Cooking, preserving, gardening, foraging, husbanding posts have slowed down the past couple of weeks because we've been on the road. When we've been at home I've been trying to catch up on all the things that have continued on their merry ways in our absence.
The peppers keep coming! I've made cranberry pepper jelly, hot pepper and honey jelly, and chilies rellano con queso. The poblanos for the rellanos were roasted, skinned, seeded, and stuffed with cheese then wrapped individually and frozen, ready for breading and frying later. I've diced more peppers and frozen them. There's still green peppers, both hot and sweet, on the plants and those need to be harvested but I'm playing chicken with the first frost in an attempt to get them as big as possible before picking. Depending on quantities and types those will probably be stuffed and frozen or dried and powdered.
Did yet another dehydrator full of green beans. Amber is threatening me with another load from her garden as well. She adores green beans and will eat them at every meal but even she has had her fill of growing and preserving them.
Did a few quart bags of roasted butternut and acorn squashes for the freezer. Again, thanks to Amber. The squash had some bug damage and would not have cellared so roasting, chunking, and freezing it gives me ready to go squash for pies, risottos and soups this winter.
And speaking of risotto, we had seared scallops and butternut risotto, crispy fried tilapia and sweet potato, and a killer chicken pot pie. This was a central PA Pennsylvania Dutch pot pie which is NOT what anybody living anywhere else calls pot pie. It most closely resembles what folks around here call chicken and dumplings which is NOT what we central PA expats call chicken and dumplings. What is called chicken pot pie around here is what we called plain old chicken pie back home. And ya'll have nothing in your cooking traditions here, by any other name, that is the central PA Pennsylvania Dutch traditional dish of a rich chicken stew topped with light fluffy steamed dumplings. I continue to be amused by regional dishes that are the same but different and this all got started when I was cooking at Belmont Abbey Monastery north of Charlotte NC and my boss wanted me to make creamed potatoes. Creamed potatoes? I made scalloped, she wanted mashed. The brothers didn't care, it was all good.
The garden is being put to bed. Plants are coming out, weeds removed, soil tilled and seeded with cover crop. Next year's crops of garlic and shallots were planted yesterday. New beds are being laid out and the ground broken. We did plant some winter crops in the beds here at the house but we didn't protect them and the groundhog got them. He is so out of here! Again, I'm playing chicken with the first frost and the herbs trying to get as much growth as possible before the last cutting. It's time to transfer the rosemary to pots prior to wintering it over in the garage. I haven't figured it out - up north I never protected the rosemary and it grew great, here I have to bring it in or it dies.
This will be our first winter with the chickens. This week I fluffed their bedding and added another bale of shavings on top. I'll probably add another half bale or so when really cold weather sets in. I need to find a battery operated water warmer for their fountain. I can run multiple cords to the coop but I really hate to. I also need to put plastic up over the back window of the coop. That's where the prevailing winds blow. The chickies will have plenty of ventilation without having that icy draft blowing in there. And I need to stash a jar of vaseline down there for comb and wattle protection should it get truly frigid. BTW, the gender mystery got solved. The girls are really all girls.
Next spring-summer we'll be raising broilers and processing them. There will be photos.
It looks like we're going to go with goats for our milk animals. Which means I need to inspect and repair the little shed on the lower 40 in order to have it livestock ready in the spring. And fencing. I need to figure out fencing. I can tether the goats to begin with but my goal is movable solar-powered electric fencing.
Foraging Floyd (and other places):
Hunting season. Soon it'll be time to put deer in the freezer. I'm going to cover processing a deer, with photos, and I'll give you plenty of heads up before those posts because I know that some of you either are squeamish or have moral objections to meat. And that's ok, I respect that. I also think it's important, if you do eat meat, that you acknowledge what putting a roast chicken or a bowl of chili con carne on the table entails. It doesn't grow on styrofoam trays. There is no such thing as a bacon seed.
While we were on the NY-PA border last week I "foraged" things I can't get here.
Real NY white XXXX-sharp cheese. Sorry, Harvest Moon and GFGP, but that nasty, bitter, slimey stuff from Leraysville that you peddle simply will not do! I'd be more than happy to turn you on to my source!
Sausage casings. Who would have thought that here in the land of country ham and all things piggy that I would be unable to buy sausage casings anywhere? Same goes for scrapple. Liver mush is not scrapple. It doesn't even resemble it. I can make (and have made) my own scrapple but I NEEDED scrapple from either the Lewisburg Farmers Market or Ard's Farm Market.
Ricotta salata. I blame the Italian-American population of Horseheads, NY for this addiction. I managed to get some at the Harvest Moon once. It is a luxury item I admit, but it's a necessary luxury when the tomatoes are in, along with fresh basil, really good olive oil, homemade mozzarella, homemade mayo, and white bread.
Dr. Frank's wine. In particular the Cabernet Sauvignon and Gewurztraminer. And then the Rkatsiteli. And then the Pinot Noir. I do love Dr. Frank's! I need someone familiar with our local wineries here to turn me on to wines comparable to these. My "cellar" is close to empty and winter is when I really have the time and desire to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner.
This afternoon we're off to Stanfield, NC for the weekend to celebrate our grandson Vince's 1st birthday. When we come back we'll begin picking and processing the winter supply of apples and winter squashes. The canning season is nearly over. There's a little root cellaring to come. Soon the holiday cooking and baking will begin!