Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Deborah Madison, You've Done It Again!

Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison's KitchenI was making yet another soup from Deborah Madison's wonderful cookbook Vegetable Soups, when Matt commented, "She certainly likes the squash with the root vegetables." I paused and thought about the soup: it's a navy bean soup with turnips, winter squash, onions, sage, parsley, and savoy cabbage. The beans are cooked first, with onion, garlic, and other aromatics. All in all, the soup is simple, but delicious--just like many of the soups in the cookbook. It was already obvious, but on this late February day, it struck me even more--all the recipes are seasonal. The soup I was making was a classic winter soup, and the squash, sage, parsley, and turnips were all grown by me at some point; they were just waiting patiently for this moment to arrive. The onions, garlic, and cabbage could have also been obtained locally, but I've eaten through all my stores of those. 
If you're at all interested in vegetarian, seasonal, local cooking, I recommend that you get this book. I know it's a few years old, but it's far from being outdated. As for me, I'm looking forward to the spring soups, especially ones with the sugar snap peas...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pressure Canning Workshop

When I talk to people about canning, more than a few express a slight fear of the process; and although there are certainly dangers involved in water-bath canning, nothing terrifies people more than pressure canning. There's just something about putting up non-acidified foods and the menacing-looking pressure canner that stops people from ever trying to preserve using this method. 

I, too, was once afraid of the pressure canner. However, with a few practice runs I felt confident enough to can a variety of items--from stock, to soups, to corn. And my endeavors into pressure-canning have been incredibly worth-while: I have local corn to use year-round; a fulfilling dinner is minutes away with tomato or lentil soup. I have vegetable stock on-the ready for winter soup-making. Eating well is easier with a pressure-canner. 

I am happy to offer a workshop on pressure-canning, so those wanting to learn can do so before the bounty of spring and summer comes rolling in. During this workshop we will can vegetarian lentil soup, discuss pressure-canning methods, and talk about pressure-canning other items. The class costs $35 (payable in advance of the class date) and includes a print-out of basic canning instructions and the recipe, as well as a jar of the soup. Although the class is most suitable for someone already familiar with canning, I will not discourage novices from attending. 

The class will be capped at 10 people; you must reserve your space in the workshop through purchasing a "ticket" through the PayPal link (you do not need a PayPal account to buy). Also, RSVP to me, the instructor, to let me know you're coming. Space in the workshop is not guaranteed if you have not reserved your spot. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. I look forward to the workshop!***

When announcing this workshop in the middle of February, I had no idea how busy March was going to be for me, or how many weekends I'd be working at Beardsley Farm. For now, I still plan to hold the workshop, but it will probably take place in April or May--please stay tuned for details, and don't hesitate to contact me if you're interested in taking the class!