Jars of double-rich chicken broth made from Orange Circle Farm‘s flock, will serve as the basis of many a warming meal this coming winter. Along with canned tomatoes, these are a must for stocking my pantry with. Canning tips: Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to the pressure canner to prevent the filmy build-up of minerals from hard water on your jars, also known as scaling; defat the stock before filling jars to ensure a better seal and avoid rancidity; and make sure to remove the rings after processing and that the jars are clean before storing. After that, it’ll be like having my shelves filled with gold.
• Chicken Stock (pressure canned), Ball
• Vegetable Stock (pressure canned), Bernardin
• Meat Stock (beef, chicken or turkey), National Center for Home Food Preservation
• Using Pressure Canners, National Center for Home Food Preservation
Stewing hens are a natural part of the cycle of keeping layers, and the ones that Orange Circle Farm currently have available produce a pure, clean broth that can only come from chickens that have led a well-cared for life. I’ll can up the nutritious broth to stock the pantry with, and freeze the silky meat for salads, soups and stews. If you do choose to can the stock, remember that it needs to be done under pressure, 20 minutes for pints and 25 minutes for quarts, at 10 psi. Should you add more vegetables to your broth than the recipe calls for, accommodate for their longer processing time: 30 minutes for pints and 35 minutes for quarts.
Along with stewing hens, Orange Circle Farm is currently offering a variety of greens such as spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, and mesclun. There’s also beets, carrots, potatoes, winter squash, radishes, and storage onions, with what’s available changing weekly and as supplies allow. Online orders are accepted up to the night before, with no minimum and several options of pick-up day and location, making eating locally not only accessible but easy to fit in this busy season of shortening days.
My favorite kind of gift — a visit with a friend ended with a generous bag of quince from her garden, the season’s last harvest. With these in hand, I’m imagining cooking them down just to enjoy as they change in shade, from the tenderest pink to a dusky salmon-hued membrillo. Or maybe a more savory use, their tartness harmonizing with some richly braised meat, as with slow cooked pork or a couple of meaty lamb shanks. But I’ve time to decide, and, until then, they’ll reside safely snug in my kitchen to be enjoyed, like a Bonnard, a bowlful of gold perfuming the room sweetly.
Posted in cooking
I think of September as summer for locals — the crush of tourists are gone, yet the days continue to be sunny and, finally, the evenings cool enough for a full night’s sleep. Though there’s a delay in change in foliage this year, it’s also the time when hiking in New England is at its best. There are many good choices less than a two-hour drive from the Seacoast, with Mount Roberts among them. Like most trails in the Granite State, it leads straight up, with a loop around the summit, for a total of 5 miles. With moderate effort through forest alternating with ledge, multiple views of Lake Winnipesaukee are on offer, each more spectacular than the last as one ascends. Get outside, work up an appetite, and enjoy the season, dear friends.
I rarely carry a list while shopping at the farmers’ market, and discovered that the basketful of food I brought home this weekend from the York Farmers’ Market satisfied cravings I didn’t know I had. I found a frilly head of frisee at Martha’s Garden, this particular one a French heirloom called Très Fine Maraichère Olesh endive, grown for it’s milder flavor and fine texture. As I tucked it into my basket, a tangly frisee salad laced with bits of savory lardons, an elegant version of bacon, came to mind. It’s a dish that always reminds me of bouts of frenzied cooking at the restaurant Quatorze, trying to keep up with the late night denizens of lower New York as the orders came rushing in once the clubs let out. The combination of cool, slightly bitter greens and salty pork, barely wilted by a warm dressing of mustardy vinaigrette, eases the transition, whether it be from late night hours to early morn, or, in this case, summer into fall.
Not all of the day’s encounters were so evocative, some were just reminders to fill some lack in diet. I picked up tonic broccoli, and thought of a skillet-full of Martha Rose Shulman’s Whole Grain Macaroni and Cheese laden with florets, while iron-rich lacinato kale introduces a favorite gratin back into my cooking. There’s also corn and tomatoes with slivered celery to be folded in for an end of summer salad, and red romaine tossed with crispy radishes for those meals in between. While some of my cravings are rooted in memory and others in a kind of bodily need, all feel met by this moment in the season.
Above: Corn and broccoli from River Lily Farm; celery, kale, and frisee endive from Martha’s Garden; red romaine and radishes from Connolly’s Organics; apples and pears from Sandy Hill Farm; and tomatoes from Riverside Farm Stand & Greenhouse.
The heat and humidity of these last weeks of summer has me taking dinner down to its barest essentials. Still, there’s a kind of luxuriousness that remains in paring things down this far. Just five ingredients, plus some olive oil and black pepper — round zucchini from Sandy Hill Farm cut into wedges like an apple, sautéed with fresh Cippolini onions from Connolly’s Organics and crisp garlic from Touching Earth Farm, all from the York (Gateway) Farmers’ Market, then finished with some mint from the garden, and served with a lusciously oozing globe of buratta from Maplebrook Farm. Sometimes it’s as simple as that. Enjoy every bit of this long weekend, dear friends, there’s much to savor.
During a summery stroll through Kittery at twilight, we came upon the hops vine that grows vigorously in the middle of Foreside, now heavily laden with piney blossoms. Though we’re more familiar with their use in flavoring beer, other parts of this perennial herb are also edible — especially the young shoots but also leaves, harvested while at their tenderest in spring. For the moment, I’m imagining the blossoms taken singly and deep fried, battered or not.