...Growing, Building, Cooking, Preserving, Crafting...

2006 began our urban homestead when I broke ground on a garden, which now includes perennial fruits, flowers, & many vegetable varieties. We dream of solar panels, keeping bees and hens. Until then we'll continue growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, building what we can for our home, cooking from scratch, and crafting most days.



One of my culinary heroes, Tamar Adler
So you've heard me go on and on a few times about how amazing I think Tamar Adler is.  Her first book An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace changed the way I think about cooking at home and made me think even more critically than before about using every last part of the vegetable.  She was my inspiration as I contributed my thoughts to this article and continues to be my muse, especially as we enter the cold months and resort to preparing foods that will not only warm our souls, but our home kitchen in the process.  Apparently, it was because of my comments about her on this space that I received an exclusive invitation to meet her a couple of weeks ago.  This summer I made my second appearance at Kohl's Corporate for a preservation class.  The wonderful women who organized that event noticed my fanaticism for Tamar and invited me to join them for her cooking demonstration and book signing, an event that was otherwise for Kohl's employees only.  I felt most honored and was able to rearrange my work schedule to fit this in (so many people to thank for making this meeting possible.)  Not only did I get to meet Tamar, but I, along with a few others, was able to help her prepare and plate the dish for tasting at her demo.  I'd hoped to get some follow-up info from her that I could include in this post, but perhaps I came off as too obsessed and scared her away.  Oh well.  I'm hoping to travel out to Brooklyn in the near future and visit the burrough that she calls home.

Prepping for her demo
Going to show everyone how to make the most delicious pesto with
those broccoli stems
Tasting the cooking water for proper seasoning
Perfectly-seasoned potatoes 
Lights, camera, ACTION!
Gorgeous local fingerling potatoes for the demo 
Lots of mouths to feed
Broccoli pesto bruschetta with broccoli
and fingerling potatoes.  So simple, so delicious
Since then I've been busy doing instead of telling here on the homestead.  We have yet to turn on our heat so I made sure this week to clean my oven and hood while I could still open the doors and windows to air out.  Also had to reorganize the basement after my amazing husband's paint job.  We're all feeling like that space is larger, brighter, and certainly less gritty.  (I tell ya, I think I'll keep this guy.)

Also, it's "harvest time."  I've been canning like crazy, sometimes taking three days to complete a batch of preserves depending on what pockets of time pop up.  Homemade ketchup is in the kettle right now.  I'll be glad to pack it into the larder as it's consumed my week: chopping and cooking it all down on Wednesday, pureeing and cooking down more on Thursday, finally sealing it up on Friday.  Let's hope it lasts us till next year.  (I've got two ketchup fiends who particularly enjoy this condiment with grilled cheese.)  I also pickled several jars of our salad turnips and fall radishes, which made me realize that another benefit of growing what you eat is that you can bottle up the baby-sized bulbs, which had to be pulled anyway for thinning.  You won't usually find those size turnips at the farmers' market.  I also canned several jars of roasted red peppers I purchased at our neighborhood farmers' market.  After this ketchup there might be a few more batches of odds and ends, but otherwise the canning season is more of less on the decline.

(L to R) Pickled Golden and Chioggia Beets, Pickled Hakurei Turnips,
and Pickled Daikon all in the same clove/cumin brine.
Roasting Peppers on the stovetop for pickling/canning
We've barely begun to close up the garden and yard.  I'm always a big procrastinator with this process either because I don't want to face the idea that winter is around the corner or that I've just about run out of steam for the big shut-down.  One thing I'm determined to do this year is get my coldframe in place planted with spinach or mixed greens for spring.  It never happened last year and we really missed he early crop of delicious greens in March.

Until then I'm going to keep enjoying the fall colors as I have this year more than ever.  I took V to the park the other day to snap some photos of this season's glory.  And she had a pretty good time playing in the leaves.
Stunning colors in one of our neighborhoods' many parks.
New England Asters and prairie grasses in bloom.
Zoning in!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad to see your photos of the meet with Tamar Adler! I don't think you could scare her off... I'm sure she could recognize how sincerely you appreciate her work!