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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving

In the words of my beloved 7 year old nephew, "I'm S-T-U-F-F-T!!" That about sums up my Thanksgiving experience, I'm full to the brim of delicious food. We spent a few days with my parents eating, visiting and doing some odd jobs...but mostly eating! Wednesday night we had oven potatoes with a cream sauce, ham and baked beans. Thursday was the traditional turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, relish tray, bread, pumpkin and cherry pies. My mom makes stuffing, not dressing, STUFFING! Be gone with you food safety experts! The stuffing, containing raw eggs, gets stuffed into that turkey and roasted to a "fair thee well". And it's loaded with onions, too. It's tradition around here. One year I dared to make "dressing" in a pan next to the turkey ...SCANDAL!!! Nope, it's not a real turkey unless that baby is stuffed.

Friday we had Fleishkuchle day. If you are not of German-Russian ancestry, this might throw you for a loop. It literally means "meat dough". You take browned hamburger and onions and wrap it in a soft dough and then deep fry it until golden crispy brown. OH MY GOODNESS! I haven't had them in two years, because it just isn't a meal you can make for two people. It was just as good, or even better, than I remembered it! One thing you can say about us German-Russians...we sure love our doughs, boiled, fried, baked, smothered in cream...it's all good!

Happy Eating to Everyone! May you enjoy wonderful food and even better company!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

How do you solve a problem like tomatoes?

My tomatoes didn't begin to ripen until September 15th, almost a month behind schedule. We were into October and I still was waiting for the majority of my tomato crop to approach ripe. Then frost warnings were issued and I knew I had to take action! So the dear husband joined me in a tomato picking frenzy. We picked only the paste tomatos. Good-bye Brandywines!! (sniff, sniff) We had 18, count 'em 18, flats of green tomatoes packed at least 2 deep. I set up shop in the garage, right in there with all the engine parts, and let nature take its course.




Then once a week, I go through each flat gathering the ripened tomatoes.



What does one do with all these tomatoes? Well, for starters there is a wonderful bruschetta...



Annie's Best Bruschetta
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups diced fresh tomatoes
1 bunch (or 4 packed TBSP) chopped fresh basil
10 cloves minced garlic - yes, it's a lot of garlic so you can cut back if you need to
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Toss gently and refrigerate at least 1 hour for flavors to blend. Serve on piping hot, fresh from the broiler, sliced French bread. Taste, and then weep as the flavor explodes in your mouth.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My Local Foods Support Group

A couple of weeks ago I attended a Local Foods Initiative meeting. On the drive, I wasn't sure who (if anyone) I would know or what exactly we would be doing. WOW! It was a great day! I came away inspired to grow more food. I couldn't wait to get back home and get some more ground ready to go for next spring. Which is just how a gardener should feel at the end of the season, rather than "Thank goodness that's over!" The seed catalogs start arriving in December, the perfect time to pour over them with a hot cider or chocolate, some Christmas goodies and a pen! I can honestly say that it is more exciting than when the Sears Toy Book came in the mail to old RR1 Box 42.

It was wonderful to be sitting next to people who have the same passion for food that I do. To hear what they are doing, how they are doing it, and how it is working for them. These weren't 10,000 acre farmers. They were simple people like my husband and I, with a small acreage, trying to make it profitable, sustainable, and an asset to the community. There is already another meeting scheduled for January...I can't wait!