Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It's Nut All It's Cracked Up To Be

On a gray, cold winter's afternoon, here's what I'm up to: cracking a bunch of the hazelnuts I picked up a month or so ago and storing them in the refrigerator until I'm ready to toast and chop them for baking.

Of course, my hands are aching (especially the one fingertip that kept getting caught in the handles of the nutcracker), and I'm just plain tired of cracking.

Don't mind me, though. I'll appreciate these all when I'm ready to ramp up the baking again in January. I'll get over it.

But I'm nut doing any more tonight!

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rutabaga Story

(With apologies to Carl Sandburg.)

Once upon a time, there was a girl who had never eaten rutabaga. Her family didn't grow rutabagas in the garden, it was rare that she even saw them in the store, and really, could something with as funny a name as "rutabaga" be any good?

She pondered this while writing a little ditty to winter vegetables two years back (has it been that long?). She thought, well, they might sound funny, but I've learned to eat other funny things, so if someone can give me a recipe, I might give them a try.

Happily, a brave Slow Cook offered to take up her challenge, and a few months later, Ed posted a recipe for his rutabaga soufflé on his own blog.

Our hero! And yet, this intrepid girl could not find a single locally-grown rutabaga with which to complete the challenge.

A year passed... a year and a half... and finally, thanks to a conversation with new farming friends, she found local rutabagas, grown by good people and sold at her new local foods market. Oh joy!

Then, of course, in the mad rush of the holiday season, those rutabagas languished in her refrigerator, so sad and forgotten. A week went by... two weeks... and shamefully, she finally pulled their wrinkled roots from the refrigerator and made herself pull out the recipe to make Ed's soufflé.

She peeled, cut, steamed the rutabagas. She mashed them with egg yolks. She whisked together a thick roux. She beat the egg whites into airy submission. She mixed it all together.

And when she poured the mixture into the prepared soufflé dish, she found that she had made way more than that dish could hold. Dare she make two soufflés in one evening, with no guests threatening to darken her door?

Dare she did, and an hour later, she was rewarded with the luscious fragrance of baked egg bliss in the shape of two rutabaga soufflés.

She spooned up a heaping helping of this dish, paired it with some crisp fresh lettuce (locally grown; yes, fresh lettuce in winter!) and a glass of local red wine, and proceeded to chase the winter chill away with a slice of heaven. Creamy, light, savory with a hint of sweetness, this soufflé brought a breath of spring to her humble home.

And then, her challenge completed, thanks to her brave friends, she proceeded to pen her tale to offer the hope of rutabaga sustenance to other wary and weary travelers on the local foods road.

The End (until it's time to reheat the leftovers...)

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The Gifts of Christmas Present

I'm always so glad when Christmas finally arrives. After the buildup of baking and gift-wrapping (even on the limited scale I practice) and family get-togethers, it's such a relief to wind down for a week between Christmas and New Year's.

Though every year I try to persuade my wonderful family that no, really, I don't need presents, they still manage to spoil me. This year, they kept my new baking venture in mind, and that made it easier to welcome a few new things into my limited kitchen space:

--My Wonderful Parents bought me an insulated baking sheet (not shown), two baguette pans (also not shown), and a copy of the Ball Complete Guide of Home Preserving.

--My Fabulous Aunt delivered a basket full of quarts of homemade grape juice, a quart of apple pie filling, a half-pint of "friendly" peach jam, and a handful of empty jars (all put away).

--My Culinarily-Challenged Aunt found a couple of smaller baking sheets with ridges that she thought might work well for my scones and biscotti, and she also sent a bag of crystallized ginger slices (not shown).

--The Renaissance Man's family surprised me with two small bamboo cutting boards that will come in very handy in preservation season!

I get the feeling I'm supposed to take this week's vacation as time to do some test baking and major cooking, don't you?

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Independence Days #31

How this month has flown by! I've been so busy baking for market that I just haven't been able to focus on the Independence Days challenge.

That doesn't mean I've done nothing -- just that I haven't thought about it much. But fortunately, much of this is getting to be habit, so over three weeks I can definitely report on having done a few things here and there.

So for the final report for 2009, I give you... Independence!:

1. Plant something: Found some shallots sprouting in storage, so planted them in a pot. What the heck, why not!

2. Harvest something: Chickweed at The Farm; parsnips from the Southern Belle's garden.

3. Preserve something: Divided butter into 1/2-cup lumps to freeze for later baking.

4. Reduce waste (Waste not): Saved flour from rolling out dough, bread crumbs for later cooking, leaves and stems for stock, eggshells for gardening; reused lots of plastic bags from unsold market items (for use at home, not for sale); used saved bread crumbs on parsnip gratin.

5. Preparation and storage (Want not): Finally compiled end-of-season preservation tally; stocked up on butter and eggs for New Year baking; stocked up on locally-roasted coffee; found a nice jar at Goodwill for displaying my biscotti at the market.

6. Build local food systems: Continued to bake and sell at Local Roots; worked on January newsletter; worked on organizing events at Local Roots; gratefully accepted quarts of grape juice and apple pie filling from My Fabulous Aunt; shared baked treats with friends and business associates for Christmas; ordered seeds through local OEFFA chapter.

7. Eat the food: Sauteed mustard greens and blossoms with spicy radish pods and garlic; julekage-eggnog French toast; fresh lettuce salad with radishes!; squash and kale with rice; carrots and garlicky hummus; parsnip gratin and other delicious dishes for Christmas Eve; and more.

Of course, it won't be long now before planting begins in earnest again, and the whole cycle will start once more. But for now, it's time to look to the pantry to keep me going through winter.

And in the meantime, Merry Christmas to all!

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's a Parsnippy Day

I had hoped this year to extend my growing season a little longer, and I think I've succeeded. After all, it's Christmas Eve today, and I harvested my contribution to Christmas dinner just this morning.

Sure, it looks like there's nothing but sticks, straw, and frozen withered leaves out in the garden. Hardly worth the trip, you might think.

But under frosted layers of straw, the row of parsnips awaited their wake-up call from a handy spading fork. I loosened up about 15"-18" of the row -- not nearly the whole thing -- and pulled out this tangled mess of small and jumbo roots.

After lunch, I soaked them in a sinkful of water (which quickly turned black from the mud) and scrubbed them vigorously. Most of them were straight and even and very long...

...though I did find one stunningly intimate pair that grew together. (I don't have the heart yet to separate these two.)

I wasn't able to harvest chard this morning, but I had plenty left from the last harvest, so I decided to make a parsnip-chard gratin. After a layer of sliced parsnips, I sprinkled a mix of crushed walnuts and dried sage, a few dabs of local butter, ribbons of fresh chard, and shredded Flat Rock cheese from the Cheese Guy.

I kept layering until the vegetables reached the rim of the casserole, then topped the lot with butter, bread crumbs (from homemade bread, of course), more cheese, and a big puddle of cream and milk. With the lid added to the dish, I slid it all into the oven to bake.

An hour and a half later... heaven!

Well, I hope so, anyway. We'll find out later when the Renaissance Man and I head over to see My Wonderful Parents and share this fragrant dish with them.

One thing's for sure: this will definitely take the nip out of the day!

Gratin Woosterien

Inspired by one of my favorite dishes, gratin dauphinois, this draws on a vibrant selection of excellent local foods: vegetables, cheese, herbs, dairy. The measurements are very flexible, depending on what you have on hand and what you like, and you can change to other root vegetables, greens, and herbs that you have available. Yes, the name of the dish might be a bit twee for most, but just think of what amazing dishes we could all create using our local produce! (Change the name to fit your own town or region.)

local unsalted butter
a lot of parsnips, scrubbed or peeled, sliced
2 or more cloves of garlic, sliced
1/2 c walnuts, crushed
1 tsp dried sage, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
1 c or more shredded chard or other greens
1/2 c shredded or sliced Gruyère-style cheese
bread crumbs, crushed
up to 1 qt cream or milk (or combination)

Butter a casserole dish. Rub with garlic before slicing.

Layer parsnip slices to cover the bottom of the casserole. Sprinkle mixture of walnuts, sage, garlic slices, salt, and pepper on top. Dot with butter. Top with loose layer of chard, then a sprinkling of cheese. Repeat one to two times, until casserole is full.

Top the casserole with dots of butter, bread crumbs (a sprinkling), and remaining cheese. Pour cream and/or milk evenly over the casserole until the liquid comes up about 2/3 the side of the dish. Cover.

Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes. Remove the cover, then bake for another 30-45 minutes, until cheese is well browned and vegetables are tender.

Serves 8 at a festive occasion

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Are You Being Preserved?

It's been quite a while since the busiest part of preservation season ended, though a few projects have trickled through the fall. Now that winter is officially here, though, I figured I'd better take a look through my cabinets and shelves and come up with the final tally on all the food I canned, pickled, and dried (as well as the herbal preparations I made).


4 pts. applesauce
1 qt. apple pie filling (gift from My Fabulous Aunt)
4 pts. blueberries
4 pts. cherries
1 pt. cherry juice
?? pts. grape juice (plus 7 qts from My Fabulous Aunt)
12 pts. peaches (from the Chef Mother)
4 pts. pears
a few small jars of raspberry jam
a few half-pint jars of strawberry jam
3 1/2 pts. tomato sauce
14 pts. tomatoes
4 pts. salsa
4 pts. tomatillo mincemeat
11 pts. pizza sauce
7 jars watermelon pickles
5 jars zucchini relish
plus two rounds of kohlrabi kim chi

Fruits: apple chunks, cinnamon apple slices, cherries, elderberries, ground cherries, raisins, strawberries
Herbs: basil, calendula, cilantro, lavender, lemon balm, nettle, oregano, parsley, peppermint, red clover, rose petals, rosemary, sage, spearmint, thyme
Vegetables: broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cherry tomatoes, kale (lots of it!), lambs' quarters, pac choi, peas, red cabbage, spinach, tomatoes (slices), zucchini shreds

4 pkg green beans
2 pkg blueberries
6 pkg broccoli
2 pkg celery
3 pkg corn
2 pkg edamame
3 pkg breaded eggplant
1 pkg pac choi
3 pkg peas
3 pkg roasted red peppers
2 pkg red raspberries
2 pkg onion-pepper puree disks
several pounds butter, in 1/2 c measures
small cubes of pesto

Herbal Delights:
Honey: borage, lavender, lemon balm, peppermint, rosemary, thyme
Oils: calendula, chickweed (2 bottles), plantain, rosemary, thyme (2)
Tinctures: basil, borage, burdock, chickweed, dandelion (2), hawthorn, lavender, lemon balm, motherwort, peppermint (2), plantain, red clover, rose hips (nearly 1 qt), rosemary, shepherd's purse, thyme

Root Cellar/Cold Storage:
beets, carrots, potatoes, squash, sweet potatoes, turnips

Hmmm... is it any wonder I'm tired? That is a LOT of food, and aside from giving away a few jars of jam or zucchini relish as gifts, I've barely touched it. I had planned this major stash early in the year, and I've planned to share it in regular meals with the Renaissance Man. But thanks to Local Roots, I've still had plenty of fresh food to enjoy. (I'm also still harvesting fresh vegetables from the garden -- oh, the beauty of root vegetables!)

In short, between all of this, the close-to-150 pounds of grain I have stashed away, and the four dozen eggs from the Lady Bountiful in the refrigerator, I really should have no reason to buy groceries any time soon (aside from maybe milk).

So maybe that's my New Year Challenge -- how long can I go without buying groceries? And what will those meals look like?

Anyone care to lay down any bets in the comments?

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Market Report: 12/19/09

Yes, I'm a day late in offering this week's market report, the last of 2009. I admit it. But I trust you'll forgive me when I tell you that after the market yesterday, I took things home and then ran away to The Farm to collapse in peace and quiet.

Yesterday we had the final holiday farmers' market at Local Roots -- the last market day of the year since we are now closed for renovations and will reopen in mid-January. So we had to make it memorable, with plenty of tasting samples and some festive decorations and music.

As I mentioned previously, the Renaissance Man offered the idea of using his various sailor's knots as decoration -- and as inspiration for my baked goods. He made a trio of monkey's fists for the occasion, one with a long length of rope to dangle it from (as seen here).

One end of the table held my yeast breads (artisan loaves, challah, pain aux noix) and other savory treats (pretzels, pesto scone twists, sesame crackers, rosemary walnuts)...

...while the other end held the rosemary-walnut cider twists and all the sweet stuff (biscotti, cookies, and baklava). Whew!

As far as selling, my day went well but not outstandingly as I still had a good deal left over, but I'm sure I'll be sharing those with others this week and saving myself a big final round of holiday baking! Besides, I can always enjoy a few good snacks myself, as can the Renaissance Man.

As for my buying, though, I did find some irresistible treats:

--pizzelles, crackers, and garlicky hummus from the Spelt Baker
--lime green Romanesco (somewhere between broccoli and cauliflower) from the Amish Farmer
--croutons from the Young Amish
--buckeyes from a new lady
--lettuce and a delicious herb dipping mix from the Cheerful Lady
--two half-pound bags of terrific locally-roasted coffee beans from One Happy Guy (a fellow contra dancer)
--"Spellbinder" cookies from the same lady who had dried beans before
--maple cream from the Maple Man (who also gave me a pound of maple sugar outright toward the end of the day)

One of the things I'm really enjoying as a fellow producer at the farmers' market is the camaraderie among the people:

--I made a loaf of artisan bread for the Cheerful Lady to use in selling her herb dipping mix -- something she had me taste-test last weekend -- and at the end of the day, after she had sold all her prepared packages, she gave me the rest of the sample package. (She also gave a couple of her sample jars of jam to the Renaissance Man.)

--The fabulous Jen gave me a handful of her apple watercolor notecards since she knows I love her work, so at the end of the day, I gave her a small loaf of bread that hadn't sold.

--The Amish Farmer invited me down to her family's farm to look around sometime, and she added a smiling invitation to tea: a real treat!

--One Happy Guy and I made a market-end swap: for a half-pound bag of his decaf coffee, I gave his camera-happy wife a small tray of baklava. (She had brought her German cheesecake and linzer torte to the market for samples, and she kept me well supplied during the day.)

--The Cheese Guy offered me a pizzelle from his stash earlier in the day, and he laid out a few blocks of assorted cheeses at the end of the market to share with other producers. (The packaging hadn't met his high standards, so a couple of pieces showed just a touch of mold, but those of us who love good cheese will never be daunted by that!)

--The Dulcimer Dame, a big fan of my ginger-pecan biscotti, gave me a little sachet of her herbs as a sweet scented gift for the holidays.

Obviously, we'd all rather sell stuff and have the money, but sometimes swaps work out just as well, if not better!

I also left the market with a special order for more baklava for next week, so though my market days are done for now, I'm not really quite done with baking (or with making a little money).

But boy, am I ready for a bake break!

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Behind the Scenes of the Bake Market

I'm taking a vacation day today to crank out the rest of the baking -- chiefly breads -- to sell at the final holiday farmers' market at Local Roots tomorrow. I've been up for four hours, have downed a full pot of Irish breakfast tea, and here's a glimpse into the mad, mad productivity thus far this morning:

I finished off the artisan bread dough by making two za'atar flatbreads and one small loaf (not seen) that I'll share with the Cheerful Lady so she can showcase her new herb dipping blend. I also whipped up a batch of pesto scones and cut the dough into strips, twisting them for pseudo-breadsticks.

I made a batch of pain aux noix (shaped into three loaves) and started a batch of whole wheat pretzels (the dough is rising in the bowl at the back).

One box holds the orange chocolate baklava, the rosemary walnut cider twists, bags of rosemary walnuts, and the sesame thins I baked last night...

...while the other box holds the regular baklava as well as sunshine cookies, chai spice shortbread, and ginger pecan biscotti.

I'll need to finish off the pretzels later and make the challah, too, but all in all, it looks like a pretty good selection of products to sell at market. I am seriously proud of myself for getting so much done this morning -- and this week -- and for keeping the baking organized so that it goes so smoothly.

There is a method to my madness...

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A New Twist on Baking

The final holiday farmers' market at Local Roots is coming up quickly: this Saturday! And since it's billed as a tasting market, I wanted to try some different things for my table of baked goods.

Not only did I want to try new recipes, a unifying theme also seemed appropriate. Going for the holiday vibe would be too obvious, of course, so I decided to follow the inspiration the Renaissance Man offered and indulge his love of rope-work and knot-making.

Fortunately, that works well with baked goods, especially breads. So in planning this week's selections, I chose items that could be braided, knotted, twisted, or spiraled before baking to result in beautiful designs as well as delicious food.

Though my usual baklava has been a big hit, I thought for the tasting market I'd try a recipe for orange chocolate baklava I found in the Scharffen Berger cookbook a couple of years ago. And wouldn't you know it, the recipe called for laying the filo dough out flat, brushing and layering it, and rolling it up into a spiral. Granted, my first efforts at making filo spirals were somewhat mixed, but I think customers will still enjoy the decadent variation on a classic favorite.

Tonight I pulled out the recipe for rosemary walnut cider bread and tore the dough into pieces. I rolled each piece into a long rope and proceeded to make these Celtic knots (as suggested by the Renaissance Man, who didn't realize that this has long been a favorite design of mine, though not in bread dough).

They rose beautifully (unlike last week's batch of rosemary walnut cider bread, when I killed off the yeast with too-hot cider) and turned out perfectly.

And how fitting it was to give this dough an ancient Celtic twist -- especially as I had found myself thinking back to something I had read about cider being used for communion in the Celtic Church. Why knot?

Still to come will be a whole wheat challah and possibly some soft pretzels and pesto scone twists. And if I think of anything else, you'll be sure to hear about it in the market report this week.

I'm knot kidding!

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Market Report: 12/12/09

And still the market marches on!

Since our holiday farmers' markets at Local Roots continue through next week, I'm still baking up a storm. (Note to regular readers: that's why there is no Independence Days update this week. Maybe next week!) Today I had another bountiful table full of delicious treats:

--biscotti (cherry-almond and ginger-pecan)
--breads (pain aux noix and julekage)
--cookies (sunshine cookies and chai spice shortbread)
--crackers (sesame thins)
--muffins (cinnamon nut)
--nuts (rosemary walnuts)
--scones (pesto)

I sold out of a few things (hooray!) and discovered one or two items that won't really be worth taking to market again any time soon. I also had a few people ask about baklava since I had limited quantities this week -- nice to know what's in demand!

I also managed to get out for a quick visit around the store, but I managed to keep a relatively firm rein on my spending.

I had hoped to find kale today, but given that produce was in somewhat limited supply, I settled for:

--a stir-fry package of pac choi, radishes, turnips from the Winter Harvesters
--Black Swamp Gouda from the Cheese Guy
--maple sugar from the Maple Makers
--honey stout mustard from a woman who makes a wide range of mustards and jellies
--savory croutons from the Young Amish

It's nice standing on the other side of the table for now, finding out what appeals to customers while also talking with other "producers" as a peer, not as a nosy customer. I am learning so much!

Next Saturday we'll have our final indoor farmers' market and then close for renovations before opening as an actual store. The final market is being billed as a "tasting" market, so in addition to my usual samples, I think I will try a few new things to see what might be worth selling in future. Should be exciting!

Another good day!

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Take Five

You might think I've been snoozin' at the wheel around here lately. Apart from the weekly updates, what the hey-ho has Her So-Called Baklava Majesty been doing? you may ask.

And I'd have to shrug my shoulders and say, beats me. I've been so focused on the market that (A) I haven't gotten much beyond utilitarian comfort cooking (not really a bad thing, given all the awesome produce I've had STILL to work with) and (B) I let this blog's 5th anniversary pass me by.

That's right, it's been five whopping, gloriously insane, creative, stressful, amazing years at Rolling In the Dough. I've gone from fiendishly extravagant dinner party details to more thoughtful musings on the various readings that led me further down the Local Foods Lane -- from experimenting with recipes to getting back to basics -- and finally, returning to my Roots (Local and otherwise) by baking up a storm.

Wow. Who knew? What a lavish, luscious, eye-opening journey it's been.

And because it's the time of year when I try to stop and breathe a little and reflect on the year before it slips away, it's time to look back at last year's goals for the blog and to set some new ones.

The garden(s) definitely saw an expansion this year, though not all at one place. The Absent-Minded Professor, awash in work from all sides, never found the time to excavate another garden bed, but my newfound friendship with the Farmgirl Wannabe brought me space for my grain patches. And though I never got row covers to help extend the season, I did get some crops planted very early and am continuing to enjoy fresh greens from the garden, thanks to succession planting prompted by the Independence Days challenge.

As far as pantry-stocking from the garden goes, I managed to have another banner year in terms of food preservation (even trying a couple of new recipes and techniques), plus I had a modest yield of nearly 4 quarts of buckwheat seed from my pancake patch. The dried beans bombed, thanks to hungry neighborhood critters that kept the plants from reaching maturity, so I'll have to find some better way to protect those next year.

I've definitely continued reading up on farming. My Gene Logsdon library continues to expand -- as did my Wendell Berry collection after meeting him this spring -- and my monthly book reviews for the Local Roots newsletter leads me into other territory as well. The Cheerful Lady has been loaning me copies of Growing For Market, so I've been getting lots of good ideas on how to improve my gardening techniques. I have not, however, had much chance to delve more deeply into Home Cheese Making -- perhaps later this winter?

Thanks to spending some of my vacation time caring for others, I did not spend as much of it helping out on local farms as I had planned, but I did manage to help the Lady Bountiful a couple of times (starting seeds and harvesting crops) this year. And thanks to the Renaissance Man, I found more areas for good foraging down at The Farm.

Beyond the goals, of course, the biggest thing this year was the least expected: getting involved in a group of people who brought an amazing dream to fruition in Local Roots. After talking about local foods for so long, I knew it was time to put up or shut up, and I threw myself into the work of bringing this year-round farmers' market to town. Through it, I've met some terrific new friends, found more opportunities and inspiration, worn myself ragged, and had a lot of fun. I never could have planned any of this, but I'm sure glad it all happened.

So where does that all lead me for this coming year?

1. Once again, the main focus is on expanding the gardening. It looks like I will have more space to work with at the Farmgirl Wannabe's acreage, and I have plans to put in more grains, potatoes, dried beans, and a host of other crops that might provide enough surplus for me to sell at Local Roots. And since My Wonderful Parents and I will not, alas, continue to enjoy a CSA share this coming year, I'd like to grow more of what I eat and preserve.

2. Along with that, I'd like to explore baking for market some more. I've had good responses to what I've had for sale so far, and I think that as we set up a bakery counter at the market, I'd like to try some seasonal recipes, including some of my own. Long ago I realized that full-time baking wouldn't really suit me, but this might fill that urge within me without taking too much out of me.

3. Of course, all of that means that I will still be deeply involved at Local Roots, both as a board member and as a producer. A lot of my time will likely go toward the marketing aspects of putting out a worthy newsletter with the fabulous Jen and promoting workshops and community events. We have a lot of great ideas floating around, but sometime soon I'll need to sit down and start plotting a course and getting more people on board to make these events happen.

4. Thanks to Local Roots as well as the local OEFFA chapter, I've met even more farmers and would like to revive my idea of spending time at local farms to learn more about their growing methods. I've enjoyed what I've done so far!

5. I'll keep doing the Independence Days challenge and try to remember that not only do I want to grow and preserve plenty of food for the winter but that I also need to manage those stores well so that my shelves aren't still full come June. I'm still trying to find that balance point!

I may play with other plans this coming year, but I think these overarching goals will keep me more than busy enough. My contentment, though, comes from realizing how intertwined all these goals are -- and how steadily that sets me on the road I want to travel, thanks to all the hard work that has come up until now.

Later tonight I'll get back to more baking -- and to an OEFFA chapter meeting (time to think about seed orders already!) -- but I knew it was time to look back before looking ahead. What a great year it's been, even with the crises and chaos and mind-bogglingly full calendars.

And next year? I expect it to be even better.

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Saturday, December 05, 2009

Market Report: 12/5/09

Just a quick report on this week's holiday farmers' market at Local Roots:

I did not have quite as much in the way of baked goods available for sale, so I didn't bring home as much money in my check, but it was still good to be there and sell some good homemade bread and such. The traffic seemed to be down a bit, though overall sales at the market were good.

As for my own buying, I tried to hold back this week since I was astonished to find so much food still lingering in the refrigerator. I made my rounds with a shopping list in mind but still filled the Renaissance Man's capacious new basket rather well:

--rutabagas from The Salesman Farmer
--Hakurei turnips and radishes from the Winter Harvesters
--apples from the local orchard
--Red Gold potatoes and baby spinach from the Cheerful Lady
--Flat Rock cheese from the Cheese Guy
--heirloom dry beans (Jade) and blue popcorn from the Bee Inspector

The Renaissance Man picked up a few things, too, including bread (not mine; he says he can always enjoy mine for free -- ha!) and a roast, which means I'll have to find him a good recipe for pot roast (and that's a stretch for me, as you well know).

Such good food -- and it's almost the end of the year!

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Friday, December 04, 2009

Independence Days #30

Yes, I know, it's been quiet around here this week. I have a good excuse: I've been busy baking. And it will be that way the next couple of weeks as I bake up a storm for selling at the market.

In the meantime, I exercised just a little bit of Independence...

1. Plant something: Nothing.

2. Harvest something: Pac choi, beautiful chard (golden, gone orange), carrots, fava beans from the Southern Belle's garden.

3. Preserve something: Strained and bottled thyme oil.

4. Reduce waste (Waste not): Cleaned up recipe corner, pulled some possible recipes for winter vegetables.

5. Preparation and storage (Want not): Not sure I really did much in this category this week, but at least I started a mental list of other areas where I need to stock up; did start looking through the Fedco seed catalog.

6. Build local food systems: Sold home-baked goods at the market again; finished up the Local Roots newsletter; worked on planning a couple of LR events.

7. Eat the food: Leftover Bangkok noodles; oatmeal pancakes; gratin with beet greens, Cheddar cauliflower, pesto scones, local cheese; kale and potato soup; popcorn and cider.

I've got ideas for other things I'd like to be doing as part of this challenge, but right now my focus is limited. The winter break is coming soon, though, so I'm holding on until I can get that nice long stretch of time at home.

And then maybe I'll be able to start using some of my stored food a little more!

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