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Stuff & Things

27 May

There’s been so much going on this May, that I haven’t been able to tell you about all the things I have wanted to.  So here we go!

First up: Eggplant Soup. Yes. Eggplant. Soup. If you thought squash soup was weird, you’re going to think eggplant soup is bonkers. But you’ll be wrong.  It is delicious.  I first tried it at Destino in Chatham, and then Mexican Radio in Hudson had a version of it, and then it was a special at Destino again.  And though it was different at the two Mexican restaurants, it was delicious at both.  It is silky and yummy and very, very easy to make at home.  Grill or roast a few eggplants, caramelize some onions, add some broth, puree and add creme fraiche, crema or heavy cream to your taste and garnish with a little salsa fresca and a squirt of lime.  Yum!

Next: Sifting. We’ve been doing a lot of this.  First I had to sift the compost pile.  Twice.  And then there was the tomato garden, which we’ve been sifting for weeks now. But it’s almost done, to the point where I was able to make some beds and plant some tomatoes (though I’m not sure they’re going to make it, they were all kind of weenie, and it has been hot Upstate this week). And then there was flour.  I made pancakes from scratch for the first time ever a few weekends ago, after an aerobic spate of dirt sifting.  I don’t know if I was just very hungry ofrif these really are the best pancakes ever, but I’m going with the latter.  Sadly, I left the recipe Upstate (it’s, naturally, from Amy Bess Miller’s The Best of Shaker Cooking) so if anyone has a copy laying around, email me the recipe for Apple Pancakes and I’ll post it here. *

Cluck cluck! Head below the jump for a favorite farm and a very cool old diner.

Cooking With Wood

22 Oct

Our electric oven caught on fire.

I didn’t even know this was possible.  But there I was, standing in the kitchen staring at a giant fireball in our oven which was emitting noises I have only ever heard in a sci-fi film.

I was preheating the oven so I could roast the half-dozen free oysters my fishmonger had given me (free oysters!) and then I was going to make clam chowder.  I quickly shut it off and watched the coil cool from white to blue to yellow to orange to red and then back to black.  It was obvious to me that we would not be using that stove to make dinner.  I looked around at all the perishable seafood sitting on the counter: Oysters, clams, scallops and a brick of frozen flounder.  I called to Isaac and we came to one conclusion; we still had to cook. So Isaac started a fire in the wood-burning stove and I pulled out my gorgeous, fire-engine red Emile Henry dutch oven.

With a small hesitation I set the pot down on the stove and added a few shards of bacon.  And then we waited.  Ever so faintly we heard a soft, sibilant sizzle, and then it turned into a roar.  It was working!  The bacon cooked!  Then I added leeks and garlic and potatoes and carrots and herbs, and it cooked, too! And then the clams opened and the stock came up to a boil! And then I added the frozen flounder and, well, yeah, things ground to a halt.

Head below the jump for faux Pot au Feu, how to roast oysters on the oven and more.

Things I’m Loving

6 Jul

It’s been a very easy summer to complain about.

The weather has been dreadful and the hours at work long and exhausting, and that has meant that finding the time to keep the Granny Cart up to date has been nearly impossible.  I begin a post and then it sits for a week, sometimes two, until I find the time to complete it.  And then, when the post is finally done, it’s nowhere near as good as I had hoped it would be.

So, in an attempt to not dwell on the negative, allow me to paraphrase Juliet:

Swear not about the rain, the near constant rain, that daily changes good dirt to mud, lest my prose prove likewise dour.

In a move that may surprise those that know me in real life, I’d like to stop complaining for a minute, and focus on the good things, because in the rare moments when the rain has stopped, it’s actually been quite an awesome summer.

So, in no particular order, Things I’m Loving, Summer 2009.

The Red Barn‘s Tiny ‘Tinis. 2 oz Martinis. Perfect in both concept and execution.

I swear, not all the things I’m loving this summer have to do with booze! So head below the jump to check out the rest, and to let us know what’s been keeping you happy this summer, too.

Like Herding Ducks

29 May

I fried some tomatoes last weekend.

Unfortunately, not in a culinary sense.  There was a frost warning Sunday and Monday nights, so my mom told me to put up-turned terra cotta pots over the two tomatoes I had planted.

But what turned out to be even worse than the frost was the two days of 90°+ heat on Wednesday and Thursday.  My poor helpless tomatoes fried in their own little pizza ovens.  By the time we woke up on Saturday morning they were shriveled and dead, dead, dead.

And then there were the beans.  Also dead (not sure if the frost or the heat got them), except for the ones that survived and are infested with aphids.  Where are all those ladybugs that lived in our house with us all winter long when I need them?

It’s kind of a relief though.  I knew something had to go wrong in the garden eventually, so I guess I’m hoping that this will be the extent of it.  For all my cranky, curmudgeonly complaints, I’m still a wide eyed optimist.

Want to see a really pretty picture of a tiny rooster? Head below the jump.

May Flowers

1 May

Someone who owned our house in the past had a jonquil-colored thumb.

The front garden is simply vibrating with the pastel-hued, frilly-edged universe of daffodils.  There are peachy ones, and sulphuric ones, and burnished silk colored ones and ones that look like fireworks and ones that look like they have faces and ones that are so frilly and perfectly white that they look like they should be in a bride’s bouquet.

I wish I could take credit for their exuberant beauty, but alas, the ones I planted all came up stunted.  Still pretty, but nowhere near the majestic, naturalized beauties that some other hand lovingly dug into the earth.  I’m hoping I have better luck with the vegetables.

Because, for sure, Isaac and I are expending a lot of blood, sweat, and not-yet-but-almost tears on the vegetable garden.  And it’s starting to pay off.  There are tiny, nascent peas and lettuces and radishes and kales and chards.  It’s all very exciting.

Check out my shiny new toy below the fold.

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