At-home cooking

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Ridgerunner
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Re: At-home cooking

Postby Ridgerunner » Thu Jun 25, 2015 6:28 am

I see you have a couple gourds hanging. Do you have any occupants this year?
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zelph
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Re: At-home cooking

Postby zelph » Thu Jun 25, 2015 2:03 pm

Yes, English sparrows. They got there first before the Purple Martins. My one big remaining gourd is ready to be made into an apartment dwelling :D If only there were a few more hours in a day. :o

It would look interesting to have the 2 small gourds attached to the big one so they would look like ears :lol: :roll:
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zelph
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Re: At-home cooking

Postby zelph » Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:53 pm

Good news, I have the opportunity to get some watercress tomorrow. A family gathering is taking place at the YMCA campground where the special place is. I'll be sure to do a video. :D

I'll be cutting some "Angelica" today to try my hand at making a dessert/snack with it.

http://www.food.com/recipe/homemade-can ... rts-248003

https://www.google.com/search?q=angelic ... CAYQ_AUoAQ
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zelph
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Re: At-home cooking

Postby zelph » Sun Jun 28, 2015 6:23 pm

Turned out the Angelica had turned purple, too old to use.

I did get about 3 pounds of watercress. Now I need to learn how to preserve it. Churro, how do I process it...vacuum bag it and freeze? I had to taste it for the first time right out of the water....tastes peppery :D

A boardwalk has been created around and over the artesian well where the water cress grows. I was hard pressed to gather it because there were a gazillian mosquitos buzzin all around me. Fortunately I was covered with a full mesh hoody.

The one photo is where the water is coming up through the sand, can't see it though in a photo, forgot my video recorder :roll:
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Artesian Well sand.JPG
Artesian well.JPG
Watercress.JPG
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Ridgerunner
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Re: At-home cooking

Postby Ridgerunner » Sun Jun 28, 2015 10:23 pm

I'm surprised I can see it through the gazillion Mosquitos buzzing around you and your camera. :lol: :DB:
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churro
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Re: At-home cooking

Postby churro » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:03 pm

Nice haul! Preserving watercress might be tricky. I'd try blanching them very briefly in nearly boiling water, then packing them in an ice-cube tray, covering with the water from blanching and freezing. The rationale behind blanching is to both reduce the bacterial load and deactivate some enzymes that will make it go nasty when thawed. The rationale for the ice-cube tray is to have easy-to-use portions. The rationale for topping off with the cooking water is to eliminate oxygen, to prevent oxidation. Then crack out the cubes and store them in a freezer bag. Or just make a cream of watercress soup and freeze that. You'll lose some of the peppery flavor with any sort of cooking, unfortunately, so eat all you can fresh! You could certainly try some just vacuum-sealed and frozen, but the shelf life might be less than when blanched. I like to make fresh watercress into pesto- that should freeze well, too. A little citric acid (homebrew shops, or "fruit fresh" powder used in canning, or just vitamin C tablets ground up) will help it stay nice and green.

Good that you got wild watercress- beats the heck out of store-bought, in my opinion.

We had a windfall today. It was the first time in weeks I had time to stop and smell the flowers, so we packed up the baby and headed to a local farmer's market. On the way there a friend texted, saying her apricot tree was sagging with ripe fruit, and she had already put up 65 jars of it, so could we please come pick some before it all falls in the lawn and makes a mess. I would have said yes even if she hadn't said "please", and it just happens that she lives in the same town where the farmer's market is. An hour of picking while she played with the baby and we went home with 6 full grocery bags of gorgeous fruit (that's AFTER we gave 2 bags away!). I figure at least some of it will become free baby food. No more flower-smelling until I get all this canned, frozen and dried, though!

churro
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Re: At-home cooking

Postby churro » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:40 pm

Here's a recipe for watercress soup that looks good, though I'd double or triple the watercress part and cook it only one or two minutes instead of three. I'd probably omit the cream if freezing, and then add cream after re-heating, just before serving, so it tastes nice and fresh.

http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/C ... cress-Soup

churro
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Re: At-home cooking

Postby churro » Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:13 am

Wild tea! I love it. Bring that goodness you find in the wild home. Use some fresh and dry the rest.

Some of my favorites: Mint (mild pain-killer, safe for children), chamomile (grows wild here), pineapple weed (similar to chamomile, but tastes even better), ponderosa pine needles (any pine works), spruce needles, strawberry leaves (tastes boring, but nutritious. Not everyone is a rockstar), rose hips (or petals), cinquefoil or potentilla (I've counted 14 varieties here in the rockies and it grows everywhere, it seems, good for mouth sores or dental work- my brother says it worked better than percoset, though for less time, when he had is wisdom teeth out. The bushy variety that grows wild and is often sold around here as an ornamental smells like oranges if picked in full bloom and dried), yarrow (kills or prevents colds, I swear), wild violets, chokecherry inner bark. All work well fresh or dried. I like to mix them, pinch of this, palm-full of that. You get a feel for what works well together pretty quickly, and don't underestimate the nutrition! My wife often asks me to make her a "sleeping potion", which is usually a healthy dose of chamomile or pineapple weed with mint and whatever else smells good to me, a little honey stirred in. She digs it, and it works, if only as a soothing placebo. I always carry a very small mesh strainer when camping, so I can steep, then strain the stuff I find.

Another little trick: Lodgepole pine sap! Take a pea-sized piece and chew it up and swallow it when your nose, ears and sinuses are clogged. Your nose will run like a tap for a short time, then you'll be clear. Repeat as necessary. Surprisingly effective.

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zelph
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Re: At-home cooking

Postby zelph » Mon Jun 29, 2015 2:18 pm

Oh thank you thank you. I'm going to do the watercress soup from the link.

At the link there was a video ...how to clean a whole head of garlic in 10m seconds. Let's see if the embed works:




I've got yarrow, pineapple weed, cinquefoil, native wild rose hips when they are ready.
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churro
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Re: At-home cooking

Postby churro » Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:10 pm

Tonight we'll have super duper nachos, with leftover flank steak and pork ribs meat diced up on it and some kind of delicious espresso-cured cheese and apricot salsa on the side. For desert (and breakfast tomorrow), apricots baked with rhubarb served with yogurt and granola. More blessings to count :D

These apricots are sort of firm and dry, but with great flavor. I found it easier and better to just tear them in half with my hands to remove the pits. The one's I cut would start to brown almost immediately, but the torn ones stayed bright orange. I put some of the salsa and some of the baked stuff in the freezer for later, and still have a bunch to eat and LOTS more apricots that need to ripen a bit before I use them. Maybe chutney, some jam, leather and baby food.


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