Saturday, November 29, 2008

Turkey stock/soup

Despite the fact that I have been (was?) a vegetarian for about 10 years, I would rather eat meat than see it go to waste. I hate wasting food. I volunteered to cook the turkey for this year's Thanksgiving (I used this recipe to brine it, and it turned out fantastically), and my sister picked it up for me. We made sure to get local and organic, and I actually got a slightly smaller bird than recommended, because I figured with all the side dishes and desserts, people didn't need a huge amount of turkey.

That worked out pretty well - we ate all the turkey that was easily accessible when carved, and just now I managed to save about another heaping plate full that was more difficult to pick off the bones. Last year, I saved the carcass to make soup. I made a really thick, concentrated broth which Loris loved just the way it was, so that's what we ate. Unfortunately, I don't know where I got the recipe from.

This year, I'm using this recipe (with a slight variation), and the soup is cooking away on the stove right now. Here's what I did:

1. I stripped as much meat from the turkey as I could, then put the bones, neck, and giblets into a large pot.

2. I covered everything with cold water and turned the heat to high.

3. I added 3carrots (chopped into 2-inch pieces), 3 ribs of celery (likewise), and 2 onions (cut into quarters or sixths, with the skin).

4. Then I added several hands-full of fresh parsley, some bay leaves, a tablespoon of peppercorns, and some dried thyme.

Now I'm going to let it boil down for a while. When it's about an hour from being done (or so), I might add some potatoes and turnips (fresh from the garden). When the stock is done, I'll strain it. We'll save the veggies for eating, throw away the carcass, and have the stock as a soup.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Local dinner

Local dinner

Last night my sweet husband cooked dinner while I was at my mosaic class. He made a sort of fall vegetable ratatouille, which he presented to me saying “The only thing that’s not from the garden are the carrots!”

I thought about that for a second. “Um, and the potatoes? Oh, and the onions.”

“Oh, right” he admitted. Oh well. Actually we usually have carrots from the garden, and next year we’ll certainly have onions. I’m hoping we’ll have potatoes too.

The rest of the dish consisted of (from what I can tell) turnips, bell peppers, the few green beans still hanging out in the fridge, chard, and eggplant. (And garlic?)

We also had some homemade bread (from the freezer), and salad with lettuce from the garden, and tomatoes from the farmer’s market. We’re really sorry to see the tomato season end.

I’m having leftover ratatouille for lunch. Sadly, I’m having it without the leftover bread because I only remembered the bread after I was several minutes from home on my bike. And as they say (or as they should say) trains wait for no one!

P.S. Read the (uncorrected) Italian version of this post here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Um ... where is fall?

It's still warm! I can tell it's getting closer to winter because the days are getting darker, but still. This is ridiculous.

I have barely been to the garden lately, and barely done much of anything else, either. There just isn't time. I did plant my shallots, finally, on Saturday (or was it Sunday?). I can't even remember how many I planted. Twelve? Something like that.

Thanksgiving is next Thursday. I can barely believe it. I'm going to write, really soon (I hope) about my hopes for a local Thanksgiving, what it represents, why it's not going to happen, and what I think about that. Hopefully I'll have time to write it!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fall/winter garden overload

I spent a crazy amount of hours in the garden today. I planted two rows of carrots, three rows of beets, two rows of fava beans (about 34 seeds), and 33 garlic cloves (I need to plant 3 more for 36 total.

I also planted 70 assorted onions (walla wallas, red torpedo, sonoma (sonora?) white, red burger (burgundy?), and an early yellow variety). I put them around the edges of the new seeds, the lettuce, and in front of the fava beans.

I did a bit of chores as well - took out the basil (and got a huge bag to make pesto to freeze) and the eggplants (one more little guy!), and did a bit of weeding.

In general, everything looks great!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I'm in the middle of a ton of craft projects right now, which is really cutting into my gardening and cooking time.

My mosaic is going fantastically, I'm going to post some pictures soon. I'm also working on a bunch of stuff for Christmas presents which I can't reveal here. Just in case. But there are so many projects that I don't know when I'm going to have time to buy all the supplies and then finish all of them.

Things are going swimmingly otherwise. The garden is really great right now, but too wet to do any work. I did transition pretty well to a fall/winter garden, but I didn't get all the seeds planted that I would have liked. I'm hoping to try still, if it dries out at all. I have tons of chard, lettuce, fennel, carrots, turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, and radishes (but they're not all producing yet). I still need to plant garlic, shallots, onions, and beets. In late winter/early spring, I'll plant peas and potatoes. We are also still getting peppers and eggplant, but that's almost done, probably.

The rain we've had recently has been great! Except for biking to the train and back. Murphy's law always provided a heavy downpour moments after I'd leave.

I'm easing up on my heavy overtime at work. While the future vacation is definitely worthwhile, my current stress levels have been too high. Between the garden, the craft projects, groceries, laundry, cleaning, and trying to squeeze in a bit of exercise time, I've been exhausted, getting up early and often staying up late. Now that the holidays are approaching, I'm trying to find a little bit of me time.

That's it for today! Thank goodness it's almost the weekend!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I Swear This Isn't A Political Blog

This shouldn't be the norm in the future, but I just want to say "YAY!" for the presidential election yesterday.

And I also want to express my utmost disappointment in my fellow Californians who chose to continue the discrimination and hatred that still exist in our state today.