I've been a bit negligent when it comes to reporting on homesteading efforts in the kitchen, but that's partly because Dan & I have been doing these things for years now having been in the food service industry and hardly think of them as worth reporting. But alas I do have some morsels I want to share.
Dan has been working on his breadmaking, an art form I leave solely to him, versed as he is (and I am ruefully not!) in the care of his sourdough starter. He has been using this book for helpful tips and has turned out some very fine petit boule. He uses only starter and no yeast in his dough and bakes it in a covered pot (or Dutch oven) to mimic the steam-circulating method of the commercial ovens that provide such uniform, perfect breads. Liberally rubbed with butter and garnished with coarse salt, this bread eats like a fine dessert, it's such a treat.
We also had a slight reworking of the kitchen to allow for easier prepping and general enjoyment of the space. A few months ago, we stripped the finish off an old table from my Dad's workshop intending to refashion it into a kitchen table and, since we ditched the broken hydraulic legs it once sat on, were searching for the perfect antique cast iron legs for it.
But alas, we are poor and perhaps too idealistic and since this beautiful wooden slab has spent several weeks leaning upright against a wall, Dan had the idea to repurpose it as a countertop, since we've little room for a table anyhow. So, ridiculous though it might look for the time being, it is actually serving us much better as a counter-height butcher block that we can chop, prep and eat on freely. We did treat it with mineral oil, though, to protect the wood, which one should reapply from time to time. One day it'll be a workbench on the homestead, or a big table around which to have family meals.
Most of the vegetables we got in this week's CSA lend themselves particularly well to crisp salads and so that is how we've been enjoying them, though the mint we steeped in lightly boiling water on the stove to make a tea and added a healthy amount of granulated sugar to make it an especially tasty treat. Because it was so hot out we plunked some ice cubes in and divided the rest into jars to take to work for an afternoon refresher.
My favorite vegetable we received this week was the green garlic, which looks just like a scallion but has a delicate garlic taste to it, so soft that you can snack on it raw. I am looking forward to sauteeing this in a stir-fry with lots of ginger too.
Because we're going to be receiving so much with our CSA this summer, we're going to double down on our food preservation skills. Last summer, we pickled Wisconsin ramps that we munched on all summer long, and I'm hoping our dill holds out a little longer to add to a brine. Dan bought me Paul Virant's The Preservation Kitchen a few months ago after our visit to Vistro in Hinsdale, and I haven't yet made a dent in it, so I'm looking forward to digging in and trying some new methods. I'm really excited to start canning, which neither one of us has ever done, and might even propose a little canning party with my mom at the end of summer to make jars upon jars of tomato jam and salsa from her enormous garden. We'll be enjoying summer all through the long Midwest winter.