Quart 'o' Beets
Bunch 'o' Carrots
Bunch 'o' Leeks
Muir Head Lettuce
New Red Fire Head Lettuce
A Bell 'o' Peppers
Notes from the Farm
There's this guy that fills in for his buddy at maple syrup booth at the Kennebunk Farmers' Market... he's not there a lot, but some, to help out when he can. I know him from the old Kezar Falls Hardware store... kind of a soft spoken guy with a generally upbeat look on life.
This guy filled in last week and we got to talking about canning. He and his wife put up hundreds (hundreds) of jars a year... Sweet carrots, pickled beets, canned corn, chunked tomatoes, sauced tomatoes, pickles and string beans, onions, squash and red peppers... he cans just about most everything you can grow up here... and, according to him, a meal doesn't go by without something from the pantry.
Food is as basic and necessary as water, air and the human touch... and the culture of food, the traditions, the agriculture, are an important part of our images of ourselves. We're defined by the foods we do and don't eat... the drinks we will or wont drink... it's a funny hook at the end of the existential line.
The process of putting up food is a wonderfully antiquated concept... olde timey to the core. We put up sauce and eggplants, corn and sungolds, pesto if we get around to it, but it's not all that much really... kind of a token amount of food in our ever expanding diet. But the effort that goes into putting up food is intense... it's a labor of love... a labor of culture. I'm not sure we save much of any money, we certainly don't save time, but there's something comforting to opening a can of sauce in February... something primal, something mesmerizing... like staring into a great cosmic agricultural bonfire.
I don't know if you're eating all the food or not, but if you're not, I'd recommend taking a shot at freezing some of it, or pickling, or whatever... Join back up with your ancestors in the great river of off-season culinary self-satisfaction... it's really fun, not hard to do, and a great way to keep your calories local this winter.
Shallot Mignonette 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots (from 3)
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1. Stir together all ingredients; let stand at least 15 minutes before serving. Mignonette can be refrigerated, covered, up to 3 days.
Bacon-Lobster-Tomato Sandwiches 4 lobsters, preferably new-shell (each 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds)
1 loaf white sandwich bread, sliced
2 1/2 pounds assorted tomatoes, such as beefsteak, heirloom, and vine (about 6), cut into 1/4-inch slices
4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and sliced into rounds
2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and sliced
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for serving
In a large, deep pot lined with a steamer basket, bring 1 inch of water to a boil. Drop lobsters headfirst into pot; cover, reduce heat to medium, and steam until shells are bright red, 12 to 16 minutes, depending on size and shell thickness. Transfer to a tray; let cool slightly. Remove meat and cut into 1/2-inch slices.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bread on baking sheets and bake, flipping once, until lightly toasted, 10 to 12 minutes. Arrange tomatoes, lobster meat, eggs, avocados, basil, and toast on a large platter. Drizzle tomatoes with mignonette. Stir together butter and lemon juice; season with kosher salt and pepper and drizzle over lobster. For each sandwich, spread mayonnaise on toast, then top with tomato, lobster, avocado, egg, and basil. Sprinkle with flaky salt. Serve with more mignonette over top, if desired.
Corn Fritters 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup whole milk
1 large egg
2 cups yellow corn kernels (from 2 ears corn)
Vegetable oil, for frying
Honey, for serving
In a large bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and cayenne. Add milk and egg to flour mixture and stir together to create a batter. Add corn and fold to combine.
Heat 4 inches oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 375 degrees. Working in batches, using a small ice cream scoop or two spoons, drop batter by the tablespoon into the oil. Cook, turning occasionally, until cooked through and deep-golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes; adjust heat as needed to keep oil temperature between 350 and 360 degrees. Transfer fritters to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Season to taste with salt, and serve immediately with honey.