Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mushrooms and the Fish

Since I've deemed this blog an "appreciation of all things edible", I must mention the fantastically edible mushroom growing on our plum tree outside! May I introduce, Laetiporus conifericola:

Unfortunately I was too greedy and waited too long, hoping it would get bigger and I would have more to eat. But alas, it died quick and mold conquered it.

I taught Alex to make bread using the sourdough starter that I started a while ago because he accidentally opened a packet of our friends beer-brewing yeast. I showed him how to kneed it and then said he could make whatever shape he wanted, perhaps a baguette or a round. He decided a fish-shape was best:

And here is an awesome stir fry with rice underneath that Alex whipped up. Notice the lobster mushroom slices sauteed with brioche crumbs! Also, he stir fried slices of cucumber, I had no idea you could do that to cucumbers, but it was delicious!

Canning Part 2

Canning 20 pounds of peppers was a formidable task, but I did it! Here's the second part of the process, continued from my previous entry.

After roasting all the peppers and letting them cool in their plastic-wrapped bowls I peeled them and washed out all of there seeds. Here's about 10 pounds worth of cleaned peppers:

For the really spicy peppers, I quickly blanched them in boiling water and then put them in clean, hot cans and covered them with boiling water. For the roasted miscellaneous peppers, I just stuffed them in clean, hot jars and poured boiling water on top of them. Next, the filled cans went for a ride in my co-workers pressure caner! Here it is in action:

The cans stayed in the pressure caner for about an hour before taking them out and allowing them to cool on the counter top. At long last, here is the finished produduct; from left to right and top to bottom: habaneros, bulgarian carrot peppers, roasted medly, and chocolate cayennes. This winter will be flavorful for sure!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Saving Summer

Last year was the first year that I fully committed to doing all my grocery shopping at the farmer's market. I'll never go to a grocery store again if I can help it. However winter is pretty bleak here; only so much can be done with root vegetables and kale. So this year I have the foresight to preserve what I can while I can. This is a lot of firsts for me, growing up in California I though there was something incredibly wrong with any food that wasn't fresh from the ground. A few weeks ago I started out pickling the seeds from my nasturtiums, a.k.a. capers! These ones are still in the process of being pickled:

Next I began freezing raspberries and huckleberries by laying them out on a cookie sheet in the freezer and then bagging the frozen berries in gallon ziplock freezer bags. I also boiled about 15 ears of corn, cut off the corn kernels and froze them in the same method as the berries. The Silpat is an important piece of equipment for this. The corn especially wanted to stick to the pan when frozen, but the silicone sheet made it very easy to get the frozen corn off the pan and into the bag! Parchment paper would also work if a Silpat is not available.

I'm about to venture into the world of canning. I borrowed a pressure caner from a co-worker, and I'm camped out on my kitchen floor typing this while roasting 20 pounds of peppers in the broiler. Tonnemakers has an incredible display of peppers at the University farmers market. They grow about 150 different varieties and each week they have at least 40 different varieties for sale. I just grabbed a box and grabbed handfuls of as many different peppers as I could. Some are sweet, some are hot, some are somewhere in between and I have almost no idea which ones are which. The ones I do know are Anaheim, Scotch Bonnet, and Chocolate Cayenne (yum!!!). Some other names I remember but cant match to the pepper are Banana, Gypsy, Beaver Dam, Lipstick, Aji, Bulgarian Carrot... Anyway, this is what's goin' on:

The set up: peppers, tongs (for going in and out of the broiler), bowl with plastic wrap (to keep roasted peppers moist - easier for peeling), and Golden Glen chocolate milk (a key ingredient).