Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The little things that make it worthwhile

There's scarcely a day I don't see something or hear something or eat something that I know I could only experience because of all the work I've done to pay for and develop the farm. It's what keeps me going and makes it all worthwhile.

This incredible butterfly, a "Redspotted Purple" (named by someone color-blind, surely--it's the iridescent BLUE of a South American butterfly, and the spots are as orange as a pumpkin!), delighted us by sitting for a long time...long enough we got bored...on a branch right on the front patio. It's big, nearly 3" wingspan. This photo is far better than the one in "Insects in Kansas" though that book overall is an excellent field guide. Try as I might, I never could catch a photo of the underside of its wings--slow camera, fast butterfly.

Tonight I was feeling a bit queasy after driving an especially bouncy bus all day, so tried to think of the most soothing supper I could. I invented this recipe for:


Brown a few small bits of locally-cured bacon to render out enough grease to lightly saute:

1 tiny head of homegrown garlic, minced
1 homegrown leek, sliced

Add some water and a generous cup or so of leftover homegrown mashed potatoes (Purple Viking and Huckleberry varieties, chopped and boiled with skins on, then mashed with just a dollop of mayo instead of butter/milk).

Simmer until leeks are done, season with:

Fennel seed
Black pepper

Serve in a mug, pouring it over a tablespoon of Alma cheese curds.

If the roof of my mouth weren't raw right now (for some unknown seems to be healing quickly, though), I would have had one of my new favorite sandwiches instead. I've been experimenting with seasonally appropriate, locally grown versions of the traditional BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato)...fall lettuce is coming, but by the time it gets here the tomatoes are usually past their warm-weather prime, and baby lettuce just doesn't have the body to stand up to a vine-ripened heirloom tomato like the bolder greens do:

BTK (Bacon, Tomato, Kale)

SLT (Summer Sausage, Lambsquarter, Tomato)

MLT (Mutton, Lambsquarter, Tomato)

MKT (you've probably got the code figured out by now....)

The secret ingredients to all of these are mayo on the (whole wheat) bread, and a grind of black pepper on the tomatoes. Stick the tomatoes between 2 layers of the greens, and the sandwich will keep fresh in a lunch box much longer without sogging up the bread.

I'm including the recipes for the sake of any of you who are attempting the Community Mercantile's Eat Local challenge this week and next, since these are good solid balanced meals with all-local, in-season, ingredients.

A prize to whoever figures out all four of the obscure references of the initials of these can cheat and use Google for some of them but not all! If you use Google, at least 'fess up, ok, and we'll see if anyone gets them all just from their memory! Holler if you need clues!

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