Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I Don't Have Time For This--Marzipan

I was in a local funky grocery store called Amazing Savings today. They have returns on interesting products that we don't see in many stores around here and I've found it's a good place to buy interesting teas at very reasonable prices.

They also carry lots of local, mostly organic, produce and an extensive collection of bagged chips.

Go figure.

I wandered through the teas-and-cookies aisle and noticed boxed tubes of marzipan. My daughter and I love to do marzipan at Yuletide--the picture above shows our efforts from a couple of years ago.

But I don't have time right now for this kind of fun, do I? I still have apples to prep and cook, as well as putting down a batch of cider to get hard and delicious for the next vintage of "Sumbitch Groundhog Hard Cider."

Also, I'm writing a book, and I have a couple of articles due rather soon.

What I want to do, however, is get out the food coloring and create tiny apples and oranges, perfect sweet strawberries and even edible babies.

Doesn't that sound like fun?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hoover and Cortland

Apples, of course. I can barely think of anything else right now.

Okay, not true. I'm also thinking of pumpkins.

I stopped by a local fruit stand earlier this week to ostensibly pick up cider. No, I will not make apple juice one apple at a time with that lame juicer this year. I have some plans to have a portable cider press made by a friend's little husband but until then I'm buying sweet cider and fermenting it for my own evil pleasure.
(insert evil laugh here)

I got a big bag of Cortlands and Romes and wandered around the corner of the table and saw a big, firm red with some green apple. It had a big good smell and its name is Hoover. I got a bunch of those, too, because they looked like they might be a little tart.

They are.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Will the Butters Ever Be Done?

Yes, probably.

I canned the last of the peach butter tonight and as soon as the jars are labeled, they'll join the pear butter and apple butter on our pantry shelves. I will probably do more apple butter because it is too darned yummy but my next quest is for organic apple cider, from which we will make hard cider.

Yes, that's the good stuff.

Lovely, lovely scrumpy.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Why is it cabbage season?

No, I don't have an answer to that. I only know that I started sauteing cabbage earlier in the week and we had that batch with turkey sausage, and a brisk mustard. After tai chi class yesterday, I walked to our neighborhood grocery store and got a perfectly round, perfectly purple red cabbage. I'll chop it up tomorrow and cook it up with some potatoes from the rabbit-hutch potato bed in the back garden.

I will feel very Irish.

And somewhat gassy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Okay, one more thing

Here are the peaches.

A New and Shiny Toy

Isn't it pretty? Now I can do a whole batch of yoghurt at once and not in two batches.

It is shiny and new--not dented or frayed, with bits of metal to jab into my hands.

Sometimes you just need a new tool to do the work you do.


That's all really. I'm canning peaches from SC and will lay in fresh apple juice for cider next week. More on those adventures then.

Monday, September 5, 2011

September is Cider and Butter Time

I live in Avalon, you know. Beautiful apples everywhere. And some not-so-beautiful...

It used to be that anyone who had a little garden space in the backyard also had an apple tree. We had three in our back yard when we bought this house in the 1980s and have lost two due to age and disease (we replanted one). We now have two trees but this wasn't a very good year for our apples.

But other people have had good apple crops. I visited a friend on Friday and she has a couple of trees in the back. She gave me a plastic grocery store bag and I filled it up. I'm a gleaner kind of person--I don't at all mind asking people if they're going to use those apples littering their lawns.

And you know what? Lots of people are more than happy to have you get those pesky apples off their nice lawn. I don't care how bumpy and weird they are--I'm going to peel and cut them up. They don't have to be market-perfect produce.

Right this moment--if you were watching me type up this blog post you'd know this--my house smells of apple butter. It's been cooking for a couple of days. Slowly. Stirred infrequently. Some cinnamon and sugar added at intervals, along with a splash of water.

Tonight it is almost dark enough. I'll stir it around for an hour or so in the morning and then can it up.

But I haven't gotten enough apples for cider. So I'll need to ramble over to the farmers' market and pick up several gallons of the yummy stuff, so I can make it even yummier.

Apple season!

Friday, September 2, 2011

First, Green Tomatoes

Those are wide thin slices of green Mortgage Lifters. The cool nights here are playing havoc with my fab tomatoes so that means it's time to do some fry-ups of the greens. I sliced these very thinly, which was easy because they are very firm. Cooked them until they were soft in olive oil, lots of ground sea salt and ground pepper. I served them on a beg of turnip greens with poached eggs on the top.

Now, gugutz. That one over on the right. The latest cucuzzi treat was sauteed in the usual, added garlic, added some pre-cooked chicken, wrapped it in a tortilla with some lettuce and sour cream.

Yes, it was delicious.

I can't show you what's going on at this very butter. Fresh apples from a friend's backyard, a bunch o' cinnamon, some white sugar. Stir, simmer, mash with masher, stir some more. Taste, add more sugar. Stir.

Won't be ready for a few more hours and I may need to finish it up in the morning. I also have a big bag of pears from another friend's front yard.

Pear butter? Peace sauce? Pear chutney?

I'll let you know. The young man next door is interested in canning, so I may draft him to help with that project.