Amaryllis are amazingly resilient. I’m embarrassed to admit that I ordered a big box of bulbs last year, but just got around to potting them up last week. They are doing quite well!!
I love the fact that cooking is science! The above is next on my list of books to read!!
I was reminded of kitchen science yesterday when I made an extra-healthy vegan vegetable stew. It was inexplicably sour.
I fixed it by adding a little honey and a little salt .”Just the scientific facts, Ma’am!”
Here is a handy guide to scientifically “correcting for taste.”
The four (five??) senses of taste are sour, sweet, salty and bitter and way too hot and spicy.
When you increase one taste to counter another, it changes the way your taste buds perceive the flavor.
If you alter one of the tastes, it will affect the others.
If it is too sour, add something sweet or add a little salt (or both!), depending on what you’re preparing.
If it’s too sweet, add something sour, like lemon juice or vinegar.
If it is too salty, increase the amounts of sweet and sour and it will reduce the saltiness.
If it tastes bitter, increasing the sweet, sour and salty tastes will reduce the bitter taste.
If it is too hot, adding a dairy product (such as sour cream) will help calm the heat.
There are wonderful butternut squash available in the local markets, and today, cool and sunny, is a perfect day to prepare this tasty soup!
It’s what I’m having tonight!!
Yield: Serves 4-6.
1 (2 to 3-pound) butternut squash, halved with seeds removed
4 medium shallots, peeled and left whole
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
2 ounces pancetta (about 12 paper-thin slices), diced
1 cup diced leeks, white part only (about 1 large leek)
1/3 cup finely diced carrots (about 1 small carrot)
1/3 cup finely diced celery (about 1 small stalk celery)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon dry white wine, of drinkable quality
2 quarts rich chicken or vegetable stock, plus extra if needed
1 teaspoon honey, or to taste*
Splash of sour cream and/or hot sauce, for serving (optional)
Canola oil for frying
1/4 cup sage leaves
Fine sea salt, to taste
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Coat the squash and shallots with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season generously with salt. Place the squash and shallots onto the lined baking sheet and roast until the squash and shallots are tender when pierced with a skewer or the tip of a small knife, about 40-60 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside until needed.
Heat a large sauce pan or dutch oven over medium heat; add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and heat through. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, until the fat has rendered and the pancetta is crisp. Remove from the heat, then use a slotted spoon to transfer the pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside until needed.
Return the pan to the heat and add the leeks, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, but not browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and sage and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the wine, scraping up any browned bits that have formed on the bottom of the pan (deglaze). Cook until the wine has evaporated, then add the stock.
Scrape the squash pulp from the skin and add the pulp, the shallots (scraping up any browned bits) and honey to the pan; bring the stock to the boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer and cook until all the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
Use an immersion blender to puree the soup completely. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and honey as desired. Keep the soup warm until service. (This is where you’d add the splash of sour cream to taste, if desired.)
For the Sage: In a small, heavy-bottomed sauce pan, heat 1-inch of oil to 365°F; fry the sage in batches, stirring to separate the leaves, until crisp, about 3 to 5 seconds. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain; season with fine sea salt while still hot.
For Serving: Ladle the soup into warmed soup bowls or cups. Top each serving with some of the crispy pancetta and a few fried sage leaves. Serve immediately.
*The honey doesn’t sweeten up the soup; it just enhances the caramel flavor of the roasted squash.
It’s a cold, rainy and generally gloomy Saturday in Cincinnati. I’ve managed to get a few errands done, but all I want to do is curl up and keep warm. Maybe do a bit of needlepoint…
Then there appeared a bright spot – the blooming of a spectacular Autumn-colored dinner plate dahlia!! It loves the miserable weather. A gorgeous reminder that even a dark and damp Fall day can be beautiful!!
- Dahlias, dahlias and more dahlias. Still going strong (rozsmithblog.wordpress.com)
- Mrs. Blossom’s Dahlias (jenbowles.typepad.com)
- Yellow Dahlia Flower (22flowers.wordpress.com)
- Dahlia Heaven (lulumusing.wordpress.com)
- The Dahlia Lady (justlivinggreen.wordpress.com)
I love Halloween, especially the pumpkin carving. Last year I carved the bee pumpkins above!
It’s easy and fun! All you have to do is find a template you like and print it out. Below are some suggestions. As you can see, your design can be as simple or as complicated as you wish. You can also design your own!
Remove the seeds, pulp and flesh of your pumpkin. Tape the template to the pumpkin and poke holes along the outlines. Make the holes close together so you can see the design clearly when you remove the template.
Then, carefully using a sharp knife, cut out your design. Add a light and enjoy your Bee-utiful Pumpkin!
Here’s a very simple recipe for blueberry preserves that doesn’t use pectin or processed sugar. Just 4 ingredients!
It’s great over Greek yogurt or ice cream.
Ingredients (fills an 8 ounce jar)
3 cups blueberries (frozen and thawed or fresh)
3/4 cup honey (you can use more or less depending on how tart your berries are)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Place the blueberries in a medium sized sauce pan and crush them with the back of a fork or using a potato masher.
Add the honey, lemon juice, and lemon zest, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir frequently while the mixture boils for 15-20 minutes and it starts to thicken. The best way to test if it’s done is to put a spoonful in the freezer for 5 minutes. If it won’t easily pour off of the spoon when you remove it from the freezer, then it’s done.
Skim off any foam, then ladle the jam into a sterilized jar.
Store tightly covered in the fridge for a couple of weeks or you can use canning methods to store in a pantry for longer storage.
- How To Make Jam (simple-green-living.com)
- BlueBerry Freezer Jam (mybestcookbook.wordpress.com)
- Jam Maker’s Tip: Save Lemon Seeds for Homemade Pectin – Tips from The Kitchn (thekitchn.com)
Good advice! And this is just one card out of a deck of Permaculture Playing Cards.
How do you tell people what permaculture is? If you give them a book, they might look at a few pictures. If you send them a link to something they tend to save it for later. The idea of the deck of cards is that they might browse it like a book – but this is all pictures and just a few words. Much easier to browse. And hopefully convey a bigger picture in a smaller package.
If you want to explore this subject further and/or purchase a deck of Permaculture Playing Cards, go to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/paulwheaton/permaculture-playing-cards
- Permaculture Events and Workshops (p3permaculture.wordpress.com)
- 2014 Permaculture Calendar is Out! Would you like one? (milkwood.net)
- Permaculture Project in Bridgewater (permaculturethinktank.wordpress.com)
- Why Permaculture and Transition are good for Food Security? (foodactioncoalitionswr.wordpress.com)
- Permaculture Principles (nurturegreen.wordpress.com)
- Free Intro to Permaculture and Part-Time full PDC (foodactioncoalitionswr.wordpress.com)
- UMass Permaculture Fall 2013 Opportunities (umasspermaculture.wordpress.com)