Yesterday was one of my favorite kinds of Autumn days...
slow and homey...
except for the fact that the day was hot and muggy (and buggy).
I am not sure what happened to our seasonal "cool"... but it seems to have left us.
Regardless, I pretended it was a chilly autumn day and dove into cooking.
It's a great season for local vegetables...
our local farm produce stand is overflowing with broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts,
and eggplant... of which I made broccoli salad, Cheesy cauliflower bake,
and fried eggplant.
We also used the last of this season's ugly apples and made this galette.
(Think free-form apple pie.)
Thanks to all of the effort put into gardening, orchards and berry patches, we eat very well here on the farm.
Our meat is all from local farms as well.
And our vegetables are supplemented with local produce.
I realize that not everyone has the variety of local fare that we do,
but I highly encourage you to find out what you can buy from local growers.
After all, the closer to harvest that you can consume your produce,
the more nutrients that produce will contain.
Perhaps the best way to decrease your own grocery bills is to plant a garden.
A small garden, if planted well... can produce a large quantity of food...
thus reducing the need for purchasing.
Another way that I have found to reduce the cost of food is to only buy whole chickens.
Because we buy our chickens in bulk each autumn... raised on a farm about 5 miles away...
we have had to learn to deal with whole chickens.
For some, whole chickens can be intimidating.
If you learn how to cut a chicken into parts, it becomes much less intimidating... and there are good videos on YouTube to learn the technique.
Quite often I will boil down an entire chicken in a large pot of salted water.
Once the legs start to fall off the chicken, I take it off the heat and allow it to cool down
just enough that I can handle the warm meat.
I then remove the breast meat and refrigerate for another meal.
I use the broth that was created in cooking the chicken as stock for soup.
There is enough meat left on the legs, thighs, and back of the chicken to make a hearty soup.
One chicken has enough meat to supply us with 5 meals!
I have also learned to keep all of my vegetable trimmings... i.e.:
carrot peelings, onion ends and skins, the ends of celery, the woody stalks from broccoli...
and basically any part of vegetables and herbs that I would normally compost.
I place these trimmings in a large freezer bag in the freezer.
I add to the bag as I cook and after many weeks,
I end up with a large bag of vegetables... normally food that would be wasted.
All of this frozen mass of trimmings goes into a pot of water with salt and peppercorns...
brought to a simmer and cooked on the top of the stove for several hours.
The most delicious, rich stock for use in soups, stews, and other recipes.
This liquid can be frozen for use later.
We could save even more on groceries if we raised our own meat.
I just don't have the heart for that.
I wanted to update you on our rooster count.
I had mentioned last week that I could not locate the second white rooster.
After days of searching and paying close attention when opening hen houses...
we have come to the conclusion that one is missing in action.
It happens from time to time...
one of the chickens is the object of "fowl" play...
this time it was one of the lovely white roosters.
So... our official count stands at 4.
For those of you who are local...
a new brewery has opened outside of Newport....
Rivers Bend Brewery.
The ambiance is great... inside an old barn.
Outdoor seating area with a great view!
The hop field.
They are open on Fridays and Saturdays... with excellent food trucks as well.
Live music is often scheduled as well.
If you are local, be sure to check it out!
Oh, and Hubbs says the beer is great!
(I have an exceptionally limited palate.)
Today I am spending my day with these two little cuties.
Grammie is babysitting!