Last Swiss Chard

Here is the last of the swiss chard crop before it was harvested this past weekend. It will be part of this year's Thanksgiving bounty. With one last hurrah It's vibrant colors salute autumn's gold before we see winter's white.

Last Swiss Chard 1
Last Swiss Chard 2
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Boogie Shoes

Boogie Shoes
This is one of Joanne and Mike's chickens. This girl is pretty funky with her dancing shoes, but rumor has it, she's dumb as a stick. We get eggs from them each week in season. Their eggs are wonderful, because of their strong shells and nice dark yokes. It may also have to do with the fact that these girls get to eat the things they forage for in the wooded area next to their home. They have quite a chicken complex and they are free range to the extent they are not allowed to visit the neighbors unexpectedly. Along with the chickens they also raise ducks. If you come to our house you may be treated to a duck omelet. It is hard to get used to to the idea but once you have one you'll be convinced. Duck eggs are slightly firmer with a larger yoke. These eggs also make a tastier egg salad. Joanne gives us fun facts with each egg delivery. Did you know you don't need a rooster to get eggs. I still have a hard time getting my head around that one. The color of an egg has to do with the chicken not the feed. If you want to know what color eggs a chicken will lay you check the color of their ear lobes. This photo was taken on a visit to "the source" this past summer.
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This video was a simple idea that became brilliant entertainment


I love seeing the subtile reactions of people when they realize what is going on. If you don't know about these type of restaurants in Japan, here is the gist. A conveyor belt rotates around the room with different food items. Patrons just grab what they want as the food passes by. The food item's price is denoted by the color of the plate. At the end of the meal the server totals up the number of plates you have and presents you with a bill.

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What Did You Have?

The big meal came around 4:30 pm yesterday.

The Toast
Prosecco floated atop Creme de Cassi


First Course
Butternut Soup
Cranberry Nut Bread


The Main Event
Turkey
Stuffing with Sausage
Mashed Potatoes
Gravy
Brussel Sprouts
Mashed Turnip
Creamed Onions
Cranberry Sauce Jellied and Homemade Whole Berry With Ginger
Wines: Merlot and Shiraz
Apple Cider


Desert
Mile High Apple Pie With Vanilla Ice Cream
Pumkin Pie With Whipped Cream
Coffee


What did you have?
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Soup Trifecta


As I dried the last dish in the sink, whomp! All the power in the neighborhood went out. That nothing running in the background dead silence took over the house. Crap! Plans for the next item to do for the day was to get a blog post out of the way early. That was foiled temporarily. I reported the outage to the power company and called around. Looks like it is just my street. I then called Kin and Jim and they still had power and WIRELESS. I'm over at their house right now enjoying their view of the river as I type this. Looks like the heavy winds knocked something out of the power grid. Hopefully we will have power soon or we'll be sleeping in front of the wood stove tonight.

Before I was so rudely interrupted I had just completed the soup trifecta. Tomorrow is our annual harvest festival at work. Each person brings in a dish to share with the team for a pot luck luncheon. It is a nice way to enjoy the team without work on the agenda. My annual contribution is Butternut soup. I was also planning to try Lee Ann's Fall Vegetable Ginger Soup. and while I was doing inventory I realized that all the leeks in the fridge needed to get used pronto or they were going to be demoted to compost. I went to Epicurious and found this simple Leek and Potato Soup recipe. With all the ingredients ready It was time to execute the trifecta.

There was chopping, peeling, dicing, browning, wilting, reducing, stirring, mixing and blending all morning and into the afternoon. Each soup took a turn in the blender, until a tidy collection of storage containers were all filled. The Butternut soup is always a favorite. That had the biggest quantity. I'll use some tomorrow and the rest may be frozen. The leek and potato soup was transformed into a silky loveliness that is delicate and hearty at the same time. The Fall soup may become a frequent visitor to the house. The ginger adds a nice warmth and snap to the soup, while the carrots added an unexpected sweetness. I'm thinking maybe cardamon may be added to give it an even more exotic flavor. Thanks Lee Ann, for turning us on to this interesting variation on butternut soup.

Without me planning it, all the vegetable ingredients turned out to be organic. This was a nice bonus. Most things came from our CSA share. The grocery store was able to supply the organic carrots and squash. This was an effortless use of organic food. What a concept.

Now that the Soup Trifecta and the posting is over it is time for a very important Sunday activity. The afternoon nap. Ciao!
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This Year's Harvest

cornucopia
I wanted to share with you what the results of the harvest were this year from our CSA. We just got a newsletter today and it points out that this list does not include all the pick your own items like cherry tomatoes, herbs, beans and berries we harvest ourselves. We split this share with our neighbors since we are both two person households. This was a wonderful year with only blueberries not being offered due to a severe late frost. We have continued participating this year by purchasing a winter share which supports late harvest farms within the area. We also are anticipating our pork and lamb shares in the weeks to come. As is every year the quality has been amazing.

Arugula
16 bunches
Beets
18 lbs
Broccoli
14 hd
Cabbage
3
Carrots
20lbs
Celeriac
4.5 lbs
Chard
15 bunches
Cilantro
8 bunches
Collards
2 bunches
Corn
18 ears
Cucumbers
7 lbs
Dill
4 bunches
Eggplant
13lbs
Fennel
3lbs
Garlic
16 bulbs
Garlic Scapes
48
Kale
14 bunches
Leeks
4 bunches
Lettuce
13 heads
Mesclun
3lbs
Mustard
5 bunches
Onions
27lbs
S. Squash
31lbs
W.Squash
7lbs
Spinach
3.5lbs
Pac Choi
4 heads
Peppers
17.5lbs
Hot Peppers
16
Potatoes
30lbs
Radishes
7 bunches
Tomatoes
18lbs
Ch. Tomatoes
10pints
Turnips
2 bunches
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Ken Legs?

You may remember that I asked you previously if you thought these were Barbie legs.
This time I ask if you think these are Ken Legs?

Ken Leg Carrot

If you think I am correct, the question is, did they get together?

Together Carrots

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Peppers are ready

Lettuce and Peppers from the Garden
The peppers are going gangbusters. All the plants are bearing lots of peppers and there are more flowers. Looks like these plants will yield multiple times. We have also shifted into high lettuce consumption mode. It's been nice to bring in a fresh salad in to work everyday for lunch. We are harvesting several heads of lettuce at a time now. Additional seedlings from seeds we got from Florida are sprouting.
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Garden 2008

2008 Garden
We rearranged the layout of the garden this year. No longer do we have one long raised bed, which was hard to get around unless you stepped in it. I opted instead for diamonds and triangles which is much easier to walk around but it's a bitch to maintain the grass surrounding it. Live and learn. One of the other benefits is isolating plant types to control and rotate the harvest. I no longer have to fear the squash taking over the entire garden. They can fight amoungst themselves in their own sixteen square feet of growing space. The plants also seem happier to be in roomier beds living with less competitive neighbors. The diamonds are 4' X 4' squares and the triangles are half of that dimension. I am loosely following the Square Foot Gardening techniques. I need to read the book. We also opened up the canopy so that more sun could get to the veggies. So far with pretty consistent rain and the new layout, the plants are doing very well. I'll list the varieties of plants we have below. We have over twenty five different types. I was surprised by that tally.

Peppers - Sweet Banana and Garden Salsa
Basil - Perfume and Lemon
Swiss Chard - Bright Lights
Chinese Cabbage
Braising Greens - several varieties
Arugula - Perennial and Mediterranean Rocket
Tomatoes - Brandywine, San Marzano, New Girl, Marglobe, and Sungold
Squash - Multipik and Sunburst Patty Pan
Lettuce - several varieties; Oak Leaf, Butter Crunch, Romaine, Trout Leaf, Red Oak and others
Cutting Celery
Flat Leaf Parsley
Fennel - Zefa Fino
Oregano
Sorrel
Lovage
Thyme - Silver Edge
Summer Savory

These vegetables, along with our weekly distribution from our CSA, eliminate our need to get any produce from the supermarket. We are truly becoming summer locavores.
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Banana Bread

Banana Bread
Made eight loaves this evening. Yummy! This is another tradition for the holidays. I got this recipe more than half a life ago in Marblehead. The trick to this recipe is the bananas are not even speckled yet. No brown gooey things here. I also use whole wheat flower for half of the flour and all purpose for the other half. Don't over mix the batter. Just mix enough until everything is combined.

Banana Bread from the Peach Family


1/2 cup Shortening
1 cup Sugar

2 eggs

1 cup bananas (2 - no speckles - fresh)
1 tsp. lemon juice (for color)

2 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup nuts (optional)

Bake @ 325 degrees F
for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes watch and check with toothpick
(top should turn golden brown)
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Barbie Legs?

You decide.
Barbie Legs Carrot
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Anatomy of a Thanksgiving Turkey Sandwich

Some will say the best part of the post Thanksgiving festivities (besides the nap) is the turkey sandwich. I will agree with that, provided the proper sandwich construction is followed. If you mix up the layers you risk messing up the blending of the flavors. Here is my process for a perfect Thanksgiving turkey sandwich.

  1. Rye Bread (bottom slice)
  2. Cains Mayonnaise
  3. Turkey meat, both white and dark meat
  4. Stuffing spread and pressed into the meat
  5. Salt and Pepper
  6. Cranberry sauce
  7. Lettuce (anything but iceberg)
  8. Rye Bread (top slice)

Best eaten with a Hood Golden EggNog beverage or apple cider.
YUM!

How do you make yours?
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Dear Milk Carton Graphic Designer

Very funny. Do you fulfill a secret sadistic pleasure every time someone OPENS THE MILK CARTON THE WRONG WAY! The arrow goes next to the word "Open" Not next to the words "Sell By". And if you retort that one should read what is says. I will reply - I did read it! - forty three years ago and it has not changed on me until you decided to get your jollies. So Pleas fix it. I was able to.

Your view of the world.
Milk Carton Madness

The Correct View of the World
Milk Carton Correctness
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Mise En Place

Mise en place
Mise en place
Fait accompli
Butternut Soup
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Butternut Soup

Today I thought I'd share with you my recipe for my Butternut Soup. This recipe is adapted from The Sugar Mill Hotel Cookbook. I purchased the cookbook in the Virgin Islands while on a bareboat charter vacation. The recipe is deceptively easy and yields a very yummy and hearty soup. It can be served as an appitizer or main course. It has become a Thanksgiving tradition with our family for over 15 years. The secret is the hot sauce. It adds just a little kick to make it interesting. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

1/2 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons butter
1 14 oz. can chicken broth
3 cups cubed fresh butternut squash
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt
pepper
hot sauce to taste
fresh cream

Garnish
salted whipped cream
toasted pumpkin seeds or fresh parsley


In a stockpot:
Cook onion in butter until soft.
Add squash and chicken broth.
(The broth should just cover the squash)
Mix well and cook until the squash is very tender.
(Squash will easily crush with a fork)

Fill blender to 3/4 full.
Add cream to thin (approx. 1 to 3 oz.)
Season with sugar, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and Tabasco.
Whirl soup carefully in the blender, it may expand rapidly.
Serve and garnish.

Makes 4 hearty servings.

For an extra special treat make a soup tureen
out of a pumpkin and serve from the table.
Comes complete with it's own lid.

Bon Appétit!

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Green Meadows Farm



For three years now we've been a member of a community-supported agriculture (CSA) organic farm. Green Meadows Farm is located in Hamilton Massachusetts and is owned by the Patton Family. We buy a share of the harvest before the season starts and this guarantees them income for operating expenses. In return we get a weekly portion of the harvest all season long. The season usually lasts a half year. Currently they are even selling extensions for the late harvest and augmenting the share with other organic produce sent cooperatively to the farm from larger producers. They grow all organic fruits and vegatables, raise livestock and also sell a flower share. They even have a wine share in cooperation with a local winery. We purchase shares for vegatables, lamb and pork. Everything is amazingly fresh and delicious. Because the food is harvested at it's peak it tasts better and lasts longer than anything we have bought in a supermarket. Having restaurant quality food every day is a real treat. Interestingly, the harvest will dictate our meal planning which is a good thing because we don't have to decide what to make. We are eating seasonally and getting a well rounded organic diet.

Some of the harvest is pick your own. This affords us the opportunity to go into the fields and pick out our share and see how things are grown. It may be berries, beans, herbs or potatoes that will be collected. The best part is that it gets you out into the summer air. While out in the fields we may see the mobile chicken coop. This is a cage on wheels that moves from place to place. The chickens fertilise the patch they are parked over and they pick up the insects and grubbs at the same time keeping those insect pests at bey. We have also participated in some of the education sessions the farm hosts. Our favorite was the edible wild plant lesson. Who knew there were so many things to eat during a walk in the woods!

Being able to know and talk to the people who are growing your food gives a you a real connection to what is happening with the food you eat. We are more attuned to the weather and how it will affect the weekly share. When the weather is Ideal we can look forward to a wonderful bounty from that weeks harvest. Because we are share holders we have also had to experience the lean times. Entire fields were flooded during the May rains of 2006. That year was not a bust, but all that flooding set the schedule behind almost a month.

We will continue own a piece of this very special place for next year, supporting the community, supporting the goals of CSA and eating healthy all at the same time. We look forward to the veggies we'll get for the next couple of weeks in the lead up to Thanksgiving, but our friends below may not have such happy expectations.

Do You think they're nervous?

Do you think they're nervous?

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