Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Free! Free! Free! The Great 2011 Trout Caviar Giveaway and Year-End Round-Up

I've got books, Trout Caviar books, and three of them are looking for a new home among Trout Caviar readers.

What you do, you just leave me a comment on this post relating one of your favorite local food moments of 2011:  a first (like, I would say I made birch syrup for the first time this year); a goal achieved (like, I would say I achieved a goal of serving woodcock glazed with birch syrup), an appreciation of a grower, producer, market vendor, etc.  These are just examples.  Do not let me cramp your style.  Mentioning birch syrup will not improve your chances of winning.

I'll chime in with some of my top 2011 moments in the next week and a half, too (though I think I've said enough about...nuff said).

Come the New Year, I'll just dump the names of all the contributors in a hat, and draw three out.  You may mention as many highlights of the waning year as you like--and I will very much enjoy reading each and every one--but you only get your name in the hat once.

This offer is void where prohibited, and prohibited where void.

Happy solstice, joyous holidays, and best wishes for a marvelous 2012.  Thanks very, very much for reading Trout Caviar.



Lynne said...

I'm grateful for the small Minnesota farmers & providers who make the Richfield Farmers Market happen. Super small, uber local and very dedicated. And, best of all, close to home!

Macaroni said...

Our great "local" food moment of the year was a simple one, and very local--the discovery of a narrow strip of land between the driveway and the neighbor's garage that receives enough sunlight to grow tomatoes. I watched the little puppies grow all summer, they were late to turn red...but good. And consider the possibilities for next year!

Sylvie in Rappahannock said...

I envy you the birch syrup, Brett - and I have a story to remind me about patience and learning before cutting. Early on when we moved here, we cut what we thought was a cherry tree. Not quite the same growth pattern as all the other numerous cherry trees growing wild (and bear attractants), but the bark looked like cherry bark. Only after the deed was done did i realize it was a cherry birch. Had we waited until spring we would have known it was not a cherry...

Local food moments in 2011:
- gleeful at picking and stashing away 60 pounds of various cherries; many quarts of blackberries and blueberries - all picked by yours. They are all so being enjoyed now that local fresh fruit is pretty much limited to apples.
- first time making blackberry wines
- discovering a rhubarb grower just a few miles from me, who has rhubarb ALL SUMMER LONG! it was a year a rhubarb experimentation and I found out I do like rhubarb!
- canning over 350 jars of tomatoes, peaches, quinces, plums, various vinegar pickles, jam, chutneys, sauces etc. A personal record
- drying peaches - a first this year
- finding a rabbit farmer - less than 10 miles away
- teaching 2 dozen people to can so they can savor their local harvest
- an incredible pawpaw harvest from the stream banks
- the joy and challenge of writing a bi-monthly column "The Seasonal Table" in a regional magazine
Discoveries continue.. May 2012 also be a great local years for all of us.
Merry Christmas. Happy New Year to you and Mary

Trout Caviar said...

Hi Lynne: Okay, that's a good start. We all love our farmers markets. Is there a particular vendor you gravitate to, and if so, why? A vegetable you anticipate all year, and then what do you do with it when you finally have it? We want specificity, evocation! I could use a little dose of summer at the market right about now....

John: A solid backdrop, like your neighbor's garage, can be a sort of heat sink that tomatoes love--we found this at the cabin, where the potted tomatoes against the cabin actually did better, up to a point, than the ones planted in the ground.

Sylvie, I'm both exhausted and extremely hungry after reading that list! Myself, I'm into micro-batch canning--I'll just make up a wee bit of brine to save the rest of a bunch of asparagus (pickled asparagus is a great martini garnish, BTW!), do a couple half pints at a time. I want to get your recipe for blackberry wine--after a couple lousy years, I figure 2012 should bring us a bumper crop.

Cheers, all~ Brett

Gloria Goodwin Raheja said...

Well, I already have a copy of your book but another one would make a perfect gift, so here are a couple of things. I made your ramp pickles last spring and we adored them; only problem was they didn't last too long, they were gloriously addictive in our ramp-a-tinis. And speaking of ramps we also made your chicken paillards with ramps and maple syrup and that was one of the best chicken dishes I've ever had. As for sources of great local stuff, I love Dorothy Stainbrook's HeathGlen jams (especially her heirloom tomato jam which is to die for), and we were glad to discover a great source for fresh and dried wild mushrooms at the Saint Paul Farmers Market (Birch Creek Forest Products). My favorite vegetable farmers at the market include the Sor Vang family because they always have the most wonderful assortment of Thai eggplants, interesting bean varieties, and Thai chilies, of which I am inordinately fond. I am very jealous of Sylvie's pawpaws.

Jeff said...

Biggest surprise was stumbling across wild morel mushrooms while cutting the grass up at the hunting shack. Further searching produced about a gallon bucket of the little devils.
My most fulling moment was butchering the doe I took opening weekend, all by myself. Lots of work, but very satisfying once it was completed.

Merry Christmas, Brett and all.

Eric said...

I had the courage and patience to attempt Venison Sauerbraten with homemade rye spatzle and roasted pearl onions. With the addition of a hearty, dark German beer it turned out fantastic and was worth the wait.

Trout Caviar said...

Thanks, Gloria. Did I mention that you do get extra entries in the drawing for highlights featuring Trout Caviar? (Kidding.) I have drooled over a lot of your Facebook food entries, so I know it must have been tough for you to narrow the top meals down. More great eating to you in 2012.

Hi Jeff: I hope I have your luck with morels some day. I've got my eye on a few elms reaching what I think of as the ideal state of deadness--but your accidental find seems quite typical. Seeking doesn't always lead to finding, and sometimes they come and find you. Congratulations on your deer, and on processing it yourself.

Hey, Eric: That sounds fantastic, every bit of it. Something tells me that deer hunting may be in my future. Rye spaetzle sounds intriguing, too.

Cheers and happy solstice~ Brett

Jessica RAS said...

My local food moment for 2011 is comical considering your prior asparagus post. My daughter was born at the end of March, 2011 so I was so excited to be on maternity leave during "wild asparagus" season! I have memories from my childhood of my dad bringing home handfuls of wild asparagus freshly pick from the side of the country roads on his way home from work in the spring. As an adult, I havent had too many opportunities to do my own asparagus hunting so this spring provided me the opportunity to spend time with my new daughter outside while discovering the "secret" clusters of the tender green stalks.

Eric said...

I've very much enjoyed reading your blog as I have become a fan of foraging and adventurous cooking. This summer I made sumac lemonade "Indian Lemonade" and Sumac Jelly and absolutely loved it. Thanks and Merry Christmas!

Eric Barta

BKP said...

Teaching my kids to garden and having them help. That continues to be my favorite food moment each year... though they see as many fails as successes. And indulgently, eating at Masu in Mpls. Ah... sushi heaven.

rose said...

i'm just into my third year eating almost exclusively local produce to due food allergies (amazing where corn derivatives sneak into things!) and really feel like i hit my stride this year, even though it was such a tough growing season for so many. i am so thankful for everyone growing in our community, but particularly to those i think of as "my farmers" -- mindy @ sleeping cat farm, heinel farm, & ames farm, among others. i'm so glad i'm finally learning the rhythms of the seasons, and can make a good guess at when i'll be able to find what at the farmer's market. (most exciting discovery there this year was local artichokes!)

while i've made jam a number of times before, this was the first year i expanded into canning veggies--totally worth it! i tend to be a small batch canner too, but finally broke that rule for tomatoes.

this was also the first year i had access to land to plant a garden, and jumped in head first with about 80 sq. ft. (as well as asparagus and strawberry beds that i won't get to enjoy til next year). i will admit that the garden has spilled over to my kitchen table this winter, and am amazed to watch the out of season bits of it insist on thriving. i'm totally hooked and can't wait to get planting again in the spring.

Anonymous said...

I really miss Real Bread. I was delighted to find the fougasse recipe in your book.

I'm learning to store what I've grown and bought at the Farmer's Market. I have plenty of tomatoes and summer squash in the freezer, and butternut squash and cabbage in my improvised root cellar. I have apples down there as well, from Havlicek's Orchard stand at the Midtown Farmer's Market. And I still have a couple of jars of cucumber pickles, so good I just eat them as a side dish.

Jan G. in South Minneapolis

LuckyBucky said...

My favorite "local" food moments usually include the times when we're able incorporate different foodstuffs procured in different methods into one meal. This seasons highlights for me:

-The early-season fish tacos at my parents lake home (Brainerd)....wood-grilled crappies--caught that morning, lettuce from Dad's garden, salsa from last season's batch, refrigerator pickles from the freezer.

-Grilled whole teal (rubbed with oil, S & P, HOT,HOT,HOT grill)that my oldest son and I shot through out the duck season, fresh tomatoes and pumpkin soup.

-This was the first year we really got into heirlooms tomatoes. I loved the research (and the stories) that went into it all. I appreciated the locals who shared their experience with me on what to expect. Note to Self: Start your seeds earlier!!

-Picking wild raspberries with my sons for morning cereal.

-Sharing garden work with my dad and my sons at the same time.

Thank you to Trout Cavier and others like it for helping us reconnect to the land and ourselves.


Trout Caviar said...

Hi Jessica: Thanks for writing. I didn't mean to imply in that earlier post that there's anything wrong or phony about wild asparagus--I love it, and eagerly look forward to finding it in the spring. What was comical to me, in the article, was that it seemed pretty clear that they were foraging in an abandoned garden, not exactly "the wild." More like gleaning, I guess. With the lack of snow this year, you can still see the tall asparagus ferns in the ditches along the country roads--make a note for next spring's foraging.

Eric: Sumac lemonade is great, especially when sweetened with maple syrup! A truly delicious and distinctive beverage.

BKP: Good for you, starting them young in the garden. The habit of gardening makes for a happy life, I think.

Rose: It sounds like you had a great year of local eating. Congratulations on breaking ground on your garden. And you know, I believe I might still have some turnips and kale in my garden worth picking--December 29!

Nice to hear from you, Jan. There are lots of things about the market that I miss, too. The fougasse recipe in the book isn't exactly the same as what we made for the market--that was a mixed leaven dough, while the book uses a dry yeast poolish to approximate the sourdough flavor. If you have a starter going, and want the "real" fougasse recipe, let me know; I'll be happy to send it along.

Lucky Bucky: You are lucky, indeed! Crappie tacos, grilled teal, nice!

Thanks for writing, everyone~ Brett

Kate said...

I think the best growing local moment was our first egg from THE GIRLS,our backyard chickens! Oh such glorious yolks!
Gloria, Buffy and Goldie make our lives richer.

Maria said...

I went in heavily on the liqueur-making this year. The oregon-grape infused gin has been a big surprise hit! It doesn't quite work as the sloe gin substitute I was originally envisioning, but there's this amazing smoky flavor to it that just came out of nowhere! Now I add it to drinks as a partial substitute for peaty/smoky scotch and it is always amazing.

Serving up brown butter, sage, and black locust blossom pasta to a new friend was pretty great as well.

Worst local food moment of 2011 was discovering that the combination of alcohol + Boletus chrysenteron makes me sick. Doh.

Eric B said...

My favorite local food moment of 2011 was stopping at a local farm north of Waupacs, WI after a week of trout fishing. I purchased local asparagus and maple syrup from Waupacs county. It made for an amazing meal. Smoked brook trout with a maple syrup glaze with fresh asparagus. Gotta love WI!

Eric B said...

That was meant to say Waupaca...thanks autocorrect!

Kelly said...

Oh I have crock envy! I love, love, love your crock! :) I need one for next summer when my cucumbers come in...mmmm..crock pickles.

I grew up in Northern MN in the country and we always had our own veggie gardens. I have been able to finally have a garden of my own the last two summers and it's heaven. To grow your own organic vegetables, know where your seeds came from and to harvest your own veggies...it's like Christmas every day. :)

Thanks for your blog...looking forward to reading it this year and trying your recipes! Happy New Year!

Eric said...

We're the winners announced and I missed them?

Trout Caviar said...

Thanks for the reminder, Eric. Very busy week. I'm going to do the drawing RIGHT NOW!