Als ich wisse das Morgen der Erde enden wuerde, immernoch wurd ich mein Apfelbaum pflanzen.

Even if I knew the world would perish tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree. - Martin Luther

"Factory work's easier on the back, and I don't mind it, understand, but a man becomes what he does. Got to watch that. That's why I keep at farmin' although the crops haven't ever throve. It's the doin' that's important." Madison Wheeler in Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Last of the Harvest

We're still doing pretty well with not buying groceries.  So far, no one is really feeling deprived.  We've bought a handful of items (mostly for celebrations - birthdays and the Super Bowl), but have managed to keep our grocery buying pretty slim.  Since December 20th  - for regular, every day meals, I've bought ketchup, vegetable bullion, barley, brown rice, ranch dressing and one quart of almond milk - but the Woodsman really bought the milk, so do you think it counts?
I'm still enjoying going through what we've got.  The small freezer is finally empty enough that I can open it without fear of being attacked by frozen containers of leftovers, and I've worked my way through all of the winter squash with the exception of one giant Hubbard and one butternut.   
Another positive of limiting my grocery purchases is that it forces me to use the food I raised.  Recently, I wanted to make baked beans, but I was out of bagged dried cranberry beans.   So, I had to shell out the dry beans that have been waiting near the fire since October.
Boston Brown Bread, New England Baked Beans, Cabbage and Sweet Potato Coleslaw

New England Baked Beans

There are no real measurements for this recipe.  It's very much a dump and taste kind of affair.  I'm approximating here.
The night before soak several cups of dried beans (Jacob's Cattle or Vermont Cranberry work best here).  Then the next day add the soaked beans, a quart of tomatoes, mustard (a good squirt), maple syrup or molasses (about 1/2 c.), onions and garlic (to taste - can also use garlic and onion powder), a bit of ginger and a few cups of water.  It will be really soupy at this point - that's what you want.  Put it to bake in a covered deep dish casserole at a 325 oven.  It will need to bake for about 3 hours.  When the beans are tender, taste and adjust seasonings, then remove the lid and bake until the liquid has been absorbed.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

I'm also out of cornmeal, but I really wanted corn bread to go with my Chipolte beans.  So, I shucked the Bloody Butcher corn and buzzed it in the Vita Mix.  Within a few minutes I had gourmet, home grown corn meal.  Reading girl complained about the corn bread.  She wanted real corn bread (you know - the yellow kind).  I told her that this corn bread was about as real as it gets.

Bloody Butcher Dent Corn

Corn meal made in the Vita Mix

Grandpa's Skillet Cornbread (Not my grandpa mind you - I don't think either of them could even boil water) 

Add 2 T vegetable oil to a heavy duty cast iron skillet.  Turn the oven on to 425.  Put the skillet in the oven while it comes to temperature.  It will start to smoke (be careful not to let it get TOO hot). 

Mix together:
1 c. cornmeal
1 T baking powder
1 1/2 c. milk or water
1 c. flour (whole wheat works, but the corn bread is flatter)
1 t. salt
2 eggs

Pour this into the smoking skillet and bake for 18-20 minutes.  Serve with butter and honey.

This corn bread gets a crispy crust - much like pizza.  It's probably my favorite corn bread. 

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