Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cheese &... Dog Biscuits, Anyone?

As some of you are aware, I've been talking some smack about baking my own crackers from scratch. Crackers are important to me. I love crackers & cheese. We sell an awesome array of cheeses at the store, many of them local in origin. & as we know, eating locally often requires us to make our own convenience foods for those times we just need a simple snack. & as far as I know (someone please, please correct me), we don't have any local crackers to go with our nifty cheeses.

So I took it upon myself to make manifest my own cracker destiny.

& I failed miserably.

Witness the results of my hubris:

What are those, cat turds?

These misshapen spawn of lofty good intentions are my first-ever attempt at the fine art of cracker manufacturing. I was hoping to use local buckwheat flour alone, in order to make my crackers gluten-free-friendly (although the chilled butter kept them from Vegan status). Boy, did that not work!

Perhaps the dearth of buckwheat cracker recipes to be found online should have clued me in.
But the real blame rests solely on yours truly. Despite roughly a decade spent in professional kitchens, I have practically no baking skills, whatsoever. Too much math, too much precision measuring, & too much faith in chemistry & temperature. I simply don't feel comfortable when I can't meddle in the process after it's started.

But one of the main benefits I think we can all recognize from our various Challenge adventures is that even when we stretch farther than we can reach, we learn valuable things about our relationship with our food.

So, I'll lick my wounds, eat my leaden, soggy crackers (they go particularly well with the Pastureland herbed gouda, thankfully), & survive to bake another day.

-nano out.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Good-Natured Ribbing.

If you are of the omnivore persuasion, perhaps you've noticed that the Market has Shepherd Song Farm (WI) pastured lamb loin & rib chops on sale during the Eat Local period.

Being as I'm the meat buyer for the store, I thought I might take a moment to highlight the rib chops, as well as show one of the possible end uses for a stock such as the one I've been blathering about recently.

I'm a big fan of braising, a cooking technique closely related to stewing, but with a bit more class. Both methods produce intensely flavored & richly sauced dishes, often utilizing tougher & cheaper cuts of meat. But braising allows for the use of the whole cut in the final dish, whereas stewing requires cutting it into pieces. Additionally, any bones can be left intact, enhancing the flavor & final presentation.

The first step is to brown the meat in the pot (or deep pan) that you'll be braising in. The object here is to color & flavor the outside of the cut, not cook it all the way through:

Once the meat is nicely browned, it is removed & kept warm while the vegetables (in this case, onions, carrots, roasted garlic & the rest of my homemade tomato paste) are caramelized in the same pan. Vinegar or wine can be used to deglaze the pot, & aid in the eventual softening of the meat's tissues. The cooking liquid is added to the veggies & brought to a low simmer. A stock made from the same animal, or one complimentary to it, is the best bet. Obviously, having devoted my free time over the last 24 hours to making beef stock, that's what I went with.

The resting meat is then added back into the mix:

I upgraded my cell phone in May, in part so I could take nicer pictures
of things like food. Now I need to find one that takes pictures of smells...

After about 30-45 minutes of low, low covered simmering, the lid can be removed & the cuts of meat turned every 10 minutes or so, to help build a glaze on their surfaces. This should continue for at least 30 more minutes, until the meat slides right off of a fork when pierced. Meanwhile, any side dishes can be completed. When the cuts have finished braising, they are removed & kept warm, along with some moistening cooking liquid. The liquid remaining in the pot can be skimmed of any fat & strained of vegetables. I reduced mine a bit further to concentrate the flavor, making a partial demi-glace, & then thickened it just slightly with a little roux.

Local pastured lamb rib chops with demi-glace,
gruyere mashed potatoes, & wilted red mustard greens.

A word of warning; Beware the power of the red mustard greens! Seriously, they don't mess around. They certainly served their purpose as contrasts to the intense flavor of the beef stock-based demi-glace, but if I were to use them again, I'd probably seek to mellow them out somehow...

Overall, though, this was a great meal & well worth the wait. I've still got plenty of stock left over for other projects, as well.

It never ceases to amaze me how much better food is when we are deeply involved in its production. It looks better, smells better & tastes better. Is it a placebo effect brought on by the feeling of "I did that"? Is there some sort of actual metaphysical cause?

Does it matter?

-nano out.

When life gives you squash...

What the heck do you make?

I am the lucky recipient of a whole case of locally grown, organic yellow summer squash. I need to preserve it somehow. I've read that summer squash and zucchini are best preserved in the freezer, but I just don't believe that they won't turn to mush. And I don't want to can just plain ole squash in water/lemon. I'm not sure I'd ever use it. So what should I make?

Last night I used about 1/4 of the squash to make 5 quarts of summer squash soup. It's just a simple soup of onions, garlic, squash, and veg. broth. It's light and summery- I think it'll be perfect for a quick meal this winter.

But summer squash preserving recipes are few and far between. And making sweet jam with them doesn't appeal to me (plus, I have a lot of jam!)
I'm thinking about a corn/summer squash salsa because you can never have too much salsa.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Is It Over, Yet? [stock, post 2]

Well, it sure looks pretty.

For those of you new to making your own stocks, I'd love to give a play by play, but I don't think it would fit in a normal blog post. I can try &, um... boil it down, though. Basically, if you are making a meat stock, you first brown the cleaned & dried bones in the oven for roughly 40 minutes. After browning, the bones are submerged in water in a stockpot & simmering is commenced. Meanwhile, a simple mixture of onions, carrots & celery (or celery equivalent) are essentially caramelized in a sturdy pan, & as they're turning a rich brown color, the tomato paste is added. This is then cooked along with the vegetables, caramelizing somewhat itself. The pan is deglazed with a bit of the simmering bone-water & set aside. The bones continue their simmering...

Then, you might want to take a 7-odd minute break to put together a simple meal, in order to keep from going crazy with impatience &/or dying of starvation. In this case, I whipped up a toasted local sandwich with gruyere, 1-year cheddar, Schultz chicken andouille sausage (new in the Market- Try 'em!), tomatoes & some micro greens. While you can't exactly leave your house, or go to sleep (sadly), making stock is pretty low-impact from here on out, & you can wander around doing other tasks.

After several hours of simmering, the vegetable-tomato mixture can be added in, along with classic seasonings such as garlic, cracked black pepper, thyme, & bay leaves. The simmering continues...

After at least another hour of this (probably long past your bedtime, if you have a meat department to open the next morning, say), sea salt can be added to taste & the whole thing skimmed, drained, & cooled.

If all goes reasonably well, the next day finds you with a richly flavored stock for use in soups & sauce. I'll be reducing a portion of mine to make a demi-glace for use in braising some local lamb rib chops (ON SPECIAL THROUGH SEPTEMBER 15TH!). The rest I'll probably freeze for later adventures...

-nano (really) out.

* Please consult your favorite cookbook for detailed stock-making instructions. Techniques & results may vary from those described in this post. Not responsible for lost or damaged time, ego, or sanity.

I'm Such An Idiot.

No pretty pictures for this post. I'm in the middle of the beginning of making some beef stock. Roasting the bones in the oven as I type, actually.

Like the clever fellow that I am, I decided to start this 5-odd hour process at around 8 pm.

This is what my uber-expensive tomato paste is destined for. One could very well ask what might be wrong with a handsome young single fellow, to make him stay home on a beautiful summer evening (& late into it, no less) making a reduction of animal & vegetable juices. Well? I guess it's just something that holds a deep, basically spiritual power for me.

Plus, a guy's gotta eat.

& when one is eating locally, & one desires a beef-based stock to complement a meal (or several), one simply must make the stock.

Although, come to think of it, there actually is a pretty decent, locally-made all-natural (& MSG-free, for those concerned) line of stock bases. We use it regularly in deli at the Mississippi Market. I used it to some degree practically every shift I had making soup there for the last two flippin' years. Oh, for crying out loud.

I'm such an idiot.

-nano out.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Yeah, I finally got around to it.

Perhaps it's more accurate to say that nature finally got around to it. I've been waiting for some time for the magical conjunction of ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, & peppers that means gazpacho season.

Let us not forget garlic!

As fond as I've become of my new willing & adaptable friend, green garlic, I am so happy to see local clove garlics coming onto the scene.

The tomatoes are just the usual locally grown hydroponic variety. I'm pretty fancy, but I'm not yet ready to spring for heirlooms until they are really "there", to my taste. Anyway, the vine-ripe ones are, if not squish-ably ripe at the time of purchase, then easily ready after a day or so in a paper bag.

Of course, those of you with gardens don't have to worry about this economy of tomatoes; you'll be desperate to implement them all, I suppose. I certainly found myself envying you as I reduced the world's most expensive tomato paste, this evening. At $4.99/lb, I spent about eight bucks making roughly one cup of paste, simply to spread on beef bones for a stock. Not my most economically brilliant moment, although that money will be spread back out by the volume & utility of the end product. Score one for Mr. Gourmet McShowoff, right?

For bell peppers, I went with one of those neat-looking purple ones. I found it to be somewhere between a biting green & a sweeter red, which was just what I wanted. Also included was a gift pepper from fellow Challenge participant, e__ly, given to me quite some time ago. Yes, I am starting to wonder about the magical properties of my refrigerator. Although it doesn't even seem to be on when I open the door, it keeps food for bizarrely long periods of time.

The picture was taken on the night I made it, & I do suppose a picture of gazpacho should have been posed on a sun-dappled patio, but I tend to get around to cooking rather late in the day. Eating it that first night, I wasn't overwhelmed, but the thing with soups is to, whenever possible, allow them a day or two of rest before consumption. I find this to be especially true for gazpacho. & tonight, after some four or five days of juicy mingling, the final bowl was fantastic.

So simple, so pure, so encapsulating of the idea of summer. There are few things better.

-nano out.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Steak for Two

We made this last week and it was so good, but I forgot to mention it. I had a hankering for steak. I wanted a cut that was high quality, and settled on a sirloin. It was from 1000 Hills Beef Company and it was pricy, as in $10, but I figured that steak dinner for two at a restuarant would have been 2-3 times as much for a lesser steak.

I started the coals and ran back inside to cut potatoes. I tossed some local reds with some local rosemary and garlic in some olive oil with salt and pepper. I wrapped it up in tin foil and when the coals were white hot I put the potato package right over the heat.

I sliced a large onion into a pan and sauteed them over low heat in canola oil. It took almost 25 minutes for them to carmelize! I added balsamic vinegar to the pan (not at all local)and a sprig of rosemary and I left it to reduce. In a medium pan I brought some water to a boil and added these tri-color string beans that I found really cheap at the farmers market.

The steak was simple. I let it rest at room temperature for an hour, sprinkled both sides with salt and pepper, and put it on the grill -right over the coals- for about 3 minutes per side. I brought it in an let it rest for 5 minutes. I added the juices that collected to the pan with the balsamic vinegar.

Somehow it all came about pretty well. By the time the steak was done resting, the potates were cooked through and a minute or two later the sauce was nice and thick. It was a great accompanyment for the steak- sweet and savory. I cut the steak in two and plated both with the balsamic onions on top. The potatoes were a great side. Unfortunately the beans were a little bit over-cooked, but I ate them all anyway.

Here's my cost breakdown for a summer steak dinner for two:

Sirloin $10
Onion $0.50
Potatoes $2
Rosemary $1
Beans $1
Garlic, Salt, Pepper, oil, vinegar- maybe $1

That's a $15.50 dinner for two, and worth every bit.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Whole Slew of Localness

Here's what's been going on in our kitchen lately:

When we bottle up soda, the kitten likes to try to attack the brew as it bubbles through the tubing!

This latest soda is Maple Rhubarb. It uses 1/2 maple syrup and 1/2 sugar to sweeten it and rhubarb to give it some tartness. As you can see, it has some serious carbonation after 36 hours! (The leaves are some mint and lavender I had in my glass- not part of the original recipe).

I was delighted to see these blue/purple potatoes are the cheapest potatoes at the Selby store right now. They're local, organic, and crazily colored- You really can't beat that. I used some yogurt/mayo mix and last year's sweet pickles to whip up a potato salad. It was super good today after it had marinated overnight.
Today was the Sustainable Farming Association's Garlic Fest out at the Wright County Fairgrounds. Sure, I added some food miles onto this garlic by driving out there all by myself, but it was great talking to the folks that grew the garlic! I picked up the following:

  • 2 heads Chesnok Red and 2 heads German Extra Hardy from Sunfresh Foods in Preston, MN. These guys are certified organic.
  • 2 heads Chesnok Red and 1 head Russian Red from Coffman Garlic in West Concord, MN
  • 2 heads Merrifield Rocambole and 2 heads Northern White from Hawk's Brain Garlic in Red Wing, MN
  • 2 heads Armenian and 4 heads Music from Living Song Gardens in Crow River, MN
  • 2 heads Polish Jenn and 1 head Polish White from StoneHouse Farm in Miltona, MN
  • Garlic powder from Girardin Gourmet Gardens in Cannon Falls

I also scored a great deal on some little potatoes from Earthstar Farm in Hickston, WI. They're not yet certified organic, but working toward it.

Then on my way home I saw Apple Jack Orchards and decided to see if they had any apples yet. Sure enough, they had some early crop apples for super cheap. And they're Midwest Food Alliance Certified!

I can't wait to try all the different varieties!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

For better or for worse, in local or global..

Today my partner said he's thinking about doing the Eat Local Challenge. I can't even convey in words how excited I am that he might take the challenge. While I love all of my local-eating coworkers and they are super supportive, I would really like to have someone at home join me in this challenge- because honestly, it's when I'm home that I'm tempted to eat chocolate bars, basmati rice, and all those cans of pre-cooked beans for dinner.

What my partner might not realize is that he's been eating pretty darn local since June. As the primary grocery shopper, I've just stopped buying non-local produce, grains, beans, soymilk, etc. So while we still buy gluten-free pasta and sugar for our mostly-local cookies, our staples are very close to home. So he doesn't have very far to go to be at least 80% local.

Like tonight:

The first of our tomatillos were ripe, so I cooked up some salsa to go on some fabulous local nachos. There were no complaints from the kids!

Included: Whole grain milling chips, homemade local black beans that I canned a week ago, Gardens of Eagan sweet corn, homegrown tomatillo salsa (green onions, garlic, poblano chile, jalapeno chile, tomatillos, vinegar, salt, cilantro), Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet cheeze (not local), and my pickled jalapenos from last year.

On nights like these eating local is quick and convenient, and no one even missed the guacamole.

But there are nights when my partner comes home with Cascadian Farm Spud Puppies and Banana Fudge Rice Divine ice cream. And it's mighty hard not to grab a spoon and dig in. (Or I'd imagine it's hard. So far I've not resisted.) When the whole family is eating a non-local meal, I usually just eat a small portion and make myself something else later if needed. But it feels wrong to not enjoy the food the rest of the family is eating. I've tried not to be preachy about eating local or to talk everyone into going along...but it sure would make it easier on me!

Is anyone out there eating locally while your partner is eating globally? Do you have any tips?

Monday, August 11, 2008

[in which nano has a] Slack Week.

The above photo is probably my Eat Local highlight, this week. It's a local apple that my coworker in the meat department, Tim, picked for me on his way to work. It was fairly sour, but not the crabapple that some asserted that it was. Just not ripe quite yet.

Please note the spot of Local Bird Poop, located on one of the leaves. I'm afraid this might throw off the percentage of this particular meal's locality. After all, who knows where that bird has been...?

Yeah, it's been something of a slack week for me on the local front. My usual overall 80%+ has probably dipped into the 60's. I have no fancy meals to crow about. Hell, a few nights ago, I had Amy's Deluxe boxed mac'n'cheese. Sure, I cut up local Thousand Hills ballpark-style hot dogs & threw them in there, but still. Last night, I had local veggies... Tossed with not-local capellini. Let there be no doubt- I'm still in the game, but I guess I needed to take a little breather & eat some flippin' pasta, already! It's been months!

Here's something fun & kinda junky one can do when one isn't feeling like making a fuss about eating locally. It's a recipe my paternal grandmother used to make for me as a kid, probably in order to gradually trick me into eating eggs with a properly runny consistency. It worked. My Grams was both classy & crafty.

First, one cuts a hole in the center of a piece of bread (buttered on both sides). Then one side of the slice is toasted in a frying pan. After flipping the bread over to toast (well, fry, honestly) the other side, one breaks an egg into the hole. One then cooks the egg somewhat & flips the whole mess back over to cook a little longer. At this time, some good cheese (in this case, Grand Cru gruyere) can be grated on top. For this version, Pastures A'plenty Canadian bacon was also applied. The end result should be a nicely browned piece of fried/toasted bread with a pleasantly gooey egg in the middle, which can be handily mopped up by the bread as one eats it.

Another relatively lazy thing I whipped up in the last few days consisted of some more 100% grass-fed hot dogs, & spicy tempura-breaded zucchini & squash from the farm I keep mentioning in passing (but not posting about).

Well, at least there was something green in that last example. It turned out pretty good, considering that I don't remember ever making tempura before, & the recipe I found in my battered (yet unearned) CIA textbook was intended to serve ten full meals & needed to be rapidly, randomly reduced to serve just one. Just goes to show you that the Culinary Institute makes a damn good cookbook, I guess.

Really, I have no clear idea why I felt so unmotivated towards anything but carbs, protein & fat in the past week. My hypothesis is that, having shed some 8-10 pounds simply by eating locally (primarily through quitting my 6 cans-a-day energy drink habit, & eating many more vegetables than usual), my body was concerned that I might accidentally starve it to death.

-nano out.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Adventures in Local Shopping

My car is on its last leg, or wheel, or whatever. I took it to the doctor and the prognosis was that it had somewhere in between one to two months before it became a danger to me and those I share the road with. Eventually I will have to take my plastic blue beast out back ol-yeller-style. For now I am in denial.

While the car was at the doctor I decided to play at being super-green. On Saturday Morning I rode my bike down one side of the bluffs and up the other. I tied my bike to a parking meter (are there really no bike racks at the Saint Paul Farmers Market?) and went about shopping for a weeks worth of produce. I had $22 dollars and this is what I was able to get.

1 Big bag of Potatoes
3 Heads of Lettuce
4 Heads of Garlic
1 Bunch of Radishes
1/2 Dozen Ears of Sweet Corn
6 Tomatoes
1 Bunch of Scallions
1 Big bag of Mixed Beans (yellow, green and purple!)
1 Big bag of Bacon (Otis Farms- the best bacon we've found yet)

Not Too Shabby.

I stuffed it all in my backpack and pedaled very slowly back across the bridge to the West Side. I decided I had to stop by Burrito Mercado since I was a handful of cilantro and one jalapeno away from some local Pico de Gallo.

At Burrito Mercado I was happy to discover that my herb and pepper were locally grown by a group of kids at a nearby community garden. Well, that's what my half-assed spanish told me anyway. I acknowledge that the sign I was reading may very well have said something different but I was feeling like a good green consumer so that's what I took away from it. I found La Perla Flour Tortillas (complete with local hydrogenated oil, I'm sure) and a 6 pack of chicken tamales that I've been having for lunch ever since. That was another 15 Dollars.

Then I had to pedal with a huge, heavy backpack and a plastic bag dangling from one hand up Cesar Chavez Blvd. When I finally got to the top of the hill I considered throwing up and throwing my food and bike over the bridge and crawling home. I decided that just for that day Mother Earth owed me one.

Tonight I made BLTs and I consider us even. A haiku:

Bacon sweet Bacon
Crispiest Love of my Life
Be mine Forever

The fine line between canning and...

I'm wondering if I've crossed some sort of line between cooking from scratch and... crazy.
I was standing over my new 18 quart pressure canner, carefully adjusting the heat between 11 and 12 pounds of pressure when my mother in law asked, "Why are you canning your own beans?"

I have to admit I was a little stumped. Of course I was canning my own beans. Why not? These Whole Grain Milling Co. black beans are good and I can now safely precook and preserve them for years at room temperature! Do I need more of a reason than that to spend 5 hours in the steaming hot kitchen on my day off?

Then my partner pointed out that organic beans are cheap and are often on sale for less than the cost of the canning jars, not to mention the cost of the fuel used to cook them.

Darn! If I don't can to save money, then what's my excuse? Because I'm preparing for holing up in my basement for a month and being perfectly well-fed on wholesome locally grown foods during the apocalypse? Because I'm bored? Because I've been reading too much about urban homesteading? Because I'm paranoid about BPA lining aluminum cans?

You know, a few decades ago I wouldn't need an excuse. Everyone would be too busy canning to ask.

Monday, August 4, 2008

slugs and green beans

I've been out of town for a few days, so here's a quick recap of the past week in my challenge.

One of my favorite local authors (and my former girl scout troop leader, randomly enough) just wrote a book called The Compassionate Carnivore. It's a great book for many reasons, but for me it was especially exciting because it tackles the subjects that we've been having discussions about here - about awareness and choices and connecting communities with food sources. It resonates for me partly because she's from where I'm from and she's talking about people and places that I know and love. But that sense of dialogue, engaging each other and growing both individually and in our capacity to create change, that's what it's about for me.

On Thursday, I spotted a ripe tomato. Now, we're not talking a cute little cherry tomato, that's old news already in my garden. We're talking fist-sized, bright yellow, can-smell-it-from-here tomato, heirloom, the kind you'd be paying $6.50 for at the co-op. I about fell over with excitement. This tomato was on a plant in the farthest corner of my garden, so it had gone unnoticed as it ripened, and then one day there it was. So I wade through the overgrown potato plants and back to that corner tomato. I pick it. It's perfect to the touch. But that's just the half that I can see. The bottom half of this gem looks like the compost does when you forget to take it out for a few days. My heart sank. I asked the father-in-law, and his answer was simple: slugs. My squash got sick too, so instead of having more squash than we know what to do with come September, we get nothing. But the beans! The beans are perfect, five inches of crispy freshness.

I had a few other points, but I think I'll leave you with this for now: I just finished munching on 3rd St. toast with strawberry jam (which mysteriously appeared in my box at work, confirming my belief in the jam fairy) and some local goat cheese just for kicks. Quite nice.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

[I'm not going to make any puns about] Beets! Beets! Beets!

I can't claim to have been a big fan of beets, growing up. There was something about their deep, sweet, earthiness that my young palate found... unsettling.

Years later, I'm finding them to be a highlight of my Eat Local Summer, both for their flavor & the intense color they bring to dishes.

Local 100% grass-fed round tip steak with tarragon compound butter,
green beans, & golden beet-purple potato medley.

Seriously, I've been going crazy with these things. A few days ago, I came back from my day volunteering down on the farm (which really deserves its own post, or two) with a paper bag full of onions, carrots (finally!) & beet-parts.

While I was stripping & reserving the tender, mild greens for later use, I started nibbling a stalk on a whim. This led to a very interesting discovery; I noted a fairly strong taste of naturally occurring nitrates & a crisply fibrous texture... like celery! Could it be, the long sought local substitute for celery? I tried it out in a stock, along with some imported celery, & it seemed to work just fine. I haven't died yet, anyway, & there was no unpleasant taste. Beets may be a completely perfect vegetable.

I'll get to the main (meaty) course in a second, but first some hot veg-on-veg action:

Local double-roasted beets & "Japanese" eggplant with mascarpone
& farmstead feta, on a bed of wilted beet greens & shaved garlic.

This tasted absolutely sublime. I roasted the beets with the skin on, to intensify their natural sweetness, then rubbed the skin off & sliced them to roast again (briefly) with the eggplant. We may have reached the end of the green garlic season, so I found myself forced to buy "Spice Island (TM)" conventional garlic cloves at the last minute... from the convenience store. Not my proudest Eat Local moment, but I'll admit that it was nice to taste normal garlic again (even though it was in terrible condition). Anyway, I almost forgot about cooking the rest of my dinner after eating this. It was that good, & a lot easier than it might appear, as well.

I'm well known back home for my obsession with our humble friend, the green bean casserole. I always make my mushroom soup from scratch, use fresh beans, & fry up my own Durkee's-style crispy onions (usually shallots). Yes, this takes forever, but it's worth every second. Not that I have any problem at all eating the all-from-a-can variety when someone else makes it, mind you. Don't get it twisted.

Local pastured pork "sirloin chop" with wilted beet greens,
maple-glazed young carrots, & green bean casserole.

Obviously, this is really a "green & wax bean" casserole, but my clever little menu listing was running on a bit. The maple syrup was given to me by the woman who oversees the farm program I keep mentioning, & is made by a member of the Fond Du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Pretty good stuff. Sometime soon I'll have to do an official taste test to compare this one to the Wild Country I've normally been using. I certainly never would have predicted that one day I would have two different high-grade maple syrups in my fridge simultaneously. My life is so hard, right?

Along with my current infatuation with beets, I think it's fair to say that the local food stock is really picking up steam. It feels like forever ago that we started this Challenge back around June-ish, with little more than salsa-makings available. Now the bounty is almost paralyzing. & it's just getting started.

All I know is that I'm thoroughly hooked & head-over-heels. What a great experience.

-nano out.

PS: For dessert, I boiled off some beet sugar & made my own homemade cotton candy... No, I'm lying. I totally didn't do that.