Friday, October 28, 2011

I've been posting so much about food lately, I decided to share some other projects. Here are some crochet projects I've done lately; a hat and a necklace. I was very happy with the hat; I'm going to experiment more with this type of necklace to find the best combo of yarns structurally as well visually.

The super-popular this year, mohawk hat, on my friend Bubha John. I got the free pattern on Ravelry , thanks, Hannah, although I crochet the same way I cook, because this is a knitted pattern that I managed to adapt.


the Crochet Necklace
The weather is cooling. Time for winter soups. The soup I'm posting today is a great way to use leftover parts of veggies that might otherwise get tossed. I grew some dent corn this summer; in Seattle, can you believe it? I got it from a local supplier, Uprising Seeds,  a 100% organic seed company,and was pleasantly surprised to find that it not only grew well, but didn't get all the buggy pests I fought with in the South. In this recipe, I have removed the kernals from the cobs for other recipes and am boiling the cobs in the stock which gives the soup a pleasingly light corn flavor. The other second use ingredient is fennel. Fennel bulbs are yummy, but it's a shame to throw away the stalks and fronds, and so this is how I made use of them. This is a veloute style soup. It has only a few ingredients, but takes a bit of time to make.

Sadly, we devoured the soup before I thought to take a photo, so I appropriated a photo of corn and fennel from a fellow blogger, the Vegetarian Chickie, because there must be some sort of photo on a post; but now I feel guilty using someone else's photo, so go check out her fennel and corn recipe! It lookes pretty yummy. You get two recipes for the price of one.

This is my recipe for Fennel, Corn and Fish Soup:

8 cups of broth, I used turkey
2 corncobs, cut in two, so they will fit into the pot
stalks of 1 head of fennel chopped into 1" chunks
1 large potato, 2 would make a thicker soup, cut into chunks
10 oz. salmon, cut into cubes, or flavorful fish of choice
1/4 cup fennel fronds, finely chopped
2 cups greens, I used assorted weeds from the yard, nutritious

First I simmered the corn cobs in the broth for a couple of hours. I suppose this could be done in a slow cooker, but I did it on the stove with a lid, so the liquid doesn't evaporate too much. Once the cobs had a bit of a tranlucent look, I fished them out and they went to the compost pile. Next I added the fennel stalks and simmered for about another hour, I left the bigger chunks which had softened up, but fished out the thinner tougher bits as they stay pretty tough, but have left their flavor. Add the potato, and simmer until just tender. Add the chopped greens and leave for about 3 more minutes. Remove the soup from the heat and allow to cool some before putting in the blender. Return the soup to the pot and reheat to a simmer, adding the fish. When the fish is looking done, add chopped fennel fronds.

Some possible additions for serving might be a dollop of sour cream or yogurt, or a pesto. For vegans, you could possibly use vegetable broth and tempeh instead of fish, but I think it will be a blander soup, you might want to add some carrots or corn kernals for more flavor. I personally never follow a recipe to the letter, experiment.

 Let me know if you liked it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

September, for me, was blackberry month. Blackberries were late coming this year and then they hung around for a long time. yippee!

I made a full size batch of blackberry wine which is in the carboy fermenting. Last year I only got to make a small batch, so that was first on my list this year.

I also made a small batch of blackberry mead, using a recipe from First Ways blog, which is an excellent blog with photos and step by step instructions.

I also made a pie, of course, but having already done pies and jams during salmonberry and raspberry season, I was looking for some variety. I made a blackberry chutney, that tasted alot like cranberry sauce; so I froze some for Thanksgiving. Made a recipe from Martha Stewart for blackberry/red wine jello.
A blackberry cheesecake.

By then I'd had about as much sugar as I could swallow, I don't have a huge sweet tooth, so I tried some less sweet ideas. Blackberries added to oatmeal. Blackberries added to my kombucha (shown next to the raspberry kombucha made last month)

I re-use glass jars cause I don't like to use plastic.

Blackberry kefir smoothie; which did have some honey.

And then I decided to try some non-food ideas.
Blackberry ink, which is the juice with some salt to preserve it. I'll post some pics once I get creative with it.

And finally, I'm trying out using it as a dye, although the sites I found said that the color will wash out and brown out with washing and light exposure, but it seemed like a shame not to try to capture some of that gorgeous color!

After all that, I still have a couple of containers of berries frozen for deep winter when I will crave a warm pie.

I understand why people don't like the blackberry vines here, as they are very invasive, grow fast and the thorns are not fun. The Blackberry Goddess demands payment in blood! The berries are wonderful, though.
So far, I don't have much competition in picking them; all this was from a half block area at the end of my street. I noticed the hazelnut bushes after the season had passed by a couple of weeks, next year I'll have my eye out for those, too. You can never have too much free food!