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Category Archives: Share

Share is anything I’ve found that I want to share i.e. cookbooks, food, blogs.

A pumpkin beer tasting

I may begin to sound repetitive, but I have to say it-I love pumpkin. Even pumpkin beer. I’ve tried plenty over the years. You see, I fancy myself a beer “connoisseur”. Just kidding! I just like a good beer. My preferences are all over the place. If it tastes good, I’ll drink it. Porters, stouts, ales, IPAs, even a lager. So, of course I have to try pumpkin beer. Let me tell you, not all pumpkin beers are alike. Some don’t even have pumpkin! The brewers just put the spices in and call it pumpkin (spice) beer. Grrr.

I’m lucky. My little town grocery carries a wide variety of beers, from local brewed to imports. I was lucky enough to get three different pumpkin ales this year. (Actually,  four, but I don’t like the fourth one. Call me a snob.) The three beers I got to drink this year -and they do have a season. A very short season- were Post Road Pumpkin Ale, Buffalo Bill’s Brewery Pumpkin Ale, and Wooden Shoe Pumpkin Ale. That last one is actually brewed about 2 blocks away. Always gotta support the local businesses, right?

So, here are my tasting notes:

Post Road was by far my favorite. It’s a stronger-tasting ale, a little bitter, sort of like an Irish red ale. It has a pronounced pumpkin flavor, a slight sweetness, and a nice balance of spices.It’s like a pumpkin pie beer. Alcohol content 5%. Post Road is brewed by Brooklyn Brewery in Utica, NY.

Post Road Pumpkin Ale. My favorite

Buffalo Bill’s is a smoother ale, not very bitter at all. It’s pumpkin flavor is more subtle, as are the spices. It’s an easy drinking beer, almost like a lager. There’s hardly any aftertaste.  Alcohol content 5.2%. Buffalo Bill’s Brewery is located in Hayward, CA.

Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale. "America's first"

Wooden Shoe drinks like an English brown ale. It’s pretty smooth, with just a little bit and hardly any aftertaste. It’s pumpkin flavor is almost lost behind the spices, most notably, nutmeg. In fact, the label says it’s “an ale brewed with pumpkin, nutmeg, and spices.” So there you go. Alcohol content 5.5%.  Wooden Shoe Brewery is located in Minster, OH.

Wooden Shoe Pumpkin Ale. The local brew

If you can find pumpkin ales, I highly recommend you give them a try. Well, if you’re a beer drinker, that is. Pumpkin ales, despite being flavored, make a fine fall beer. They’re a little more hearty, and go with a variety of fall dishes. I had Buffalo Bill’s with a sauerbraten-style roast beef sandwich. You could also try them, instead of wine, with a cheese tray. They’d make a fine accompaniment to English-style cheddar, brie, or a tangy goat cheese.

And if you can find a local brewery, please give them a try.

 

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The Feast Nearby….and in my kitchen.

The Feast Nearby is a wonderful book by Robin Mather. The book’s subtitle, How I lost my job, buried a marriage, and found my way by keeping chickens, foraging, preserving, bartering, and eating locally (all on $40 a week), says it all. I identify, in my own way, with this book. I went through a divorce a few years back that left me with a mound of debt.Along the way to now, I was a room and went through bankruptcy. Now, I am proudly living on my own in my studio apartment (with not a single credit card).

I highly recommend this book.

I’ve begun to make my own food. I can’t really afford to eat out or buy certain things.I make things out of a desire to know what I’m eating, in addition to knowing that homemade food is a heck of a lot cheaper in many cases. Right now, the yeasty smell of bread rising fills my apartment. I’ve made bread on many occasions as well as crackers, broth, sauerkraut, pickles, relishes and pickles, canned countless tomatoes, and dried corn (for throwing into winter stews). I fill my pantry with dried pasta and beans. And spices. I always try to have on hand onions, garlic, potatoes, tinned tuna and some sort of cheese. I feel that with what I have on hand, I can whip up any number of meals.

Dried corn for winter

Later tonight, I plan to try my hand at chutney. I love Major Grey Mango chutney, but don’t often justify the purchase. I have plums. I’m going to try plum chutney. Wish me luck!

In the meantime, yesterday, I made zucchini relish. It’s quite similar in taste to cucumber relish, and is a great way to use that glut of zucchini. All it takes is patience to chop it fine. I use relish frequently on sandwiches and in salads. Try this.

Zucchini Relish

Zucchini relish

Ball Blue Book® guide to preserving

makes about 4 half-pints

  • 2 c chopped zucchini (about 3 medium)
  • 1 c chopped onion (about 1 medium)
  • 1/2 c chopped sweet green pepper (about 1 small)
  • 1/2 c chopped sweet red pepper (about 1 small)
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 1 3/4 c sugar
  • 2 tsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • 1 cup cider vinegar

Combine zucchini, onion, green and red peppers; sprinkle with salt; cover with cold water. Let stand 2 hours. Drain; rinse and drain thoroughly. Combine remaining ingredients in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil. Add vegetables; simmer 10 minutes. Pack hot relish into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust 2-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

After a long day on cleaning and canning, I made a dessert for my fella. He loves blueberry pie. So I made a blueberry crostada, a rustic pie. It is SO simple; I wanted to share it with you all.

Blueberry Crostata

Crostada, a rustic blueberry pie

from paninigirl.wordpress.com

Crust

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
  • about 1/4 cup ice water
  • 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar (for crust)

Mix flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Cut butter into cubes and toss with flour mixture. With a fork or pastry blender, cut butter into the flour until it’s the size of small peas. Mix the water in by the tablespoon until the dough comes together. Form the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Filling

  • 1 pint blueberries, washed, stems removed
  • zest of one lemon, grated
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Dry off blueberries and toss in a bowl with, lemon zest, sugar and flour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Roll out crust into circle. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Spoon berries in to the center of the dough, leaving a 2″ border around the edge. Fold dough up around the berries. Brush edge with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Place in pre-heated oven and bake for about 40 minutes, until the crust is browned and the filling is bubbling. Remove from oven and cool on rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream. Happy Summer! Serves: 4-6

Fun things from days gone by…

Women, do your part!

One of my favorite things, outside of cooking, is all things 1940s. I have been in love with that era for as long as I can remember. It probably has something to do with my grandfather. I adored him. When I was young, he used to tell tales of serving in the Army in the Philippines. Nothing horrible, mind you, just funny tales. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with the music of that time (I’m listening to Benny Goodman right now. Thank you, Pandora), as well as the clothes, movies, books, cars…you name it.

Health For Victory!

So, imagine my giddyness when I came across these goodies in an antique store. These Health For Victory booklets were produced by Home Economics Institute, Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Co., Mansfield, Ohio. My booklets are from 1943, July, November and December. I’ve not found any information as of yet on the internet about how many of these were produced or for how long. I imagine things like this were made all over the country. Produced during the height of the war, these little magazines were designed to help housewives make the best of what they had, what with the rationing and all. They reminded you to remember the other customers at the butcher shop, AND our boys. They asked that you save your fats. They told you to make sure and eat from one of the seven (!) food groups to get everything you need for energy, presumably so you could work in the Victory garden or run a scrap drive. In case you are wondering, the seven groups are: 1) green & yellow vegetables, 2) oranges, tomatoes, grapefruits & greens, 3) potatoes and other fruits & vegetables, 4) milk & milk products, 5) meat, poultry, fish & eggs, 6) bread, flour & cereals, 7) butter & fortified margarine. I’m not sure which group contains vitamin “Z”.

Vitamin "Z"...for Zest!

Naturally, they give you pointers on alternate forms of protein, being as meat was strictly rationed. Soybeans seemed to be their go-to protein. Soy, in various forms, appears all over these booklets. From soybeans to soya flour, it shows up everywhere. Desserts, main dishes, and beverages…nothing is off limits. Imagine Soya Cocoa?

Soy. It's what's for dinner.

 

 

 

 

 

I have to be honest, I’ve not tried any of the recipes out of these particular booklets, save for a kidney bean sandwich filling (which also happens to be similar to a tavern salad from New England). I really can’t get behind Jellied Chicken Salad or Soya Cream Soup. I mostly look at these magazine for the historic and humor value. Even Santa gets in on the act. Gotta love the illustrations. I bet some of the tips and ideas could come in quite handy, given our economic state.

To speed our boys home!

Eh....I don't know...

 

Food is the mightiest weapon of them all

Sorry the photography is horrible. I’m new at this and I use an old camera. Anyhow, here’s the bean salad sandwich filling for those of you daring enough to try it. Enjoy!

Red Kidney Bean Sandwich Filling

From Health For Victory Meal Planning Guide, December 1943

  • 2 c. cooked beans, well drained and pressed through a colander (although you could leave them whole if making a side)
  • 2 Tbsp pickle relish
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Paprika (to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise

Mix well and spread on buttered bread-rye, whole wheat or soya. Makes 6 sandwiches.

 

 

Ohio maple syrup

I’m not sure anyone knew this, but Ohio is home to sugar maple groves. Canada and New England, yes, but Ohio? I certainly was unaware until I moved here. Back then, I’d heard about some in Eastern Ohio. Well, OK, that’s Appalachian country. That sort of makes sense. Then, about a year ago, I found out there are some right here in Western Ohio. Like, next-to-Indiana Western Ohio. Who knew. It’s not really the first thing that comes to mind. Actually, this is corn and soybean territory.

Anyway, about a year ago I was talking to a regular customer at Lowe’s (where I work) and somehow the conversation made it’s way to maple syrup…his maple syrup. This guy is a contractor. Color me surprised. I told him right then and there that I wanted to buy some. Ever since I tried real maple syrup (from Canada), I never went back to the maple-flavored corn syrup from the grocery. Yech.

So, Woody (my maple syrup producing buddy) sold me 2 half-pints. It was all he had left. Yum! It rather good! So much so that I’ve been rationing it so it would last until this year’s maple season. Yep, there is a season. It’s right about February and March. It just about the time the weather starts to warm up enough to get the sap flowing when the trees are tapped. Above freezing during the day, and below at night. Then there’s the process of making it. Boil down the sap over a wood fire until you have syrup. (info courtesy Ohio Maple Producers Association http://www.ohiomapleproducers.com/)

I’m waiting on my quart (or more) as we speak…er, type.

Little Sugars Maple Farm half pint

But wait, there’s more! Not only is Woody’s Little Sugars Maple Farm a local producer of tasty maple syrup, they also offer maple cream (something new I plan on trying. I’ll let you know) and raw honey.

I am determined to spread the word on this local treat, not only to help out a small farm owner, but to spread the word of great local products.

For anyone that is interested, here is the info:

Little Sugars Maple Farm

Anna, Ohio

937.394.3013

Syrup Prices

  • half pint $5.00
  • pint          $9.00
  • quart       $17.00

Honey

  • bears       $2.50
  • pound     $4.00
  • pint          $7.00

Maple cream

  • 3oz.         $3.50
  • 9oz.         $7.00

Give him a call….

Some current faves

Just a few of the many.

Just a (kinda) quick post about some of my favorite cookbooks of the moment. I say “of the moment” because it is ever changing.

1) Beginner’s Guide to Preserving Food at Home by Janet Chadwich

Awesome for those just getting into preserving food. Has some great tips not only for canning, but also freezing and cellar-ing.

2) The Farm Chicks in the Kitchen by Teri Edwards & Serena Thompson

Not only does it have great recipes (granola, pies), it has decorating and gift ideas. Plus The Farm Chicks are straight outta Mead, WA.

3) Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Soloman. Have you ever wanted to make your own potato chips, buttermilk dressing, crackers, marshmallows, jerky, or butter? This is the book for you. Well, it is for me as I am interested in things like that. What’s more, Ms Soloman is coming out with another book this summer called Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It. Guess who’s pre-ordering.

4) Farm to Fork by Emeril Lagasse.

I know how some feel about Mr. Lagasse. I’ll tell you though, this book has some tasty recipes. Tuscan Kale and White Bean Ragout was the last recipe I made from the book, and it was delish! Check out the recipes for Kosher Dills. Yum! I WILL be trying the recipe for Honey Vanilla Goat’s Milk Ice. Because you all know how much I love goat cheese.

5) The All New Joy of Cooking

Need I say more. This book , in various editions, has been around since our grandmother’s time. A real go-to book for how to cook almost anything. I refer to it often.