Showing posts from November, 2016

Brussels Sprouts Success!

For years, we’ve planted Brussels sprouts , but we’ve never managed to harvest more than just a handful of tiny sprouts , whether due to late planting, trouble with the weather, or greedy chickens and groundhogs.  Well, this year is finally different! The original Brussels sprouts we started from seed in the garden struggled in the drought, so we replaced them with transplants from a local nursery — I was lucky to find them, as these aren’t the world’s most popular vegetable. I only brought home a single six-pack, and we had decided that this would be the last year we devoted any space at all to a plant that was giving us such a poor return on the effort.  Along the way, groundhogs nibbled on the small plants, and we thought they were goners. They bounced back, and then the drought stunted everything in the garden. We thought they were done.  But by August we had small sprouts forming between the larger leaves, and I cut the tops of the stalks off to encourage the

Childhood Treat: Peanut Butter and Molasses

A week or two ago I had a conversation with someone about food, and she mentioned (for contextual reasons I no longer remember) Amish cooking in Indiana. Among the foods she described was peanut butter sweetened with molasses and served on brown bread.  This was described as something of a poor man’s lunch in our conversation, but I was taken immediately back to certain childhood lunches made for me by my grandmother: peanut butter and molasses sandwiches. I’ve written about some of the food traditions from my Pennsylvania Dutch childhood , but I had completely forgotten about this until it came up in that conversation.  Today I finally recreated one for lunch, and it was every bit as delicious as I remembered it being. Lest you scoff, I would point out that my grandmother served me this sandwich for the first time while explaining that she could never figure out what kids liked about peanut butter and jelly, a combination she described as “disgusting." Anywa

Preserving for Fall

After nearly losing our whole beet crop earlier this summer, we were so happy to harvest pounds and pounds of beets this weekend. We left some in the ground, where they should be fine as long as the ground doesn’t freeze. The first thing we did was roast a couple of pans  of beets with shallots, rosemary, and olive oil to get them ready for pickling : We also roasted a couple more pans without the seasoning, so we could peel and freeze them. The frozen beets can be used throughout the winter for tarts , brownies , and other goodies.  We also still have a whole crisper drawer full of beets that we haven’t done anything with — yet. After clipping some rosemary for the roast beets, I dug up our plant and potted it for the winter. In the past I have always held out hope that enough mulch would help it through, but it’s just too cold here in the winter for rosemary. It will sit in a sunny window until spring. By the way, if you attended my wedding you might re

Powering Down and Catching Up

If you’ve noticed I haven’t written at all this month, I apologize. And if you didn’t  notice, well, I can only assume that you were as consumed with current events as we have been. It has been an incredibly long — and, to our minds, disorienting and sad — week. None of that has been made any easier by the fact that we are still without heat. I mentioned it in passing in my previous post , and our furnace is still broken. This is no fun at all.  So far we have managed to muddle through with space heaters borrowed from generous friends, and the house hasn’t dipped below 50 degrees inside — yet. We are still anxiously waiting for National Grid to send a crew to put in a gas line so we can switch from oil to natural gas. This will all be incredibly expensive, though we do live in a state with an excellent rebate program for energy-saving upgrades. But if we have to replace a furnace, we figured we should at least get a better fuel choice in the bargain. In the meantim