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.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Preserving Floyd: Salem Museum Herb Faire, April 28th

I nearly forgot to put this event up on the calendar!  Next weekend is the Salem Museum Herb Faire at the museum (website here) in Salem, Va.  I'll be there along with Maxine Fraade in Master Food Volunteer mode demonstrating herbs.  In addition to the demos there will be lots of herb starts for sale!

Salem Museum Herb Faire
Saturday, April 28, 2012
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Here's the class schedule although I don't have descriptions for the Master Gardener classes.

9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.       Planting Techniques for Herbs

10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.   Herb Pastes and Butters
Learn why herb pastes and butters are the best way of preserving delicate and quickly lost herb flavors.  Perfect for common culinary herbs, pastes and butters are wonderful to spread on meat, poultry and seafood, add to soups and sauces, and flavor mayonnaise and spreads.  Come learn with Rebecca Shannon how to make, freeze and use these great additions to your pantry!

11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.    Fresh Herb Salads/Vinaigrettes
Fresh herb vinaigrette salad dressings are a simple, delicious and inexpensive way to capture summer's lively flavors in each mouthful of greens, as well as perk up familiar family-favorite salads. Join Maxine Fraade and  learn how to make several kinds of herb vinaigrettes to use on your mixed salads and add new tastes to traditional potato, tuna and chicken salads.

12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.   Cooking with Fresh Herbs
Hard to say which is better, the wonderful taste of summer fresh herbs add to your cooking or the amazing fragrance they'll add to your kitchen as you use them in soups, stews, vegetable dishes pastas and more!  Let's find out as Maxine Fraade makes several quick dishes incorporating fresh herbs as an ingredient. 

1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.         How to Dry Herbs
Come learn with Master Food Preserver Rebecca Shannon how to dry herbs by hanging, microwaving, oven-drying, and using a dehydrator.  We'll learn which technique to use  for different situations and taste tomatoes tossed with an Italian herb blend made with Rebecca's own home-grown and home-dried herbs from her garden!

1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.       Ways to Grow Herbs

Maxine Fraade is among the most popular instructors for Roanoke County Parks and Recreation programs where her cooking classes on international cuisine are frequently full.  She has studied at the Institute for Culinary Education (ICE) in New York City, as well as other culinary schools across the United States, Europe and Asia. Maxine is a graduate of the first  group of the Virginia  Cooperative Extension Master Food Volunteers. Her website, The Roanoke International Cooking Experience (RICE),  is found at

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Preserving Floyd: Roanoke City Market Demo, May 19

Please join me at the Roanoke City Market on Saturday, May 19th at 11:30 a.m. for the first in a series of Eating Floyd demos:

Make Homemade Wine Vinegar/ Flavoring Vinegar with Herbs

How to start a vinegar jug, what is a vinegar mother, how to tell when the vinegar is ready, and how to pasteurize it.  Get your jug started before the herbs hit high gear.  Using fresh herbs to flavor vinegar, store-bought or homemade, and aging it.  Use the vinegar in salad dressings, vinaigrettes, pan sauces, and quick pickles.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Gardening Floyd: Down on the Farm, April '12

I didn't disappear since the last Dark Days Challenge post.  I've been putting in 6-8 hour days in the gardens then coming back to the house, eating supper, maybe making it through a movie but more often falling asleep during said movie, or just going straight to bed.  I've discovered to my dismay that, at 55, the sore muscles of spring don't recover as fast as they use to, if at all, and the best way to deal with them is aspirin before work, and a long hot shower and aspirin after work, supper, and a book in bed.

Michael had last week off and he took over cooking supper.  He's been entranced with Asian and Indian flavors so it was a real treat to come in from the garden to an already prepared dinner quite different from my style.  Michael's Dan-Dan Noodles rock!

Here's some of what we've been doing.  There's so much more I didn't get pictures of!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Cooking Floyd: Dark Days Challenge: April, Week 19

The Breakfast Challenge, Appalachian Mountain Style

What am I gonna make for breakfast?

Biscuits.  Biscuits are a must.  Flour from Big Spring Mill, Homestead Creamery milk, a bit of lard I rendered and saved.

But what more?

Foraging Floyd: We Have WATERCRESS!!!

We love greens.  We get excited over greens.  So to say I was delighted to discover several stands of watercress growing in our little branch is an understatement.

I know the potential yard guy I was showing around the property was bemused by his somewhat pudgy, potential employer doing a happy dance.