Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Even though we’ve picked a whole bunch of fruit this summer, I’ve been buying fresh blueberries in an attempt to stretch our stash for the winter. We were at Wegman’s last week and I was checking out the New Jersey produce for nectarines for this tart:

Nectarines

I had already picked up two pints of blueberries and had noticed that not only were there blueberries from Hammonton but there were also berries from LA. What the heck. I’m glad I was paying attention…I just assumed that all the blueberries out were from NJ, where else would you be getting blueberries now and why the heck would you want to buy blueberries from anywhere else? And they were all mixed in! I couldn’t believe it. So now I’m checking out the nectarines and this woman picks up the LA blueberries and puts them in her cart. So, since I would have wanted to know, I politely say:

“I’m not sure if you care or not, but some of those blueberries aren’t from New Jersey.”

This could have gone either way. It’s obviously none of my business which blueberries somebody buys. But I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut. Luckily she did care and acknowledged that she would actually prefer the local berries and thanked me for pointing this out to her.

Because I feel like we have really immersed ourselves in the buying (and growing) of local food, I take it for granted that other folks might not care. The package of Driscoll’s strawberries just make me cringe. I do think that as more grocery stores like Wegmans start to stock more and more local produce, people who maybe hadn’t cared much before will start to notice. Of course, nothing beats chatting up your local farmers’ market vendors.

Advertisements

Oops

Ugh! Maybe this blogging business isn’t for me. I leave things here way too unattended.
Somebody asked me on Sunday what I’ve been up to this summer. I had no idea. Luckily my camera told me otherwise.

I’ve been cooking a lot sans recipes, with whatever is in the fridge, which happens to be A LOT of produce between our CSA and our garden.
Radish and Cuke Salad

I’ve been picking lots of fruit: cherries, peaches, blueberries, more peaches, and raspberries. And more peaches.
Moods Windmill

I’ve been making pickles.
Dilly Beans

And chutney.
Chutney2

And jam.
Jam

I grilled octopus last weekend.
Octopus

I’ve been picking lots of delicious veg out of my garden. (Oops, I meant OUR garden.)
Garden

I’ve been shooting some weddings! One by myself, and one as an assistant. And I got paid! But, shh, don’t tell Uncle Sam.
First Dance BW

I made zucchini bread that wasn’t very good.
zucchini bread

I met Jennifer Carroll! Swoon.
ME AND JENNIFER CARROLL!!!

I took two canning classes: beets and tomatoes (and salsa).
Packing beets

I’ve also been loving on my new chest freezer. More on that later.

Philly Homegrown

I LOVE this video about our local food scene, because it makes me feel SO proud to live in Philly.

Beetfest

Um, where did June go? Hello? At the end of May, I was fortunate to go to Doris/Audra’s house, of Doris and Jilly Cook for a beetfest. We learned the basics of canning, both water bath and pressure canning and best of all, left with a jar of pickled beets, which I’m carefully hoarding until the right moment.

Cooked beets
First, you cook the beets, peel them, and cut them up into big chunks.

Pushing down the beets
Then you load them into the jars. If you’re pressure canning them, you cover them with hot water. If you’re water bath canning them, you add sugar, water, and vinegar to pickle them. Adding acid to the jars allows you to safely water bath can them as opposed to needing to pressure can them.

Rings
The clean rings should be screwed on just right, not too loose and not too tight.

Fishing out the jars
Process the jars.

Audra's stash
Doris/Audra showing us her stash.

Jars
Beets ready to eat.

Next up: sweet cherry jam.

Lancaster Farm Fresh

We chose to do a half-share with Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA this year…lots of greens and spring onions so far, including these beautiful, purple-y specimens.

Onions

Our house faces north, so the evening sun makes for nice lighting.

Sunday Dinner

Ever since we moved back to Fishtown, we’ve been eating dinner with Misty and Adam on Sunday evenings. It’s really nice. We take turns making dinner and watch The Amazing Race (after picking teams for our pool, which Misty won this time. Now we’ve moved on to watching Justified). The last couple weekends have been nice enough to grill, which helps, since my oven’s broken. This past weekend, Misty was out of town but Adam joined us anyway… we had sausages with peppers and onions, coleslaw, and little potatoes, under the broiler, with homemade ricotta on top. I made panna cotta for dessert (no oven!) with a rhubarb-strawberry compote.

Mint panna cotta, strawberries, rhubarb and strawberry compote

The rhubarb was from my mom’s unattended rhubarb patch and the strawberries were from last week’s farmer’s market. I’m not convinced that the “real” strawberries are in yet…the ones from the farmer’s market were okay, but not as sweet or delicious as the ones in my memory from last season, a la Springdale Farm.

$1.04 for the box

I used a recipe from David Lebovitz’s website for the panna cotta but cut it in half to make four servings.

2 cups (1l) heavy cream (or half-and-half) (I used half-and-half)
1/4 cup (100g) sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (I used Trader Joe’s vanilla bean paste, which I would not recommend, there ended up being vanilla granules in the bottom of each cup)
1 packet powdered gelatin (about 4 1/2 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons (90ml) cold water

1. Heat the heavy cream and sugar in a saucepan or microwave. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
(If using a vanilla bean, scrape the seeds from the bean into the cream and add the bean pod. Cover, and let infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the bean then rewarm the mixture before continuing.) (I also steeped the half-and-half with several mint leaves while I heated the liquid and let it sit for about ten minutes after.)
2. Lightly oil four custard cups with a neutral-tasting oil.
3. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a medium-sized bowl and let stand 5 to 10 minutes.
4. Pour the very warm Panna Cotta mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
5. Divide the Panna Cotta mixture into the prepared cups, then chill them until firm, which will take at least two hours but I let them stand at least four hours. (Mine weren’t even ready after four…make these as far in advance as you can).

For the compote:
I just combined about 6 cut-up stalks of rhubarb with about a half a cup of water and sugar to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer until the rhubarb breaks down to your preferred consistency and the mixture thickens. Throw in some slices strawberries towards the end, that way they stay intact.

I also used some mint out of my little herb garden out back and tossed that with the strawberries and a little sugar and served that alongside the compote. And it was good.

Local rhubarb and strawberries

Compost

Now that we have a bit more of a yard, we’ve finally been able to create a compost bin. I guess we could have been composting under our sink but never got around to it.

_MG_4395

We also added some compost bin protectors.

Pigs

And in other news, some beautiful eggs from the farmers’ market.

Eggs