Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Corn - 2019


15 July

First "Our Own" corn of the season! This ear came from Dick Kelly's Family Farm in Upton, MA. This was very good. The early corn isn't the best. But of course I'm always excited about fresh local corn. It's late this year. After such a cold wet spring pretty much everything is a week behind.

I haven't been blogging much. I retired almost 2 years ago now. I've never been happier in all my life! But...while I have my (satisfying) routine I really don't do anything interesting. It's nice to have time to keep a clean house but is that anything to blog about?

I fully board L at a farm barely 2 miles away. We don't train anymore. Well. Of course it's all training all the time and I try to make sure she knows she's the horse. But we don't vigorously train and we don't compete anymore. Mostly we just do ground work and pony ride. Fully boarding her was a huge adjustment!

With more time on my hands I'm trying to do an occasional road trip. Tour old favorites and discover some new places.

I'm thrilled with retirement although it's sad in a way. There was a time I thought what I did was just the greatest thing in the world. And then...I think it was along about the time 50 hour work weeks became expected of professionals I started becoming unhappy. Then when being connected 24/7 became normal, conference calls at 11:00 at night and reading email in bed got brushed off as nothing I'd had enough.

You know, it wasn't supposed to be like this. Back in the 1960s we well and truly believed technology would make us so productive full time jobs would be 30 hour work weeks. That our greatest challenge would be fulfilling our free time with recreational pursuits. Of course we also thought cars would fly by now. And electricity would be free. And nobody would go hungry.

I'm very happy I'm not a young professional trying to build a career today! I haven't missed my work for not even a single minute!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Winter 2018 - 2019

We had barely 10 inches of snow, grand total, most of the season. There were a couple of bitterly cold days in January. Below 0. Maybe 2 or 3 days. I don't mind the snow so much but I really hate the cold!

It wasn't all that bad overall. I never did get out my quilted Carhartt overalls. Or my sheepskin hat. That's my real measure of how bad the winter was!

We had barely any plowable snow until 12 February.

12 February

Oh. Pretty enough. Not much of it. It does have a certain cozy charm. Nice day for hot chocolate!

And then, interestingly, on 3 March, 5 inches of snow was forecast. The snow hadn't even started at 11:00 pm and then, by 6:00 am, 4 March, we had this!

4 March

It really must have been snowing to beat the band! I'd guessed it was maybe 12 to 15 inches of snow fell in what was, at the most, 7 hours. That's a pretty good steady rate.

Turned out to be 18 inches

Of course it's not over yet. We have plenty of severe wintry weather in March and April but the worst of it is over. And it never ever goes below 0 after the first week of March!

And I did manage to make lots of soup this season. That was a goal!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Mushroom Soup

I'm not crazy about the wintertime. I don't mind snow so much but I *really* hate the cold.

The only two redeeming things about wintertime are rich hot soups and all kinds of comfort food. Last year I was off my soup game. I'm not sure why really. I was distracted sure. Between farm work and the ice I just hadn't fixed soup like I'd wanted to.

This year I was determined not to have that happen again and have made soup frequently. Lentil and cabbage soup are probably my favorites. Tortellini soup is right up there and of course there's always chicken soup. And here in New England there are all kinds of chowders.

And then there's this.

Wild Rice and Mushroom soup

I made this a week or so ago and I swear it's just about the best soup ever. I'd made a vegetarian Bolognese with mushroom duxelles and I had some leftover mushrooms. Here, loosely adapted from a recipe by Martha Rose Shulman appearing in the NY Times:

Ingredients (serves 2):
  • 1/2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Half a medium onion, chopped
  • One carrot, sliced
  • One celery rib, sliced
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup Minnesota wild rice
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth (no salt added, I used homemade)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 t thyme, 1/2 t parsley, 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • Cider vinegar, to taste, a t or two
It looks like a long list of ingredients but this is easy. I don't do anything that's hard.

  • Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in 1/3 cup boiling water from a kettle for 30 minutes or so. Strain and reserve the liquid for later. Some people run the liquid through some cheesecloth or a coffee filter. I don't bother.
  • Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onions, carrots and celery and sauté until they soften, maybe 5 minutes.
  • Add the sliced mushrooms to the saucepan. With a pinch of salt. Cook them over high heat until they start to soften, maybe 3 minutes or so. Reduce the heat and add the garlic. When the garlic is fragrant, after a minute or two, add the thyme and the parsley. Stir to combine.
  • Add the wine and reduce to at least half over high heat. Add the reserved porcini mushroom water. Add the chicken stock, water, and bay leaf, bring to a boil.
  • Add the re-hydrated porcini mushrooms, wild rice, bring back to a boil reduce to a simmer. Simmer for an hour, covered.
  • Add the peas.
Season the soup to your liking. I splash in the cider vinegar at serving time. Best soup I've had in a very long time!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Boring winter!

This has been a *very* boring winter.

I fell off my horse in December just before Christmas and broke a rib. Oh that hurt like hell! I'm getting a little too old for that and I don't heal as fast as I used to. I've been way off my game. I think I'm just going to have to start using a saddle...as much as that disappoints me.

Of *course* it was my fault. We'd had a good ride and we were cooling off just shuffling around and...*boom* she's off and running for her life. Leaving me in a heap. I got caught off guard and yes I know better. Ain't that always the case. I used to be pretty good at falling off a horse but now? Not so much.

We've had a couple of *really* cold days but not hardly any snow. Sloppy ice storm a week or so ago. As much as I hate the wintertime a blizzard would be exciting right about now. At least...this time of year...it has a certain charm that's hard to describe.

Speaking of which. I pack in Chef Boyardee ravioli and Beefaroni for my "storm" food. In case we lose power for any length of time. At least I'll have a lantern, a book and my Chef Boyardee for the duration. But. It came to my attention some time ago that Chef Boyardee ravioli and Beefaroni use HFCS! And no. I do *not* knowingly eat HFCS.

But...thanks to FoodTalkCentral this also came to my attention! Throwback recipe!

Yes, it uses sugar and no, it's not like I eat a lot of this stuff. I don't think added sugar is good for you either. But hey, with this stuff in the pantry I might just look forward to a power failure!

A childhood favorite! And still a guilty pleasure.
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