Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dark Days Challenge Week 11...And More

There has been a lot going on this past week that did not involve food. I'll get to that second.

Last night's dinner was an invention that developed from what I had on hand. It's a casserole with layered potatoes (bottom and top), pieces of chard, crispy bacon cut into small pieces, more potatoes, Golden Glen Creamery cheddar cheese, and whipping cream from Straus Family Creamery with garlic added. I poured the cream over the whole thing and baked it covered for 75 minutes in the oven at 375 F. It's sort of scalloped potatoes with chard and bacon.

Kerry pronounced it delicious. Leftovers tonight. I'm going to add some more chard and warm it in the oven. Can't get enough greens.

Now for the rest of the week. We recarpeted our bedroom and sitting room and my sewing room (shown here with new carpet).

I took it as an opportunity to get rid of lots of stuff. I took bags of clothes and boxes of books to the Salvation Army. It always feels so good to lighten my load. I did the same thing in my sewing room. I still had boxes from our move here. I discovered all kinds of things that could go in the garbage. Also organized my room better for what I'm doing. Finally got some wire baskets in which to sort fabrics by color and pattern. I discovered that I have lots of green and neutral colors but not much blue. Not sure what that means.

I am so thankful I got all of this done before the carpet layers got here. I feel this wonderful elation when I walk into my sewing room now. On the wall to the left in the picture I am going to put up one long curtain rod so I can display my quilts. Photos to follow when that job is done.

Also solved the mystery of all the readers from Great Britain who come to my blog via "what is panagrattato" on Google. I asked someone to enlighten me. Finally one person responded anonymously that there is a chain of pubs in the UK that serves panagrattato. When you Google that word my blog is the first answer that comes up. A couple of years ago I made it. So that mystery is solved. Hope some of them keep coming back for a visit.
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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dark Days Local Challenge: Week 10

I made maple syrup-glazed pork chops, steamed broccoli with a mayo and soy sauce topping, and baked sweet potato with butter.

I brined the pork chops, which really helped keep them moist. The recipe called for quite a bit of cooking time to get the glaze to carmelize. Pork chops might have been really chewy by then. The glaze was just maple syrup (Costco but the real thing), chicken stock (ours), some dried mustard and salt and pepper. Went well with the sweet potato which has local butter on it. The broccoli is from the farmer's market.

I'm really enjoying reading all the things folks are making; imagination abounds. I just wish we had a good chacuterie in the area where I could get some good, local sausage. I'll keep searching.
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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Divine Bread

I love bread. Not the ordinary kind. Grew up with Taystee bread. Didn't know how awful it was until I lived in Germany for three years after college. That's when I first experienced good bread, the kind you have to really chew.

The loaf pictured here is from a new bread maker, Nathan, in Auburn, CA. The first loaf I bought was a Meyer lemon rosemary round. The second loaf was the same. I probably won't get around to trying another loaf until Meyer lemon season is over.

It's not a dense bread so it's ideal for tearing chunks from the loaf. He sells to small markets like Newcastle Produce and Latitudes Restaurant in Auburn. His parents own Latitudes.
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Friday, January 15, 2010


It's interesting to note that whenever I get someone from the UK reading my blog they have gotten there from a search for "panagratto." The other search that I get a lot of hits from is "silkworm." I don't know who you are and you don't have to divulge your identify; I just know you are using that search term to get to my blog.

I know I wrote about both subjects; I'm just curious why you folks in Britain keep coming back to "panagratto" which is basically bread crumbs mixed with anchovies. No need to stop coming by; I'm just curious.

I'm the only one in my family who seemed to like the "panagratto." Haven't made it since. Maybe there are lots of folks in Britain who love this.

Anyway, this has been on my mind for a while so thought I would post it and see what the results are. You can comment anonymously.
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

ET's Spaceship

It's a romanesco. Larger than a cauliflower; part of the broccoli family. It always reminds me of ET's spaceship when his parents came to get him.

It shows up in our farmer's markets this time of year. Tonight it is the main ingredient in a soup I'm making. Ingredients, which are all local except for the cream, are romanesco, leeks, chicken stock from our chicken last night, cream, chicken from last night's chicken, and sun-dried tomato cheddar cheese. Maybe I'll call this "Phone Home Soup."

That's all we are having for dinner. Kerry will probably have some toast with it. My appetite is not great; antibiotics do that to you.

If you see one of these in your market, buy it. It's yummy and beautiful.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dark Days Local Challenge: Week 9

We bought two Dungeness crabs at the farmer's market last Saturday. There is a fish company that goes out of Bodega Bay on the northern California coast. We can count on them for great, non-farmed fish and crab. It's called the Little Fish Company. Turns out the family's name is "Little."

The first night we just spread newspaper on the table and ate crab. It's so messy, we don't even bother with plates. It's newspapers, the nut cracker and a roll of paper towels.

The leftover crab went into a frittata I made on Monday night. The local ingredients included: the crab, eggs from our local provider, butter from Straus Family Creamery, garlic and broccoli from the farmer's market and sun-dried tomato cheddar cheese from Golden Glen Creamery. I visited this creamery when I was in Washington at Christmas. It counts as local because we were in the area and visited the creamery. It's not like we drove there specifically for the creamery's products. Checked this out with Urbanhennery and she agrees.

Also made garlic bread with the Straus butter and farmer's market garlic.
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Monday, January 11, 2010

The Irish Sports Pages

I'll get to the goats in a minute. My Irish grandmother always referred to obituaries as the Irish Sports Pages.

This may seem a bit weird, but I love reading obits. To me they are short stories about people's lives. Give me a good long obituary for a very old person and I'll find an interesting nugget of information.

For example, an obit I read a couple of days ago talked about how this lady was an avid bowler. She had bowling balls for all four seasons. Now that was a nugget.

Another one talked about the cowards who attacked and killed their mother in her apartment. You rarely see that kind of thing in an obit. I found the article and yes, the mother had been beaten to death by an unknown assailant.

The pictures can be wonderful too. I especially love it when you get a young and an old picture. Some of those 1940s hairdos were really something. And the WWII photos of these handsome guys in their uniforms are just great.

I'm amazed by how many obits talk about the person going to be with God or Jesus and, of course, other family members who have died. I remember my Aunt Jerry, my grandma's daughter, telling me that she would be waiting for me in heaven with my mother (her sister). The last person I ever want to see is my mother and quite frankly I don't think she's in heaven. If she is, then God or someone, made a mistake.

My sister reads them too so maybe there is a genetic connection here.

The language is interesting to sort out; viewing means you get to see the body and visitation means you get to talk to the dead person's relatives and friends. I can sort of tell when it's a suicide because it will say that someone died unexpectedly at home. It's usually a younger person. I feel sorry for the person who found the body.

Anyway, on to the goats. Our neighbors a couple of acres away have a bunch of them. Apparently there is a break in their fence and these pretty little creatures are roaming the neighborhood. One of them has a damaged hoof so he/she hops on three legs. We only hope they will stay long enough to eat lots of blackberry bushes. Not even sure if the owners realize there is a break in the fence. The cats and Harleen get quite excited when they show up on the front porch.

Oh, and Kerry has Shingles. What else can happen healthwise here?
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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Dark Days Challenge Week 8

I'm sick AGAIN! Luckily I managed to cook one local dinner before I felt really awful. After that I relied on Confluence. More about that later. I got my new (actually used) camera two days after we finished the spicy lamb stew so you will have to use your imagination.

We got back from our 12-day trip to Washington on Sunday afternoon; that's why I missed Week 7. I took some lamb kabob meat out of the freezer. I've never been a big kabob fan so decided to do a spicy stew cooked in the crockpot. The lamb came from Flying Mule Farm where they really do farm with mules.

I put the lamb in the crockpot with tomato sauce from last summer's tomatoes, corn from last summer's farmers' market that I blanched and froze, chicken broth from a Chaffin Orchards' chicken, organic black beans (origin unknown), white wine, and onions and garlic from Newcastle Produce. Lots of cumin, chili powder and paprika added to the spiciness. I made enough so we had leftovers. Spicy foods always taste good when I'm sick and my taste buds are out of sorts.

But now for the Confluence Kitchen and Market. It's located in Auburn, CA about 12 miles from here. They have a store, but they also come to the Auburn farmers' market. The web site is Luckily I had stocked up before we left for Washington. They sell both fresh and frozen entrees that are made from organic, local food. I had a broccoli and cheese quiche and a red pepper and polenta lasagna in the freezer. Those two frozen entrees plus the spicy lamb stew have guaranteed that we ate healthy, local food while I was sick. Last of the leftovers tonight and then tomorrow I'm back to cooking.

We've also had their chicken pot pie and beef empanadas. Both were delicious.
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Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year From Burlington, WA

Pictured here are my new friends from Golden Glen Creamery in Bow, WA. My sister-in-law Susan and I paid them a visit. We brought home some of their finest work: all variety of cheeses including Parmesan, butter, chocolate milk in a glass bottle and eggs, one of which was green (we also met the chickens).

Folks in the store were so nice. They gave us a map of Skagit county that shows where local food is produced and can be bought. We will be back in May for a wedding so I'll check on lots of them then. We did go to the Farm to Market deli in nearby Edison where we bought some yummy treats. My favorite was (I already ate it so no pictures) polenta cake soaked in lime juice. It was shaped like a mini Bundt cake. Delicious.

It's official, my camera is dead. I hope I can find a good one on sale when we get home.

Susan has been cooking up a storm, as usual. Last night we had her clam linguine. It was so good we are having it again tonight. We brought a leg of lamb with us to share with the family. They loved it. Otherwise I've been eating lots of veggies and oysters from a nearby bay. It is such a treat to have fresh fish. That's what happens when you live close to the ocean. My lunch today will be raw oysters in seafood sauce (aka ketchup with lots of horseradish).

Saw the Sandra Bullock movie The Blindside. Great flick even if it did have lots of football scenes. On New Years Eve we watched "Angels and Demons." Pretty good.

Yesterday we visited fellow blogger Urbanhennery at her home. Harleen played with their lab, Jake. She gave us some of her homemade strawberry jam and dill pickles. We brought her Satsuma mandarin oranges which count as a local food for her because we were in the area and just happened to bring them some. Same goes for the stuff I bought at the creamery.

We head home tomorrow and should be back in Lincoln on Sunday night. Weather through the Siskiyous is the only thing that could slow us down. Right now it looks like it's going to be good tomorrow and Sunday.