These are the days I don’t need any excuse to turn on the oven. There is a little chill in the air, and anything warm sounds good. My neighbor is somehow still bringing me tomatoes, although with every gallon he swears it is the last. Our CSA is winding down, and I don’t like that one bit. I certainly am not looking forward to food shopping on a regular basis again. In order to make this trip to town as infrequently as possible I have spent the past month stocking our freezers. I bought 18 whole chickens from one neighbor, and 40 pounds of salmon from a local woman who goes to Alaska every summer to fish. I hope to get a bunch of pork from another local farm that Tom has a barter with. (I LOVE that kind of business.) The cow that we bought back in the spring has been feeding us nicely too. You can say the barnyard – and the wide ocean blue – will be well represented on our plates as the months turn colder.
In anticipation of the upcoming holiday cooking season, I have also embarked on a thorough kitchen clean-out. I’ve rearranged some cabinets. Threw out a bunch of stuff I don’t remember buying. Took stock of ingredients: noting what we have a lot of (flour, chocolate chips, baking chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla), and also noting what we need to buy (sugar, wheat berries, olive oil, coconut oil). I like to run an efficient kitchen – especially at this time of year. I’m sure we will start pulling out the recipe books soon to plan Thanksgiving, Vincent’s and Tom’s birthdays, not to mention Christmas. Expect lots of updates and recipes in the coming 2 months. Anyway, here’s what’s been showing up on our table lately.
* Coconut Rice has been a nice warm snack in addition to an easy side dish. I make it by using 2 cups water and 1 cup coconut milk to 1 cup dry white rice. Prepare as usual. It comes nice and creamy. It is good topped with cinnamon and honey or with sea salt.
* My cure-all elixir has made its seasonal debut. It is great for whatever ails you, even if you just have a chill you can’t shake. Fill a mug with chicken stock, crush in half a garlic clove, add a liberal spoonful of coconut milk and a nice pinch of sea salt. When we are sick I also add crushed red pepper (for respiratory ailments), ginger (for stomach stuff) or lemon (for sore throats).
* Butternut squash soup is a fall staple here. I just had a wonderful version at a friend’s house: pureed butternut squash, roasted red peppers and coconut milk. She served it with brown rice, garnished with chopped nori. Oh it was good!
* Baked potatoes have been great to have in the refrigerator. I have been baking them in bulk (usually 10 at a time). We have them for dinner that night and then grab them for lunches and snacks later in the week. If there are any left on the weekend, they go in Sunday’s frittata.
* For nighttime snacks the boys have been having either hot cocoa (made with baking cocoa and agave) or hot milk with cinnamon alongside their toast. It is a little bit of warm goodness before we tuck them in at night.
* This is my mother-in-law’s apple cake recipe. It makes a big cake and just gets better the next day.
* Vincent’s new favorite recipe is the national dish of the Philippines: chicken filipino adobo. (Jude’s review: “It is so good!”) And although we haven’t tried it yet, if you browned the chicken first, I bet it would be yummy and oh-so-easy to do in the crock pot.
* My friend Jennifer made this pie for our Michaelmas celebration, and I am still dreaming about it. Normally, I am not a pie maker, but I may just have to amend my ways.
*This post by Rachel over at Clean has revolutionized my stock making. Keep the lid on! What a great simple tip!
*Tom reminded me of a soup we used to make when we were first married. It was called Dutch Farmer’s Soup. Saute a large onion in 3 tablespoons of butter in the bottom of a large soup pot. Cut a cauliflower, 3 medium potatoes and 4 large carrots into chunks. Add vegetables and 8 cups of chicken stock to pot and cook until vegetables are tender. Serve with thick slices of sourdough bread topped with melted, smoked gouda cheese.
What’s been cooking at your house lately? Do tell.