Sunday, August 23, 2009

There hasn't been much of a connection

What we've been eating lately and what I've been cooking lately haven't been very connected. I've started working at school (not with kids, just with the before-school-starts dusting, organizing, furniture-moving) and come home dirty and exhausted. So there's been a lot of take-out. Yay for sushi and pad thai...

But I also have been channeling a bit of the ant or grasshopper (can't remember which one) who was trying hard to prepare for winter. Not that I'm wishing for cold -- noooooooo! But I am trying to preserve/stock up on all the gorgeous stuff that's ripe right now. I organized the freezer we keep in the garage yesterday, and it's quite full already. Of what?

In addition to the last few savory bits of venison, some chickens I bought at the farmers market last week, and random seafood that was on sale, I've been chopping, blanching and freezing, in preparation for a fall and winter of pasta and soup. I love soup.

We've got broccoli in the garden, so if it's ready, but we're not ready to eat it, I blanch and freeze. I've been buying cabbages (1 or 2 at a time -- any more than that and the farmers would be suspicious of me, I think) and slicing and blanching and freezing -- that'll make great soup. Same thing with corn... I'm a sucker for the 13 ears for $4 or whatever it is, so I'll buy 13, then we'll eat 2 and save the rest. Again, I blanch in boiling water for about 2 minutes, cool, cut off the kernels, and freeze, 2 cups to a bag. Also green beans, peas, and lots and lots of zucchini. I've experimented with the zucchini this year -- I never blanched before, just chopped and froze. This year I tried some of each, so we can be scientific about it.

The tomatoes are going nuts right now, but especially the little guys -- the grape, the yellow pear. I think I'm going to try some "sun" (a.k.a. food dehydrator) dried tomatoes. I'll dry them, dip them in vinegar, put them in a jar with some garlic and basil, and fill the jar with olive oil. If I have any extra tomatoes, I'll just put them in a bag in the freezer and add to the oil jar as room becomes available. Haven't tried this yet, but most things I've read said this would be a good way to go.

Oh -- and I ordered a new canning rack to fit inside one of my stock pots. Apparently, there are some issues with traditional canners and ceramic-topped stoves, so I'm having to improvise.

So, really, all this is just fair warning that there will be lots of talk about cabbage soup over the next few months. You're now duly warned.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More random food blatherings...

I went back into my classroom this week for the first time. New job, new school, new classroom, lots to do. But it's starting to get me back into the "get my act together and be an organized person" frame of mind. And I know that soon, we'll need to start planning meals again instead of just sauteeing whatever's looking good from the garden.

But that's not happening quite yet. We're still aimless summer eaters, but I wanted to share what we had for dinner last night:

Venison chops from Phil's deer, sauteed in a bit of butter for just a minute or so
Corn on the cob FROM OUR GARDEN! It lived! It actually grew ears of corn! (Last year we weren't so lucky. Our neighbor told us we need to plant more than one row so it can pollinate.)
Green beans, including some that were purple -- do you just call them purple beans? We got them at a farm stand up north last weekend.
And the cutest little baby carrots you've ever seen. We grew them, and they're just adorable. They're the size of my tiny stubby fingers and tasty as candy. This is them:

Aren't they cute?

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