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Turkey Tracks: Fall Bounty

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Turkey Tracks:  October 12, 2015

Fall Bounty

The nights have cooled, and the trees are starting to turn.  Finally.

Hope’s Edge CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) farm has two more weeks to go.

I will miss going out there weekly so much.

The winter squashes are all coming in now–and they are so bright and pretty:

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The long orange one in the back is a pie pumpkin.  I’m going to roast/carmelize it and use it in a salad recipe from Jennifer McGruther’s book The Nourished Kitchen.  (Search on this blog for more info.)  The recipe pairs the sweet pumpkin with bitter greens, nuts, and balsamic vinegar, among other ingredients–as well as I remember.

The funny looking veggie to its left is a rutabega.  I cook it like a potato.  Rutabegas are great cubed in soups and stews.  The flesh is buttery yellow and mashes well.

The oblong squash to the left is a spaghetti squash-one of my very favorites.  I cut them in half, seed them, and roast them (cut sides down on a greased piece of parchment paper).  Once done, run a fork through the flesh and it breaks into strands.  I heavily butter and add salt and pepper.  Scoop out the stands and put on your plate.  This one reheats well too.

The striped squashes are delicatas.  They are so sweet that you don’t need anything in them but a bit of butter.  I bought some one fall in Charleston, SC, and they were bitter and bad.  This squash may need more of a New England climate to develop its sweetness????

The tan squash is a butternut.  Mild and delicious.  You can eat the skin on both delicatas and butternuts.  I’m going to put it cubed into a stew with black beans, hamburger, and Indian seasonings–in the crock pot.

How did that banana get into this picture?  Mercy!

The orange squash in the middle is a “Sunshine” and has a heavier, sweeter flesh.  I’m going to cube it and roast it with garlic, rosemary, small potatoes, red onions, and chunked green tomatoes.  It’s a dish to which I look forward every fall.  I’ll make it while sister Susan is here next week.

That’s likely the last large tomato to come out of the garden.  I”ll get some Sun Gold cherry tomatoes though.

The garlic crop is great this year.  I’m loving all the fresh garlic in the kitchen.

I’m missing a Blue Hubbard squash, which is a great keeper.  I’ll pick one up though.

That’s the last bit of annual flowers I’ll cut from the garden behind the squashes.

I cut these Panculata Hydrangeas this morning for the dining room.  Hope they dry nicely.

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It’s a BANNER year for apples in Maine this year.  Every tree is loaded down–even old trees that have had significant storm damage:

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Local folks are making apple sauce, apple butter, drying apple slices, and making lots of apple pies.

The girly dogs and I have been walking every day in this glorious fall weather.  Sunday afternoon I drove by a friends Harry and Marsha Smith’s house to see their gorgeous fall yard.

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What a treat this view was!

Turkey Tracks: CSA Bounty

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Turkey Tracks:  July 19, 2014

CSA Bounty

 

My CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) is Hope’s Edge, in Hope, Maine.

My pickup is on Friday, which was  yesterday.

Friend Giovanna McCarthy picked up for me as I spent the day on Vinalhaven Island (an hour ferry’s ride away) with my book club.

So, I came home to two large sacks in the garage refrigerator that include a gorgeous fennel bulb, lots of greens, peas, spring onions, herbs, broccoli, and on and on.

It was…a haul.

So, I spent this morning processing food.

Jennifer McGruther of THE NOURISHED KITCHEN in a recent blog post noted that when she has a glut of greens, she dries them in the dehydrator and pulverizes them to green dust in her food processor and stores them in jars.  She adds the “green dust” to soups and stews at will.  I really liked that idea.  (Thanks, Jennifer!)

So, my greens are upstairs drying out as we speak.  AHA!  It’s the inaugural summer use of the dehydrator, which runs day and night in August and September.  I took the lid off so you can see.  I’m drying kale and beet greens.

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I used the chard leaves and a lot of the CSA produce in a summer soup–whose base is a VERY rich turkey bone broth.  I wrangled my 23-pound Thanksgiving turkey for two whole days this week, which freed up needed freezer space and produced a lot of cooked meat.  (The cooked drumsticks I refroze and will use them to build more bone broth AND some delicious dark meat for a soup/stew.)  The turkey came from Golden Brook Farm, owned by Susan McBride and Chris Richmond.

Here’s the soup.  I ate it for lunch, and it was so delicious.  It has the turkey bone broth, garlic scapes, onions, carrots, the fennel bulb, wintered-over potatoes, a handful of small broccoli crowns from the garden, celery, dried cherry tomatoes from last summer, fresh herbs–and that’s all I can remember.  I stir the chard leaves in at the last minute.  And I used the turkey fat on top of the jars of broth to sauté the veggies.  The only thing from “away” was the celery.

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Jennifer McGruther in THE NOURISHED KITCHEN has a terrific recipe (or so it looks) for fermenting chard stems.  So, I tried it, but added, also, the beet green stems to fill out the jar.  She uses a savory pickling mixture and has what looks to be a lovely combination in the book.  I didn’t have all the spices at the seed/whole level, so fell back on a pickling mixture I already had.

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In one of the fermented mixtures I’m eating now–that I put up last fall–I put in some whole tatsoi/baby bokchoi leaves with their stems.  They are delicious–the stems are crunchy and lovely, so I have no doubt that these stems I did today will be fun.

Thanks, again, Jennifer.

Turkey Tracks: Making and Eating Jennifer McGruther’s Vanilla Mint Ice Cream

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Turkey Tracks:  June 21, 2014

Making and Eating Jennifer McGruther’s Vanilla Mint Ice Cream

 

I am making Jennifer McGruther’s Vanilla Mint Ice Cream today.

If you have not heard about McGruther’s new book THE NOURISHED KITCHEN–or discovered her outstanding web site http://www.nourished kitchen.com–you are in for a treat.

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This homemade ice cream recipe uses real mint leaves, a vanilla bean, real cream, egg yolks, and so forth.  Here’s the url to Jennifer’s web site and this recipe.

Vanilla Mint Ice Cream — Nourished Kitchen.

I can’t wait to try the finished ice cream.  My cream mixture is upstairs cooling its heels in the refrigerator right now.

I’m not at all sure I had enough mint–when chopped it didn’t make a full cup.  I have had mint from my Georgia grandmother’s garden for over 40 years now–and brought the mint from Virginia to Maine when we moved ten years ago.  I almost lost it this winter, but have discovered a few sprigs coming along.  Thank heavens as this mint is unlike most I’ve seen–it’s really strong and full of flavor.  It used to be my job when I was little to run out to the garden to get sprigs of this mint for the iced sweet tea at dinner time–the main meal served at noon when we were at my grandmother’s.  For today, I supplemented with a package of mint from the store, and it was very disappointing as I think its “oomph” was long gone.   I also think I needed TWO packages…

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The long black strand is a vanilla bean cut in half and ready to go into the warmed cream.  You know, somehow I’ve never actually used a vanilla bean.  The smell in the kitchen after it steeped in the warm cream was…awesome!

I get local honey by the half-gallon, and it’s used as the sweetener.  There is no danger of using laundered, fake honey if you find your local bee keepers.  A recent story I ran across said that about 75 percent of the honey in grocery stores is laundered honey.  (See earlier blog posts on this subject.)  If you are buying honey in a store, look for these claims on the label:  raw, UNHEATED, and a geographical area that is inside the USA.  Be especially cautious if the honey comes from South America.

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Here’s my cream–after heating, it’s ready for the infusing ingredients, and after steeping, it will be strained and cooled.  Isn’t it the loveliest color?  It comes from local Jersey cows.  Wait until I add my egg yolks, which are soy free and a rich, deep color.

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I’m also adding a heaping Tablespoon of arrowroot powder as it’s good for you and helps make the ice cream even smoother.  That’s a trick I learned from Sally Fallon Morell, the recipe developer in the classic book NOURISHING TRADITIONS–a genre from which Jennifer McGruther draws, most likely, her title and nutrient-dense whole foods inspiration.

Hmmm.  Should I top this ice cream with a tiny bit of chocolate sauce???

YES!  And it was delicious!

So, see, making home made ice cream is not hard–especially when you have such a beautiful recipe.  Best of all, YOU control the ingredients and will be giving your family a nutrient-dense food that is beyond delicious as a special treat!!!

THANKS, JENNIFER McGRUTHER!

 

Turkey Tracks: Balance: A Philosophy of the Nourished Kitchen

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Turkey Tracks:  May 5, 2014

Balanced:  A Philosophy of the Nourished Kitchen

 

Here’s another quote I like from The Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGruther:

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Balanced:

There’s a deeply pervasive disconnect in the collective relationship with food that persists in American culture:  We often view healthy eating as synonymous with restrictive eating, and we likewise view joyful eating as a guilty pleasure, something that begs for strict limits.  I believe that real food allows us both the gift of nourishment, and the gift of pleasure, without unnecessary restrictions.  Eating a diet of traditional foods helps us to develop a positive relationship with our food, not one born out of guilt and denial; rather, the traditional foods movement teaches us to purchase, prepare, and enjoy our food with intention.

Real, traditionally prepared foods offer nuanced flavors, subtle differences in texture or aromas that change continuously as the seasons of the year wax and want.  Enjoy meats and fish.  Relish grains, breads, and pulses.  Take pleasure in good fat and take a mindful approach to sweets.  The multidimensional flavors of traditionally prepared real foods bring a complexity of different notes and textures to your tongue, and even a small amount of concentrated foods like butter from the raw cream of grass-fed cows, or a lovely single varietal honey will bring deep satisfaction that is otherwise missing from industrialized foods with their single notes, cloying sweetness, or overt saltiness (3-4).

Note that McGruther works with ancient grains and fermented sourdough breads.  The former do not have the gluten content of today’s wheat and the latter mitigates further the impact of gluten and the phytates in grains.  So, if you do not have a gluten-intolerant gene, like me, McGruther’s bread recipes are wonderful.

 

Written by louisaenright

May 14, 2014 at 11:43 am

Turkey Tracks: The Traditional Food Movement Defined

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Turkey Tracks:  May

The Traditional Food Movement Defined

 

Here’s another quote from Jennifer McGruther in her new cookbook, The Nourished Kitchen:

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A Traditional Foods Movement:

Traditional foods are the foods of our great-great grandmothers–the foods of gardens and of farms.  They represent a system of balance, emphasizing the value of meat and milk, grain and bean, vegetables and fruits.

There is a movement afoot to restore this way of eating The movement honors the connection between the foods that we eat, how we prepare these foods, and where they come from.  In this way, the traditional foods movement celebrates the connection between the farm that produces the food, the cook who prepares it, and the individuals who eat it.  Traditional foods is a system of connection, emphasizing support for time-honored ways in farming, cooking, and eating, and finding a place for fat and lean, animal and vegetable, raw and cooked.

Where other diets and philosophies of eating emphasize good and bad, black and white, a message of balance exists within the traditional foods movement.  Unlike vegan and vegetarian diets, which restrict animal foods, the traditional foods movement emphasizes their importance while encouraging the purchase of locally produced meats, milks, cheeses, and fats from grass-fed and pasture-raised animals.  Where the Paleo diet restricts grain, pulses, and dairy, the traditional foods movement embraces them, focusing not only on how the food is produced, but also on how it is prepared to maximize the nutrients it contains.  While the raw foods movement restricts cooked foods, the traditional foods movement embraces the, honoring the place of cooking as one of balance in partnership with raw foods, and fermented foods, too.

Emphasizing whole and minimally processed foods, the traditional foods movement calls you back to the kitchen, to real home cooking, and offers you an opportunity to weave the connections between the food on your table, the time you take to prepare it, and the farms that produce it (1-2)

AND:

Join a CSA.  Hold a community supper featuring wholesome, local foods.  Celebrate the beauty of your foodshed, and support local farmers practicing sustainable agriculture.  Support nutritional advocacy groups like the Weston A. Price Foundation and the Savory Institute, as well as the work of farmer and consumer rights organizations like the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (5)

I am old enough that I can tell you that the generation referenced here is not my great, great, but my grandparents.  I remember these food practices well, especially from my rural Georgia grandparents, as well as the fact that few were sick, cancer and heart disease were rare, and food allergies were not rampant like today.  Both my grandmothers lived long, fruitful lives.  They ate traditional foods.

 

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Turkey Tracks: Bits and Pieces in Early May

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Turkey Tracks:  May 4, 2014

Bits and Pieces in Early May

 

I stopped by Fresh Off the Farm yesterday to get a few vegetables.

I could not resist the organic Driscoll strawberries.  They looked luscious, and I was hungry.

I had some this morning, and I knew from the moment I touched them that I had made a “hungry” mistake:  bright red, but sour as lemons.

* * *

I am so enjoying reading, now, Jennifer McGruther’s The Nourished Kitchen.

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Here’s a quote I wish I had read yesterday when I bought those pitiful strawberries:

Fruits and vegetables prepared in their season bring joy to the table.  As the days turn from dark to light as spring nears, and just when you’ve had enough of hearty stews and root vegetables, the brightest and lightest of vegetables appear–sprouts, herbs, tiny little strawberries, and crisp lettuces.  These vegetables fade and bolt with the heat of summer that, in its turn, brings robust and juicy foods–watermelons, vivid red tomatoes, and plums that drip with juice at the first bite.  The days grow dark and cold once more, and the apples, pumpkins, potatoes, and roots return.  The changing seasons bring excitement and heady anticipation that cannot exist in the seasonless aisles of the supermarket.

I have a feeling that the chickens will enjoy the strawberries.  I’ll be waiting for my own to come into season, and believe me, they are worth the wait.

* * *

I woke to rain this morning.  And, then, magically the sun came out, and I changed clothes and went out.

The project:  replanting the climbing rose and clematis in front of the new fence panels that shield the propane tanks and the generator.  AND, re-carving out the flower beds in front of those panels.

As I worked, it was glorious to see the summer thunderstorm moving towards us.  And to hear it!

It was NOT glorious to see the chickens out of the fence that I installed yesterday.  They are jumping over it from a large bush next to the fence.  But they have to stay inside as fox ate one of the hens this week–one of the two hens that are actually laying.  You will remember that the pattern last year was one missing hen one day, all chickens missing the next…   So as the rain came in, I was shooing chickens back inside their enclosure.  (I have an idea for how to block that jumping off bush.)  And I’m hoping that one of the hens will go “broody” and raise a batch of eggs by my sweet rooster and the one hen that is laying.

Anyway, Miss Reynolds Georgia is terrified by thunder.  She is presently in her laundry basket at my side, shaking and under the covers:

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Anyway, when it stops raining, I’ll post some pictures of all the work that Stephen Pennoyer has made possible at this house.  I have been blessed, blessed, blessed to meet him.  He is so competent, skilled, cheerful, and an awesome worker.  What a gift!

* * *

This quilt will be my 100th quilt–remember it is from Material Obsessions 2:

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Don’t mind the wrinkles around the diamonds–it’s just how the quilt is sticking to the flannel–and I have not ironed much as there are so many biased edges.  I won’t really iron it until I get the borders on it.

BUT, BUT, I think it really needs one more row.  It’s looking way too…SQUARE.

So, I’m picking out fabrics for four more blocks and will “unsew” that bottom row so as to be able to insert the required diamonds.

The diamonds get sewn in on the diagonal lines–with each medallion left unjoined down its center–which is doable…

I think you can see the method of construction on the diagonal lines here.

 

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I was in Alewives quilting in Damariscotta Mills earlier this week and took pictures of the version of this quilt that Rhea Daiute did–the one that drew me to this project in the first place.  I loved the way she used a stripe for the inner border:

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And I love her BIG, BOLD border.  Rhea has the greatest eye for color and pattern.  Here’s a close-up of her blocks and that striped border:

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I could not find a big, bold border so am going with a quieter one that lets the medallions shine.

 

 

* * *

I have finished the baby quilts for the Enright family twins that are in the offing in, hopefully, early June.  Hopefully as everyone wants them to stay put until early June…

We have our Coastal Quilters’ meeting this Saturday, and I want to “Show and Tell” the baby quilts before mailing them on Monday.

Then it’s on to my niece’s baby daughter, also due in June.  I am excited about the fabric that I’ve bought for baby Stevens’ quilt.

Books, Documentaries, Reviews: Jennifer McGruther’s THE NOURISHED KITCHEN

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Books, Documentaries, Reviews:  April 29, 2014

 

The Nourished Kitchen

Jennifer McGruther

 

WOW!

Here’s a terrific new cookbook that’s playing off of Sally Fallon Morell and Dr. Mary Enig’s book Nourishing Traditions.  Morell and Enig are part of The Weston A. Price Foundation organization.

 

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My friend Rose Thomas, aka “Chicken Rose” to my family as there are others named Rose in my life, dropped by the other day for a cup of tea.  I told her that I had just gotten a really nice new cookbook, and as soon as I picked it up to show her, she said “I just got it too.  On my Kindle.”  But she had a lot of fun actually holding the book in her hands and said so.

So, it’s a book that’s “in the wind” on a number of whole-foods sites.

The author is from Colorado–in the mountains–and seems to have a kind of rural setting.  So there are discussions of foraging for strawberries, wild greens, and cooking wild game.  We might not be able to get elk, but we can get deer and rabbit here in Maine. And our berry gardens are superb.

There’s a terrific chapter on cooking and fermenting ancient grains.  And a resource section that tells where to buy them.

There’s an exciting chapter on fermented foods–with some exciting combinations of ingredients.

Indeed, what’s piquing my interest the most are the different combinations this cook is using in her every day foods.

The section on desserts have some healthy, interesting, delicious looking combinations.

This one is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

PS:  Those are salt-preserved Meyer lemons on the cover–an “asset” I keep in my refrigerator all the time.  I cover with a film of olive oil that is delicious drizzled over any kind of baked fish.  A  tablespoon of the chopped lemon and oil put into smashed potatoes with butter adds a delicious sparkle to the mixture.