Thursday, September 20, 2012

Comin' Up...

The frost we dodged late last week, we did not dodge for long.  Monday night, I think it was, the whip came down here in our chilly valley.  Depending on which crappy thermometer you looked at (anyone know of a source for really good, accurate thermometers?), it hit either 28 or 30.  Whichever, it was enough to scorch, coldly, the beans, squash, tomatoes, and peppers.  It wasn't cold enough to damage the actual vegetables--except a few tomatoes--but the plants are dead, and so now I've got some salvage harvesting to do.  I wonder if all the butternut squash will ripen off the vine--there is lots of it, seriously lots.  And let's hear about your favorite green tomato recipes!  Last night I sliced one and put it under the broiler with some sliced pork shoulder I marinated in hot, sweet, and salty stuff, and that was really good.

Those beans hanging among the very discouraged bean leaves are Sultan's Golden Crescent, which I was growing for shell beans, so I'll let them hang there and dry.  I don't know if they matured enough to be worth the effort; we shall see.

  Amy (Sourtooth) Thielen referred to this first killing frost as "the merciful frost," and I think I know what she means.  It's that seasonal turn that puts an end to many things:  Did you have some more pickling in mind?  Skip it.  And as for putting up more tomatoes, dilly beans, corn relish.  It's over.  But I really like the post-frost garden time, for it means the cooking greens are tender, the turnips sweet, while there's still lettuce--maybe better than the spring lettuce, even--and what tomatoes remain, and the cool evenings perk the appetite so well.  Certainly there are chores that remain to set the gardens up for winter, but mainly it's a matter of enjoying the harvest.  I have to say, considering that we started from go this spring, built and dug every single bed, I'm damn pleased, and damn proud of myself.  I have many plans for future projects, but we've made an excellent start in our first year here at the farm.

It's good that garden chores will be less demanding in the weeks ahead, because I've got the busiest month yet of book-related events coming up.  It seems a bit odd that it should be so, over a year after the book came out; but then, I always thought Trout Caviar would be more of a long-distance runner than a flashy sprinter.  If things keep on this way, I may even get a royalty check one of these days....

Here are some of the open-to-the-public events I'll be involved in from now to the end of October:

First off, this Saturday, September 22, I'll be doing a  cooking demo at the Minneapolis Farmers Market, the main site under the red sheds on north Lyndale.  That's at 10:30, and my topic is root vegetables.  There are lots of great farmers markets in the Twin Cities now, but the Minneapolis market on a brisk fall morning is just about the best place on earth you could be.  There's corn roasting, sausages grilling, buskers busking, and the market stalls are bursting with every color known to the vegetable kingdom.  That's where I fell in love with farmers markets, way back in the previous century, and I'm delighted to be invited to cook there this weekend.

Into October, I'll be at the  Hungry Turtle Farm and Learning Center on Sunday, October 7 for their Festival of Farms, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.  Hungry Turtle Farm is an enchanting place on the banks of the Apple River near Amery, WI, about an hour's drive from the Twin Cities.  I participated in a brick oven building workshop there in August.  We're loaning our cider press to the farm for the event, so there will be fresh-pressed cider.  I'll be hanging out with a few copies of the book.  Here's the scoop on the day via Hungry Turtle:

The Hungry Turtle team created this free event with the purpose of building community around the enjoyment of good food. This year's event, as the very first Festival of Farms, serves to introduce Hungry Turtle to the surrounding community, with food sampling, CSA information, and tours of the farm at 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. Other local producers and artists featured at this event include Apple Hill Studio, with work by fiber artist Keldi Merton; Bluebird Hill Homestead, a nature school; Moo Oink Cluck, a natural meat producer; and Brett Laidlaw, author of Trout Caviar. Musician Mark Stillman will be playing the accordion from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Also in the plans are lawn games, a kids' corner, and cider pressing.

The following weekend we're off to central Wisconsin for the  Waupaca Book Festival on October 12 and 13, Friday and Saturday.  There's a dessert reception on Friday evening, and I'll be doing a reading/cooking demo Saturday afternoon, time TBA.  Waupaca is kind of a special place for me, as it was on the Tomorrow/Waupaca River that flows through the town that I first took up the fly rod, and to the extent that a hobby can change one's life, fly fishing certainly has had an enormous impact on mine.  Other authors in attendance will be Michael Perry, Terese Allen, Matt Tavares, Erica Bauermeister, Peter Geniesse, Judy Bridges, Lowell Peterson, Jasia Steinmetz, Marissa Meyer, Pat Schmatz, Geoff Herbach, Jacqueline West, Darien Gee, and Wendell Nelson.  There's a bit of a culinary theme to the festival this year.

And then on Friday, October 26, I'll be in Winona for a  Trout Caviar-themed dinner at the Book Shelf bookstore/Blue Heron Coffeehouse.  This should be fun.  I haven't done a book dinner before.  Space is limited for this dinner, of course, and, well, I really hope we sell out.

And finally, not events, but a couple of nice reviews of the book have appeared recently, one at the  Cookbook Man website, a fine resource for the cookbook-obsessed (and who isn't?), and one at  Langdon Cook's excellent forager's blog, Fat of the Land.

I am very grateful for these appreciations, and to everyone who's hosting me in the weeks ahead.  If you're in the vicinity for any of these events, I hope you'll stop by.  Thanks for stopping by here.


Minneapolis Farmers Market said...

texamseThe love is mutual.

el said...

I am proud of what you got accomplished this year too!

(We are a ways off from frost though...thankfully, AND mercifully. I like to ease into things!)

Can you do another crock of mixed veg for your green tomatoes? Otherwise I find them tasty chopped up and cooked in a slow-cooked pork stew. Your butternuts should be ok on the vine for a little while but do not let them experience another hard frost, if possible. It cuts into their storage time. If you can, chop off a fruit on a 3-4' length of vine and let them dry out somewhere warm/dry that way.

Keep up the good foody work.

Amy said...

Ha, yes, that is exactly what I meant. It was secretly glad to let the zukes freeze. I still have a flat of tomatoes staring back at me, the size of a chalkboard. Good luck on your tour! Let me know if you ever get up this way.

Trout Caviar said...

MFM, Saturday was fun, in spite of the brisk weather!

El, thanks. We are getting frost pretty much every night now. Quite different from you there in the land of the lotus eaters.... We did as instructed and harvested squash on the vine--three wheelbarrows full! Have them in a shed and on the porch.

Amy, that was how I felt about our patty pans. We processed tomatoes yesterday, roasted a big pan down to freeze for all-purposes and made a batch of ketchup. Haven't done that for a few years, modifed BH&G recipe.

Cheers, all~ Brett