Saturday, September 27, 2014

How to Preserve Salsa {Summer in a Jar} + Canning Tips from a Home-Cook

Chop 65 onions, 300 cloves of garlic, 457 hot peppers and then imagine the heat that permeates into the skin and will. not. leave. your hands. However! Fear not, friends - my hands have finally returned to a normal state of being after burning for a full six hours straight and now salsa is put up for the Winter (super score). Beware! Canning is not for the faint of heart. It's hot. It's steamy. Water bubbles over. Hot peppers burn into your skin. Eyes water. EVERYTHING is hot. Fingertips are deadened by the time you're done boiling the salsa, pouring the boiling salsa into jars that just came out of the dishwasher scalding hot, tightening caps, then dipping those burning hot jars into a cauldron of water dangerously close to bubbling over. Not to mention the temperature outside is probably about mid-80's when you're undertaking a canning sesh. Glass busts. The sweat that pores from the brow. Dam - no wonder more people buy salsa at the store - except that salsa from the store sucks! There, I said it. And I mean it. Not. Taking. It. Back. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

CSA {Community Supported Agriculture} Week 15

OK, OK, I feel as if I may have been moaning and groaning about the state of my crisper drawer, but my parents taught me when the going gets tough the tough get going. Yes, being part of CSA challenges even the most inventive and adventurous home cook to be just that - inventive and adventurous, but when else will you be challenged to do so? Let's welcome the challenge. Bring it on. My competitive spirit has officially risen to the top. As they say in the homesteader circles - Let's put it up!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Farm 2 Table: A Buffalo Community Education Class {In Pictures}

I've officially led my very own community ed class! That feels so great to say because I've been to a handful of classes in the past - always walking away prodding myself: you should've/could've/all those udd've's taught that. You know, the time I signed up for the "Make Your Own Baby Food" class under the pretense of getting my baby spat on self out of the house wearing matching shoes even though I very well knew how to puree all sorts of squash. Or the time I signed up for a Gluten Free class without even the slightest intention of ever cutting gluten out of my diet, but I just love cooking so much I wanted to share the joy with someone besides the three people I serve every night at dinner. And now, my very own class, Farm 2 Table. It was so fun! 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

CSA {Community Supported Agriculture} Week 14

If you happen to run into me within the next weeks know that I will be spreading the vegetable love. Between being a parent, wife, sister, yogini and friend I'm trying to keep up with blanching, preserving and sneaking vegetables into my children's diet, but there is only so much one woman can do when the other adult in the house calls uncle to another green pepper on his plate. Harumph. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

CSA {Community Supported Agriculture} Week 13

The only way to arrive at the complete realization my family does not love vegetables as fully as I do is to be in week 13 of your CSA bushel. Open my fridge door to the largest head of bok choy you've ever seen falling to the floor, the crisper drawer will reveal (I'm serious) 17 peppers, 4 eggplants, 3 heads of celery, a bag of lettuce, a bread bag of rainbow chard, some random loose kale, 2 heads of cabbage, and...uh...I think you get the point. All of these vegetables are either eaten by me, preserved, frozen, or somehow begged onto the husband and kids. Yes, begged. You should hear the groans when a simple veggie tray of sliced green pepper and kohlrabi graces the table. Apparently, I'm told, "other people" can't eat raw vegetables like a machine. Pah-shaw! Eat up! Your gut will adjust. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Basil Chive Compound Butter

Why doesn't the 'you're not having any dessert if you don't finish your dinner' threat ever work with my children? The other moms at the bus stop claim their children never get dessert if plates aren't crystal clean. My kids seem to have leftover pieces of ham or the stray pile of vegetables sticking to their plates after they are long gone from the table, rice krispie treat in hand. Hash tag am I doing this right? Hash tag how much therapy will my children need? Hash tag hand over the bowl of noodles with a gigantic dollop of basil chive compound butter. Hash tag I'm done. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

On My Bookshelf Now

This book has made me an emotional wreck! I cannot stop thinking about Will Traynor since I finished this fantastic, memorable book. The first chapter wraps you around its little finger so tight you'll be consumed and think of nothing else until you've read the last page. Will Traynor is a demigod - handsome, rich, powerful, a real man's man - and then suddenly in a wheelchair, a quadripaligic, due to an accident. The book is about the relationship between Will and his care-taker. About life's relationships. About choices. About pushing yourself into awkward places and maybe opening your mind a little bit. The characters are richly written. The writer must be English because the slang took awhile to get used to, but I warmed up and felt myself wanting to use the word bugger and I was calling sweaters by the British name: pullovers. I laughed out loud several times and cried even, too! Actually, I ended this book in tears and still haven't gotten over the ending. I won't give away anymore. Just read this damn book!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Roasting an Organic Free-Range Chicken {Fancy Roast Chicken}

The tag-line is fancy chicken which as a child I would've never dared to dream calling the way I grew up around fancy chickens fancy because I was privy to seeing Dad pulling out the Rubbermaid garbage can, filling it with scalding hot water (how did he logistically do that?), dipping the chicken that was just running around with its head cut off (literally - wow, that sounds cruel, but I remember it being a moment of hilarity) into the hot water, holding onto its chicken feet running the carcass over the rubber-knobbed machine that knocked the feathers out then ... oh, so many more gross things to remember about processing chickens that I won't put into words. Really. Fancy? Yet this chicken is fancy in my book. Why? Because the damn price tag, that's why! The things I'll sacrifice to feed my family wholesome, untarnished food. Later I'll be blessed, right? Are you on the organic, free-range, happy bird, but soooo very expensive compared to what you've been buying at Cub Foods chicken band wagon yet? Jump on the bandwagon and pick yourself up a fancy bird here. I'll admit, this is my first go at Fancy Chicken. I turned to Nourished Kitchen to guide me in my Fancy Chicken Roasting. Who else knows about unfettered, wholesome farm food better? I love her recipes! They are always just that - nourishing.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Farm 2 Table: A Buffalo Community Education Class

I seem to be talking about vegetables in abundance lately and why not? Minnesota local harvest is in full swing, let's embrace the harvesting by not jumping forward into Fall yet because we are still  gloriously in Summer. Summer Bounty. Amen. Won't you celebrate Summer Bounty with me by joining me in the garden? Not just any garden, a blooming, colorful - FULL being the optimum word  - garden full of deliciously organic vegetables that I have the exciting privilege of walking you through, identifying and *most importantly* cooking! We'll walk through the garden plots, identify plants in their full glory, pick something to cook and head into the kitchen to make a light dinner. Register Here! But first! Let me take you on a vegetable photo bomb extravaganza that was bestowed upon me by the sweetest photograph expert EVER. Seriously beautiful photography here, people. And you should see the vegetables in person - even better. And then you get to eat them. Unreal. Just unreal. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

CSA {Community Supported Agriculture} Week 12

Hello, Friends! I can only hope these posts detailing my CSA work-share adventures are inspiring you to sign-up for your local CSA farm share next year or heck, even for the remainder of this year, why not?! The harvest is in full force, throttle wide open, in your face, bright, delicious, never been better, only getting better, did I say delicious, so fresh, so colorful, ohmigoshitssogoodyouaretotallymissingout. Or... you can come to my community ed class I'm teaching next week and help me cook all this stuff! Won't you say yes? What's that? You live in Pennsylvania? Too bad! Hop a plane. Just come. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pumpkin Cranberry Cake Donuts

First day of school! Sob! How are you dealing? Me? I'm... breathing. And scheduling lots of busyness so I don't have to think about my baby trying to get through the lunch line alone. Watching my babies do life is sometimes harder for me than it is for them - guaranteed. Fly little birdies. Fly. And then come home and eat donuts. Mmmmhmmm. The pumpkin cranberry variety. It's time for pumpkin things, people! Hooray.