Sunday, October 26, 2008

Using up leftovers

I had a half head of napa cabbage and some leftover sausage in my fridge last night and I was wondering what the heck I was going to make for dinner after spending the last five hours peeling and coring apples for apple pie filling and apple chutney. Well, here's what I came up with:
It was yummy!
Cabbage and Potato Soup

  • 2 or 3 tblsp olive oil

  • 1/2 head napa cabbage thinly sliced

  • 3 large potatoes sliced in 1/4 inch pieces, peel on

  • 1/2 lb cooked pork sausage (I used Gourmet Signature roasted red bell pepper and carmelized onion sausage)

  • 1 can black eyed peas drained and rinsed

  • 1 small yellow onion thinly sliced

  • 4 cloves garlic chopped

  • 5 cups chicken stock

  • 1 tbsp Mexican oregano

  • 1 tsp dried marjoram

  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • pinch of allspice

  • Parmesan cheese

  1. Heat olive oil

  2. Add chopped potatoes and large pinch of salt and cook on medium high covered until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir occasionally.

  3. Stir in onion and garlic. Cook until onion starts to turn clear.

  4. Add stock, canned black eyed peas, cooked sausage and spices. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

  5. Stir in chopped cabbage and cook until it has softened, about 10 more minutes.

  6. Salt to taste. You'll need more or less depending on whether you used homemade or canned stock.

  7. Serve up topped with Parmesan cheese.

  8. This is a hearty soup and is great with some crusty bread. It makes great leftovers, as we found it tasted even better the next day.

Cabbage Potato Soup @ Group Recipes

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Farmer in Chief

This is a fascinating article written by Michael Polan in the New York Times.

Great to see some real solutions put forward. It will be interesting to see if any will ever get implemented.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Harvest Time - A series of havest meals.

October is harvest time, and I've been meaning, for some time now, to show off some of our harvest. We've worked harder this year to get more out of our efforts, and I think we've done a pretty good job. We've learned a lot along the way, and I think we may have an even more bountiful harvest next year. That is if we, mostly I, can stay motivated. My husband is always motivated and does most of the work. I follow around in awe, trying to do my best, and to not get in the way too much. (Until it comes time to cook it, then you better get out of my way.)

Our first success was our potato harvest. We discovered that russets grow very well here, but the blue potatoes, not so much.
As you can see from the picture we also had beets and carrots. An excellent year for both, except for the tragedy that befell my carrots. I had tons of huge king carrots ready to be pulled. I didn't have time to pull them before leaving for a 3 day weekend. When I got home, all but a couple had been snagged by a nasty little gopher. I was having fantasies of blowing the little jerk up like the caddy from Caddyshack. Oh! and let's not forget the plums I harvested from the plum tree down the road. I was swinging like a monkey from the limbs to get these. My husband harvested a bunch of yellow plums from an old tree just off our property as well. They were good to eat, but didn't make the best jelly. I need to work on that.And the beautiful rainbow chard you see above has been the most incredible plant in our garden this year. This picture was taken in August. The same plants don't look much different now in late October. I have harvested tons of leaves off of these. Unfortunately my kids have decided they don't care for it. I personally love it with a little olive oil and basalmic vinegar. I have found I can successfully hide it in frittata's, and they'll goble it up.

Below you can see our first full harvest meal.
Chard and potatoes from our garden and a roast from the pig our friend raised and my husband helped with the culling.

And the final result....
The next harvest dinner was a salad and herbs from our garden, beats, beat greens and cod that my husband caught.
Then there were the trout we brought back from Medicine Lake. Man was that tasty!

And a harvest breakfast. Home grown potatoes, beats and carrots and eggs fresh from the coop.

Then there were the huckleberries! This was my first harvest from the little bush down the road. I made some very yummy muffins with this.
Then! My husband went berry picking! (And I forgot to even take a picture of all the black berries I picked - 7 lbs worth!)
That's a lot of huckleberries! And below is what my fingers looked like after cleaning them for a pie. They didn't go back to normal for a week!
And here's my very first huckleberry pie. I'm so proud!
And then we finally did it. My husband and his friend, who raised the pigs, killed and butchered one of our goats. Actually 3 of them. We were able to sell two, so we made a bit of money off of them. So we had a wonderful goat curry along with some zucchini pancakes made with the neighbors' zucchini and our fresh eggs. To top it off a yummy zucchini bread. My mom's recipe of course.
And finally! For our most recent harvest dinner. A friend of mine at work is married to a guy who is a bear hunter and I lucked out and got a couple of bear roasts from them. I haven't eaten bear in years, and I've never cooked it. I wasn't sure how this would turn out, but I was more then pleasantly surprised. We've wiped out our potato and pea supply from the garden, so those are store bought, but the chard (everlast chard) is from our garden and the bear is from Humboldt County. It turned out very good, if I do say so myself.

Before - it's a very pretty pink before you cook it.
After a nice long roasting:
And the final delicious meal
It's been a tasty harvest! You just can't believe how much better food tastes when you grow it, hunt it and fish it yourself. The hard work makes you appreciate it all that much more, and it is so much more fresh and nutritious when the source is only 100 feet from your back door. Yum!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Monster Apples!

They're here! Just in time for Halloween! Monster apples! They're monstrous, they're huge, they're unbelievably delicious!
Check it out!This is the little tree they come from. This was back in May when it was in bloom:
This is the alder down the road that has a natural bee hive in it (we call it the Pooh Bear tree). This is where the bees who joyfully come pollinate our happy little apple tree live. (That vine around it is called man root, or wild cucumber. You can't eat it, apparently it's way too bitter, but it has roots the size of a man!)

Here's our apple tree right before I harvested three 5 gallon buckets from it. There's more to harvest! I hope I can beat the deer, birds, raccoons and possum to them.
And here's my crate full of apples.

I should have another full one tomorrow.

So what to make with all those apples? Jelly, apple butter, apple pie, apple cobbler, baked apples, apple sauce, fried apples (with pork chops of course) or just eat the fresh crisp apples? All I know is I love the smell of them. This is the whole reason I love fall. The smell of apples and falling leaves.

This reminds me of my Mom, Jerri, who made the best apple pie west of the Mississippi!
Happy harvest & happy fall!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chowder the cartoon

A while ago I sat down with my daughters to see what they were watching on TV. There was this extremely bizarre cartoon called Chowder. At first I was thinking, "what the heck is this? What a bizarre cartoon. Why can't they make them like the old Bugs Bunny cartoons? Then I really started watching.

Keep in mind the name of the show is Chowder. Now, that can have many connotations, but in a foodie world that could involve clams and potatoes. Then I started noticing that everyone in the cartoon had a food name. It turns out Chowder is an apprentice to a chef named Mung Daal, who is married to the woman who manages his catering business by the name of Truffles. Mung has an assistant chef named Schnitzel who says nothing but radda radda. Other characters go by the names of Gazpacho, Panini, Ms. Endive, Gorgonzola and tricked out food names like gubble gum, cinnamini, thrice cream, schmeg and blutter. All of this takes place in a New York inspired city with Moroccon inspired architecture called Marzipan City. And to top it off, Chowder has a pet named Kimchee, which is a gaseous cloud that follows him around and speaks in fart sounds. Anyone who has ever eaten kimchee gets the reference. That very character sold me on the show.

Hey it's all about food, so what's not to love?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Devil In The Kitchen

I just finished reading Devil In The Kitchen. It was a fast easy read, not a lot of eloquent language, in fact quite a bit of foul language, that you could almost hear his Leed's accent as you read it. What I enjoyed most about the book was learning about the incredible passion, devotion, and stamina this man had for the kitchen and for food. He was the first British chef and the youngest to win 3 Michelin stars and the only to return them. It's a fun read, a bit of name dropping, including Gordon Ramsey who worked under Marco, and it seems a lot of apologies and explanations for things along the way. The great treasure in the back of the reprint I got are several of Marco's recipes. I'm really thinking of attempting the Pig's Trotters. Yummmmm!