October 31, 2009

Fall and winter food plans w/ 9 Bean Rows share

October will end in a few hours. We had a monster of a windstorm last night and all our trees were left bare sticks. And this morning was the last outdoor farm market day *sniff* Whether I like it or not, winter is coming.

I'm always an avid canner and I try to use the freezer to store what I can't use right away from my vegetable garden but this year I'm really trying to cover all the bases. I have a freezer that includes not just my usual homemade pasta sauce, stocks and frozen vegetables but also major load of local meat. I spent more time drying herbs for tea and spicing. I have dried pumpkin from my garden, dried apples from our land and a batch of local shiitakes drying as we speak (to replace the tasty but slightly dubious Asian market ones I love). And for the first time I committed to a CSA share for the fall and winter.

Yes, I'm late to the CSA party but I was reluctant to give up the pleasure of market shopping and the freedom to not eat Swiss chard. But the damn good bread and allure of permaculture treats (as well as the H1N1 factor and not wanting to be out and about as much this coming winter) made me want to give 9 Bean Rows a try. Plus, as much as I would have loved to get a hoop house up and running this year on my new garden it just wasn't in the cards. So now I'm all set for the winter with someone else to do the work.

Pictured above is this week's haul: (clockwise from top) fingerling potatoes, French breakfast radishes, bread, chestnuts, onions, apples, carrots, lettuce mix and collards (with a garlic bulb hidden underneath). I roasted half of the chestnuts for a Halloween party last night and I'm nibbling on a bowl of hot ones right now. The onions, radish tops and collards are going in a coconut red curry and the carrots will be roasted with a chicken and some other root vegetables from my garden for two meals later this week. I've been dressing my salads with a cashew-tamari dressing though I might switch to apples and cheddar this week with mustard vinaigrette. The rest of the apples and radishes will be snacked on. Oh and don't bother asking about the bread, my son and husband circle like sharks to snatch it out of the box. Sometimes they leave me an end to eat with olive oil.

My load of beef and pork from Gallagher's Centennial Farm from a few weeks back,
John is seriously addicted to their burgers and I love their arm roasts as pot roast.
See that pile of squash and pumpkins behind the boxes? That's just part of the haul from my garden.

Happy Halloween!

I've been listening to this soundtrack all day, despite constant complaints from
the grumpkid to turn off the "crazy music". He should be thanking me for
not digging out my Magenta costume for this evening.

October 28, 2009

DB French Macaroons

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

This is a last minute effort but I'm glad I gave it at least a quick try. Of course I got no feet, the little base that all French macaroons should have, and they didn't puff as much as I would have liked. However the cinnamon in the batch I made went over extremely well with my son Alex. Another day and I *will* try these again...


-Get yourself a copy of The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern by Claudia Fleming for this recipe and more.
-Or see the recipe at our host's site, Baking Without Fear
-If you'd like to join in on the fun visit the Daring Kitchen. There you can also check out all the participants by browsing the Daring Baker Blogroll.

In case you're wondering what I've been doing since I clearly wasn't busy perfecting my macaroon technique,
here's my son Alex in his haunted tree Halloween costume.

Since it's relevant, there is a super cute commercial I posted last year that's for my husband's game Chuzzle and it features macaroons! *BTW, Chuzzle for iPhone/iPod Touch will hopefully be out before Christmas for those interested.

October 20, 2009

Popcorn picking for the Leelanau Conservancy

My blogging groove has eluded me all summer so here's an attempt to jump back in. Yesterday we had a fun time picking popcorn for the Leelanau Conservancy. There were several varieties and we got to take a few ears home to cure and pop, including the ear of calico corn pictured to the left. I thought I'd post some more of the pictures from the event.

My vegetable garden is mostly cleaned up. The only things left are the Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale and some root vegetables. In the freezer are zucchini, peppers and lots of homemade tomato sauce from the final cleanup. I've started working on the squash and pumpkins we grew this year and have some roasted and in the freezer but most of them are forming a decorative pile on the counter for now. My son Alex and I have been picking apples from the many trees on our property. We've been lucky to find some really nice apples despite the neglected state the trees are in. I canned a batch of sauce yesterday after Alex did all the work cutting up the apples. I also canned 9 quarts! of Concord grape juice from my father-in-law's grapes. As usual, this is a mess but the grapes were super sweet. My parents visited us this past weekend and helped collect and husk the husk cherries/ cape gooseberries. The results are waiting for me in the garage. I think I'll make couple batches of jam and one batch of chutney with them. After the husk cherries are dealt with there are plenty of autumn olive berries to harvest as well.

Oh and did I mention we got a new puppy? His name is Fritz.
He's a 9 week old long-haired Dachshund and he likes corn stalks.
Eat your heart out.
Alex picking popcorn
Shucking the corn
Some of the different varieties from the cobs we took home
Alex with his friends that came to pick corn, they all loved this horse chestnut tree.
Alex brought home 93!! chestnuts. He counted them all. So far we've planted seven on our land.Pumping a drink of water, Alex's friend Phoebe is fond of Fritz :)