Saturday, October 25, 2008
The only thing more depressing than a cold fall rain is a cold spring rain, when you just want winter to REALLY be over and warmth to once again return to life. Summer rain is the only worthwhile rain. It actually has the positive effect of making things grow (as it did this summer to a somewhat ridiculous degree), as opposed to only negative effects, like flooding the cellar and turning our whole property into a mud slick. Perhaps I should open a spa. Or hold mud wrestling tournaments.
Or perhaps I should go stoke the woodstove and settle in for a day of reading and tea drinking by the fire.
Now which option do you think I'm going to go with?
* "It's raining men. Alleluia! It's raining men, every specimen."
** "Blame it on the rain, yeah yeah. Blame it on the stars that shine at night. Whatever you do, don't put the blame on you. Blame it on the rain, yeah yeah."
Me? Child of the 80s? Why do you ask?
Friday, October 24, 2008
The Lists first:
4 quarts strawberries
6 quarts blackberries (MiL)
Canned (brace yourselves)
5 quarts refrigerator dill pickles
8 quarts green beans (MiL)
5 pints strawberry jam
5 pints apricot jam (MiL)
5 pints blackberry jelly
5 pints peach jam (MiL)
11 quarts mulberry juice
39 quarts plain tomatoes
5 pints sour cherry preserves (MiL)
7 quarts chicken stock
4 quarts beef stock
5 pints Finny's tomato sauce
5 pints spaghetti sauce
8 pints spaghetti with meat sauce
7 pints mild salsa
14 pints hot salsa
5 pints tomato soup
1.5 stupid pints of ketchup (Ball said this recipe would make 3 pints--THEY LIED)
7 quarts spiced Asian pears
10 quarts peaches
4 quarts applesauce
1 pint pickled jalapenos
39(!) quarts pears
And now for the photographic evidence.
This is just the tomato products. JUST THE TOMATOES. I win!
And now for a bonus potato shot!
Cleverly disguised in wine boxes.
Suddenly, I feel the need to rest.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I spent a good part of the day yesterday making red beans and rice. It takes about 4 hours, not counting the bean soaking time, so this is a serious undertaking. I should have made it on Monday, which is the day when you'll find it as the daily special on every restaurant menu in the New Orleans area. And that's because Monday was traditionally wash day, so it made sense to make a slow-cooked dish that could sit basically unattended on the stove while the fire burned hot all day to heat the wash water. And that's the end of your Crescent City history lesson for the day.
As I was making the roux, I was reflecting on how I never liked the smell of roux when my mom made it. But I like it now because I associate it with my mom. Roux requires constant stirring, so it's easy to get contemplative while you stand there for half an hour, staring at the greasy cobwebs on your ceiling (but not in MY kitchen of course, ahem). And what I was contemplating is how nice it is to have that memory of taste and smell to remind me that while I am now an upstate New Yorker, I am, and always will be, a transplant. That I have my own family history, and my own sort of roots. It's easy to forget that here, surrounded by A.'s family, A.'s house, A.'s life.
In short, red beans and rice provides a needed reminder of my own identity. That's a lot to read into a pot of legumes, but there it is.
Do you have a food that connects you to your family and your past?
* Say it with me now, y'all--puhCAWN
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I'm not going to whine today. I am simply going to state for the record that I dug up the remaining three rows of potatoes yesterday by myself, and now it even hurts to type. Yet here I am, typing. For you.
I think martyrdom is much more attractive than whining, don't you?
I dug them by myself because A. doesn't get home until 6:30 p.m., when it's already dark, so he can only dig on weekends. And this weekend is calling for a lot of rain. And it makes me nervous to not have the fall garden chores done in a timely manner. And I only meant to do one or two rows, but I hate to leave jobs half-done, so I finished. And I hurt myself a little. In all seriousness, it was too much.
However, I have photos of the bounty! Wanna see?
What do you see here? I see a tarp full of french fries, myself.
I added my clippers to the photo for scale this time. In case you can't see them in the midst of the potato glut in the above picture, here's a close-up.
That big one kinda looks like Mr. Potato Head.
And that huge potato is not an exception, by the way. There are many of that size. Also many with those funky protuberances. What are those about? They freak me out a little.
So, all the potatoes are harvested. I need to go to the liquor store for more empty boxes (and liquor, but that's a separate topic) so the potatoes can be properly stored in the cellar. Well, "properly" if you define storage in old liquor boxes as "proper," which we do here at Blackrock because we don't have a real potato bin in the cellar and are too cheap to buy the wood to build one.
The garlic was planted this weekend, as well. And I raked compost into the potato patch and scattered oats (they grow in the winter, preventing weeds and providing green compost when they're tilled under in the spring). So the garden is pretty much ready for its winter rest.
And good lord almighty, SO AM I.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Green tomatoes in the kitchen . . .
Wood smoke drifting from the chimney . . .
Frost on the window . . .
And my nose is cold at night.
Ain't no doubt: It's fall at Blackrock.
Is it fall at your house yet? How can you tell?
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Thick, is how the frost is. There was a freeze warning for last night, so we spent the afternoon preparing for a killing frost. I went out to the garden with every intention of covering most of the tomato plants, but once I got out there, I ended up only swaddling three of the Stupice tomatoes and leaving the others to fend for themselves. But not until after I had picked all the tomatoes, green and otherwise, on them. And not until after the tomato plants had stuck me with one more huge harvest to be dealt with.
Process THIS, sucka!
* It's a song--"Hello , country bumpkin. How's the frost out on the pumpkin? I've seen some sights but, man, you're somethin. Where'd you come from, country bumpkin?" Good song. Though the lady dies in the end, and then the "frost is gone now from the pumpkin." Who knew a frosted gourd could be so depressing?