Search This Blog

Sunday, January 2, 2011

On New Year's Day

Yesterday was spent doing New Year things, which consisted chiefly of nursing a headache (not a hangover- I didn't drink that much Friday and I went to bed with it), marking my Territorial Seed catalog with the known Monsanto seeds so that I can make sure I don't order them (Monsanto = epitome of corporate evil), and completing the family budget for 2011. 

And as a particularly auspicious start for the year, I made something completely new for dinner that utilized several things from the garden. Yay for me.  I was casting about half-heartedly for something to make for dinner- it was too late to defrost anything from the freezer, and all the stuff in the pantry would be too much salt for the day, since the day started with a surfeit of calories and sodium (which is not an auspicious way to start the year, but oh well).  I was reading a blog I follow, Tea and Cookies, and she mentioned the Pumpkin Stuffed With Panade recipe that she'd adapted this year, and I had the thought 'oh yeah! I wanted to try that!'.  I still had the stale remainder of bread chunks from the pre-Christmas fondue sitting in bowl on the table, because I'd decided then when I had leftover bread chunks what I was going to do with them.  I just let them dry out overnight, and then put a plate over the bowl and left them.  In her recipe she uses chard and gruyere cheese, neither of which I had. But since she based it on a recipe that was quite loose, I figured that it was okay to use kale and collard greens (little bitty ones) and the tail end of the Petite Basque that I had hanging out in the fridge that Steve said he thought was boring.  I don't think it's boring; I find it nutty and quite yummy, but there's no accounting for taste.  The recipe also uses an onion and garlic, both of which came from my garden, and of course it all gets stuffed into a pumpkin, ditto.  So that's a recipe that used five different items from the garden, which meets, for the day anyway, my goal of eating out of the backyard everyday.  I think this will probably be hard to achieve during these winter months, but easier to accomplish as the year progresses.  In a sense, I've taken up Tamar Haspel's Starving Challenge, although it's largely going to have to come from the yard.  I am not the forager/fisherwoman I'd like to be, largely because I have a self-professed indoor cat of a husband, and currently my heart condition doesn't lend itself well to tramping around in the woods.  This is not to say that I won't ever become a forager/fisherwoman- I still aspire to that- I'm just not sure I can pull either off in 2011.  But I can sure as hell work my yard and try to get more out of it.  Even if it's only a spoonful of honey from my bees in my afternoon tea. Ya gotta start somewhere.  And on the first day of 2011, I started with that stuffed pumpkin recipe.

Scraping stringy stuff and seeds out of the pumpkin gave me an idea for a product, by the way.

Panade filling.
So we had this thing for dinner, and it wasn't as good as Tea purported.  But I think that may be due to the advanced age of the pumpkins, and I can't really fault the recipe.  The panade portion was good, but the pumpkin was kind of…meh.  So I'm not sure I'd try again.  I certainly won't until I have a Sweet Meat squash to fill.  I'm not doing pumpkins again.  But I am going to try the panade recipe again, because I've been thinking that bread pudding would kind of lend itself to a savory version, and that's what this is, essentially.

Filling great; pumpkin not so much
And today's food from the garden?  I think I'm only going to manage a handful of pumpkin seeds....I wonder if that counts?

* I want to add my lame pictures, but Blogger isn't letting me do that right now, so I'll try later.
** Lame pictures are added.


Anonymous said...

Happy New Year!!

I found you today from Tea and Cookies blog by the way of Mrs. Q's blog Fed up with Lunch.

I just love your writing, photos and wit.
I am going to try the Sweet Meat squash this year myself.

I am so glad I found you, have you bookmarked and will be back.


Miriam said...

The Starving Challenge sounds like a great adventure! I think I might try it, too - it actually sounds sort of manageable.

Speaking of adventure, you strike me as an adventurous cook, and I thought of you yesterday when I was going through the "Sundays at the Moosewood Restaurant" cookbook. I came across an unusual recipe (apparently a Sephardic Jewish) for hard-cooked eggs: layer onion skins (the outer skins you would normally throw in the compost) in a baking dish, top with raw eggs still in the shell, then another layer of onion skins, then sprinkle over 1/3 cup of ground coffee and 1 teaspoon salt, and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook in a 225 degree oven for at least 6 hours, and preferably overnight. The eggs are supposed to turn out creamy, caramel brown coloured, and tasting sightly of coffee.

I think one of us has to try this, just to see!

Paula said...

Anonymous Beverly- thank you and thank you!

Miriam- I think you are right- one of us will have to try the recipe. I will start saving home grown onion skins today, but I wonder if they will fulfill the requirements of the Starving Challenge, if that's all I have!

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

Paula -- As the creator of the Starving Challenge, I can assure you that it all counts. Kevin and I have, for two years now, eaten something we've acquired first-hand (grown, foraged, hunted, or fished)every day. Sometimes it was just the sea salt we make from Cape Cod Bay water, but that's stil something, even if it's microscopic by the time it's in your food.

Not only that, but barter counts. If your neighbor keeps chickens, and you trade one of your squash for a dozen of her eggs, that's still first-hand food.

While it may feel like cheating to count things like pumpkin seeds or onions skins, part of the point is to use every part of everything we eat, and to think of new appications for what we might, last year, have thought of as garbage.

I'm sorry to hear about your heart. (I've got a bum heart, too, and an implantable defibrillator.) Most foraging, though, is less strenuous than most gardening. The joy of it is that nature does the hard work for you, and you just stop and pick the flowers, or the snip the leaves, or take the mushroom.

I'm really pleased that you're doing the challenge this year. It's good to have company!

So here's to a fine, fine 2011.

Jennifer Montero said...

Paula - I completed Tamar's challenge last year and I thoroughly enjoyed doing it, (though I didn't know I could count bartered stuff!) Some days were only an egg (usually in a cake) but on some rare occasions, all the ingredients were produced by me. That gave me a real sense of accomplishment.

So yay for you indeed! I can also tell you, as a once obsessive growers of squash and pumpkins, that all varieties are not created equal. If you find one that you like the taste and texture of, you're onto a winner. Can I suggest the 'Delicata' and a small sugar pumpkin variety (though it's usually an F1 variety so no seed saving).

I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines.