Welcome to 2022!
Let’s hope this year works out better than the last couple of them. Not that there hasn’t been good days and moments and events in the last two years, but overall, there was a level of distress going on. On the positive side, my cat Serenity turned 20 years old this past November; I’ve enjoyed my farm, now having something like 19 chickens. I’ve learned to raise quail – they’re all gone now, but I will be starting up more later this year. No, not as personable as chickens, but rewarding in their own right. Also, some great connections with good people. And I’ve been active in online book club discussions via Zoom – which since the pre-COVID meetings were in person in Norwalk CT, I wouldn’t have been able to drive to from here, anyways. I also remain in decent health – age 68 now, and no prescription meds. My knees are shot, and I have frequent insomnia, but I get by. Oh, I gave a workshop on maple syrup making as a beginner back in October. We did this on Zoom, and people seemed to enjoy it. Wrong time of year for hands-on, anyway!
Sad to say I have been slow on the last few months of recipe making. I did have a couple I wanted to make but they just didn’t turn out as expected – and there were occasions that I simply was under-inspired. Hence, only two recipes posted in December (there is a third that will show up late this month, but I figure two recipes in the same month with the same variety of offal is too much of a good thing, so I space that sort of idea out).
I am planning for a few thematics this coming year, and I’ve decided on ones for the first half of 2022. Two months will have themes: February will be vegetarian and vegan; and May will be Mexican, South American and Tex Mex, with an emphasis on genuine dishes of the former two cuisines.
As for homesteading, I plan to kick up the syruping sessions this March (or whenever the sap decides to run), and plan to include a bit of birch syrup making, too. I now have an additional coop, a small one from Tractor Supply, with three chickens in there at the moment. It could hold a fourth. There’s a new batch of chickens here, too – and I acquired an extra hen of uncertain parentage from someone a friend of mine met. The newest pullets-turned-hens are starting to lay, which is nice, as the older ones have dried up for winter.
I’d still like to do lambs, goats or alpaca, but won’t happen this year. I have to evaluate knee health and see if this will be feasible – which means an MRI and consultations later this spring. If I have surgery again it cannot be in winter. While there are people willing to take care of my animals while I recuperate, I cannot in good conscience ask them to slip-slide all over the snow and ice to the backyard coops.
Looking backwards some more:
As far as crops go, potatoes, parsley, leeks and turnips were total successes. Cherry tomatoes do well, but full sized ones still fail by and large. Various greens are great. The onions this year were great, but were not in stock when I went to order the new onion sets (which are to be planted in fall). I want to focus on all of those again. I’m going to amp up the herbal component here, and work hard on asparagus, which while it comes up remains spindly. I may also have better luck getting the greenhouse up and going this year.
Time, I think, to go over my favorite recipes of the past year. I am limiting myself to ten.
The best artichokes aren’t stuffed, or done complicated at all. We grew up with these, and I will enjoy forever! Well, as long as globe artichokes and I still exist on the same plane of reference.
Another simple dish. This is to date the only dish I have made with cold, uncooked tofu.
Tripe (stomach lining of ruminant animals) is not the unpleasant thing some folk think of it as being. I am looking forward to making more tripe dishes for my audience. (Well, for me.)
The crumpets were commercially bought, and probably Americanized, but this was a really good item.
Another tasty, simple one. BUT you do need to do this when tomatoes are in SEASON!
A very different recipe here.
Delving into pre-retro recipe concepts. Using home-grown quail, too.
Another way to prepare eggs.
Made this to share with a friend for a post-Christmas lunch. Very successful duck, and my first time using Khorasan wheat.
TO ALL, I WISH A VERY HAPPY 2022, GOOD HEALTH, PRODUCTIVE OCCURENCES AND CONNECTIONS OVER THIS COMING YEAR!