Monday, October 11, 2010

Cuisine Fancy and Simple

Some months ago, I read a description of Meyer lemons. So appealing was the verbiage that when I saw Meyer lemons in my local grocery store in Vermont, I jumped at the opportunity to try them. After a brief web search, I decided to try making candied Meyer lemon rind and Meyer lemon syrup to go into Meyer lemonade.

Just finished up the candied rind. It is very nice…and a dead ringer for candied grapefruit peel, a classic Christmastime sweet of my childhood. Ha! Still, I’m thinking it is probably worth experimenting with candying different citrus peels, maybe combining them in a yeast bread, something like a stollen, but lighter. I wonder if the different peels would be different enough to be interesting.

Just another adventure in the kitchen.

Followup: I'll need to go back to the old time sugared peel recipe. With three times boiling and a closely watched syrup phase, it is more work, but the new fangled version turned damp and limp. The Meyer lemonade wasn't half bad, though.

Followup 2 Well, huh. After a day of exposure to open air, the short-cut, new version of candied lemon peel was almost as good as the labor-intensive old version. Time to re-think? Maybe so.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Herb harvest

It’s the first hard frost tonight, they say, and the chill wind confirms. I spent the day cleaning up the garden, harvesting the herbs. I wasn’t sure there was much there, but I brought in lemon balm and thyme, sage and catnip, a little parsley, some oregano and even a few last tiny squash. My kitchen smells wonderful.

Most of the herbs are tied with twine and hung from the spice rack, but I put the parsley into the oven to dry. Start at 200 degrees, put in the parsley and turn off the oven. Repeat several times. That really works!

Tomorrow I plan to forage for a few more experiments. Goldenrod and mullein can be made into teas, they say. And there is plenty of mint. Beautiful, invasive fernleaf tansy, no—unless taken in small, weak amounts tansy can be poisonous. I should have cut tansy earlier to see if the tiny yellow flowers and the foliage would dry for wreaths.

I’m reading and re-reading all my herb books these days, thinking of next year’s garden. I only have two acres, but I can grow a lot of herbs. I’m working through what products I might be able to make and sell to make my garden habit profitable. The dreaming is worthwhile in itself.