• Cooking

    Strawberry Maple Cream Tart

    Finally made it out to the strawberry patch this weekend to treat myself to three flats of ripe red berries.  Although the season has been slow to start, the strawberries we picked were large, juicy, and sweet.  If you haven’t been out to the patch, it’s not too late. Many pick-your-own sites waited out the last week’s cool temps and rain to start picking. Most of our berries found their way to the freezer for this winter. 25 bags in total. It’s the easiest way to prepare a local smoothie (or daiquiri) in mid-February.  Freezing strawberries is simple: thoroughly wash, remove tops, slice in half and pack in quart bags.…

  • Cooking,  Eating

    Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

    I get that bit about “April showers bringing May flowers,” but am not exactly sure that snow showers is quite the same. This last week I was sad to see more white flakes on the ground; I thought we were over the worst of it and well into spring. So sad, I’ve stopped wearing socks and made homemade vanilla ice cream in protest. As if somehow my warmer weather cooking will translate into actual climate change. Anyway, here’s my in-protest, homemade vanilla ice cream recipe that easily adapts to whatever local dairy you have on hand. Choose low-fat or no fat milk, half-and-half or light cream if it’s available. Sometimes…

  • Books,  Cooking

    Plotting for Preserving

    This morning I took out my Ball Blue Book of Preserving and started my list of projects. Just like gardening enthusiasts grab the seed catalog to plot their crops, I’ve started plotting my summer preserving. It may be excessive or it may be a way to inch spring along a little further, but mostly it’s to ensure that I plant the right goodies or get what I need at the farmers market at its peak. The freshest food takes a bit of foresight. Last year my preserving was exclusively freezer-based. (I canned 5 jars of hot pickled peppers in an experiment and promptly gave them away as a gift). This…

  • Cooking,  Eating

    Zucchini Walnut Bread

    Part of the agreement when we bought our chest freezer last summer was that I would solemnly swear not to become a freezer hoarder–one of those folks who accumulates a stockpile of frozen carrots and squash from three summers back, who needlessly continues to stuff more on top while ignoring the rest.  I promised that by the end of winter we would eat everything that I put in and would carefully follow the agreed upon rule of first in, first out.  And in all honesty, eating down the storage hasn’t been that bad. In the past few weeks we’ve narrowed it down and can finally see the bottom.  For the…