Saturday, October 15, 2011

More winery scenes


Our friend Frank bottling his Cabernet franc blend.

Gilda with the grapes

at the winery, preparing to crush.

Bringing in the Harvest

My friend Mark carrying in a lug of Chardonnay grapes at the vineyard. It's Harvest time and my guys are working like crazy. Eric, his dad and our friend Mark are working almost nonstop to pick the grapes, crush them and turn it all into wine. I'll be taking photos and posting them up, along with descriptions of the process, when I get a chance.
The weather is gorgeous, perfect for picking. And it looks like a great harvest! The grapes are super sweet and ready to turn into delicious wine!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Harvest party!

Our friends at Middlebrook farm and Local New Buffalo are having a harvest party at the farm tonight. I made apple pies for the occasion. The other one says, MB. Silly a bit, but I feel like making a fancy crust is half the fun of making the pie. I can't wait to try them - I'm just waiting for the little dumpling tarts to cool!
Pie is so easy. These are made with whole wheat flour and a random variety of apples. We got two huge bags of apples (an entire peck total!) from the owners of an apple farm nearby after their boxer attacked Gilda! Gilda is fine - she's a tough little dog. I think this was the first time that she's met a dog that wouldn't let her be alpha and she didn't know what to think.
Anyway, the pie dough recipe is just: 2 and a 1/2 cups of flour and a tsp of salt into the food processor. Add 2 T frozen butter, sliced in 'pats', and pulse a few times until its pea-sized crumbles. Add about 1/3cup very cold water, pulsing until it hangs together. Squish it together into two balls (but don't knead), add more water if you have to but don't add too much. Then just roll out each ball of the dough, press one into a buttered pie pan, fill it with apples, and put on the top crust. I brush the crush with an egg wash (1 egg + small splash of water) and make the pie decorations stick with a bit of egg underneath too.
The apple filling is peeled and thinly sliced apples mixed with sugar, a teeny bit of salt, and garam masala. It's a little spicy!
Then it's all baked at 375 for an hour (ish), turning it halfway to make sure the crust browns evenly.
Mmm. Pie.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fungus among us

I've been finding these mushrooms every once in a while out in the woods. They're called Shaggy Manes or Coprinus comatus and they're pretty tasty. They grow on the ground - the ones I've found were growing in little clearings at the edge of the treeline. And they're pretty tasty. We just sauteed them with butter, salt and pepper. Mushrooms are the coolest!

Dutch Baby

I've been wanting to make a Dutch Baby pancake for ages - ever since they hit the blogs a couple of years ago. But somehow I never got around to it until a few days ago. I only have whole wheat flour in the house, so that's what I used, along with almond milk and some amazing eggs from our Middlebrook farm down the road. The yolks were so rich that they actually made the whole batter yellow! I used the recipe from the Food Network that I found by googling and baked the thing in a glass pie dish instead of a cast iron skillet.
And it was delicious! Super filling. Or maybe that's just because no one else was home so I ate the whole thing myself!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fungus among us

Check out this amazing tooth fungus that Eric found in the yard, growing on a tree that fell down in the recent crazy winds. I think it may have been a locust. The spore print was ivory/creamy but very slight. I'd never seen one like this before!
I checked it out on Roger's Mushrooms (one of my favorite places to go for mushroom info) and it looks like Hericium erinaceus. Edible! I can't wait to try it!

Indian Summer

It's something like 75F out and Julian and I are hangin' in the hammock. Eric and our friend Marc are doing yardwork and Gilda is chewing on sticks. Bliss!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

1/2 Marathon Training

Two of my friends from college and I are walking a half marathon in Chicago at the end of October. I've trained by doing a bunch of 4 and 5 mile walks, but I hadn't yet done any longer walks until this weekend.
Yesterday I walked 6.5mi with J in the stroller and Gilda walking along with me. I was planning to just do our regular 4 miles, but J was sleeping so nicely in the stroller that I kept going.
Today Eric watched J while Gilda and I walked to town and back. We stopped for a latte and a blueberry muffin in town, but only for about 15min. Altogether, it was a 9 mile walk and took us 3 hours and 20 min. Including the pitstop. Not so bad! The weather was perfect. I found a bunch of gorgeous yellow Amanita muscaria mushrooms on the way and some shaggy manes (Coprinus comatus)! I have the mushroom magic touch this year - I found the first morel, the oysters, the honey mushrooms, and now these.
My plan is to do one 4mi and one 8-10mi walk each week until the 1/2 marathon. I hope the weather cooperates!