Puttin’ up…or not

July 11, 2018

Pickles. Got to have pickles.

Here it is the middle of July and I haven’t been putting up much.

By this time last year, I’d frozen peas and corn and peaches, canned pickles, kraut, blackberry jam, blueberry sauce, and was starting to put up tomatoes.

This year, I’ve done no corn, only two or three packages of peas, and no kraut, jams or jellies. I’ve made pickles, and I’m drying tomatoes, and so far, that’s about it.

Truth be told, I overdid it last year. I still have tomatoes (I will can some, but not nearly as many as I did last year). I have plenty of jams and jellies, and I’ll be adding to that stash this fall when scuppernongs ripen and when pears come in. I still have corn, and I still have peas; again, I may put up a little, but not as much as last year. And I’ll freeze some peaches. I’d like to make a big batch of blue-Q blueberry barbecue sauce and can that.  And we’ll call it done.

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Pickling things

March 19, 2018

Not to mention they’re quite colorful sitting on your kitchen counter.

When it’s cold and nasty outside, and you have a surfeit of produce in your fridge that needs to be used, and you’re in the notion to spend a day in the kitchen anyway, you might as well set out and pickle things.

So, I have Indian spiced cauliflower, Brussels sprouts kimchee, and Russian spiced red cabbage/cranberry sauerkraut.  I was going to do orange ginger carrots, but I ran out of energy and time and didn’t have everything I needed, anyway. All these will ferment on my kitchen counter for a week or so, and then go into the fridge to be sampled along as I have a notion.

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Ain’t this just ducky?

February 12, 2018

Ready to go swim in the sous vide, as they are doing now.

We have had adventures in duck-dom at Chez Brockwell over the weekend and extending into today.

I picked up a cooler of frozen ducks on Wednesday from a duck hunter friend I’d told I wanted some. He had them. I stopped and got them. There were two mallards, and five smaller ducks, probably either teal or wood ducks.

I left them in their cooler in the storage room to thaw, as I wasn’t going to fool with them until Friday or Saturday. As Friday was sloth day, and I fooled with nothing other than the computer and the TV remote and my Kindle and the fridge, it was by default Saturday.

Got the ducks out. Whole ducks, wings cut off, dressed, most of the feathers off. Lots of pin feathers. H’mm. Been a long time since I needed to part a duck from his pinfeathers. Off to the Interwebs.

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Not making these, but I thought the pic was cute.

It’s that time. It’s time to contemplate Christmas treatmaking. More to the point, it’s time to go shopping for the goodies with which to make the Christmas treats. And then package them up, arrange them in nice little boxes or baskets, and get them ready to give out in the next 10 days.

Gulp. Ten days. That’s…not long. Thank God I’ve got most of my other shopping done.

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Oh, look! It’s a new gadget! And pickles-to-be!

It’s bad enough to have those folks over at the eGullet.org food forum encouraging my purchases of kitchen related gadgetry and cookbooks and such (not to mention specialty ingredients…). Now the damn produce at the grocery store has commenced enabling me to make purchases of culinary widgetry I did not know I needed.

Witness these. These pretty little lids are, in fact, fermenting lids; they’re designed to let you brine your veggies in the jar until the lactic acid sours them to your taste, all the while allowing built-up carbon dioxide to escape while keeping impurities and such out. Once your veggies are fermented to suit, you change out for a regular lid, clap the jar in the fridge to stop the fermentation process, or water-bath can it to make it shelf stable.

And it was the damn cucumbers that made me do it.

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If it’s cranberry salad, and it’s not Christmas, it must be Thanksgiving.

Let’s get one thing straight, right off the bat. Four and a half pounds of cranberries is not excessive for the Thanksgiving holiday.

I don’t think.

Yes, friends and folks, I have been through, in the past week, six 12-ounce packages of the tart little red berries that just scream out “Thanksgiving!” I mean, can’t you hear them? (If you can’t, it’s because yours are probably in the can reposing in the fridge, awaiting tomorrow’s turkey and dressing. The real live berries scream, I promise you.”

How it was, was, like this. I was in at Aldi a couple of weeks ago and they had cranberries for 99 cents for a 12-oz package. I knew that to be a good price, and I like to use cranberries to cook pork with, so I bought a package, on the vague plan I’d do something porky with them. Nothing porky ever got done.

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Pear preserves. Breakfast love.

It’s mid-October, though the temperature until today had hovered in the 90s, and is supposed to get back there Saturday, dammit.

Fall is late. Which probably means it’ll snow nine feet this winter.

Which is OK, because living adjacent to an assisted living facility means (a) I rarely lose power, and (b) if and when I do, I’m on a priority circuit to get it restored, and (b) I’ve got a gracious plenty of stuff canned and in the freezer. Hell, I even buy toilet paper and laundry detergent and shampoo at Sams, and order coffee six pounds at a time, so long as I’m not far past a shopping trip, we ain’t gonna run out of groceries and necessities here at Chez Brockwell, no, we ain’t.

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