Deep Freeze

I have the strength to write about the weeks that just passed because today it is supposed to reach the 40s.  I will write little so that I can go out and feel what 40s feels like.

Went to Mass MOCA and saw wonderful art.

My neighbors chopped down the biggest tree I have even seen chopped down.  

I reconstructed some clothes over the course of two days.  Much more than is pictured here.  I was in threaded heaven.

Squirrels ate things in my back yard.  I was not tempted to investigate and harvest.

Something like a mouse made trails in my front yard.  I was glad the trails didn’t lead to my home.

I put up a second crock of sauerkraut.  The first was very much loved by many.  I think the second will be better.  It is five days old and developing nicely.  Two and a half heads of cabbage, two turnips, two carrots, five apples, two onions, caraway seed and salt together yielded roughly 12 pounds of sauerkraut.  About two gallons.  I am going to leave this one longer in the crock if I can stand the wait.  I want to better understand the souring process. Best thing is that I no longer worry about whether my house smells like sauerkraut.  I am in love with fermentation and I am going to say it loudly.  With smells.

Lagusta ordered me to make onion rings and use chick pea flour.  I had been thinking about pakoras anyway (due in large part to the delicious veggie burgers at Burger Centric here in Albany; really giant pakora patties on a bun), but I had no chick pea flour.  I did have dried chick peas, though.  The mortar and pestle produced a couple of tablespoons well and quickly, but I wanted more.  Grain mill produced two or so cups in five minutes.  The little bowl contains the big bits that remained after I sifted the flour.  No reason to remove it.  I just wanted to use my grandmother’s sifter.  Onions rings and pakoras are in my future.

A soup of delicata squash and dried New Mexico chilies was produced.  It was a thing of beauty in the bowl and the mouth.  Hottish.  Delicate mouths protested.  To hell with them, I tell you.  I eat more than 2/3 of what I produce and I enjoyed it.

A second pumpkin bourbon tart was produced.  The result appealed to a broader audience than did the first, but I will miss the punch packed by ol’ numero uno.  Screwed up the face of my sister in law, it did.

A german chocolate cake was produced.  Lacey had a piece and loved it, but I am delighted that I will be the likely consumer of the balance.  A finer cake I have never sampled.

Life is getting yummier, but that was a whole lot of indoor activity.  Time to go outside.

Addendum:  Went outside.  It was 40, but add grey skies and damp air and it isn’t all that wonderful.  My dog seemed happy with it.  Looked up a pakora recipe in my new cookbook, The Indian Vegan Kitchen, by Madhu Gadia, M.S., R.D.  She directs the use of cream of rice but doesn’t explain what it is.  Someone on the internet suggests it is coarse rice meal, so out comes the mortar and pestle and I grind up three tablespoons worth.  The description also included a comparison to sand.  What kind of sand?  I haven’t been to many beaches, but from what I have seen sand comes in many sizes.  My grinding effort took longer than I was happy with (as in I was pooped), but I am relieved to not have to clean the grain mill again.  The meal seemed a little course, like Provincetown sand.  I feared the pakoras might be a little gritty as a result, so I broke my rule and ran the meal in my blade coffee grinder for 10 seconds.  So easy and so fine.

I want to use spinach in my pakoras and I have none (and nothing that I can run through a grain mill to produce spinach), so pakoras will have to wait until Saturday or Sunday to arise.  Until then!

10 responses to “Deep Freeze

  1. Hey Randy. Where are you fermenting the kraut, and at what temperature? I’ve got some going in the sanctuary and I think it might be just a bit too cold in there. After a week in the crock, I’m just now starting to taste the sour. Oh… and caraway seeds really pack a punch. I’ve always loved them in kraut, but didn’t realize how powerful they are.

    Tonight or tomorrow, I start a more structured fermentation project. My first batch of homebrew in 10 years. Very excited.

  2. Thanks for writing!

    Glad you are getting started with a fermentation project! My first two completed ferments and the current in process ferment sit on the counter in my kitchen where the temp ranges from 62 to 68. Your sanctuary will be fine, it will just take longer. I had no problem making time to taste the progress each day and that is just the right way to keep tabs on it.

    I learned the same thing about spices with my first batch. A little goes a long way. My first batch had too much mustard seed for my taste (but others liked it). That said, it seems to have mellowed in the jars. That, or I am just growing to appreciate the strong mustard flavor.

    I am excited for you to brew at home, too! Even moreso if a drop or so makes it my way!

    Hope to see you soon.

  3. WOW. You are getting some stuff DONE over there, my friend! Amazing! So happy I inspired you to make chickpea flour, taking my idea even one more DIY step!

    Picture #2 just about made me fall over laughing, also.

    • Aw shucks! Just trying to prevent myself from freezing solid. Constant movement and consumption of calories seems to help.

      I am a big fan of Bright Eyes, so the inclusion of the picture of the reference to them was only meant as a compliment to the band. Cheers to them for being on the mind of an artist showing at Mass MOCA, right? Like you, though, I also found it funny as hell.

  4. Oh, that sauerkraut looks amazing! I’m looking forward to picking up a cabbage at the farmer’s market on Sunday to start my first batch of kimchi of 2010.

    And that bourbon-pumpkin tart…you might have inspired me to try Lagusta’s recipe at last. I’ve been a little scared of it but it looks so good.

    Is your grain mill green?! Is there a story behind it? I’m obsessed with green things and have never dreamed of a green grain mill.

  5. Thanks for writing.

    We are loving out first ever batch of kimchi. Don’t want to play favorites, but it really is a strong competitor.

    Do make the tart. It is a rare treat.

    The grain mill is a Diamant. They are now sold at Lehman’s, a shop whose website is a delight for so many reasons. I bought the crocks I use for fermenting there. If you are going to buy a Diamant, I’d suggest doing it while you are young and using it often. That is your only shot at making back the steep price. Strike that. The real value is super fresh flours and meals. Makes all the difference.

    Have a great year!

  6. The dress is amazing! Did you do the little weaving on the front? I had no idea you were a closeted fashion designer.

    • Thanks! Coming from you, that really means something. The weaving, the sleeves and the skirt were all part of a dress that I just chopped up and sewed onto the plain white t-shirt. Lacey gave me a whole pile of clothes that she didn’t want and I am just working my way through them to try to make them interesting to her again. She seems happy so far, so I will keep trying.

      Hope you had a nice birthday!


  7. I love the reconstructed black and white dress(?). Looks like something out of one of our art projects.

    • Thanks! It and the other projects were so enjoyable.

      I love working with a sewing machine. One of my many dreams is to acquire an industrial machine so that I can sew crazy heavy fabric and produce all sorts of things out of heavy cotton canvas. I see bicycle bags, shelters, capes and all sorts of other custom items.

      Pedal well and often!

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