Friday, July 03, 2009

Independence Days #8

The temperatures dropped around here this week, which has made it a little easier to get into the kitchen and cook. What a nice change of pace!

I can't say I've done a whole lot, though perhaps if I go through the checklist, I might surprise myself...

1. Plant something: At the Renaissance Man's garden, golden beets, golden chard, Antares oakleaf lettuce, summer savory.

2. Harvest something: At the Renaissance Man's garden, a few lonely pods of fava beans, the last French Breakfast radishes, one white radish, lemon balm, and the first crop of Masai bush beans (don't let the photo fool you; they were about 4" long and very slender); foraged black raspberries in the park and shepherd's purse at the Lady Bountiful's farm.

3. Preserve something: Froze peas, broccoli, chopped garlic scapes; dried spinach, lambs' quarters, peas, carrots, lemon balm; made over two pints of strawberry-mulberry jam with the Renaissance Man.

4. Reduce waste: Saved more food scraps for stock; saved bread crumbs to add to zucchini-feta pancakes for texture; starting to save oil.

5. Preparation and storage: Made stock and froze it; bought lemon juice for tomato canning later this summer; gathered baskets and bucket for berry picking.

6. Build local food systems: Talked with an editor at one of the local papers about publicizing Local Roots on a regular basis; taught the Renaissance Man how to make jam; foraged with the Renaissance Man, scouting out new sources of wild edibles; talked with the local movie theatre about doing a Local Roots film series later this year; saw the July Local Roots newsletter go out; took the Southern Belle and My Adorable Nephews blueberry picking.

7. Eat the food: Steamed green beans tossed with oregano, garlic, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar; pasta with loads of fresh vegetables; snacking on kohlrabi and little carrots; zucchini-feta pancakes; broccoli-cheese soup; black raspberry tea bread.

Well, guess I did more than I thought! But next week I expect to do even more as I'll have some vacation time from work, and I plan to get a bit caught up.

Tomorrow we'll enjoy Independence Day with the usual celebrations around town, culminating in what should be a grand fireworks display. It's certainly going to be a time to appreciate what is good about our country.

For me, of course, that includes celebrating the wonderful local foods I grew up picking and appreciating -- and celebrating the family traditions for putting up those foods for winter.

And yes, that's a kind of Independence I'm willing to keep practicing.

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At 7/03/2009 9:23 PM, Anonymous Janet said...

Beans! That must mean it's really summer. They look fabulous. Good work, all around.

At 7/06/2009 9:47 PM, Blogger Stephen said...

Nice to see someone else was productive on July 4th. I ran a 2-mile race to support the North Canton YMCA (imagine that :) and went to a wedding later that Saturday. Have you ever seen a couple tieing the knot at Great Lakes Science Center!? It was actually very enjoyable, and the guest entertained themselves on the many different science experiments there.

Hope you and Patti had a great Fourth!

At 7/11/2009 5:16 AM, Blogger simona said...

I have read your blog for some time used to live in Shelby, now I live in Orofino Idaho, and about oil, I purchase chicken with skin and bone in which I remove, the bone I save in the freeze along with ends on veggies and the skin I cut up and fry. Save the oil and use a spoonful of it in sauté veggies with a spoonful of olive oil, and the skin, crisp crackling. Hope you try,


At 7/13/2009 7:46 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Beans, indeed, Janet. What a great way to kick off the summer!

Stephen, glad to hear you had an enjoyable 4th! I spent mine at the farmers' market (naturally) -- and enjoyed a restful week's vacation. (More to come.)

Simona, that's a good idea. Thanks for the tip!


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