Saturday, March 31, 2012

A new menu

I have been a little behind on sharing menus. (Sorry Jenny... :)). It's getting to the tough part of the year to be inspired about eating. The first harvests are not all that far away, but we're still in the dregs of what's in the cellars—or forced to eat produce from the other side of the continent and beyond. It's also the time of year when the lull of January and February, when we stay home for a few weekends, has subsided. Schedules pick up, and every extra moment that isn't stolen by my paying job should be devoted to catching up on my garden chores. As always, I'm so far behind, I'll never catch up. Sigh.

On the menu

On the bright side, here's next week's menu, and it mostly means we don't need to stop at the grocery store this week.

  • Sat: Chick pea salad with feta, parsley and lemony dressing
  • Sun: Chicken stew
  • (Meatless) Mon: Lentil soup and a big salad with bleu cheese dressing
  • Tues: leftovers
  • Wed: Roasted cauliflower with parsley pesto, roasted peppers and black beans
  • Thurs: Garlic shrimp over wilted spinach
  • Fri: headed up to Northport... veggies and black bean puree in the truck
  • Saturday: something grilled in NP
Lunches: leftover soup and stew
Breakfast: yogurt, fresh juice, smoothies

Testing a juicer: Jack LaLanne's

Speaking of breakfast, we just got a juicer. They were on sale at Costco, and since I've been contemplating it for 15 years, I decided to just get one and try it. So far I have found:
  • It takes a lot of carrots to make 2 glasses of juice
  • It's probably great for my compost, but eventually I'll feel wasteful tossing all that pulp
  • Garlic in the morning is not so much the ticket
  • Carrots, spinach, lemons and celery taste a lot like V8 without the tomatoes and make a bracing but energizing breakfast

Speaking of breakfast... yogurt experiments

I have been in the last 3 months pretty much making all of our yogurt at home. I read something about a favorite milk producer giving in to Monsanto feed, and said EFF IT, I'm going to figure out how to make my own yogurt and cheese so I can buy milk from a neighbor I can trust.

So, for the moment, I'm getting all my milk from Hilhof Farms (via the health food store in town) until I can find a good dairy share where I can get cow's milk and goat's milk. And, here's what I'm learning:
  • The first few times went great. Heat up the milk to about 140, cool to about 100, mix in jars with live yogurt culture, and let sit in the oven with the pilot on overnight. 
  • The second few times..... not sure what happened. Flavor is great, but texture is too liquid. Either I'm not heating it enough, or the culture is weakened. We'll experiment with adding an actual bacterial culture to see what happens.


We'll use basic Cook's Illustrated recipes to make the lentil soup. I think I learned the Chick Pea Salad recipe from a Bon Appetit about a year ago. As always, props to Hilhof and Creswick Farms for our dairy and meat, and to the regular old grocery industry for the rest. I can't wait until we're more self-sufficient. I'm anxious to be in charge of my own food.

Now I better get to starting seeds, for real.

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