Weekend Reading

This post was almost titled ‘Weekend Reading Special Edition’ as there have been plenty of exciting things happening ’round the web this week. I know your time is precious, so let’s jump right in.

Lights, Camera, Action! A CTV Feature

I was thrilled to be featured by a  local TV station recently in a short segment on preserving summer. Head HERE to the CTV ‘Sunday Bite’ homepage, then click on the Sept 4 episode “Local produce” to view the clip. You’ll get a peek into my home and may even recognize a few recipes that I demonstrate.

Life…Your Way

Superwoman Mandi Ehman launched her highly anticipated new website Life…Your Way last week and fans around the web gave her a simultaneous virtual high-five – myself included.  Mandi has put together the ultimate site for personalized solutions for every aspect of life, be it mothering, finance, decorating, blogging or going green. Be sure to stop by and see for yourself what all the buzz is about. [Read more…]

A Fall List

This autumn, in no particular order, I want to…

  • Pick apples, eating no less than three in the process and climbing the tallest ladder to get above the branches and gaze across the entire orchard with the sun on my face.
  • Plant garlic for spring, which will require having garden plot ready to receive them. And so…
  • Build at least three raised beds by the fence, under the weeping willow. Oh, and give that thing a haircut.
  • Source an organic turkey and roast it for a group of friends. Serve with homemade applesauce. Which reminds me…
  • Make gallons of blush pink applesauce and can it. Use Cortland apples.
  • Watch my son turn 5 and burst with pride while simultaneously holding back sobs.
  • Visualize and execute a ‘rocket cake’ for said birthday. (Help me!)
  • Shoot a family holiday photo — with no attempt to top last year’s masterpiece.
  • Visit the open air market as often as possible just to gape at the seasons bounty.
  • Roast many sugar pumpkins, turn them into puree and bake up a storm.
  • Purchase way more produce than we can possibly eat at that market, then invent ways to fit 8-10 vegetables into a meal.
  • Watch our back forest turn all sorts of mapletastic colors and collect leaves with the boys.
  • Wear a wool sweater and a pretty scarf.
  • Buy two pear trees and plant them in the back yard. Name them Adam and Eve.
  • Read a book, a good book. Maybe even one about dragons.
  • Serve a harvest dinner outdoors, highlighting local seasonal food.
  • Finish dinner with toasted cinnamon marshmallows around the campfire.
  • Built this chicken coop and research for chicks next spring.
  • Air out my down douvet and then replace my cotton quilt with it.
  • Make lacto-fermented salsa.

What’s on your fall list?

9 Good Reasons to Can Your Own Food

If you’re not already up to your elbows in tomatoes or apples this month, then chances are you need a little nudge in the right direction, a little convincing that it just might be worth it to let the housework slide for a few days and jump onto the canning bandwagon that seems to be leaving you behind, enveloped by a cloud of steam.

Perhaps you see the pallets of canning jars at the hardware stores and supermarkets, but tell yourself canning isn’t for you or you think, “it’s just not worth the effort.”  If that’s the case, are you aware of all the benefits of home preservation?

Why do we can? There is no pat answer; everyone has their own motivations. The question is: What are yours?

Here are just a few reasons one might find us picking over late-harvest strawberries, peeling pears or sweating over the stove on any September afternoon: [Read more…]

Wordless Wednesday: Fall Fair

More than Mirepoix: Roasted Carrot and Cilantro Soup

September. These are the last fleeting days of summer and the return of the crispness of autumn, not to mention the kids to school!

For me, September brings to mind scarves and warm coats, piles of newly yellowed leaves, wood smoke hanging in the air like unspoken words and an end to the bounty of summer harvests; now is the time to be canning, freezing and otherwise preserving all of the best summer has to offer.

Not to be outdone by it’s summer seasonal counterpart though, there is much that is in season in September, including apples, pears, potatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, figs and of course, carrots.

Uncomplicated and easy to prepare, carrots are something everyone uses but don’t often think of as much of a star ingredient. They are usually thought of as a side dish or a background flavor, are always at the center of mirepoix (the aromatics forming the base of most soups, stocks and sauces, at least in French cuisine), and are often served raw on top of salads.

What many people don’t realize, however, is that carrots have a sweet flavor profile and when roasted, their natural sugars are enhanced dramatically giving them a caramelized, deep flavor and a wonderful meaty texture when made into purées for soups, such as this one. [Read more…]