Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Relish Magazine - interesting resource!

relish Magazine is an insert into Sunday papers around the country. My mom passes it on to me frequently, and I've seen many interesting things in it. They tend to promote natural, healthy foods, although, ironically, most of their advertisers are of the prepared food variety - you know, the type of ads where you start with some prepared item and create a dish.

Anyway, the January 2011 issue has, among other interesting things, an article called "The Pantry Project - New Year - 19 New Dishes". They then list what they term "bold and basic" pantry items to "turn dinner into a new adventure".

We are great proponents of having a well-stocked pantry of what we consider "basics", and I was pleased to see that many of their "essentials" have a home in our pantry already . . . they do list a few that we don't stock, but would not be afraid to use if required for a recipe.

They then have 19 recipes in the printed magazine that draw from this list of basics. When I decided to write about this, I went to their web site, thinking I would find the whole list and the 19 recipes there . . . I was disappointed to find that, while the list of ingredients were there, they did not reprise the recipes from the print magazine, but rather had added some new ones. However, a tour of their search engine proved that the recipes in the print magazine ARE in their recipes index . . . just not gathered together under The Pantry Project.

At any rate, for those of you who already love to cook, you'll enjoy comparing your basics to theirs, and perhaps find something new and inspirational, as I did. For those of you who are venturing into cooking, this list will provide some guidance of what you should have beyond what we joked about growing up - the Dutch Spice Rack, which contained only salt and pepper!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Harvest Yields for 2010

Well, the garden kept me very busy, in spite of everything else. I forfeited a minor amount of produce that I just couldn't get to, but the harvest included: white and red potatoes (bagged up in the cellar, possibly will can some), lots of corn in the freezer, canned tomatoes, salsa, ketchup and tomato juice, broccoli, cabbage (fresh slaw, canned pickled red cabbage, and sauerkraut with the white), beets, cucumbers for fresh and pickling (kosher dills and bread-and-butter varieties) acorn and butternut squash (some canned), pumpkins (fun for kids at Halloween, plus some canned), asparagus (pickled some - fabulous!), strawberries (fresh, frozen, and jam), rhubarb. Radishes, spinach and lettuces, and herbs rounded out the goodies we were able to harvest.

Then, from local growers, we acquired apples, peaches, cherries, pears, and blueberries, from which we made sauces, syrups, jams and jellies, and canned fruits. Christmas brought a gift from a friend of a big box full of grapefruit, which we have been eating fresh, but also took about half the box, sectioned the fruit and canned it - haven't yet tried one of those, but we were concerned about how long it would last and didn't want any of them going to waste. The canned results look beautiful - hopefully they will taste as good as they look!

Our canning cellar is the old Michigan stone basement under the original part of our house - not lovely, but a perfect environment to keep things at a well-regulated temperature. The shelves were quite full around Thanksgiving, when I took this photo.

Resolution for 2011 - keep up with the blog!

So sorry for my long absence - no real excuses, it just always seemed like other things just "had" to get done before I could think about what to put on the blog! So, I'm going to do several posts to catch up, and vow to be more diligent from here on out! Some overall updates include the new chicken coop being in service (not quite finished, but functional); our house being done with outside contractor repairs from the tornado this summer - now we have some interior finishing to do; lots of food put up from the garden late summer and through the fall (I'll do a separate post about all those yummy things!); a new puppy on our farm (a beagle-bulldog cross); the bare bones in place of a Facebook page for Coach Stop Farm (not really sure how to maximize this whole social-networking thing, but I'll work on it!); and probably more, but the brain is not coughing them out right now. Here's a photo of the coop, which will get a coat of red paint in the spring, and a photo of our little Tessa, the Bea-Bull.