Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Preserving the Seasons: May, Week 4

Almost a year ago, I promised you I would spend twelve months introducing you to various food preservation techniques and sharing some of my own experiences along the way.

Here we are now, at the end of the Preserving the Seasons year and ready to begin another year's harvest, preservation, and eating of a wonderful garden bounty!

At this time of year, you get the best of both worlds: the first fresh greens and other vegetables are begging to be picked, but since they can be somewhat insubstantial on their own, you can supplement from your pantry.

And the results can be surprisingly satisfying! I decided to make all of today's meals as local as possible, drawing on both my pantry and my garden, and I think it turned out very well. See what you think:

Breakfast this morning consisted of:

--cheese grits, using corn grits from storage, a bit of dried thyme from last year's garden, local egg and Cheddar cheese
--a peach-mincemeat muffin, using canned peaches, canned tomatillo mincemeat, stored spelt flour, and local egg
--iced peppermint tea, using dried peppermint from the Renaissance Man's garden

I packed my lunch for work and enjoyed it after a bit of exercise:

--broccoli pizza, using homemade pizza sauce, frozen broccoli, local mozzarella cheese, and a crust made with local flour
--fresh radishes from the garden
--a rhubarb-mulberry jam bar, using rhubarb from a friend's garden, mulberry jam from the pantry, and spelt flour and oats from storage

When I came home, I had the perfect finale in mind:

--manicotti, using homemade pasta (local spelt flour and local egg); local ricotta for the filling with steamed nettles, lambs' quarters, and spinach from the garden along with some fresh garlic; and homemade spaghetti sauce (home canned tomato sauce, frozen onion and garlic, dried herbs, local red wine)
--salad greens (lettuce and amaranth) from the garden, topped with a sprinkling of fresh dill
--a glass of local red wine
--the first rose of the year, from the Renaissance Man's garden

All in all, these dishes split fairly evenly between fresh and preserved, and I can tell you that my stomach is very happy as I settle in with the rest of my glass of wine for the evening (I'm a very slow drinker).

Over the past twelve months, I've tried to give you a reasonably good start on your own preserving projects at home, and I've tried to give a good variety of examples of how to use such preserved foods. (Except for the pizza and pasta thing -- I know, I'm sort of boring in that respect, but I do love good pizza and pasta!)

A new harvest season awaits: my CSA season will start tomorrow, and the farmers' market opens next Saturday. I've got my list started, and I'm still clearing out space in the freezer and on the pantry shelves to get ready for this year's bounty.

What are you looking forward to putting up for this coming winter?

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At 5/27/2009 8:38 PM, Anonymous Janet said...

I think you should put aside the baklava tiara, because I hereby crown you the Local Food Queen. You're amazing, your highness!

At 5/27/2009 9:03 PM, Anonymous Jasmine said...

I am eagerly waiting tomato season since I didn't make any sauce last year and I am down to two quarts although it is encouraging me to sure salsa and caponata in new and exciting ways to free up some shelf space -- your day of meals looks great -- I think I will make some grits/polenta for Friday's lunch. Thanks for the idea.

At 5/28/2009 7:13 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

That's awfully flattering, Janet, but it just doesn't have the same ring to it. ;-) Still, I do what I can!

Jasmine, I hope you'll be able to replenish your tomato sauce stash in good measure this year, but it sounds like the salsa and caponata reserves are nothing to sneeze at! Hope you enjoy finding new ways to use some of your pantry finds.


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