Friday, September 18, 2009


I have been cinnamized! Now that the apples and squash are an every day part of my diet and my canning and preserving routine, I continue to use cinnamon as an exception. I guess I'll have to pick it for the rest of this food experiment, because the craveable spice has worked its way into just about every batch of sauce.
Every year, I promise myself two things. One is to label my seedlings and plantings properly, so that I know what I am working with in case a new plant is successful. The second thing is to label all the stuff that goes into my freezer, you know, all that important information like date and contents.
The other day I almost made a big cooking mistake by defrosting 3/4 cup of melded lime juice cubes and almost putting it into the brown rice. Now it isn't as bad as if I was fumbling for the toothpaste and ended up brushing my teeth with something like progesterone cream or Bon Ami. But I realize that my freezer, and my dehydrated food stash has gotten out of control, and I don't want to wait until January to start enjoying some of my stash.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

29 pounds!

I wish I could say that 29 pounds is the amount of weight I lost so far on the locavore diet, but I have even better news. With just one last pumpkin in the field, it looks like the largest is in, weighing in at the title weight.
It looks pretty nice curing on the patio, and next to it, the baby pie pumpkins look like sungold tomatoes.
This summer I have successfully replaced corn with pumpkins and squash as my ubiquitous food ingredient. I enjoy pumpkin and walnut shakes for breakfast, pumpkin butter, squash chips, squash pickles, pumpkin with applesauce and blueberries for an evening snack, squash "spaghetti", pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed milk, cheese-stuffed squash blossoms.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Update on the V11

I waited a whole day for the newly-minted juice to chill, and I think it was the oregano or other herbs, but it just did not work. I did have a cup of soup for dinner and it was wonderful.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Honestly, I don't know how my aunt canned 40+ quarts of tomato juice every season. Even with my new food mill, it does take some time to make even 1 quart. My first attempt was by accident. I had too many tomatoes on hand, and had to process them or lose them, but I didn't have enough time for sauce so I just cooked them, milled them, and threw the juice in the fridge for later. Well, it sure was looking good all by itself after a hot morning in the garden. I mixed it with a little bit of lemon juice and it was wonderful.
Today I made another batch with other vegetables. I haven't enjoyed very much of it yet, since it needs to be Arctic-cold and that won't be until tomorrow.
Here's my recipe:
4 cups tomato
1 rib celery
1 red serrano pepper
1 slice cooked chopped beet
1 green onion
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup chard (I used the red kind)
pinch oregano
pinch summer savory
2 sprigs Italian basil
1 sprig lemon basil
Cut the tomatoes into chunks. Finely chop the other ingredients. Simmer for 15 minutes and put through a food mill. Chill.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Fall is here!

Not according to the weather, only according to what is being planted and harvested in the garden. The tomatoes are finishing up and I am tearing them out to get the soil ready for fall. I have already planted broccoli, onion, parsley, chard and cauliflower seedlings, and direct-planted bush beans, spinach, daikon radish, and several kinds of kale. I am harvesting many leek seeds, the late amaranth, and the last of the dry beans.
I also direct-seeded lettuce seedlings today. This is the earliest I have attempted lettuce. I just got tired of cleaning and winnowing some seed, so I just decided to toss it into some shady nooks and see what happens. Every year I push the seasons just a little but, but this is the first time I have planted the coolest crops when it is near 100 degrees outside.
I also tried to clean out more of the overgrown chard, and I scattered the seedlings all about. I don't even bother to plant that much chard anymore, unless I need a specific color. This fall, I am looking forward to a variety of gold and red volunteers.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My syncretic Food Culture – Part 2

Dad was from the heartland, and we lived there, too. He grew up on a farm, and even though he eventually went to school and work in the city, he always had a huge vegetable garden. It wasn’t too fancy by today’s standards, but we had all the basics. The garden was strangely ark-like; there were two kinds of lettuce, two kinds of squash, two kinds of beans, etc. We also had two kinds of apples: wormy macintoshes and wormy yellow delicious.
Summer mornings were spent picking, washing, weighing and delivering tomatoes and squash for sale to all the neighbors. I lined up the tomatoes by size to dry on the patio before packaging them in paper lunch bags. I weighed the tomatoes on an old baby scale, decorated with blocks and a stork. It was not legal for trade, but nobody turned me in to the authorities. As I recall, I did not collect or turn in any sales tax either.
Summer evenings were spent on the porch shelling lima beans or cutting worms out of fruit. Mom made peach and strawberry jam and several batches of grape jelly, and they were lined up in a large red cabinet in the basement, all topped with slabs of creamy white wax. Every year Dad put up a huge ice-cream tub full of sweetened apple sauce that nobody else would eat because of all the “worm juice”. It disappeared into the freezer and I am not sure what happened to it after that.
We lived near a woods that we explored and caught craw-dads. During a thunderstorm, a big old tree was struck by lightening and fell over the creek, simultaneously shortening our travel time to the other side considerably, and revealing a secret and extensive honey stash. Well, you’d think that Dad and discovered El Dorado, and soon we had a pot of honey on the kitchen table.
I was endlessly entertained by Dad’s stories on the farm, especially when he grossed everyone else out at the dinner table with his hog-butchering stories. It really helped if we were eating pork steaks or bacon. And this was often, as most food that wasn’t boiled was cooked in bacon fat. I am not sure how many containers of bacon fat we had in the back of the fridge, but the selection was extensive.
Except for summertime, our other food came from the suburban supermarket. The butter came in a plastic tub, the fish was square, the round steak was flat and the corn, sprouting what looked like a serious case of periodontal disease, was stripped and lobotomized on both ends and placed under plastic wrap. Nobody ever called it sweet corn. I learned that it was supposed to be sweet only after I moved to New York.