Monday, December 31, 2012
( Polenta with braised kale and marinara~isn't it gorgeous ?)
So, here it is. The final post of this year. New Year's Eve. It's been a crazy year, on so many levels, that I cannot begin to write about it. lol
But I have cooked. and I have gardened and I have made it through good times and bad times and all the times in between. Sometimes with help, sometimes alone. We had a severe drought in this part of the country, and the farmers lost crops and our garden did admirably well (though not as good as usual, maybe). And that was only because we have raised beds which conserve water, we mulch like there's no tomorrow, and we garden organically so our plants are healthier and stronger to begin with. And I couldn't help but think (about the drought and the farmers) that all the corn that was devastated was GMO crap anyway. And I feel a slight twinge of guilt for that, but I'm only an enlightened human. lol Still, our potato harvest is already used up at the end of December because we didn't get nearly as much as we usually do. The sweet potato crop was a bust as well and has been gone for a few weeks and at Christmas I used up the last of the 2011 crop, which was stupendous. Obviously. But I canned a lot and we have enough food of different kinds to get us through until spring. My chickens are still laying really well, and I have a fridge full of eggs, as well as about 8 dozen stored. I have also been picking up things like canned salmon and tuna for a protein source that keep in the pantry if I need them. I also still have a lot of quinoa and oats and rice and all manner of things here and there. Lots of canned turkey and a few jars of canned chicken breast from last year. If I find a good enough sale opn some decent meat, I will can more. That was a convenient thing to have on the shelf. I used it in soups, stews, nachos, burritos, enchiladas...you name it. That was also my first attempt at canning meat. I have canned fish, long long ago. And now I have canned both turkey and chicken. My friend cans ground beef and sausages too, but I don't use that stuff often.
I do, on the other hand, use a lot of salsa and marinara sauce. So I grow lots of tomatoes and bell peppers and onions and garlic so I can can those things too and not have to buy them. Plus-they taste so much better. lol
I grew some incredible salad greens this year, 2 types that just wouldn't quit-drought or no drought! lol We will plant them again next year. We had lettuces until mid-December! (And I picked kale again this morning,)
I cooked fun new dishes, like Thia noodles and spring rolls.
We had a pretty good peach harvest, despite the drought. I made some jam, made some peach salsa and froze a lot of peaches. AND gave some away. I had the good luck to meet a woman who lives up the road from me who shared her pear harvest with me, and I wound up with jars and jars and jars of pear halves, diced pears and pear butter. We dried and stored apples from our tree too. And I didn't make apple butter this year, because I made so much last year. We also had a ghreat blackberry season, which came early and beat the drought. Once things started drying up, the berries were done too. So it was a short season, but we practiced due diligence, and got out there every day to pick.
We had the best carrot season we have ever had.
And indeed it is. Indeed it is...
So, good-bye 2012, with all your challenges and lessons [hopefully] learned. Hello, 2013--get ready for the ride!
Our New Years Eve extravaganza tonight will be a feast of NY strip steak and wild caught Maine lobster tails. A nice wild rice and basmati pilaf, a healthy crisp salad, soft wholegrain rolls and a coconut pie. After all that rich and heavy food, we may or may not be able to stay awake til midnight, lol. Tomorrow I will make a traditional New Years Day meal of Hoppin' John, greens and cornbread. And we will be at home (it's snowing now) safe and secure, in our life, in our love and in our faith that all things will work out exactly as they are supposed to and we will, indeed, have every thing we need.
Bless you all, and thank you for giving me another year of the opportunity to write, to share my cooking and my life with you. You enrich my world more than you will ever know.