Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cooking Floyd: Red Curry and Sweet Potatoes

Christmas has come and gone with a whimper around here.  Michael fought off what seemed to be a heavy cold right before the holiday.  Christmas Eve afternoon I had the "ohno" moment and proceeded to usher in Christmas Day with 102 degree fever and respiratory infection that would last nearly three days.

Michael did get to enjoy a sumptuous feast at Bob and Carol's of a beautiful standing rib roast from their own well-raised steer.  Carol is an awesome cook and loves to declare "I'm not Italian but I cook like one!"  That's the PC version anyway.  Her version is more colorful.  Thank you Carol for the plate sent home with Michael.

I was grateful for the soups I put up this past growing season.  They certainly helped nurse me through but when the fever broke and hunger pangs returned I wanted something with spices and heat that would break up my congestion.  I wanted a curry!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cooking Floyd: My Annual Obsession

Finally, it's that time of year when for 3 days running we have to have dinner out.  Why?  Because nothing can get in the way of painting Christmas cookies.  I do them other times during the year but not with the singlemindedness I have when it comes to painting snowmen, holly, and Santa Clauses.

Preserving Floyd: Processing Venison

In preparation for this year's deer another project this past month involved grinding what was left of last year's venison into burger to make way for this year's deer.  I do a mix of 4 lbs of ground venison and 1 pound of ground pork for a nice lean to fat ratio that makes for juicy burgers, sausages, and loaves.  This year I made venison bologna using LEM's prepackaged spice mix a friend gave me to try.  This stuff tastes just like I remember my grandfather's venison bologna tasting.  I have no idea if this is what he was using way back then but I really like it.  Could be the nostalgia thing.  I also made a bunch of spicy teriyaki jerky for Michael to carry on his bicycle journeys.
I ended up with 5 lbs worth of the bologna in one pound sticks, 3 pounds of jerky and 15 pounds of ground burger in one pound packages.  Michael got his deer so in addition to the above we now have a new supply of roasts and steaks and enough trimmings to make a batch of link sausage.  Santa's bringing me a smoker for Christmas so I think I'm going to wait until it arrives to make my first batch of smoked venison sausage!

Preserving Floyd: Root Cellaring Root Crops

Somehow between Thanksgiving and Christmas the month slipped away from me.  I feel horribly guilty to have gone so long without posting but here in a series of mini posts is what I've been doing.  First up - cellaring root crops!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cooking Floyd: Flavored Tofu

I always thought the only way to get flavor into tofu was to marinate it.  But I was wrong.  You can make tofu in a rainbow of flavors when you make it yourself!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cooking Floyd: You can make Tofu!

Making tofu is another one of my adventures into alternative non-animal protein sources.  Like seitan, I'm happy to report that tofu making is easy and the results are far superior to the tofu I've bought from the store.  Store-bought tofu isn't outrageously expensive but I just made a pound of it for a little less than 40 cents.  Add up .40/lb protein, better taste than store-bought, and I-did-it-myself satisfaction and the result is a win!
Start making your own tofu by following the instructions for making soy milk in the previous post.  The yield from that recipe (about 8 cups) will provide enough soy milk for today's tofu recipe.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Cooking Floyd: Making Soy Milk

Michael has always had a bit of a problem digesting cow's milk.  He's a 1% or skim milk man.  Me, I'm a poster girl for the dairy association.  I want my milk full fat and straight from the cow whenever possible.  Then Michael tried soy milk.  Then almond milk.  And quite frankly, until we discovered Silk unsweetened organic soy milk  I found the stuff to be not-milk.  Icky.  The Silk unsweetened was a compromise but the label still reads like a chem lab: Organic Soymilk (Filtered Water, Whole Organic Soybeans), Calcium Carbonate, Sea Salt, Natural Flavors, Carrageenan, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2, Riboflavin (B2), Vitamin B12.  Added calcium and added vitamins to compete nutritionally with cow's milk and added "natural flavors" and carrageenan (a seaweed used as a thickener) to approximate the taste and mouth-feel of cow's milk.  Average cost around here for a half gallon: $3.50

Michael and I decided to try making soy milk.
Ingredients: 1 cup (6 oz.) soy beans, water.
Cost of a half gallon: $.38 and a little time.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Preserving Floyd: Further Adventures in Fermenting - Daikon Radish

After the success of fermenting peppers for hot sauce I was emboldened to try another ferment.  A few weeks ago we received a large Daikon radish in the CSA box.  I like radishes, but Michael doesn't so I was left wondering what to do with this behemoth.  Especially since I have no experience with Daikon anyway.  Then I remembered hearing that fermented Daikon made a great condiment.  I found a recipe using ginger and off I went!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Eating Floyd: Pumpkin Carving @ FFM

Yesterday was the last official Saturday of the Floyd Farmers Market.  Unofficially it will continue until the last farmer runs out of produce to sell or can no longer withstand the cold.  But officially the market closed out with its annual Pumpkin Carving Competition. Two classes- adults and children.
This stuff is just plain fun!  Goofy, I know, but it beats shopping at malls as a sport any day.  This is one of the kids pumpkins.  See more after the jump!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Preserving Floyd: Reusable Tattler Lids and Salted Caramel Pear Butter

I'm doing a double post today on salted caramel pear butter that I canned using Tattler reusable canning lids.  I get a lot of questions about Tattler lids.  This is the first time I've used them.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Preserving Floyd: Joe's Hot Rounds Hot Sauce

I've done a little fermenting in my time: various fruit wines including a kick-ass dry peach that I've never been able to reproduce, vinegars which I wrote about here and here, preserved lemons, and yogurt and creme fraiche.  I tried to make sauerkraut last year but it was a dismal failure.  I used savoy cabbage which is what I blamed the failure on but now, armed with a little more knowledge, I think I oversalted.

Fermenting is one of the oldest methods of food preservation, it uses the most basic of equipment and ingredients, and besides being delicious, fermented foods are very healthy, adding good flora and beasties to our internal systems.
So, with my new bit of knowledge, a determination to get the hang of fermenting vegetables, and a pile of extremely dangerous little peppers I set off to ferment me some hot sauce!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Preserving Floyd: Faux Peppadews Redux- Bella-Dews

Folks who follow my blog may remember that I've been on a mission to create a pickled pepper resembling a peppadew.  Last year's attempt used mildly hot cherry peppers.  They were good in their own right but they weren't even close to a peppadew.  I had already decided at that time to try Joe's Hot Round peppers this year.  I did grow them and they are a beautiful little pepper, but while they were described as hot, not a single description had a Scoville rating.  Nor could I find one in an internet search.  Just let me say that this prolific little pepper has enough heat to immolate the entire county and make true pepperheads weep.  So they were unsuitable.

I decided to try using my beloved Mini-Bells.
I adore these little bells.  I put them in salads, stuff them all kinds of ways, and pop them straight as snacks.  They're crispy, sweet and visually appealing.  Unfortunately, they're a hybrid.  No saving these seeds.  These were the last ones from the garden.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Preserving Floyd: Cellaring Sweets

We came home from vacation to find the garden nipped by an extremely early first frost.  We were hoping for another month of growth on the sweet potatoes but rather than take a chance Michael dug up the spuds.  Turns out there was a bumper crop under the ground and even though an extra month would have made what was there larger, there are more than enough sweets to get us through winter.  And have seed potatoes to start next year's slips.
Beauregard sweet, left; unknown variety of white sweet, right
Sweet potatoes are easy to cure and store.  Here's how:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Preserving Floyd: Ancho Chile Powder

You've probably noticed I've been having great fun dehydrating and powdering all sorts of stuff this season.  Paprika was a revelation.  Tomato powder works just about everywhere.  Oh, and I did the same thing with the pulp leftover from making traditional pasta sauce.  That powder is a wonder.  I dried and powdered the damaged garlic cloves that wouldn't keep.  Same with the onions.  The onions were another surprise.  Just plain old yellow onions, sliced thin and dried until crispy, became sweet,   crunchy and oh-so-snackable!  This is what Funyons (remember Funyons?) and those nasty french fried onions-in-a-can wish they were.  Seriously, if you have to make that weird green bean and mushroom soup casserole for Thanksgiving, dry some onions of your own and crumble them on top.  Then powder the ones leftover.

I also dried and powdered carrots, celery, kale, and summer and winter squash.  One of my projects is to make a powdered vegetable bouillon, another is dried soups in a jar.  I'm having a blast using my new supply of culinary powders.

But what I'm talkin' about here is sweet red ripe ancho poblanos, grilled and powdered.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Vacating Floyd: What I did on my Summer Vacation

It's been nearly a month since I last posted. September was filled with lots of tomatoes that finally came in along with tons of peppers and winter squash ready for picking, fall apples making an appearance, and my first real vacation in almost six years (an overnight boondoggle to Monticello doesn't count).  September was a rush of preserving right up to the day we left for the Mother Earth News Fair at Seven Springs Resort in southwest PA.  Even then I left a third of a bushel of not quite ripe tomatoes on the table hoping I'd return to tomatoes ready to can and not a deteriorating fruit fly incubator.  I'm happy to report the losses were few!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Cooking Floyd: Seitan - The Other Wheat Meat

Not too long ago I went off about vegan/vegetarians using meat names for non-meat foods instead of just calling the food what it is.  Like "vegetarian meatloaf" instead of cheese and nut loaf.  It's trivial I know, but I like to know what I'm eating and just because I'm an omnivore doesn't mean I have to be tricked into eating all vegetables for a meal.  I'm omni- I eat everything!  Well, not reptiles and amphibians.  I don't eat them.  And I'm not big on rodent-like vermin.  Squid and octopus- right out.  But what I'm getting at here is I've been playing with this vegetable protein substance called Seitan (SAY-tahn.  Yeah, watch the pronunciation or the born-agains will be right on ya.).  It's an Asian concoction made from wheat gluten and, like a number of Asian soy products, is decidedly meat-like in texture.  Which has earned it the moniker of "Wheat Meat".  I hate calling it that but it is the easiest way to convey it's use, texture and mouth feel.  There are two reasons I've been experimenting with it: A) I want to become more familiar with vegetable protein sources, especially those I can make at home and B) I'm absolutely convinced that while we will have cheap meat available for the next few months (because farmers are thinning their herds and flocks due to the drought and corn crop failure), meat prices will rise steeply next year because corn prices will rise due to the lack of crop.

So here it is, Seitan, aka Wheat Meat.  Yep, I hear the gluten-free crowd moaning.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cooking Floyd: Tomato Cobbler

We are in the throes of all things tomato around here.  A description of this savory cobbler caught my eye and taste buds so I had to try it.  We love savory pies as well as sweet ones so why not a savory cobbler?

Preserving Floyd: Tomato Powder

Nose to Tail use of animals that feed us is coming back into "style" again thanks to proponents like Fergus Henderson who has saved recipes, methods, and techniques using the whole beast that are in danger of being lost forever in this era of disconnect from our food.  Pretty prime cuts of meat are the norm and flavorful but tougher cuts, organ meats, and what's considered the "nasty bits" like tongue and tendons have disappeared from view.  The same holds true for vegetables.

Joel and Dana of the blog Well Preserved are getting this nose-to-tail eating down to an art form with fruits and vegetables and Joel's dedication (he even scrubs the roots of leeks clean, dries and powders them) has motivated me to find more ways of making something useful out of the trimmings and leftovers from preparing fruits and veg for preserving.

After preparing this year's batch of the greatest tomato paste ever I had a pile of pulp and seeds leftover.
There's a lot of flavor in that pile and while I could recycle it via the chickens I thought I'd try a Joel-inspired powder.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Serving Floyd: Is that what I'm doing?

We had an excellent tomato canning class last Saturday in spite of my totally geezer moment of leaving the house without the cherry tomatoes, herbs and garlic for the roasting segment.  Micah's Garden came through with little paste tomatoes and saved the day (and my butt)!

In addition to the students we had a photographer and a writer from Virginia Tech in attendance.  They spent the afternoon documenting the class and  talking to folks.  At one point Lori Greiner, the writer, asked me what volunteerism meant to me.  I had an uhh...uhh... moment and then babbled out something totally disjointed about tradition, giving back to the community, self sufficiency, and god knows what.  Because I don't think of what I'm doing as volunteer work.  I don't really think about it at all.  I just enjoy doing it and having a venue to pass it on to others so we can have fun doing it together.  And yup, there's that little piece of me that does a happy dance while waving the one finger salute at Big Food with both hands.

Michael and I have talked about what we do as Master Gardener/Food Volunteers.  We do have an answer to that question, I just spaced it.  Lori, if you're reading this, here it is:

We can give a family a sack of food and they'll eat for a week.

But if we teach them how to garden

and cook and preserve

they will be able to feed themselves forever.

That's what volunteering means to me.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Preserving Floyd: Ajvar! (Eggplant and Red Pepper Spread)

Last month Shana and I stopped in at Big Lots because they had gel-filled chef mats on sale and I wanted a bunch of them.  Turns out it was their International Foods sale as well.  Shana loaded up on her fav Euro-cookies and I went with imported priest stranglers and little ears.  That's pasta actually- strozzapreti and orrechiette.  Then I spotted a jar filled with a bright red something and had to check it out.  Ajvar.  No idea.  The ingredients list said sweet red peppers, eggplant, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and salt.  Seriously.  Nothing I couldn't pronounce and a use within 4 days of opening warning.  That's my kind of ingredients list.  Since we are eggplant lovers I snagged a jar.

oh. my. god.
So much greater than the sum of its ingredients would suggest!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Preserving Floyd: Bread and Butter Pickles

The summer that I began my food preservation adventures, bread and butter pickles was my second ever canned product, strawberry jam being the first.  Since then I have altered strawberry jam with all kinds of flavors but my bread and butter pickles recipe has never changed.  It's classic, versatile, friends get miffed if they don't get a jar.  The pickles are great straight, chopped into relish, made into tarter sauce or Thousand Island dressing.  My grandfather insisted the only ham salad worth eating was made from ground country ham, Helman's mayo, and finely chopped bread and butter pickles, no substitutions, no additions!  It's a winner.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Gardening Floyd: ma-mA-MA MY KABOCHA!

Ya know, when you're gardening your mind tends to wander.  You think about all kinds of things and mostly that's good.  But sometimes there's places you just shouldn't go.  For Michael it was belting out KOHLRAAAABI!  OH-OH! to the tune of "Volare" when working in that bed.

My no-go happened today.  It sounded like this:

because I was delighted to find that not only do I have a load of these growing,
Sunshine Kabocha Squash
 but I seem to have a "Knack" for growing them.
Now I'm stuck with an earworm from a not particularly shining era in the history of rock for at least the rest of the gardening year.

Preserving Floyd: Meet Alma

Alma Paprika, that is.  She's a little bit spicy, a little bit deep, and a little bit rich.

I just made my own paprika powder.  Awesome.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Preserving Floyd: Golden Beets

Michael and I are not very good at growing beets.  He mostly prefers the greens anyway but I love sweet pickled beets and beets as a side dish and beet salad with walnuts and blue cheese.  But we have reached a compromise on golden beets.  He says golden beets don't taste as "earthy" as red beets.

Our CSA was offering bulk golden beets so Shana and I split a half bushel (20 lbs) because really, I think 10 lbs is probably more than enough to see Michael and I through the winter.  So I ran home with my share and pulled out recipes for Golden Beets in Ginger Syrup and Pressure Canned Beets.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Cooking Floyd: To Squash a Moose

Hey! You! Yeah, you with that lumpy grocery bag!  Step away from the mailbox!  I've secured my house and locked my car and if you think you're gonna get away with jammin' that bag of summer squash in my mailbox, you've got another think comin'!

Even though people know I've got three big gardens and any number of little beds, and even though it stands to reason that I'm growing my own, they just can't help but unburden their own gardens and avoid the guilt they'd feel composting their own overabundance of squash by dumping it on me.


No. Really. Thanks.  I never would have thought to grow my own.

Now what am I gonna do with this.    sh*t.

Preserving Floyd: Chicken Corn Soup (Nostalgia in a Jar)

I'm not very nomadic.  I grew up and lived in the Buffalo Valley in central Pennsylvania until I was 37 years old.  It wasn't until I met and married Michael and moved below the Mason-Dixon that I discovered that there were foods, comfort foods, I took for granted that other people knew nothing about.  Like chicken corn soup.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Gardening Floyd: Finally! Summer Veg!

Despite the warm winter and early spring we experienced here in Floyd,  I feel like I've been running behind with the garden this season.  I got tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, cucumbers, melons, and squash in by mid-June but never did get any annual herbs planted.  I got cannellini beans and chickpeas in the ground in the Lower 40 and Michael got tepary beans in the ground in the house garden but we never got our edamame or green beans planted.  Luckily I have lots of quarts of green beans from last year.  We have harvested about a quarter bushel of Yukon Gold potatoes, but would have had a lot more if I had been more diligent.  I think we're going to have a bumper crop of fingerlings.  I'm convinced that the 3 lb./$4 dollar bag of mixed fingerlings from the produce section of the local Walmart grocery is growing better than the $12 per lb. single variety fingerling seed potatoes from a seed supplier ever would have.  Same goes for the sweet potatoes.  They're growing gangbusters from starts from a few grocery store sweets.  Major potato lesson learned there!

See those eggplants on the right?  Those are the first ever eggplants I've been able to bring to maturity since we've lived in Floyd.  Other places we've lived I've been inundated with eggplants but here we have large devastating populations of flea beetles that turn the leaves of young plants to lace, weakening and killing them.  It took spraying the transplants with Surround and pyrethrum as soon as they were in the ground and then immediately covering the bed with floating row cover that allowed the plants to get to a size where they could resist the damage.  To the right of the eggplants is the first Smokey tomato.  It's destiny is sourdough bread slathered with mayo for my lunch.  Next to that is a Carnival bell and two Corno di Toro sweet peppers.  Then a variety of pickling cucumber called Homemade and in the lower left corner, Mini-Belles.  I absolutely love those for appetizer stuffing, pickling, and fresh snacking.

The white powdery substance you see on the veg is Surround.  It's a kaolin clay product that gets mixed with water and sprayed on the fruit and veg.  It was first used mainly on apples and other tree fruits but was found effective for other crops as well.  It's a pretty innocuous substance but bugs don't like it and it also helps protect fruit and veg from sunscald.

The pumpkins and winter squash are in full flower and fruiting, the crookneck summer squash are just beginning to set fruit.  The Moon and Stars watermelons and Pike muskmelons are looking good.  It's just about time to start the fall garden seeds for broccoli, cabbage, greens and other cold weather crops already.

I don't think I'll ever catch up!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cooking Floyd: Red Currant Cobbler

This was Michael's first foray into the world of desserts.  We had a box of red currants that needed to be used but were still stocked with red currant jelly from last year.  So Michael bravely forged ahead, found this Icelandic recipe for Red Currant Cobbler, and to the tune of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" successfully created a sweet, tangy, beautiful dessert.

Cooking Floyd: Supper Out of a Box

This week's CSA box yielded among other things sweet yellow corn, baby lettuce mix, and vine-ripened tomatoes.  A friend had gifted me with a couple of her sweet purple Cippolini onions.  The volunteer cilantro in my garden just keeps coming on and the Carnival bell peppers are producing.  All of this just screamed Black Bean and Corn Salad!

Foraging Floyd: Wineberries

Ronald Reagan is not high on my list of Presidents I Admire.  I mean, the man's administration had ketchup designated as a vegetable.  And now those wacky Republicans are at it again designating pizza as a vegetable (OK, actually the tomato paste ON the pizza) !

But what Ronnie did get right was designating the month of July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of July as National Ice Cream Day.  Just in time for homemade ice cream to be studded and flavored with all the gorgeous summer fruits ripening now!  Yesterday Michael headed off to forage wineberries while I was trying to figure out what to do with a bunch of leftover cream and buttermilk.  Yep, you know where this is going...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cooking Floyd: July 4th GrillFeast

We opted for a quiet Fourth of July at home.  Oh, there were still fireworks.  Our neighbor's son-in-law puts on a pretty good show at her house which is below and to the left of us.  But we didn't go out amongst the tourists and the traffic in search of a big show.  We grilled everything in the fridge instead and there was nary a burger in sight!

Michael and I got started on this when he came back from his bike trip extolling the fine job the caterer and a BBQ guy did with the vegetarian food option.  He was especially taken with a grilled sweet potato and eggplant sandwich and split heads of marinated grilled romaine.  So we decided our 4th of July BBQ would be grilled veggies.

We started by prepping inch-thick slices of sweet potato.  They went into boiling water to cook until they just poked tender, then were drained, chilled, peeled, brushed with ghee (for its higher smoke point) and caged.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Preserving Floyd: Curing Garlic

If you planted garlic last fall then your crop is most likely ready to harvest or will be soon.  Yesterday was perfect weather for harvesting and beginning the curing process.  I gently lifted the garlic loose of the soil with a spading fork, gently shook what dirt off I could and then spread it in a single layer on a tarp to dry.  Then before the sun went down I gathered it up and put it in the garage before any dew could dampen it.

Cooking Floyd: Refrigerator Beet Pickles

I'm never sure whether I should put refrigerator pickles under "Preserving" or "Cooking" because they're a bit of both.  They are intended for nearly immediate consumption but the vinegar brine makes them last far longer in the fridge then a cooked veg normally would and longer than most veg in a raw state.  Since refrigerator pickles will be consumed while summer's still upon us and not saved for the depths of winter, I'm opting for "Cooking".

There were a bunch of mixed beets in the CSA box and I had another bunch on hand and since Michael is not a beet or a pickle fan I decided to be greedy and pickle them all.  For I am an ardent fan of pickled beets.  And if you toss some of our hard boiled eggs in there as well, I'm happy!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Eating Floyd: Flying Solo

Michael's off doing a 350 mile ride between D.C. and Pittsburgh cycling on the rails-to-trails of the old C&O Canal and Great Allegheny Passage train routes.  So I'm on my own this week.  That means most meals are me grabbing whatever's ripe in the garden (like eating a quart bag of sugar snap peas while watching a movie), or things that Michael won't eat (fresh oysters rolled in cornmeal and crisp fried), or working on the contents of the CSA box (Panzanella salad from hydroponic tomatoes, English cucumber, purple scallions, a cubed leftover bagel, and last year's pesto mixed with oil and chive vinegar for dressing).  And did I take pictures of any of that?  Of course not.  But I did take a picture of this:

That's a roasted beet salad made with mixed beets and beet greens, walnuts and chevre.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Eating Floyd: Playing Catch-Up (and a cherry update)

The spring canning classes were finally over last Tuesday and Shana, Cathy, and I heaved a huge sigh of relief.  Don't get me wrong, we immensely enjoyed teaching them, but the responsibility was driven home to us of how important it is to purvey information clearly and succinctly so the students know how to preserve safely. We had a great turnout of really nice people truly interested in taking control not only of what's in their pantries but what's in the stuff that's in their pantries.  We'll be offering one more canning class around the beginning of September before hunting season starts, focusing on canning meat and stock.  In the meantime we're doing a post-mortem on the classes we've done so we can offer better classes in the future.  We eventually want to offer classes on freezing, dehydrating, root cellaring, and stocking the pantry: how to determine what kind of produce, how much to plant or buy in, and how much to preserve to get through the year.
Today's Harvest 6-12-12

Monday, May 28, 2012

Cooking Floyd: Spring Indulgence

What do you do when the backlog of eggs takes over the fridge, the greens are getting out of hand, the birds are eying the strawberries and the asparagus pushes lots more spears than you expected?


First you make Lemon Curd.  Because it calls for lots of eggs and lemons and butter just happen to be on sale at the same time as the glut of eggs in the fridge.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Preserving Floyd: Classes Taught and Taken

The last week or so has been a whirlwind of activity.  Thursday and Friday of last week was spent preparing for the Homemade Vinegar Demo at the Roanoke City Market last Saturday.  Turn out was light for the City Market in general because it was competing with the Roanoke Local Colors Festival happening in the next block, but the demo attendees were into learning a new culinary trick and we all had a good time!  I want to particularly thank Tracie Hughes, the market manager, and I'm looking forward to working with her again.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Reading Floyd: Pricking Our Pretensions

Click on strip for better viewing.

Preserving Floyd: Home Made Wine Vinegar Demo

Just a reminder to join me at the Roanoke City Market this Saturday, May 21st, at 11:30 am for Eating Floyd's first market demo on Making Your Own Wine Vinegar.  Learn how easy it is to create your own wine vinegar jug and and then flavor the resulting vinegar with herbs, fruits, and spices for your own custom gourmet vinegars!  Click on the Preservation Classes tab above for more info.
See ya there!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Eating Floyd: Our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Share

This year Michael and I decided to get a CSA share to augment what we grow in our gardens.  One reason is curiosity.  We've never had a CSA share before and want to see just what's in our box every week.  Another reason is it may fill in some gaps we might have in our own garden.  The third reason is to offer support to local farmers and truck gardeners.  They are doing backbreaking, economically risky work bringing a diversified harvest to market for the rest of us.  If corporate food should all go south someday, it's these local folks who will see us fed.  They deserve our support.

We thought it would be interesting to report on what we get in our box: the quality, the quantity, the variety, and the price compared to the cost in a store like Harvest Moon that sells locally grown produce, much of it from the same farms our CSA sources from.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Preserving Floyd: Strawberry Links and Waterbath Class Pics

The waterbath class was well attended and a great success.  I'm really looking forward to future classes and the next class will be on pressure canning basics.  As soon as we are able to find a site to hold the class I'll publish the details.  The Master Food Volunteers and the Floyd-Montgomery Counties Cooperative Extension are still trying to find a regular site in each county to hold classes in.  If you are aware of any locations with kitchens where we could present classes please contact Dawn Barnes at 745-9307.

On to the Photos!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Cooking Floyd: Michael Does Dinner

The Salem Museum Herb Faire was exciting, exhilarating, and a rousing success!  There were people roaming everywhere in the museum, about the grounds and gardens, and snapping up good looking herb starts from the Master Gardeners.  Our demos were full and people were very interactive so the demos became more of a discussion instead of a lecture which I really liked.  But it was all very tiring, and we didn't have a chance or the desire to eat while we were working.  So I dragged my exhausted, hungry self home to find this:

Mixed Spring Greens with Avocado and Strawberries
...and this:

Eating Floyd: Strawberry Feasting Season has Commenced!

The first of the new crop of local strawberries made it's appearance this past week!  It's time to indulge, indulge some more, and preserve the rest for off-season indulging.  I had my first bowl of Strawberry Shortcake after dinner last night.  It tasted like it always does - nostalgic, with memories of Mom making the once a year, terribly bad for us but incredibly yummy dinner of fried potatoes and shortcake, remembering my barely a toddler-aged son sitting between rows of strawberry plants happily stuffing his face while I picked, and my first garnet row of strawberry jam jars gleaming on the counter.

At the same time strawberries are the harbinger of good things to come, a promise that summer's bounty is on its way and the dark days are over.

I  think there's strawberry pie in my future.  Oh! And that looks like ice cream too!

Preservation links after the jump

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Preserving Floyd: Preserved Lemons, Maghreb-style

I don't make much fermented stuff.  I never seem to have much luck with it but I do keep trying.  However, this is different from fermenting cabbage or dill pickles.  I just love it.  I got the recipe from Tigress over at Hungry Tigress.  She loves Indian food and Indian pickle in particular.  In fact, she eats her way through India on a regular basis and brings back recipes of very good things for the rest of us to try.  I made this one last year because I love lemon and the colors in this pickle pulled me in.  But the flavor!  I didn't expect how much I was going to love that and sometimes I would pull out a few of the tender rinds just to nibble on by themselves!  Lemons were on special last week so I loaded up and made a 2 quart jar.