Join the Canvolution!

August 16, 2009 in dessert, Gardening, Humble Garden

peach-jam-450-1

So by now, even MY garden (Humble Garden) is starting to produce, after months of rain of biblical proportions. My pickling cucumbers are growing, green beans and lemon cukes are whats for supper, and zucchinis are starting to really outpace our intake!

Anyone who gardens will eventually need to preserve or put up some of the bounty, thats where canning comes in!

There is a grassroots movement across the US to help people, especially all those new gardeners out there, how to preserve their food!

Its called Canning Across America.

Join the Canvolution!

The premise is that classes will be organized hopefully near you.

I will be teaching how to use a pressure canner to can low acid foods like meats, soups, sauces, and vegetables at the August 30th, 2009 Cantacular Canvolution event in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Here are the particulars as posted by Linsey Herman at her blog Cakes and Commerce!

The Canvolution Will Not Be Televised – August 30th, 2009

The Can-o-rama Cantacular is open to everyone with an interest in canning, preserving, pickling, and putting things by. Held in conjunction (canjunction?) with Cans Across America, our Somerville Can-o-rama is both a social event and a day of workshops, learning, and sharing.

Though the event is an all-day affair, please feel free to come and go as you please. If you do join us part way through the day, please be prepared to introduce yourself to the group. Don’t worry – we’re a friendly bunch! You’ll be able to bring home a can of something good at the end of the day – what it is will depend on what we do during the workshops.

We will be supplying a limited amount of jars and fruits and vegetables. Suggestion donation will be $10 to cover supplies, including jars and vegetables. If you have some fruits or vegetable you really want to can, please bring them in. Likewise, a donation of 12 new pint-sized ball jars can be made in lieu of a monetary donation. Please email me if you plan to do this instead.

While we will supply canning equipment and some jars, you will need to supply a few basic kitchen tools to participate. Please bring with you:

* a kitchen knife, preferably a chef’s knife
* a cutting board
* a dish towel

Because we will need to limit number to about 20, please make sure you sign up early if you are planning to come. We will cut off signups on August 27th – you have up to that date to sign up – we will be picking up provisions at the farmers market so we need to finalize numbers by then. To sign up, please send a suggested donation of $10 to: lin sey h e r m a n ( at ) y a h oo. c o m.

I will send you the address – a location in Union Square – as soon as I receive confirmation of your donation on PayPal.

We don’t have a set schedule of recipes, so if there is something you are really wanting to learn about, please let us know via email and we’ll try to incorporate it into the schedule.

We’re also hoping for some other demos throughout the day, from needle arts to knife skills…we’ll keep you posted!

Can-o-rama Cantacular Schedule, August 30th, 2009

10:15 am: Welcome & Introduction
Because this event is both about canning and fostering community, we’ll be starting things off with introductions. We’re pleased to meet you!

We’ll discuss the benefits and joys of canning and go over some of the techniques we’ll be using throughout the day.

11:00 am: Boiling Water Canning Linsey Herman
This is the most common form of canning for home cooks and requires the least specialized equipment. We’ll show you how to can tomato sauce, pickles, or jams and jellies.

12:00 noon: Lacto-Fermentation and other methods of putting by Alex Lewin
A tradtional method for putting food by, lacto-fermentation is at the root of sauerkraut, kimchi, some pickles, corned beef and many other well-known savory treats. Alex will show you how to get your own sauerkraut going and demonstrate how you can lactoferment your own vegetables at home. (note: we won’t can lacto-fermented vegetables because the processing kills off the beneficial bacteria).

1:00 Pressure Canning Nika Boyce
Exurban homesteader and scientist Nika Boyce will de-mystify pressure canning, which has long been seen by many home canners as dangerous. difficult or just too durn technical. Nika will present pressure canning and explain how to use the pressure canner to put by just about any low-acid food.

2:00 More Boiling Water Canning
Why not? This is the most common form of canning for home cooks and requires the least specialized equipment. We’ll show you how to can tomato sauce, pickles, or jams and jellies.

3:00 pm on…
We’ll spend the rest of the day using what we learned to can everything we have. Come join us for recipe making, canning, and chit-chat!

We can’t wait to meet you on August 30th!

BU Future of Food Conference – wild fermentation

May 7, 2009 in farm, Humble Garden

for blog (NOT MINE)

(Lactobacillus god – Sandorkraut)

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A couple of weeks ago, while twittering, I heard about this conference at Boston University called “The Future of Food: Transatlantic Perspectives” which will happen this coming weekend (May 8-9, 2009).

Its sort of shocking how close I came to totally missing out on this conference.

I have pasted at the bottom of this post, the schedule that they have put together! You can also visit the same schedule at this link.

Note that a whole lot of it is free and open to the public!

While I am not able to attend all of the great festivities (I live 1.5 hours outside of Boston so this is a field trip for me) I am making it a priority to attend a particular workshop, to be held this Friday (tomorrow) from 2:30 to 5:00.

for blog (NOT MINE)

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Fermentation lecture and workshop: Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods
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Join Sandor Ellix Katz (aka Sandorkraut), author of Wild Fermentation and The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved, for this workshop. Learn how easy it is to make sauerkraut, pickles and other live-culture ferments in your own kitchen. Highly nutritious and filled with life, fermented foods have a long history and a promising future. Empower yourself to create these delicious and healthful foods!

I have been wanting to buy this book and never thought I would actually get a chance to SEE Sandor speak in person so I am quite excited about this workshop.

Fermentation may seem like an arcane skill to learn but if you garden, like I do (see our garden blog at Humble Garden) it is hugely important to be able to do ferments to put up some of the harvest.

While fermenting is not hard (the bacteria do all the hard work) its best if you get a good foundation up front so that you do not waste food due to ignorance of important practices and also because you do not know what a good and a bad ferment looks like!

One last word on fermentation – its not just about preserving food. Fermentation is the process of changing or morphing foods from a fresh state to some new and improved collective organism made up of a whole, complex and dynamic bacterial ecology where lactobacillus bacteria produce lactic acid that inhibits pathogenic (toxic) bacterial species and ALSO unlocks nutrients, co-factors, and vitamins from the original food.

Sandor has completely immersed himself in a fermenting world and seems to be wholly dedicated to bringing it to the rest of us!

for blog (NOT MINE)

You can learn so much more by visiting his web site at this link.

At this workshop, I will also get a copy of his book (hope to get it signed and add it to my growing collection of signed book copies – see this link)

for blog (NOT MINE)

Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods

I will be doing this tomorrow and then report back here after that!

Conference Schedule

Friday, May 8, 2009

Fermentation lecture and workshop: Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods

Join Sandor Ellix Katz (aka Sandorkraut), author of Wild Fermentation and The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved, for this workshop. Learn how easy it is to make sauerkraut, pickles and other live-culture ferments in your own kitchen. Highly nutritious and filled with life, fermented foods have a long history and a promising future. Empower yourself to create these delicious and healthful foods!

2:30 PM – 5:00 PM
808 Commonwealth Avenue (Fuller Building)
Demonstration Room

Seating limited | $30 includes signed copy of Wild Fermentation | $20 without book.

LAST DAY TO REGISTER FOR “WILD FERMENTATION” IS THURSDAY, APRIL 30!

If you have questions about the workshop, please contact Kate Seif at clseif@bu.edu or 610-420-7854.

Lecture, cooking-demo and dinner: Cooking with a Conscience

Featuring ec0-chef, author, and food-justice activist Bryant Terry

Bryant Terry is a nationally recognized eco chef, author, and food justice activist. He is currently a Food and Society Policy Fellow, a national program of the WK Kellogg Foundation. He is co-author, with Anna Lappé, of Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen and author of the recently released Vegan Soul Kitchen. With the help of a Kellogg Foundation Food and Society Policy Fellowship, he has started the Southern Organic Kitchen Project in order to educate primarily African-Americans living in the Southern United States about the connections between diet and health.

Dinner (see menu) features recipes from Bryant’s Vegan Soul Kitchen.

5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
808 Commonwealth Avenue (Fuller Building)
Demonstration Room

Seating limited | $45.00 includes signed copy of Vegan Soul Kitchen

LAST DAY TO REGISTER FOR “COOKING WITH A CONSCIENCE” IS THURSDAY, APRIL 30!

If you have questions about the dinner with Bryant Terry, please contact Kate Seif at clseif@bu.edu or 610-420-7854.

Film Screening and discussion: King Corn

King Corn is a feature documentary about two friends, one acre of corn, and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation.

In King Corn, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, best friends from college on the east coast, move to the heartland to learn where their food comes from. With the help of friendly neighbors, genetically modified seeds, and powerful herbicides, they plant and grow a bumper crop of America’s most-productive, most-subsidized grain on one acre of Iowa soil. But when they try to follow their pile of corn into the food system, what they find raises troubling questions about how we eat – and how we farm.

Film-screening will be introduced by Ian Cheney, filmmaker, and followed by discussion with Aaron Woolf, director.

8:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Boston University Law School
Auditorium | Barristers’ Hall
765 Commonwealth Avenue
[Directions]

Free and open to the public | Reception to follow

Saturday, May 9, 2009

International Conference: The Future of Food: Transatlantic Perspectives

Free and open to the public

(includes all panels, breakfast, coffee breaks, reception)

8:00 AM – 8:45 AM: Breakfast and Registration

8:45 AM – 9:00 AM: Introductions
9:00 AM – 9:30 AM: Opening Keynote Address – Satish Kumar, Editor, Resurgence

9:30 AM – 11:00 AM: Session I: From Farm to Fork: The Global Food Chain

This session traces the increasingly obscure path of food from “farm to fork.” The focus is on food production and the industrialization of agriculture. It will consider the growing influence of “agribusiness” and the “politics of food.” Our goals are to explore the alignment (or lack thereof) of business and consumer interests and the impact of the transformation of the food system on culture.

Participants:
Helena Norberg-Hodge, founder and director of the International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC)
Henrik Selin, Professor of International Relations, Boston University
Mark Winne, author of Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty
Moderator: James McCann, Professor of History and Associate Director for Development, African Studies Center, Boston University

11:00 AM – 11:30AM: Coffee Break

11:30 AM – 1:00 PM: Session II: The End of Cheap Food: Food and Geopolitics

This session will center on “food security.” It will address the rising cost of food and the “fuel vs. food” debate. Is the growing demand for biofuels responsible for food inflation? Other threats to food security will also be explored, namely, fossil fuel dependence, loss of biodiversity, and water shortages.

Participants:
Benedikt Haerlin, Foundation on Future Farming | Save Our Seeds
Jim Harkness, President, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Tim Wise, Director of the Research and Policy Program at the Global Development and Environment Institute, Tufts University
Moderator: Cutler Cleveland, Professor of Geography and Environmental Science, Boston University

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Vegetarian lunch with guest speakers

Seating limited | $15.00 | Please indicate when registering whether or not you will attend the lunch.

LAST DAY TO REGISTER FOR LUNCH IS THURSDAY, APRIL 30!

2:00 PM – 3:30 PM: Session III: What’s in What You Eat? Food Safety in a New Ecology

This panel focuses on “food safety” with an emphasis on regulation in the United States and Europe, the GMO debate, recent “food scares,” and the looming threat of bioterrorism.

Participants:
Benedikt Haerlin, Foundation on Future Farming | Save Our Seeds
Helen Holder, GM Campaign Coordinator for Friends of the Earth Europe
Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director, Center for Food Safety
Moderator: Adil Najam, Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, Boston University

3:30 PM – 4:00 PM: Coffee Break

4:00 PM – 5:30 PM: Session IV: Eating Green: Food and Climate Change

This panel looks at the relationship between food production and climate change, addressing issues of deforestation, soil degradation, and factory farms and considers whether what we eat can make a difference.

Participants:
Daniel Hillel, Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University
Björn-Ola Linnér, Linköping University, the Tema Institute
Mia MacDonald, Founder and Executive Director, Brighter Green
Cynthia Rosenzweig, Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University
Moderator: Henrik Selin, Professor of International Relations, Boston University

5:30 PM – 6:00 PM: Coffee Break

6:00 PM – 7:30 PM: Session V: What Is “Good” Food? The Ethics of Eating

Is “good” food healthy, sustainable, delectable or cheap? This panel explores why our food choices matter. It addresses the “ethics of eating” and the health and environmental costs of “cheap food.” It looks at some of the grassroots alternatives including the rise of organic farming, locavorism, and the “slow food” movement.

Participants:
Sandor Ellix Katz, author of Wild Fermentation and The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved
Satish Kumar, Editor, Resurgence
Harriet Lamb, Executive Director, Fair Trade Foundation
Helena Norberg-Hodge, founder and director of the International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC)
Moderator: Molly Anderson, independent consultant on science and policy for sustainability

7:30 PM – 8:00 PM: Closing Keynote Address
Michael Ableman, farmer, author, and photographer and a recognized practitioner of sustainable agriculture and proponent of regional food systems

8:00 PM – 8:30 PM: Reception

Location:
Boston University Law School
Auditorium | Barristers’ Hall
765 Commonwealth Avenue
[Directions]

All Saturday events, with exception of lunch, are free and open to the public. Registration in advance is appreciated and helps us with planning.

Note: There will be no admittance while sessions are in process or after 6:00 PM. Please plan your travel to arrive before the start of the session(s) you would like to attend.

If you have questions about the conference, please contact Elizabeth Amrien at eamrien@bu.edu or 617-358-2778.

Video of our goats and kids!

April 18, 2009 in Humble Garden

Took this video out in our goat shed in our backyard the other day.

Enjoy!

Culinary thermotherapy

March 2, 2009 in chicken, Gardening, Humble Garden, ingredient, recipe

Butternut Squash Soup

On a Nor’easter day like today, as I listen to the plow guy clear our driveway, I am rather fixated on warmth. It doesn’t help that our wood boiler has been slow to start this morning (making for cold water and no heat from the baseboards).

The boilermaster (namely the DH) is very distracted by a blown motherboard from a power outage last Friday, way too distracted to be attuned to the lack of heat coming from the boiler (I guess even the expensive backup batteries didn’t help, don’t ask me). All of which results in frozen toes and my cooking breakfast in a chilly kitchen while wearing a heavy jacket and scarf.

The advantage to this is that you do not need potholders, you just use your jacket sleeve.

This advantage is not making any friends in my book though.

Days like this (ok, all winter here), making a pot of warming soup is a coping mechanism, not a cute foodie affectation.

Today’s soup is one that I seem to make again and again, its that effective at countering the cold chillies. The base is butternut squash and chicken stock.

Its clearly NOT a raw food. (Administrative note, I am now going to post raw recipes and thoughts over at my new food blog Raw+Simple, its better to keep these things separate)

This soup is extra good because I am using really local food, namely, Dandy the really bad rooster (as seen below). He could NOT play nice in the chicken yard, being brutal to the girls and also to us if we strayed too close.

Humble Garden: Dandy

Dandy and a couple of other past-prime broilers were dispatched last summer. We made a huge amount of stock from these chickens and then canned some of it along with the meat.

Peaknix: food storage follies

I have been going through this stock slowly this winter, savoring each quart. After this soup, I have one quart left! Its no easy thing for me to make this because I find it exhausting to kill and then butcher the chickens. If Dandy had been an agreeable animal, he would not be on my shelf.

A pissy testosterone attitude has it’s consequences.

I long ago ran out of homegrown butternut or any other sort of squash so these are storebought. I did use homegrown sage that I dried last fall.

Butternut Squash Soup

Thermotherapeutic Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 butternut squashes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 peeled carrots, diced
  • 1/4 C fresh fennel, sliced
  • 3-4 sprigs dried sage
  • 1 quart chicken stock (with some meat)
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 C heavy cream PER SERVING
  • sea salt and crushed pepper, to taste

Directions:

Over medium heat in a large heavy pot, saute the onion in the butter and oil. Once the onion is sweated somewhat, add garlic and allow to cook a minute or two, without getting any color on the onion or garlic. Add crushed dried sage, nutmeg, carrots, cubed butternut squash, diced fennel, and then add enough warm water to cover all. Cover pot.

Simmer until vegetables are somewhat tender. Add the quart of chicken stock (but reserve the meat in the refrigerator until later) and either more stock if you have it or warm water to bring the soup up to an almost full pot. Allow to come to a simmer but do not boil, the stock just doesn’t need to be boiled anymore, its been through enough already, don’t you think?

Once the soup has simmered for a good 45 minutes, take an immersion blender to the soup and blend until most of the texture is gone, leaving a few good bits. Cut up the meat and add to the soup. Simmer until the meat is heated through. Add salt and crushed pepper to taste.

Ladle into bowls and add heavy cream right before serving.

Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Soup

I hope that you stay warm and dry today and likely best to stay off the roads. Stay inside and make up a big pot of something warm and thermotherapeutic!