Sunday, October 27, 2013

Insanity strikes again

Somehow another two weeks have passed without a post.
I've had nothing good to say, really, so I've said nothing.
This picture sums it up nicely:
Most people, if they have heard of Mercury retrograde, think it is a lot of superstitious nonsense. I can't argue with that. It does seem silly to say it's all the fault of a few errant planets. However, insane things happen in my life about three times a year, coinciding like clockwork with the times Mercury goes retrograde, and I have learnt to know when they are and be careful.

So, the last two weeks have included over a week of anxiety attacks and/or gluten symptoms, as bad as I've ever had. I've been logging my food, so I KNOW I didn't have any gluten...just the symptoms.

A friend's emergency gallbladder surgery.

A mystery package that I took to be an attempt to scam me, that turned out to be a random gift from a family member. My sister got one too. We are both mystified as to why.

A party. Everyone either declined the invitation or didn't answer, so I cancelled it. Then 2 days before it happened, some of them changed their minds, so we threw things together at the last minute to host 3 adults and 5 hyperactive children.

My husband hit a deer on Friday, so now we need to shop for a car. I'm afraid to do it before retrograde is over, as there is a better-than-usual chance it will catch fire or the wheels will fall off or something. Will probably spend a good deal of this month car-shopping, a stressful pastime if there ever was one, while trying to stall actually buying one.

So I'm taking a week off from updates. Just not feeling up to it. Try again next week.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

More Mincemeat

Ok, so green tomato mincemeat? Actually fairly tasty. I admit, I was a bit dubious when I read the recipe. 4 cups sugar and a ton of sweet spices and a goodly amount of salt, ok. But my eyes bugged out a little when it came to the tsp of black pepper. But really, it worked out ok. A bit too sweet for me. You'll have to excuse my attempt at gluten-free tart crusts. They taste good, but they crumble easily.

I collected my acorns today. Red oak, so they're going to take more leeching to get the bitterness out. Shall I roast them like chestnuts or grind them into meal for grits or pancakes?

 I'm waiting on the persimmons to ripen, and will update on my food adventures in a week or so.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Green tomatoes, persimmons, and other food adventures

Somehow another couple of weeks have gone by. That Chinese-Art Deco fusion work of art turned out to be a modern painting mimicking traditional art styles. Halloween is well underway. An early frost and a hungry groundhog forced me to pick all the tomatoes that were left on the vine, most of them green. I started looking for ways to deal with them, since several pounds of fried green tomatoes is Waaaay too much of a good thing.

Understand that I am a foodie. Or perhaps I have settled for being a foodie. I would like to be an adventuress. Visit all kinds of fascinating places, have unique experiences, eat unusual foods, read all the books in the world. Yes, book adventures count. But I'm on a super-budget, so I often turn my attention to making unusual foods, foods that you can't buy anywhere.

So, several pounds of green tomatoes. What to do? Internet searches turned up a number of suggestions, some of them very strange indeed, or very inventive.

Green tomato jelly: Sounds fun, except that the ingredients are green tomatoes, sugar, and raspberry gelatin. If I'm using green tomatoes, I want it to have the flavor of green tomatoes, and not raspberry jello.

Green tomato pie: I made this last year. It tasted a lot like tart apple pie. If you like apple pie, I can recommend it. But I've done that before, so it's not much of an adventure.

Pickles: Not just for cucumbers! You can pickle just about any vegetable with salt and vinegar (have I ever mentioned my grandma's pickled watermelon rind? Sounds weird, tastes delicious).  I took the little cherry-sized green tomatoes (too small for anything else) and fresh dill and made a quart jar worth. I go for refrigerator pickling instead of hard canning, so I will know how those turned out in 3 days. They probably make good bread & butter pickles because of their tartness, but I have to limit my sugar, so I went with sour dills.

This left me about 6 cups of green tomatoes (and 5 large ripe ones, which made a lovely tomato soup)
So I kept looking.

Picalilli: some kind of Southern relish. It's probably like chutney. Not sure what you put it on, actually, and I couldn't find the recipe again. Or spell it, which is probably the problem.

Green tomato mincemeat: SOLD! It's weird, sounds disgusting, and I'm pretty sure you can't buy it even in the most country of country stores. THAT is worth my time and effort. I mean, the store-canned mincemeats are disgusting, but I'm hoping it's like fruitcake, where the home-made ones are really delicious. At the least, I'll have something to talk about (Ew, this tastes terrible! Here, you try it!)

That's why they're food adventures.

So I need to scale down the recipe from a peck (12 lbs) of green tomatoes, and buy some things I don't keep around the house, but I will get back to you with the results.

But that got me started on other ideas. It's acorn time, and I know the Native Americans ate acorns. If I can steal some from the squirrels I might experiment with them as well. I don't expect them to taste good, but the bragging rights will be worth it.

I also have an American persimmon tree in my yard. The fruit isn't ripe yet, but when it is I have recipes lined up for persimmon jam, butter and puree. There are recipes out there for bread, pudding (in the bread pudding sense), cake and cookies, and even persimmon fudge, but they're all full of gluten, except the fudge, which is loaded with sugar.

Doing something with the loads of mint from my garden is really just an afterthought.

What can you do with mint besides dry the leaves for tea, or make mint jelly?
Inquiring minds want to know.