Turkey Page 3

Are You Damaging Your Nonstick Pots and Pans? Page 4

The nonstick pan is a kitchen staple. It’s useful, convenient, and easy to clean. But after a fewmonths of use, it always seems like food starts to stick to it and “easy to clean” becomes a thing of the past. The life span of nonstick cookware is generally supposed to be about five years, depending on use, but as many can attest, that rarely seems to be the case under real-world conditions. However, there are steps that you can take to significantly extend the life of your nonstick cookware. If your nonstick cookware is starting to show signs of wear, you can repair existing damage — as long as that damage is minor, such as small scratches or blemishes. Using a 50/50 mix of baking soda and water, gently scrub the surface of the pan with a cloth or sponge. This helps even out imperfections. Rinse and dry. Then, wipe a small amount of cooking oil over the surface of the pan, wiping away any excess. Repeat this seasoning process regularly for even better results! If your nonstick cookware is flaking or chipping, it’s time to replace it. Those flakes and particles will get into your food and your body. While modern nonstick surfaces, such as Teflon, are technically considered safe, Teflon flakes are, of course, unappetizing in all situations.

Another way to extend the life of nonstick cookware is to avoid using cooking spray. These sprays often contain additives that cling to nonstick surfaces, even after washing. Instead, use a purer form of fat, such as butter or coconut oil — or don’t use anything at all! And during cooking, always use soft utensils, such as wood, plastic, or silicone. Never use metal utensils, which will scratch nonstick surfaces. Another tip is to keep nonstick cookware off of high heat. High heat shortens the life span of nonstick surfaces. Save this cookware for low and medium heat only. For high-heat cooking, rely on stainless steel or cast iron. When it comes to cleaning your nonstick cookware, skip the dishwasher. While many nonstick pots and pans are labeled “dishwasher safe,” regular exposure to scalding hot water and detergent will shorten the life of the cookware. To keep your pans in good shape, hand wash them using dish soap, warmwater, and a soft brush or sponge. Following these simple steps will keep your nonstick cookware looking great for years to come!


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