Thursday, August 3, 2017

Abundance, a one week diary of a mad woman

Abundance:  Isn't it what we hope for when we plant our tiny little seeds in the earth in spring or in Colorado really late spring and early summer.  I'm always hopeful and impractical to think that I can plant as early as I do and then I find myself covering my seedlings many nights so they don't freeze.
This year we had at least a dozen of these nights including 6 inches of snow at times. So I am extremely grateful that I have any harvest at all much less an abundance of one.
root vegetables
At the end of one manic week I have 4 pint jars of peach jam
4 pint jars of lavender jelly
 a pint of lavender syrup
a goat cheese ricotta lemon thyme and lavender tart
a 3 pound wheel of cheddar cheese
1 quart of S'mores goat milk ice cream
4 pints of zucchini pickles
2 country loaves of butternut squash bread
4 quarts of corn stock
4 stuffed zucchini with roasted corn vinaigrette
6 pints of corn salsa  
lots of zucchini and tomatoes

one week later

My cheesemaking friends decided we'd get together again to make peach jam.  The peaches from the western slope of the Rocky Mountains, called the Palisades grows the state's best peaches.  With that inspiration I decided to make a trial run batch to prepare for our "jamming" day.  I use a great little cookbook called Food in Jars for my basic recipes.  This batch has a peach pie flavor with added cinnamon and nutmeg but next week we will do just pure Colorado Palisades peaches and sugar:
peach jam mise en place

California and Colorado peaches
peaches cut and in the pan
with the sugar, spices and now ready for the jars
Since my canning book was open and I had some zucchini on the counter I flipped through the pages to find my zucchini pickle recipe and continued to process four more pints.

On that same day I was in a hunt for a cookbook that I wanted to use and while in my kitchen library ran into great old favorite: From the Earth to the Table Well my first thought was that with the internet who needs a cookbook anymore but as I thumbed through this book I went a little mad - truly I think I've lost my mind.  But for those who know me I absolutely LOVE to cook.  This little recipe jumped out at me called "Winter squash bread".  Since I had a butternut squash in my cold room (from last year's harvest) I had to make this the next day:
two boules ready for the oven
out of the oven

pretty right?
From the Earth to the Table- my inspiration
goat cheese ricotta with lemon thyme and lavender tart
Well then the recipe: Ricotta tart with lemon thyme caught my eye.  I had some goat cheese ricotta in the fridge since my last batch of cheesemaking and thought adding lavender to the tart would be a fabulous idea.

OK  Now that I had picked one branch of lavender and I had plenty ready to harvest in the garden I decided to make a good lavender tea infusion and try my hand at lavender jelly.  Brad has a vendor in his Seattle Farmer's Market that sells this little taste of heaven.   His girls and I are going to make some when I visit next time but why not do a trial run? Today?  I had a little lavender syrup left so I plopped that in the giant canning pot too:

lavender syrup and jelly

OK  Back to John Ash's book.  Well I have tons of zucchini and have used my favorite recipe several times now so yes there is a fabulous stuffed zucchini recipe in this book too:
I started with the vinaigrette - roasted corn
Roasted corn vinaigrette, mise en place
everything but the roasted corn
roasted corn vinaigrette
stuffed zucchini, mise en place

zucchini boats
eggplant and tomatoes ready to roast

stuffing ingredients
zucchini stuffed and ready for the broiler

stuffed zucchini with green salad and roasted corn vinaigrette

So now I was ready to put the book back on the shelf until I remembered that the Western Slopes Olathe corn was so delicious and also in abundance.  I went back to the book and found a recipe for corn stock - 16 ears of corn added to sautéed onions, celery, carrots and some chili.  So I bought 24 ears of corn, used 16 for the stock and decided to go back to my Food in Jars book and find a good tried and true corn salsa recipe.  Besides I just picked my first tomatoes.  I grilled the last 8 ears of corn along with some poblano chilies in preparation for one more day of food prep and canning
Roasted corn salsa:
corn salsa ingredients
OK now the book IS back on the shelf.  All the stockpots and knives are washed and put away but look there are another 10 pounds of tomatoes and all of these:
miles to go before I rest 

All of this and I managed to get in 40 miles of walking and 20 hours of work
I HAVE lost my mind

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