Friday, October 15, 2010

simple supper- squash/ lentil chili

it was steaming so is blurry
In my search for squash recipes  to try, I ran across this  recipe for squash/lentil chili. Since it was quite chilly and fall like here yesterday I decided to try it out and see what it was like. It is very easy to  prepare,  is a nice  quick,  healthy meal ,and the cost is very budget minded.  It is a decent recipe  but I wanted to use up a few leftovers I had  in the fridge so I tweaked it to suit my needs. Too bad I tweaked it wrongly as it  could have been very good, if I ha simply followed the directions.  I made some  corn bread to go with it.

 squash/lentil chili
2 tablespoons  olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon hot smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 cup green lentils,
One 28-ounce can peeled  tomatoes, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound butternut squash or other winter squash—peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the smoked paprika, cumin and coriander and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the  lentils, tomatoes and 1 cup of water; season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the lentils are nearly tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in the squash, cover and cook over low heat until the lentils and squash are tender, about 15 minutes.  I  made ours in the crock pot and it worked out quite well. I set the crock pot to high for the first 2 hours  with all ingredients in the pot, then turned to low for 3 hours.

sometimes I feel like a nut...

The last couple days have been  quite windy so I have been harvesting our acorns for the year. While certainly not a banner year for them, there  is a decent amount to be collected.

We have both white and red acorn here on the property. The red acorns are  more abundant and grow to a much larger size than the whites. Unfortunately, the red's, also have much more tannin in them that needs to be leeched out before they can be used. I am trying to get as many of the white's as I can but also collecting a few reds in case I can't get enough  of the whites for our yearly use. Rather than go into big detail on what  I use  the acorns for  and how to prepare them for  use, I will refer to an earlier post I made on the same subject.

Our almond tree did not produce more than a small handful of  nuts this season  but since manthing has been working in South GA we have been able to more than make up for the lack of home grown nuts this year. A few weeks back he brought home a 20 pound bag of peanuts. They will be used  for all sorts of things as well as  for seed next year. I grew peanuts one other time, unfortunately the folks we had staying here and helping out thought they were weeds and they were all weeded out of the garden.

This week on his trip  back from the South  he stopped and grabbed several bags of pecans. At under two bucks a pound, he just had to! While these are still in the shell, they are an easy nut to crack and shell here at home. To buy them up here, they are close to ten dollars a pound for the luxury of having someone else shell them for me.

Later this week I will wander down to the holler and fetch a few e hickory's. Although they are a difficult nut to deal with I would like to make some nut butter with them. A friend and I are  also planning a day to go collect some black walnuts along the back roads for later in the week.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

the changing of the...worms

Since fall has arrived,  it is time to play in the worm bins, take the composted material out, re-home worms and get the bins ready to go through the winter. I got quite a nice harvest of both compost and critters from this summers  bins even though I am a wretched caretaker for them.

It is not that I do not love my wormies, because I do, but they are so well behaved and quiet that I  quite simply forget about them until I need their product. For squiggletown  manor that is  ok as they have a steady  food source while living under the bunnies. For the ones on the porch it is always a gamble when I open it. Am I am  going to find a pile of rotten gooey nastiness or a tote full of lovely  worms. Each time, I have been lucky that they indeed have done their jobs and I have 10 gallons of beautiful black gold waiting for me. I always wonder how people manage to kill their worms off as  I have not once managed to do that and am the world's worst worm  care taker.
 Once I got the bins sorted of worms and compost, I added fresh bedding and food to the porch worms. I then watered them in and brought them in to the  living project room for the winter months. I figured I may as well bring them in now, as otherwise I  will forget  them and the poor fellers  would be left out on the porch to freeze to death.
 In the big bins under the bunnies, I do nothing but clean out the side they were living in as I have been  building up the bedding for them on the other side for a couple months now. I have not  measured how much compost is in that bin but I reckon it is somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 gallons.

This falls compost will go for my new  garlic bulbils that I will be planting this week as well as my Egyptian walking onions that should be here today. I am hoping to create a permacultured bed for both  the garlic ans the  onions and wanted to give them a good start for overwintering.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

simple supper-winter squash/apple soup

With our abundance of winter squash this season, I am finding ways to enjoy them that I would have never tried in the past.  Last night I made a winter squash/apple soup that we thought was quite tasty. I  think it would make a great addition to  a turkey day or any other day meal but, is also hearty enough that it can be served as a main course.
 The original recipe  I started with  from calls for butternut squash but, any winter type squash will work. Some recipes call for roasting of the squash, others start with already pureed squash and some call for dicing and boiling the squash. I chose the latter as it fit my needs the best.  I made our soup the main dish and served with naan.  Add a salad and you have a complete  healthy , tasty meal. Total cost of the meal was  about 50 cents for the apple and flour for the naan. Everything else was grown  here on the land.

winter squash/apple soup
1 large winter squash (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 tart, firm apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 tablespoons  butter
1 teaspoon sage
3-4 cups vegetable broth
sour cream  and chile powder as garnish

If roasting the squash, add the apples, onion and garlic when roasting, puree all ingredients and  add liquid to make consistency that you want. Serve .

I instead, boiled the squash and onion in chunks and then pureed it. While that was cooking, I took my apple  and garlic and sauteed them  to bring the flavors out and then added the chunky bits to the pureed mixture and served. I  topped with a touch of sour cream and chile powder.