posts tagged with 'food'

cider economics

For Backyard Farm Club yesterday folks came over to our house to press cider. We got through all the drop apples we've been saving—the ones that hadn't turned entirely into gross decay, that is—and bottled nearly three-quarters of a gallon of delicious appley goodness (then drank half of that, in very small servings, with our snack). With the pressings we did before that brings our total to around 1 1/2 gallons, worth $16.50 at Chip-In Farm prices! Or $12.00 if you go to Whole Foods (I don't even count the cheaper grocery store cider; if it isn't locally pressed it's kind of something different). Even if we take that Whole Foods price, that means we just need to produce 48 1/2 more gallons to break even on our equipment costs! Um, does anyone have any fruit they want pressed?

cider flowing out of the press into a jar

let the cider flow!

big milk

If it were up to me, the only milk I ever for would be Shaw Farm in glass bottles from Chip-In. Local, relatively humanely-raised cows; returnable bottles; supporting the most local business... what could be better? Only, those bottles only hold a quart and cost enough that I can never bear to buy more than three at a time, and our boys go through a lot of milk. Leah, who wants to make sure they never run short, fills in the gaps with half-gallons from other stores: Shaw Farm if they have it at Wilson Farm or Whole Foods, or store brand from wherever else she might be shopping. But even those can go pretty fast. So yesterday she brought home a gallon jug of Hood.

So yeah, a gallon is a big thing! All of us had some trouble pouring from the full container this morning, into oatmeal or tea. And many Americans buy multiples of these containers at a time? Maybe we don't drink that much milk, after all...

shrove pancakes

Tomorrow is the beginning of Lent. Lent is a church thing, of course, but the name means "spring", and as we move towards Easter we're also feeling more and more that spring is going to get here. We celebrated this evening with the traditional pancake supper: pancakes, sausages, and out-of-season berries. Such luxury! And there was even dessert for those that wanted it. Of course, now that it's snowy again actual signs of spring are more rare than they were at the beginning of last week when the kids were playing outside all day in bare feet. But this morning the first seedlings sprouted in our little nursery upstairs in the office, so whatever happens outside even our first week of Lent won't be without some new green life.

food is love

Zion's friend slept over Sunday night, which was exciting. He's a budding chef and enthusiastic about food, and our boys are always happy to eat, so as they planned it all out breakfast featured prominently. I don't know what we came up with Monday morning was all that they dreamed of, but I think it was fine to start off Valentines Day. There were pancakes and waffles, whipped cream, sliced strawberries and mashed strawberries, maple syrup and chocolate syrup, and scrambled eggs. Plus orange juice, cider, and tea. We all got quite full.

Not that we could even have been that hungry to begin with! For dinner the night before Leah had made BBQ-style chicken (and seitan), mashed potatoes, garlic bread, broccoli, and giant brownies. And we didn't let being stuffed slow us down later in the day when, for school, we made and decorated sugar cookies to go with the leftover brownies and the muffins our friends brought. But dinner, I promise you, was light.


It's eggnog season for the two of us in the house who enjoy eggnog. Not just any variety, though; only the stuff made by Shaw Farm over in Dracut. It's thick and rich, and it's just as well it's as expensive as it is because if you drink more than one small glass in a sitting you're going to be regretting it before too long. (I know. I tried it again this afternoon.) Except for overindulging we did the thing right, with freshly-grated nutmeg and everything. Harvey and I did, at least; for their post-yard work treat Zion and Elijah chose chocolate milk made with with Hershey's syrup. We can't all be exemplars of culture.

my favorite food (this month)

The best thing about August is tomatoes. We have about 20 tomato plants in our garden, between the regular ones and the cherries and the paste tomatoes, but the ones that really matter to me are the three Pruden's Purple plants. Because those big beefsteak tomatoes are perfect for the best food, the tomato sandwich.

a tomato sandwich


Sometimes people use a slice or two of tomato on a sandwich to add a little extra flavor or, you know, as decoration; occasionally tomato even makes it to co-headline status like in a BLT. But that's just because those folks haven't experienced the delight of a freshly picked Pruden's Purple (or Brandywine, or...) tomato, sliced thickly, on toast with plenty of mayonaise and a little salt. Yum. I confess this isn't my favorite time of year, what with the mold and rot and general decay that pervades the world. But the tomatoes make it worth living through.


foraging in the garden

It's starting to look like garden season around here. The office—the warmest spot in the house—is filling up with seedlings, the raspberries and blueberries are leafing out, and the kids' breath is heavily scented by chives and spring onions. But besides those alliums there's not a whole lot to eat out of the garden yet. But it's not nothing! I didn't pull the kale stalks in the fall (which the rabbits really appreciated, feeding on the insect-riddled leaves we left all winter long) and now the hard-working plants are putting out new bunches of leaves. And the paths between the beds, where I didn't cultivate in the fall, are popping up with volunteer arugula plants in between the weeds. Between those two things there were enough greens to make a little salad last night. Only, it was maybe a bit too little: Zion ate it all up himself. No worries: Harvey doesn't care for vinegar (balsamic is the only dressing for a baby kale and arugula salad!), and Elijah had a leaf or two which was all he wanted. As for me, I'll just keep on doing what I have been the last few days and browse straight off the plants!

it's Passover!

On Saturday, the first thing Elijah said after he got out of bed was, "It's Passover!" He wasn't the only one to be excited: I jumped right into the spirit of the holiday with a breakfast of scrambled eggs and matzo with jam. Then Harvey told us both that, actually Passover didn't start til Saturday at sundown. Oh yeah. Well, that's alright: it's a longish holiday anyhow, so an extra day probably won't signify.

We're not Jewish (that might jeopardize our careers in the Christian writing and pastoring field). But we all think that Passover is an important holiday to observe. As Leah says, it's the only holiday commanded in the Bible! Plus there's all the good food. Last year we did a Zoom seder with Leah's parents—our first experience of Zoom holiday celebrations. But they weren't feeling it this year, so we were on our own. Which means there were no haggadahs or anything, and also that our meal on the first night of Passover took 20 minutes rather than an hour and a half (if you think that's short, it's at least twice as long as our usual dinner times). Leah made all the food: haroset, eggs, and matzo ball soup; plus chocolate caramel matzo for dessert. It was a delightful, relaxed way to observe the holiday.

the boys sitting down to the Passover table

festive meal

talking turkey

Meal planning this week continues to be complicated—or maybe simplified?—by all the Thanksgiving leftovers. There's way more than usual: we cooked a whole turkey for the five of us, and we also got lots more turkey from the food swap with Leah's family. Then the same with all the other stuff. Good thing we all love turkey! After the initial Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday we had turkey and everything sandwiches for lunch on Friday and another Thanksgiving dinner for supper, and pretty much the same on Saturday (though our sandwiches were much simpler, since we brought them on our picnic). Saturday I did have to make new mashed potatoes. On Sunday evening Leah made us a beautiful turkey pot pie, but even that didn't use up all the turkey (its leftovers provided Monday's lunch). Supper Monday I switched things up a bit with spaghetti and meatballs, but today the turkey was back again, seared in the skillet with cajun seasoning to go in burritos. But even that wasn't the last of it! Not that I'm complaining, mind you! As I say, we love it. I think tomorrow I'll try turkey salad sandwiches.

perilous dessert

I like cooking, but I tend to make the same things over and over again. I guess mostly I don't like reading recipes. It's not really a problem—I make at least ten different dinners, so it's not like we have the same thing every night. And the desserts I do regularly are entirely satisfactory. Still, sometimes I envy the folks who crack a new cookbooks every couple of weeks and turn out exotic treats like chocolate cheesecake or lemon bars (to name two that I've thought of trying for five or six years now...). Yesterday, I was trying to think of something delightful I could create with the ingredients I had on hand, to make it up to the kids for working all morning and being grumpy, and I settled on dream bars—a thing that I've enjoyed tremendously at parties but never made myself. It turns out they're not hard at all, even if the recipe I used (mostly; I added chocolate) wasn't entirely what I was looking for. They're still quite good, though, which leads to a problem: I don't have any trouble controlling my consumption of the desserts I make all the time, but when there's something brand new in the house... watch out! I ate a few more dream bars than I should have in the name of "tasting". Yesterday that was maybe excusable; today not so much. And yet here we are. I guess I'll have to make them again so I get used to having them around!