Friday, February 18, 2011

Cooking Floyd: Nuts to You

Michael loves peanut butter.  I mean he luhuhuhuvs it!  When he opens a new jar he unscrews the lid, reverently peels back the seal, brings the jar to his nose, inhales deeply, and then exhales with an Aaaahhhh!  I watch this all with amusement, waiting for him to tell me where those peanuts came from, the terroir of the field, and if the nuts contain a hint of fruit or spice.  He is truly a sommelier of peanut butter.  Me, not so much.

I lived most of my life in central Pennsylvania near a farm called Walnut Acres.  Walnut Acres has been growing and producing organic foods since way before it was cool.  When I first started shopping there as a teenager I didn't know this.  I just knew they made really yummy peanut butter.  And not just peanut butter but different varieties of nut butter.  Almond Butter.  Cashew Butter.  Raw Peanut Butter.  Roasted Peanut Butter.  Honey Peanut Butter.  And my personal favorite, Honey Sesame Seed Peanut Butter.  I introduced these to Michael and he was ecstatic.  Forget crackers, or bread, or celery sticks, just give him a spoon and he could do real damage to a new jar.

Since we moved away from PA we haven't been able to purchase a nut butter that matched up to our memories of Walnut Acres butters.  I've been curious about making nut butters in the food processor so I finally gave it a try.  Of course I didn't start out with peanuts.  I started with almonds.  Smoked almonds bought from the store to be exact.  I didn't want to waste our hard earned collected and shelled nuts if the experiment went awry.  So armed with coupons I headed to the store to buy Emerald nuts which were on sale BOGO.  I bought roasted walnuts, smoked almonds, and cocoa roasted almonds.
I was totally surprised how easy it was!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spice Rack Challenge February: Citrus

Citrus.  Again.  I warned you somewhere back in December that winter is Citrus season.  Thus, this third post on the stuff.  I'm ready for asparagus and strawberries and new peas, tender greens, flowers.  I'm sick of citrus.  Uh, sorry.  That's the cabin fever talking.

This Spice Rack Challenge is all about using citrus as a flavoring or a spice instead of enjoying it in it's more juicy, fruity form.  To do that I'll be using Clementine Dust from the "Of Cranberries and Clementines" post and Single Malt Marmalade from the "It's Marmalade Season!" post.  The star is a beautiful piece of salmon procured from Indigo Farms Seafood of Floyd.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Gardening Floyd: Plant a Seed

It's February first and nearly time to start seeds for crops that have a long growing season, need warmer temps for germination, or are just plain difficult to direct seed or get past the flea beetles.  Last year we started Violetta artichokes in January.  They require a very long growing season.  Hopefully they'll winter over and we can pick artichokes this year!  We amused the neighbors because they thought we had planted a row of bull thistles in our front yard.  Artichokes are members of the thistle family.

After having little luck starting healthy stocky transplants indoors we were about to give up.  We lusted after one of these but at $370 that so wasn't going to happen.
So Michael started researching and looking around and came up with this: