Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cooking Floyd: Turkey Talk Post-Feast

We had a Thanksgiving Feast First this year.  Our first free-range turkey and my first experience brining a turkey.  Michael's been trying for a few years to bring home a wild turkey but has been unsuccessful so far.  They taunt him.  They brazenly show themselves in large numbers, flaunting their feathers at him when he's out hunting deer, presenting and holding still for the perfect shot, knowing full well that they are out of season and perfectly safe because Michael is an ethical hunter and won't shoot them.  As soon as turkey season arrives - POOF - they're gone.  Not a turkey to be seen.  I, pining to cook a wild turkey and being (ahem) maybe a little less ethical than my husband, have been saying, "Ef 'em! Shoot the bastard!  I wanna cook it!"  Michael smiles tolerantly at me and keeps me honest.  So this year he bought me a free-range turkey from our friends at Indigo Seafood.  I admit to suffering sticker shock, being used to .57/lb giants from the supermarket, but the point is to get away from factory farmed animals and without government subsidies and with responsible animal husbandry comes a higher reality-based price, as opposed to the artificial low price supported ultimately by the taxes we pay.

Without a doubt and with unanimous agreement of everyone sitting around our holiday table, that was the best damn turkey we've ever eaten!  We will be raising a couple-three turkeys for next year's feasts!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Preserving Floyd: Apple Craic

This is my 100th post!  Today also marks my first full year of blogging!  Thanks Michael, for the encouragement and help, and for pointing your friends and co-workers in this direction.  Thank you Joel and Dana, Gloria, and Cynthia for providing such fine examples of preserving and blogging inspiration.  And thank you Readers and Followers, for your time, comments, and input.  You all help to make it all better!

Apple Craic.

Michael loves tender, deeply spiced baked apple slices.  He asked me to come up with a baked apple preserve in half and full pints that he could grab off the shelf and throw into his lunch bag.  I worked off a pie filling recipe, modifying the spices and foregoing the thickener.  Michael found it so addictive he started calling it "Apple Crack".  I was kinda uncomfortable with the implied reference so when writing it down I called it "Apple Craic".  "Craic" (pronounced crack) is the Irish word for a good time spent with friends, music, drink, and food.  It was a bit disconcerting the first time one of our Irish hosts asked us how the craic was down at the pub the night before but the word soon slipped into our conversation while we were there.  Now we'll occasionally say without thinking that there was good craic last night and receive some strange looks.  But this craic, Apple Craic, is sweetly satisfying and only slightly addictive.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Preserving Floyd: The Pantry to Date

Michael's off getting a bike ride in and I'm taking a break from processing our second deer of the season.  I thought I'd amuse myself by taking a look at the pantry inventory for this year so far.  We just finished 19 jars of Apple Craic since the last post, the latest entry in the pantry inventory.  I have photos and a post for that but I have no idea when I'm going to get that post up because a couple of days ago we had a power blip that fried the on/off switch on the desk top PC.  Where the photo editing software is.  Where pretty much everything is.  Folks, when your instincts tell you it's time to update your back up, don't put it off til later.  Because something is guaranteed to fry something in the next couple of days.  And it won't be in your saute pan.  So now I'm temporarily blogging from my P-O-S laptop.  But enough about that.  I really wanted to publish my pantry list to date because when the Apple Craic's made, that signifies the end of my canning season.  Mostly.  I'd put up a picture of the pantry and freezer but well, we've already been through that.  The inventory is after the jump.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Preserving Floyd: Canning Venison

Michael brought home his first deer of the season, a button buck.  That's a young male deer just beginning to grow antlers.  He shot it in late afternoon so by the time he got home with it we were losing the light.  It became imperative to get it skinned, quartered and into the fridge because (a)the nighttime temperature was going to be too warm for me to feel comfortable about hanging it overnight and (b)we have no safe place to hang it where the coyotes, fox, and the neighbor's Labradors won't get at it.  Taking you through the steps of processing a deer for the freezer will have to wait until Michael (hopefully) gets the next one in the morning.

We decided to make really good stock and can the meat from this deer.  Since this was a yearling buck it's meat is already veal-like.  Canning should make it meltingly tender.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Preserving Floyd: Apple Pie Filling Spiced 2 Ways

I really love having pie fillings on my shelf because they get used in so much more than just traditional pies.  I'm only a few minutes away from cobblers, turnovers, fruit dumplings, cake fillings, and ice cream toppings to name a few.  This year I did 2 six quart batches of apple pie filling and spiced each batch differently giving me two distinctly different flavors.  This is a great example of safely customizing a tested recipe to your tastes by simply switching up the spicing/seasoning.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cooking Floyd: Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good!

I was following a thread awhile back on Chowhound about Dorie Greenspan's book Around My French Table.  One of the recipes everyone was raving about was "Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good".  Bacon was involved, and cheese and heavy cream.  Of course everyone knows that bacon and cheese, separately or together, make everything better.  And Julia Child said if you can't use butter use cream.  I rarely argue with Julia.  So, armed with my trusty knife I set about disemboweling a Kuri squash.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Preserving Floyd: The Last of the Red Hot Peppers. I Promise!

One morning last week on my way into the diner for coffee Julius passed me on the way out.  "Frost on the pumpkin tonight!", he said.  I took his warning to heart.  If anyone around here knows when the first frost is going to hit it's Julius.  His family's been working the land here going back to the original grant given to one of his ancestors.  In fact, once upon a time our 4.5 acres were part of that land grant.  Later that afternoon I picked the last of the hot and sweet peppers and pulled up the plants.  I diced and froze a lot of the sweets but the small ones that would hold a tablespoon of stuffing I filled and froze for appetizers for a dinner party or potluck.  That left me with a small pile of hots to put up somehow.