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Category: Pots and Pans

A sound investment?

by Scott Smith

Do any of you have experience with cherry pitting devices? I purchased some cherries to make jam and now am wondering how I’m going to get all of those cherries pitted in a reasonable amount of time. I’ve done a little looking around and this one seems like it might be a good investment (as opposed to this one at sausagemaker.com which would cost somewhere around $300 after shipping or this one which is a bargain at $9.99 – you’ll need to save every penny for your carpal tunnel surgery).

Cherry Pitter at Fantes

This one seems like a nice compromise at $54.99.

Help — Crockpot Dish

by Scott Smith

Robinson has Jump Teams (riders at the barn get together in the winter and have a competition) food duty this Saturday. The constraints are a single dish that can be kept warm in a Crockpot. The dish doesn’t have to be a dish cooked in the Crockpot, but that’s the only way we have to keep food warm in the barn. Also, the Crockpot works well to keep the food free of dust.

No chili. Everyone is tired of chili.

Post-up your suggestion in the comments.

thanks

Fried Chicken

by Scott Smith

Mike Ladd pointed me to an article on fried chicken. To know me is to know I love me some fried chicken.

The chicken gets two long soaks, Alabama-style, first in brine and then in buttermilk. The saltwater brine helps the flesh retain moisture and season it all the way through; the buttermilk adds a tangy flavor and helps tenderize it. The Virginia-style frying fat combines lard and sweet butter, flavored with a slice of country ham, making the chicken extra crisp and rich-tasting. The cornstarch in the dredge adds to the crispness as well.

Enjoy.

Cardamom Bread

by Scott Smith

I stumbled across Alfred Lunt’s recipe for Cardamom Bread on NPR.org while I was looking for that cookbook from Friday’s post. When I saw it I thought, ‘FABULOUS! Now I can use up some of that unreasonable supply of cardamom that I have.’ I wonder how much 18 seeds of ground cardamom seeds is… 1/4 teaspoon? 1/2 teaspoon?


Dean Schmitz’s version of Alfred Lunt’s cardamom bread. Ten Chimneys Foundation

I’m definitely waiting until some brisk, October day to do it though. And I’m definitely skipping that coffee recipe.

Canning Renaissance

by Scott Smith

I came across this article this morning.

“I see an increase to the desire to learn about canning as we are moving to home-grown local food,” she says. The proof: The number of folks signed on to MSU’s food preservation correspondence course on canning is more than twice that of last year.

I googled the course and it’s extremely reasonable at $30 for a 7 week course that covers pretty much every aspect of food preservation including canning, freezing, and drying. Washington State University offers a Master Food Preserver program. How cool would that be on a business card?

Keeping Busy

by Scott Smith

Scott left for Medford today. I’m keeping myself busy putting food by. I’m doing salsa tonight. While I was out buying some supplies I came across Mrs. Wage’s Citric Acid which is a pleasant discovery since I much prefer the flavor of lime juice in my salsa to vinegar. I wasn’t sure if lime juice would be quite acidic enough for safe canning so I’ll drop in a 1/2 teaspoon per pint of Mrs. Wage’s just to be sure.

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I also splurged on a lovely half-bushel of locally grown peaches at Dill’s Best Market.

Where do You Hide Your Extra Zucchini?

by Scott Smith

Last summer I was sorely disappointed with my zucchini crop having planted it amongst the asparagus I didn’t know was there. Knowing what I know now about the space needs of asparagus, I planted more carefully this year and now have a bumper crop of zucchini.

I’ve been scouring the internet for tasty recipes with mixed results. Two members of my family are not big fans of zucchini, but I think I’ve found the perfect place to hide it from them…

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chocolate zucchini cake

Working Without a Net (or an Ice Cream Maker)

by Scott Smith

I’ve been wishing I had an ice cream maker for a long time now. I love homemade ice cream, but ice cream makers are pretty pricey and not high on the list of our actual needs, so, I was stuck with store bought. Until…

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Sunday night I made the base for my chocolate gelato (which is a fairly inexpensive, simple recipe as far as frozen confections go since it’s pretty much milk, chocolate and cornstarch) and put it in the refrigerator to cool completely. Yesterday I followed Alan’s (of ma’ona) directions for making ice cream without an ice cream maker. The results were fantastic and I’m thinking about starting on peppermint ice cream this rainy afternoon.

Purple Potatoes

by Scott Smith

Potato Flowers

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I couldn’t resist digging up some of my purple potatoes the other day. I read that once the plants flower the tubers can be dug for ‘new potatoes’ but it wasn’t true with all of the plants. The first two had a few nice sized potatoes but the third one had hardly anything so I stopped.

Scott was unimpressed with the effect of growing our own potatoes. I thought that they had exceptionally good texture as compared with what you buy at the store. Maybe I’m partial because I grew them.

Notice the pretty flowers. These could easily be grown in a large pot on a patio or in a border and hold their own with the other more decorative plantings and then be dug up for eating in the fall.

4 Season Harvest

by Scott Smith

I borrowed Eliot Coleman’s Four Season Harvest from a neighbor nearly a year ago and only just started reading it the other day. Its a book I’ve been aware of for a while as a gardening classic and now I know why it is so loved and recommended. If you are even a little bit interested in growing your own food you’ll be ecstatic about it after you read this book. Okay, maybe you have to be a little more than a little bit interested to reach ecstasy but I’m pretty excited. If it weren’t so darn hot today I’d probably be outside laying out garden expansions. Perhaps I will simply peruse some online seed catalogs and make plans for my late summer and fall plantings.

Actually its a little hard for me to sit on my hands right now because I want to put all of the Coleman’s (his wife, Barbara Damrosch, is also a writer) practices into use right now but I’d have to destroy my current crops in order to do that fully and I’m not giving up all of those promising green tomatoes to do it. Plus, that would just be silly and its not the intention of the book to force you to start from scratch. If you are starting from scratch they give you some excellent plans to follow for doing that.

I am going to stop pulling the clover out of the beds. If I could find seeds quickly (and for free at this point in the month) I’d be out there throwing down more seeds so that the entire bed could be covered in clover. Clover is a ‘green manure‘ that organic growers use to protect soil. Clover stores nitrogen and can later be turned for soil improvement. I think the term used for the practice of planting it along with your vegetables is ‘under cropping.’ Farmers who are certified organic are required to use clover or other cover crops for overwintering their fields.
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Basically by using this practice in your garden you are choosing a weed you and your tomatoes (for example) can live with which in turn helps to keep other weeds at bay and improves your soil at the same time. I actually saw a picture in a magazine of some tomatoes under cropped with sweet alyssum which was lovely and apparently there is a pest that the alyssum keeps away as well. I don’t know alyssum would actually improve the soil in any particular way though – I haven’t found anything outside of pest control which is no small matter by itself (I wonder if you could mix alyssum and clover and have the best of both worlds?).

So, get yourself a copy of Four Season Harvest or head over to Four Season Farm. The book has been around long enough that your local library probably has a copy.