Tuesday, November 9, 2010

destroyer and preserver (if winter comes, can spring be far behind?)

the first freeze hit last night. not some piddly light frost--a hard freeze.

everything non-hardy died. cosmos, nasties, ground cherries, borage, morning glories, tomatoes, pole peas...

i was ready for it to happen. and so grateful for what was basically an extra month of summer.

none of the ground cherries ripened, but i hope that if i leave them in their sheaths maybe some of them will eventually be edible.

i pulled up my first three fall radishes:

and cut a bunch of kale:

i wish i had more energy to cook right now. i’ve been sick since last thursday, totally exhausted and achy and feverish--feeling better now but still not 100%. i’m missing out on veganmofo.

i did make some candied acorns, inspired by the book “stalking the wild asparagus.” it’s an intense process making these things edible. you have to boil them for two hours, changing the water often, then dry them in the oven. i covered them in a cinnamon-sugar glaze. they still don’t taste good. the book says they’re similar to chestnuts, my absolute least-favorite nut, so i probably should’ve known i wouldn’t like them, but i had to try anyway.

winco had beautiful organic basil for $1/oz, and i figured this would be my last chance to freeze a batch of pesto with nice fresh basil before it’s completely out of season and cost-prohibitive.

i didn’t follow a recipe, just threw in 4oz. basil, a couple handfuls of cashews, six cloves of garlic, a drizzle of lemon juice, about a quarter cup of nutritional yeast and a good splash of olive oil. it’s gooood.

the pesto became part of a little make-myself-feel-better lunch, along with some butternut squash soup and roasted squash seeds. for the soup i altered a moosewood collective recipe. here’s a rundown:

1 small butternut squash
2 apples, diced
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 ¼ cup veggie broth
1 cup soymilk
cumin, salt & pepper to taste

cut the squash in half, remove seeds and goop, place it in a lightly oiled baking dish cut sides down, cover, bake at 350 for an hour. meanwhile, boil the apples, potatoes and carrot in the broth for about half an hour, or until everything is tender. after the squash cools down a little, scoop out the insides, combine with all remaining ingredients and blend until very smooth. i used an immersion blender, it worked fabulously.

i garnished with vegan sour cream, a sprinkle of paprika and some fresh chives from the garden. i’m kinda proud of the sour cream. i looked up recipes and couldn’t find anything that didn’t call for silken tofu (which i didn’t have on-hand), so, knowing that apple cider vinegar thickens and curdles soymilk, i tried a food science experiment:

i combined half a cup of soymilk, a tablespoon of lemon juice, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a pinch of salt, then blended for a few minutes, working in plenty of air bubbles (again with the hand-held blender). then i sealed it in a container in the fridge for about four hours. when i took it out it had separated, with a nice, creamy, thick sour cream-like layer on the top. i poured off the liquid from underneath. the faux sour cream was pretty sour eaten alone (maybe too much lemon juice), but on top of that soup it was perfect.

some marauding teenagers tossed a nice-sized pumpkin at my mailbox. when life gives you pumpkins, make...pumpkin oatmeal cookies. and roasted pumpkin seeds. first i dealt with the seeds, then i cut slices of pumpkin meat and baked them to make pumpkin puree. i basically followed this recipe for the cookies, but it’s a little off. 2/3 cup of oil is outrageous--i used ½ cup and that still seemed like way too much. i should’ve followed my instincts and substituted with some soymilk. they turned out tasty, though. i threw in dried cranberries and raisins rather than walnuts and raisins. thanks so much for the pumpkin, you generous little hooligans.


GoneferalinID said...

We were completely frosted over this morning as well. Think of it as wiping the slate clean for the next growing season. I made an eww face when I read acorn. Aren't they really alkaline?
Wonderful photos of dead stuff;)

Emily said...

haha, yeah, they're pretty awful. i ate a nibble of one raw and it was super bitter. the process of boiling for 2hrs and changing the water every time it discolors is supposed to leach out the bitter tannins, but it also leaches out the sweetness. so what i ended up with was mildly bitter, yucky textured and not at all appetizing.

geekette said...

ugh. spoon, i am NOT a fan of the cold...ooh! i made a new blog for my doodles...like, 10 minutes ago!

when are we going to go a knittin?

Shari said...

I love my Moosewood cookbook!
That soup looks amazing. I'm going to have to try it.

Emily said...

geekette--i don't like the cold either, spoony. let's learn how to hibernate. i'm texting you now about the knittin'.

shari--let me know how it goes with that soup!