|The Sun Oven in the final roasting phase|
I'm starting to feel a bit of fall in the air, dare I say. After the heat we've endured this summer I think I'm nearly ready. But I don't want to wish the summer days away so in the meantime we'll do what we can to keep cool. The other day I slow-cooked beets in the Sun Oven most of the day. They were tender and the skins slipped off easily. All without heating up the house, thank goodness. I feel like the process of getting these beets on the table begins to define where I'd like to go with our urban homestead--we grew the beets using soil enriched with homemade compost, we cooked them by the sun's energy in our yard, and the trimmings went back into our compost, which will help grow more beautiful beets next year. My dream is a closed loop. I prepared one of my favorite beet recipes with these sun roasted treats.
Honey Mustard Beets
Adapted from Fresh Start by Julie Rosso. I love to use fresh herbs as a "salad" so add more if you'd like. The walnuts are a nice additional, but if you plan to eat this as leftovers you may want to add the walnuts at serving time, otherwise they may get soft.
8 c. large dice roasted beets
3/4 c. finely minced fresh chives
1/2 c. finely minced flat leaf parsley
2 T. plus 2 t. Dijon mustard
1/2 c. honey
4 t. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. walnut pieces toasted, optional
In a large bowl, combine the beets, chives, and parsley. In another bowl, combine the mustard, honey, and vinegar and stir until smooth. Toss with the beet mixture to coat, then season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with walnuts if desired. Enjoy immediately or set aside for 1-2 hours at room temperature to give the flavors more time to blend.
|Homemade "Fish Sticks"|
|Canned Whole Tomatoes|
Yesterday I started bringing in the carrot harvest for the year. I planted Danvers Half Long (an heirloom variety), Tonda di Parigi (a Thumbelina variety planted between the rows of other to grow "on their shoulders"), and Merida (an overwinter storage carrot that we can mulch over and harvest through the snow). These all grew well in my crusted soil. Next year I will work in more compost and see if they do even better. I have learned that it's easiest--though also messiest--to harvest carrots when the soil is wet. Sprinkle the soil from a watering can to loosen the carrots and make them easy to pull out, in tact. This project basically negated the shower I took yesterday morning. Vera joined in and was a mess as well. So far I've harvested just over 13 pounds of carrots from one raised bed and I've only tackled half of them. I believe our garden will supply our whole winter's worth of carrots. I usually buy about three Tipi Produce 5-pound bags of carrots throughout winter at the co-op, but this year I may not need to supplement. I also believe that I may have grown enough onions to last through the cold months. These are usually something I stock up on at the end of season farmers' markets and store in my basement. I have a better storage shelf this year with more air circulation and am hoping that the onions I hung to cure in the greenhouse will now last downstairs until spring.
|Cellar Storage Rack with shelves that slide out|
|Jar of dried lemongrass stalks|
Basic Ice Cream
|Steeping the herbs in half and half|
Makes about 1½ qts.
3 c. half and half
5 large egg yolks
¾ c. sugar
pinch of salt
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1 t. vanilla extract
Optional 2-3 c. herbs (basil, lemon verbena, mint, thyme, etc.), stems removed
Heat half and half just to boiling. Meanwhile, separate eggs. Whisk yolks, sugar, and salt in medium bowl. If using herbs, steep 20 minutes, covered off the heat, after heating half and half. Add hot half and half to egg mixture in a steady stream, slowly. Rinse saucepan but do not wipe out. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium, stirring constantly until mixture coats back of spoon. Do not boil. Strain custard and mix in heavy cream and vanilla, until well combined. Refrigerate until well chilled. Churn according to ice cream machine’s directions.
|Triple Lemon and Coriander Ice Cream|
Triple Lemon and Coriander Flavor:
2 c. fresh lemon balm leaves, bruised
2-3 stalks of fresh or dried lemongrass stalks, chopped coarsely
1 t. dehydrated lemon peel
2 t. ground coriander
In the recipe above, add the lemon balm, lemongrass, and lemon peel where it calls for herbs. Add the coriander with the heavy cream and vanilla.