Friday, October 24, 2014

Culturing, Fermenting, and Pickling

Yesterday was the last farm share installment for the year, which means that I have more potatoes and squashes and rutabagas than I know what to do with.  I also got a head of cabbage, lots of greens, more leeks, onions and garlic, some turnips and popcorn.  We can't have the popcorn until January because it has to cure.

This morning after a telephone meeting I made 2 things simultaneously:  a batch of yogurt (culturing) and a batch of sauerkraut (fermenting).  Last time I made the sauerkraut I forgot to set up the water seal on the crock and it rotted.  So I am trying again.  5 pounds of cabbage was shredded, mixed with 3+ T. of kosher salt, and I put some of the outer cabbage leaves over the top as I weighed it down.  Tomorrow I'll add the white wine and recheck the brine levels; I can add more if I need to, which is something I should have done the last time as well.

After that, since now I know I'm not getting any more beets from the farm, I pickled all the beets I had.  That came to 1 quart jar and 1 pint jar, which is just enough for Thanksgiving and to give more to my mother-in-law.  We don't eat a lot of beets otherwise.  Although maybe we should.... they are really good for you.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Quick Radish Pickles

The other day I was at a local bookstore and found a new canning book:  Preserving by the Pint.  It's nice because it's full of recipes that are for very small amounts of produce, the kind one gets from a CSA or farmer's market.  One of the recipes that sold me on the book was a recipe for pickled Hakurei turnips which, in turn, was based on Japanese pickled radish.

And I had a lot of Daikon radish in my fridge.  Why not reverse the recipe back to radishes?

Last night I peeled and then sliced the radishes with my mandolin and then salted them and let them sit for an hour.  Then I made the brine with rice vinegar, ginger, pepper and sugar and poured it over the radishes and put them in the fridge.  Today we ate some.  And ate some more.  And some more.  They were so good, I couldn't stop!

They are particularly good wrapped with arugula for even more bite. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Breakfast and Dinner

This morning, despite a slow/late start, found me making a peach kuchen for breakfast.  It was super easy, although if I'd planned it ahead of time I would have softened the butter overnight.  It used almost a quart of the peaches I canned in August.  My whole family wolfed it down in no time.

After speed-cleaning the house for an hour or so, we went out for the afternoon and watched the Head of the Charles.  The day was windy and chilly; I even brought out my alpaca scarf for the first time this season!  When the wind finally drove us off the shore of the river we slowly worked our way home.  At which point it was time to make dinner.

Garnished with field garlic and a nasturtium leaf from the yard.
The other day I had sauteed those shaggy mane and puffball mushrooms with shallots and garlic in butter.  Today I could put them with the milk, chicken stock, and sour cream required to make cream of wild mushroom soup.  I also made duck fat biscuits which we ate with local honey and various plum jellies from my pantry.  The soup was tasty and filling.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Have You Seen This?

My mother sent me several links to videos showing people using a drill to peel apples.  She said my brother had tried it and it had worked well for him.  I was intrigued.  I had to try it!  I had half a peck of apples waiting to become sauce.

All in all, it's easier than peeling them by hand, but it is probably not as easy as cooking them all up with the peels and then running them through the food mill.  Clean up is easier than with the food mill.  Regardless, it was pretty fun!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Black Walnuts

After letting the walnuts dry for a month, I cracked them open with a vise today.  Out of 20, only 3 were bad, which is a pretty good yield.  It definitely makes sense to get them directly off the tree when possible.  Note to self:  it also seems to be easier to crack them open if they dry longer.

Once I extracted the nuts from the shells I toasted them in the oven at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes.  I ended up with about 3/4 cup of walnuts.  Last year, I put them into a pear conserve.  Not sure what I should do with them this year...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Braver With Each Success

Last week, when I picked those two shaggy mane mushrooms, I knew more were coming.  It was the right type of weather, and that particular spot had plenty before.  Boy, was I right!

Today the place was full of shaggy manes.  After my ride I went out and filled a basket with them.  I also found 2 decent sized puffballs, each a little larger than a baseball.  After dinner tonight, I sauteed everything in butter with some shallots and garlic and froze this as a base for soup in a few days.  The 13 year old has asked for a cream of mushroom soup and I am always happy to oblige.

I also made a batch of yogurt which worked perfectly for a change!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Done for Another Year

The Topsfield Fair ended yesterday and today I went and picked up my jars, the ribbons, and the cash prize ($16!).  I timed my trip up there so I could catch up with Roxanne, whom I missed on the day we were both there checking out who won what.  She brought me some ground up ghost peppers from her cousin.  I gave her a jar of mint jelly.  It was good to see her again!

The one thing that always makes me sad is that one jar of each flavor is wasted in the process of judging.  They open one, taste it a few times, and then don't refrigerate it.  Of course, it's gone bad by the time we get it back.  I do wish they could refrigerate all the open containers but it's probably just not feasible.