Sunday, August 22, 2004

Veggie tales

Yesterday was a gray, rainy day, on top of which we were (are) watching Lucy, my sister's giant Airedale/standard poodle mix. Lucy was spayed last week, so we've been instructed to not leave her along for a single minute, to put the horrible Elizabethan collar on her at night, to keep her from running and playing. Let's just say that we've complied with most of those instructions - but once the e-collar began crashing into the bedroom walls last night, we pulled it off her furry head.

In any case, the weather and the need to stay home inspired me to deal with some of the excess produce we have on hand from our farm share. Up here in the frozen North, summer's bounty doesn't appear until mid-August and even early September, so it's just in the last two weeks that the veggies have really started to pile up. So, I decided to blanche and freeze some chard, kale and green beans. The farm had given out instructions in their fabulous newsletter - so I just boiled the greens for three minutes, the beans for two, then plunged them into ice water for the same amount of time. Drained them, chopped them, then stuck them into labeled freezer bags. I don't like to use frozen vegetables from the grocery store very much - but preparing them myself makes all the difference. Last year I froze corn, pumpkin and tomatoes, and we used every last bit of it.

This year I also tried making refrigerator pickles (also a suggestion from the farm newsletter). I sliced up some pickling cucumbers, then put them in a jar with several garlic gloves. Covered the whole thing with apple cider vinegar, some salt and some honey, put the lid on tightly and stuck it in the fridge. I'm not sure how long it will take for them to be ready, but I think I'll give 'em a try this afternoon. (Not exactly patient enough for canning, am I?)

For dinner I made a shredded chicken/soba noodle salad from Cooking Light. I'm usually a strict follower of recipes - as much as I cook, I don't often have the confidence to fiddle with a recipe - but I tweaked this one to make use of some cilantro (instead of basil) and small red cabbage we had on hand. Unfortunately, the farm carrots I'd been counting on using were mushy when I pulled them out of the fridge - I guess they need the protection of a plastic bag to stay crisp.

So, all in all, a successful vegetable day. Today I desperately want to get outside - it's a gorgeous day, and we've got some work to do, cutting back shrubs and weeds that are too close to the foundation of the house, so the painter can work quickly tomorrow. (Did I mention that we're having the house painted? It's a nice, dark green color that I thought would be more olive-y than it is. But it's fine nonetheless.) I'm not sure how we're going to work the Lucy situation, since she's not allowed to loiter around outside for fear of dirtying her incision. My guess is that D. will work outside, and I'll stay in with the pooch; she's my responsibility this weekend, and D. deserves to recover from his hellish week at work with some downtime outside.