Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tuesday, August 28: Day 28

Lots of activity today. The biggest thing is probably that the Wisconsin State Journal ran a front page article about our experiment. They came to the house to chat about what we've learned and to take some pictures of us working in the kitchen. The article includes many of the resources that inspired or informed us, and we're hoping some more people will give this a try in whatever way makes sense for them.

Jen made tortillas this morning. In a very uncharacteristic move, she read the instructions carefully, and it was well worth it--by far the best tortillas we've made so far. I am officially fired as tortilla maker. Here she rinses the corn after it has soaked overnight in the lye bath to dissolve the seed coats and soften the kernels.

Later in the morning we went raspberry picking at Blue Skies Berry Farm. We learned from the owner that, "if you take care of your soil, your soil will take care of you." What she meant was that thanks to the many improvements they have made to the quality of their soil and their drainage, they were able to withstand 16 inches of rain in 2 weeks and lose nothing more than a few rows of beets and carrots.
We got a mix of orange and red berries. We're drying some, eating some fresh, and putting up some puree to fight off scurvy in the dark of winter.

In the afternoon, Jen and Evie, along with some neighborhood friends, stomped the grapes we gleaned from the neighborhood. Jen then made them into delicious grape jelly—for consumption after the experiment due to its refined sugar content.

Today's menu:

Breakfast: Toast and cider.

Lunch: Tortillas with cheese and a red chile sauce I threw together with tomato, jalapeno, onion, garlic, herbs, and vinegar.

Gnocchi with italian sausuage and swiss chard. The gnocchi were a bit dense due to the fact that I have not found any starchy potatoes yet--mostly still seeing waxy boiling/roasting potatoes. And the whole wheat flour probably contributed, too. But we did have real-live sheep's milk ricotta to make them with. Dessert was (what else?) raspberries and whipped cream.

We made a great new friend while berry picking at Blue Skies:

Frogs are considered excellent indicators of toxicity in the environment because they absorb everything through their skins. This guy was perched way up near the top of the foliage in a shady spot—I can't imagine how he got all the way up those prickly canes without getting cut to ribbons. But I will take him to be a sign of good things happening at Blue Skies. We nestled into the rows along with so many honeybees and bumblebees that the buzzing was constant (and soothing). With happy wildlife, robust and resilient soil, and a plentiful and delicious crop, I'd say they are onto something.



Vanessa said...

Welcome to the world of food blogs and local eating. We eat local as much as possible but we haven't eliminated the items that are not available (flour, salt, vanilla, spices, citrus, COFFEE, chocolate..etc) but by thinking about it each and every day we certainly make a difference. I've been blogging about this for almost a year now so check it out at http://www.whatgeekseat.com. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

got a feeling you must have read Nourishing Traditions! This sounds great.
Are you still having problems grinding grains? We use a kenwood grain mill and it doesn't seem to take too long. We also sprout our wheat (it used to sprout naturally in the fields before combine harvesting ... and is far more nourishing when sprouted). I just take a huge pan, soak the grains over night and then put a lid on and wait for them to sprout (which happens really quickly.) I do rinse it about once a day, but it works to use a pan that has a fitted strainer inside it for easy draining (like a pasta pan). I then empty it into a few large glass dishes in the conservatory, or the sun (with muslin over) and let it dry out. We use the radiators in the winter, but I tend to try to sprout a 25kg bag of grain, dry it and store it, all at once. Smells great! We get round buying yeast by using the sour dough method. My friend is very religious and has gleaned a sour dough method from the bible which uses potatoes as a starter. You just keep a ball of dough and incorporate it into your next batch. There are some very long winded and involved sour dough techniques ... this is certainly not one of them. Can give more info if you want it.
I'm a bit afraid of lime water for corn soaking. Tell me more please. I don't want to have to buy the expensive stuff that I can only import from the USA and I live in a limestone paradise ... just need the confidence, and then I can enjoy more corn.

Love your site!

meewt said...

I see your like of gnocchi. Back when I gardened extremely I had way too much swiss chard and learned to be very creative - mixing it with ricotta for gnocchi-like things. Strozzapreti I'm told it's called (swiss chard replaces spinach nicely here). Here's a recipe I just found: http://topchefs.chef2chef.net/recipes-2/lidia-bastianich/strozzapreti_priest_chokers.htm