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I’ve Been Busy!

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Turkey Tracks: November 29, 2021

I’ve Been Busy!

Life gets in the way of this blog some times.

For sure.

There have been well water issues—which are slowly getting resolved. The well pump removal and new pump installation likely caused a coliform bacteria overload, alongside all the rain we’ve had this summer and fall. The water tables are really high these days. Coliform bacteria are NOT e.coli bacteria, which derive mostly from animal feces contaminations. Coliform bacteria come from plants and other vegetation. The well test didn’t show e.coli problems. It did show way, way too much radon—which is a colorless and orderless gas that comes from granite and can dissolve into water—and emerge when you use water, like in the kitchen sink or the shower. A “bubbler” filter will be installed soon now. High radon levels are associated with lung cancer.

But, the GOOD NEWS is that my oldest son visited for a long weekend recently. I had not seen him for 2 1/2 years, so we had a grand and sweet visit. We cooked, ate, talked, binged watched WICKING and MANHUNT, on Acorn, talked and cooked and ate more, and took some sightseeing drives off and on.

Mike took this video of AC putting a flock of turkeys into the air. Note that if a turkey turned on AC, I’m quite sure that he would run the other way. The turkeys were in a neighbor’s roadside field up the hill from me.

And Mike took this video of me after I pulled out the apple corer to process some apples we were going to bake for dessert. Mike loves lamb like I do, and it is hard to get in South Carolina, so I roasted a leg of lamb for him while he was here.

I had forgotten how fun the apple corer is—so I may buy more of these Black Oxford apples and make some applesauce. They are a Maine heritage apple and are delicious.

Written by louisaenright

November 29, 2021 at 9:16 am

It’s September

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Turkey Tracks: September 10, 2021

It’s September 2021

How did that happen?

And it is already the 10th!!

We’ve had cooler weather, with temps dropping down significantly at night, which makes for great sleeping.

And for rising desires for warmer foods, like this beef stew I made in the Instant Pot. I cook the carrots and new potatoes separately—and the fresh green beans separately too.

The beautiful beef cubes were a gift from friend Margaret whose freezer went belly up earlier this summer. The carrots, new potatoes, and fresh green beans came from Farmer Tom’s Hope’s Edge weekly market out at the farm—which is a trip to which I look forward each week.

The Instant Pot cooks the beef in 35 minutes!!!! For my Histamine Intolerance, that’s wonderful as long cooking times create more histamine in foods. I saute the beef in the pot in some tallow or ghee. If I’m not in a hurry, I’ll remove the meat and throw in the chopped onions and garlic and saute those for a bit, but not this time. I added two cups of liquid, onions, garlic, herbs, salt and called it a day. I also added a limited amount of ketchup, whichI can eat in small quantities sometimes—and it added such flavor. When the meat is done I put the beef in a large bowl and add the warm, cooked vegetables and spooned out what I wanted to eat. The rest I saved for other meals.

This Dahlia is now three years old. Isn’t it gorgeous!

The first year I just saved the tuber after the first killing frost. But when I planted it in the spring, it took it all summer to get big enough to start blooming. Last year I put the dug tuber into a small pail with its dirt and roots intact and put it into the dry/dark/cool storage hold upstairs, and when the days started getting longer in early March, I put the whole pail in a sunny window. The Dahlia sprouted and started growing. Finally it was warm enough to put it out in the garden again, which it liked. It’s been blooming like crazy since early August, so I will put it back in the pail again this fall.

And here’s Tara Faughnan’s Wedding Ring quilt with THREE rows finished. I moved it up the design wall so I could get to the bottom row more easily. This quilt clearly wants to be called “Joyful!”

I will be making this quilt again very soon (this winter) as I’m obsessed with it. I want to try a more controlled palette with dark brown/black/dark grey/khaki/cream centers and rings that have a lot of the dark brown/black and cream rings—studded with pastels and a few pops of color here and there. Tara has a version that sparked my imagination, but I hesitate to show it here due to copyright issues.

Written by louisaenright

September 10, 2021 at 10:37 am

Fun “Pancakes”

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Turkey Tracks: July 31, 2021

Fun “Pancakes”

These fun “pancakes” have fast become a “go to” for a quick lunch.

They only take a few minutes to assemble. Using a cast iron frying pan gives strong heat without burning too.

Here’s a picture before they have browned so you can see ingredients:

I vary what I put into these delicious concoctions, but grated zucchini and the egg are the bulk and the glue that holds everything together. This one also has grated carrot and some chopped green onion. (I don’t try to chop the onion really fine.)

First, my thanks to Farmer Tom Griffin of the former CSA Hope’s Edge for the basic recipe which I have modified for my needs. For locals, Tom is holding a farmer’s market out at the farm for select hours two days a week: Wednesday afternoon (3:30) and Thursday morning (10:00). As always, his food is so fresh and delicious. I will include the recipe version he sent below my modifications.

For one person, grate one medium sized zucchini. Wrap it in a towel (I’ve been using those bamboo “paper” towels that can be reused over and over) and squeeze out the water. There will be a lot of water. You want at least a packed 1/2 cup of grated, squeezed zucchini.

Grate some carrot too, if you like.

Add some chopped onion—the sweet ones and green ones are in our markets now.

Add some grated cheese—I can use mozzarella, but cottage cheese or ricotta would likely work too. You can certainly use stronger cheeses (cheddar, etc.).

Add an egg.

Add about 2 tablespoons of brown rice flour—I use a sprouted one.

Add whatever herbs you might like and a bit of sea salt.

Mix it all up and fry it in a good fat—I’ve been using duck fat, but one could use ghee or beef tallow. Keep a medium, even heat, not too hot so the edges don’t get too brown too quickly. Turn once and maybe pat each pancake down flat with a spatula as it helps them cook evenly and faster.

***

Here’s the recipe from Tom:

Written by louisaenright

July 31, 2021 at 2:43 pm

Hot Soup in Hot Weater

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Turkey Tracks: July 3, 2021

Hot Soup in Hot Weather

The collected chicken bones in the freezer were taking up too much space. So in the middle of the WORST heat of this year, I made chicken broth. And the next day, I made a HUGE soup.

Am I crazy? Maybe. But the heat wave broke—and we got some much-needed rain. And I have some DELICIOUS and HEALTHY soup in my belly and some frozen soup now taking up space in the freezer.

I started with the smaller Creuset pot and the veggies I had on hand: sweet onions, carrots, red pepper, zucchini, garlic, and loads of fresh herbs from the garden (tarragon, thyme, oregano, basil, sage, chives):

I soon had to switch to the larger Creuset pot though—as I added all the chicken meat from a whole deboned chicken (which went into the bone broth to cook) and veggies from the freezer (corn, beans, peas) and some “Forbidden” red rice.

I could feel the soup’s goodness all the way to my toes:

I topped it with more fresh chives from the garden:

I need to cut back the chive plants now as their blooms are all dry. Cut back, the plants will grow more green shoots for me to use in the kitchen.

I can vary the soup when I get tired of it by adding some fresh cream. And warming a tortilla on a gas stove tap is always nice—especially if one puts some local raw butter on the warm tortilla!

I like to cook this way—using what I have on hand to make such delicious meals. You can’t go wrong with good basics (bone broth), healthy meat, organic veggies, a little of some organic grain as a treat, and lots of fresh herbs.

Written by louisaenright

July 3, 2021 at 9:41 am

Spatchcocked Chicken

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Turkey Tracks: May 28, 2021

Spatchcocked Chicken

I saw an article from The Washington Post the other day that demonstrated how to spatchcock a whole chicken.

Spatchcock is a term I never heard until very, very recently. Don’t even ask… As much as I cook, how could I have NOT heard about or tried this roast chicken preparation before now???

Anyway, I tried it last night. And WOW! I’ll never go back to roasting a whole chicken again—unless, I suppose, I’m doing several chickens and need the space in the oven? Never is a strong word.

The process was truly easy—as long as one has really good kitchen shears, which I do. I did an earlier blog post on mine last year, and I really like them. They come apart for cleaning too. You can see that post here: https://louisaenright.com/?s=A+Kitchen+Treat

So, I put fresh sage leaves under the skin and topped the chicken with fresh tarragon, garlic, more dried herbs, sea salt, and a drizzle of olive oil. It cooked in an hour—it would have been shorter if I’d used the convection oven I’m sure, but I had a Zoom meeting to attend and didn’t want to hang around the oven to make sure the chicken wasn’t burning, but browning. The whole house smelled…divine.

Here’s the link to the WAPO article, but I’m sure if you googled, you’d find lots of videos of how to spatchcock a chicken.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/food/interactive/2021/how-to-spatchcock-chicken/?fbclid=IwAR1bAqzIWX6Ml91BasK1hLKEnN-nfKwqDoTkujBV5N5SB1y_H5CyXlg_js0

Written by louisaenright

May 28, 2021 at 10:07 am

Lunch Break From Garden

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Turkey Tracks: May 23, 2021

Lunch Break From Garden

I am just in from working in the garden all morning.

I grilled two little lamb chops to go on my lunch salad—the grill is just at my kitchen door, and it doesn’t take but a minute or two to fire it up and let it heat.

The lettuce is from the cold frame—which is overflowing with lettuce goodness. I’ve been happily taking bunches of the lettuce to friends. And now I’ll include some fresh herbs as the chives are ready to cut.

This salad also has leftover halved boiled Brussel sprouts, carrot, a yellow pepper, cucumber, Vidalia sweet onion, and mint, regular and garlic chives, and some tarragon. I top everything with salt, dried herbs (dill and Penzey’s Sunny Paris mixture, and drizzles of a really fine olive oil from Organic Roots. (I can’t do vinegar.)

AC killed one of the garter snakes who live here two days ago. I thought the snake had escaped him, but he apparently dogged it out into the open, where he shook it. I found the carcass down on the rocks in the lower wall in front of the house the next day. I knew he’d gone back after it as he had streaks of blood on his coat and there were no marks on him.

These garter snakes are such pretty little creatures, with their vivid green stripes and bits of red here and there. Their presence signifies one has a healthy garden I think.

I’ve saved two more from the jaws of death—one yesterday and one this morning. One, if it is the same snake. And this time I made sure each snake was in a good hiding place.

I spent a chunk of the morning watering. It is so dry. And when I came in for lunch, there was an alert on my phone about a line of thunderstorms heading our way.

I hope so. It is getting dark. I brought in my buckets, shoes, and gloves just in case.

Written by louisaenright

May 23, 2021 at 1:24 pm

More Bits and Pieces

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Turkey Tracks: March 15, 2021

More Bits and Pieces

It’s Monday morning, and the temperature at my back door is 10 Degrees!

How did that happen after our series of such pretty and warmer days? It’s spring in Maine, that’s how. She’s a teaser, that spring.

My cataract operations have both been done now—the second eye was done two Tuesdays ago. And my vision is once again AWESOME! I only need some reading glasses for fine print—and I can see my phone screen just fine if I hold it away from me. My world is filled with LIGHT (lots of light) and color again, and I am so grateful for this senior citizen gift.

I got a MUCH-NEEDED haircut this morning and am now feeling less old and way less all-the-time messy.

I’ve been working on the log cabin quilt for my niece and have a bit over half the blocks done now. It will be 8 rows by 8 rows, or 96 inches square.

The fall crop of butternut squash is running low in our stores now. I found one and roasted the cubes I cut out of it. Roasted this way, butternut squash is like eating candy it is so sweet. And it is easy to make. I love it best in the fall with fresh rosemary, lots of garlic, some good olive oil, and a sprinkling of coarse sea salt. I make do now with dried herbs if I don’t buy fresh rosemary, which is expensive.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise and them slice the halves into half circles. Turn these on their sides and trim off the outer skin and cut each slice into chunks. Place them all in a parchment lined pan and apply the herbs, garlic, salt, and olive oil. Roast at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes—you may want to turn up the heat at 25 minutes or so to pop the chunks with stronger heat—which starts to caramelize them.

Enjoy! And the extras reheat well, but they are also good cold in a salad.

Written by louisaenright

March 15, 2021 at 11:43 am

Yummy Lunch

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Turkey Tracks: December 18, 2020

Yummy Lunch

I’m the queen of cream—local, raw heavy cream, that is.

I’m off coffee right now, so I’ve been looking for other ways to use my weekly heavy cream.

Look at this yummy, warm lunch.

I sautéed some veggies and herbs in duck fat: zucchini, onion, garlic, carrots, cauliflower until they began to color up. Then I added in some cubed roasted chicken from breasts I cooked the day before—just turned the meat in the veggies until it heated a bit. Add sea salt at some point.

Then the magic!

I poured cream over the whole mixture and stirred it until it heated and got bubbly. At that point it all needs to leave the frying pan and got into a dish that will hold the cream gravy.

Delicious!

I’ll be doing this method again with leftover meats.

Written by louisaenright

December 18, 2020 at 9:37 am

Loving My Instapot

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Turkey Tracks: November 17, 2020

Loving My Instapot

And so the Instapot adventure continues…

Here is a lamb stew (with added rice and asparagus when plated) that came out with tender, tasty lamb chunks and carrots that were NOT overdone. The sauce was thickened with the addition of a flour at the start—for me cassava, which I can eat.

Next up, chicken thighs browned skin side down in butter and duck fat. It’s the butter that browns the skin so nicely. Then a very short cooking time. The additions of the last of the rice and the asparagus were added when plating the meal. This sauce is delicious as well.

I could do 4 thighs in the pot easily, so I have a leftover meal ready to freeze or eat today. I’m freezing as I have a big, boned leg of lamb from last year defrosted and ready to cook. I’ll do that in the oven though and will freeze a lot of it for future meals.

I am beginning to understand how the pot works, like how to saute in the pot before starting something, what kind of liquid it needs to work, when to use the trivet, how long to cook something, and so forth.

I love learning curves AND delicious food.

Written by louisaenright

November 17, 2020 at 10:30 am

More Cooking Adventures: Tigernut Flour and Thrive Market

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Turkey Tracks: November 5, 2020

More Cooking Adventures: Tigernut Flour and Thrive Market

Dr. Becky Campbell, in the new book I got, The 4-Phase Histamine Reset Plan, recommends the online store Thrive Market.

I joined, and here is my FIRST box. For those of you who live in cities, something like Thrive may not be necessary. But I live in a mostly rural town in Maine, and while we have some great local co-ops and other stores that specialize in local clean foods and healthy products, these stores do not necessarily carry speciality food products, like Tigernut flour. And, the Belfast co-op, which does carry a lot of what I need, is 45 minutes north of me.

Here’s my first box. Thrive does not carry anything GMO and does carry Fair Trade, organic, sustainably created, and so forth. Many of their products are also cheaper than our local ones. And, shipping is free if the order is over something like $50.

Below, there’s my tigernut “flour” and my tapioca flour. Tigernuts are a tuber, not a nut or a legume. Tigernuts have been, apparently, used in Africa forever and are known to be really healthy for gut health. The recipes I’ve made so far have a delicious, mellow nutty taste. And it turns out that Tapioca flour, which derives from cassava, has some important nutritional features. Who knew? I thought it was just a useless starch.

And, there too, is SPROUTED brown rice. (Thrive carries other sprouted grains as well, including rolled oats, which are now in my second box.) Sprouted grains make the nutrients in grains way easier for the body to absorb.

I have not had a muffin or baked anything like a muffin in over 10 years. Maybe longer. These apple/carrot/tigernut muffins are DELICIOUS and filling. The “nut butter” I made with the flour is also delicious.

Here’s a “pudding” made from almond milk (I found a brand at the Belfast Coop that is just nuts and water—no preservatives—Elmhurst), coconut milk (I make my own from dried organic coconut, but will buy some canned from Thrive on the next order), chia seeds, vanilla, and maple syrup. A pinch of salt is not a bad idea. I top it with organic blueberries I got last summer that have been defrosted and steeped in a bit of Maple syrup. It is SO GOOD. The chia seeds are the magic ingredient (and are so good for you) as they form a kind of gelatin when put into water.

The soup I made from the Instant Pot chicken broth is delicious and very filling. The broth has so much gelatin in it that when cooled, it practically stands up on its own. That’s an added benefit to the Instant Pot.

I am feeling very spoiled and happy.

Written by louisaenright

November 5, 2020 at 8:52 am