Harvest Season

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of having a full pantry – especially when you’ve worked hard to fill it up. I especially look forward to harvesting the squash each year and laying it out in the pantry to finish curing. Today, I brought in 120 lb of sweet meats, 25 lb of delicatas, and a few butternuts:

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Quinoa, dry beans, and more squash are still to be added to the pantry this season – but where will they fit? Special thanks to my friends Bill & Kay, whose apples account for most of our juice and apple sauce (some of it is visible in the photo), and Jacques and Amy, who let us glean some of their delicious tomatoes for our year’s tomato sauce!

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About half of the year’s apples – thanks, Bill!

Marble Mountains

Last weekend.  Backpacking with friends in the Marble Mountains.

The Sky High Lakes & Frying Pan Lake

The Sky High Lakes & Frying Pan Lake

 

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The Marble Rim

 

Newt in the lake!

Newt in the lake!

 

On the trail

On the trail

 

Alpine Meadow

Alpine Meadow

 

Sore-footed Nyxie

Sore-footed Nyxie

Anniversary Food

Christine and I celebrated our upcoming 4th wedding anniversary yesterday by making a delicious gourmet dinner, inspired by recipes in a French cookbook given to us by my friend Drew (thanks, Drew!).

For the main course, we made summer tarts: socca (chickpea-flour baked pancakes) spread with a layer of peach and tayberry compote and then covered with raw young zucchini, sliced paper-thin, along with fresh basil, sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.

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For dessert, we made duck egg canelés: small rum-flavored egg-yolk pastries with caramelized exteriors and soft custardy centers.

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Four years of marriage – and 11 years of living and cooking together – have made us a pretty good team in the kitchen!

Birthday Cocktail & Mocktail

Preserved Lemon Martini

Zest some Moroccan-style preserved lemon rind (made by everyone’s favorite local olive business, Henry’s Olives) into a chilled glass.  Combine 3 oz Humboldt Distillery’s “Humboldt’s Finest” hemp seed-infused vodka, 1 oz extra dry vermouth, 1 tsp homemade sugar beet syrup, and 1/2 tsp preserved lemon brine.  Shake well with ice.  Add to glass with zest and stir.  Garnish with a rosemary sprig.  (Optional, for the true preserved lemon aficionados: preserved lemon brine rim.)

(No picture of test batch of martini.  I drank it too fast.)

(No picture of test batch of martini. I drank it too fast.)

Arnold Garmer

Stir together 1 cup unfiltered apple juice, 1/2 cup iced chai tea, some microplaned fresh ginger, and a dash of apple bitters (OK, there’s a tiny bit of alcohol in this mocktail).  Garnish with a rosemary sprig.

Arnold Garmer

Duck(ling)s

The new ducklings already have a lot of their feathers, and are spending most of their days outside.

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All the young ducks want to do is follow the big ducks around, but the adult drake keeps a close eye on them and chases them off whenever they get close.

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What the drake doesn’t realize is that he is expendable, and the young hens are not…

More Ducklings!

Yesterday we got 3 more ducks!  Well, day-old ducklings, to be specific, all female (hopefully) Khaki Campbells.  So far, they’ve been much more outgoing and energetic than the Welsh Harlequins were as ducklings, and even seem to like being held.  Here’s a survey of the cuteness from the first 24 hours.

 

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Duck Eggs!

One of our ducks finally started laying eggs!  (And right in the middle of winter… go figure.)  We’ve been getting an egg a day for the last 5 days, and we’re very excited.  Here are our first 4 eggs, unwashed (they keep better that way at room temperature):

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And here are two of them cleaned for cooking:

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And here’s the first one we ate, frying in the pan!

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We’re looking forward to years of delicious duck egg cookery to come.