About this Blog

As I go into my second year blogging about cooking and eating locally, I am thinking more and more about my own heritage. Why is cooking and eating locally sourced food important to me? What values am I honoring by doing this and how were these values instilled in me.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Epicurean delights

I just finished breakfast. This morning I sliced up a peach from our farm share, toasted a slice of 7 grain bread from Nashoba Brook Bakery and spread it with Organic Valley cream cheese and ate this with a cup of fairtrade coffee from Whole Foods which I doctored up with cream from the Shaw Farm dairy and a couple of brown sugar cubes. Green tea would have been a healthier choice and some mornings I will go with that, but today I wanted to enjoy one of my two vices (I save my wine for Friday and Saturday nights!)

Despite my love affair with creamy, sugary coffee, the peach was really the best part of this morning's meal. It was nice and firm. The skin slipped right off when I peeled it and it was sweet and juicy. I don't bother eating peaches at any other time of year...like strawberries, they are best eaten very close to the time they are picked. I've been debating about putting a few bags in the freezer for a cobbler in the winter or to throw into a smoothy; however, I don't find they hold up as nicely when frozen, so I may pass and wait to enjoy them again next season.

I have been enjoying my summer fruits and veggies. Two Saturdays ago, I treated myself to an early morning visit to Verrill Farm. As I was browsing through the rows of baskets of heirloom tomatoes, one of the folks filling the baskets came by and asked me to try a cherry tomatoe. If nothing else, I am polite to a fault, so despite my squeamishness about raw tomatoes, I popped it into my mouth, chewed it up and swallowed it like a good girl. To my surprise, it was as sweet as a piece of candy. This particular variety, though I don't know the name, is bright orange and is sweet more like a pepper than a tomatoe. I wish my father had been alive to share that moment with me. I can't tell you how many sliced tomatoes I gaged my way through as a child at our supper table to my father's great frutration.

In addition to tomatoes, that morning there were baskets of peppers. Pablanos, jalepenos, hungarian wax and several varieties of red, orange and green sweet peppers. We have also been enjoying freshly dug potatoes, a variety called red gold is our favorite this summer. It holds up well in chowders and potatoe salad. Red, yellow and white onions, carrots and lots and lots of fresh corn, summer squashes and eggplant have been gracing our dinner plates as well.

At the moment, my kitchen counter is littered with tomatoes, tomatillos, peaches, plums and a couple of kolhrabi. Later today, I will be making up a lamb stew with green beans and tomatoes. If I can get my hands on some local cilantro, I will make both tomato salsa and salsa verde. It turns out that cilantro is scarce right now due to the lack of rain.

The kolhrabi has been sitting on my counter because I am still trying to figure out what to do with it. Like the garlic scapes from earlier in the season, kolhrabi is a new discovery and I need to do a little research about how best to eat it and cook it. One of our friends said that he used to slice it and it with a little salt when it came out of his grandfather's garden. Maybe I should try that and see how it tastes.

I wish I had more time to write down all that I have been learning and thinking about as I go through my day; however, I have discovered that this part of the growing season is labor intensive as I have been trying to preserve part of what I've been collecting. My freezer is full of vegetable sauces, corn, corn chowder, a couple of different stews and a couple of fresh chickens I pre-ordered from Springdell Farm back in May. We roasted and ate two of the four I ordered. I made stock and then used it again in other recipes.

I hope that as I am enjoying the fruits...and vegetables...of my labor this winter that I will have more time to reflect on this process as well as plan and prepare a little better for the next growing season. I also hope to be able to learn the art of breadmaking this winter as well.

Tomorrow will find me learning to fillet a whole fish as we just joined a community supported fishery called Cape Ann Fresh Catch. I will try to make time to let you know how it goes.

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