November 14, 2018

Soup Season

Monday morning we got our first frost. The day was crisp and sunny, but it's been cold and rainy ever since. Time for soup!

I think most of us have a recipe or two for leftovers soup. I call mine "Scrap Soup."

Leftovers: mashed potato & cheese soup, pinto beans, oven-
roasted potatoes, and oven-fried sweet potatoes. Added:
chopped fresh daikon greens and a pint jar of bone broth.

Left to simmer all morning on the woodstove, the flavors meld wonderfully. It's deliciously warming and comforting.

Dan says I've made a soup lover out of him. :)

Usually there's enough leftover to become the starter for the next day's soup.

To leftovers of the soup shown above I added last night's lasagna
and another pint of bone broth for a more soup-like consistency.

I can soups too, often from small amounts of various garden produce when there isn't enough for a full canner load of any particular veggie.

Photo from my "Just Add Noodles" Chicken Soup blog post.

Home-canned soups are a wonderful convenience food, but this year I tried something different. We ate daily from the garden, but usually there were leftovers. The next day it seemed silly to heat up those leftovers when we had so many fresh vegetables to eat. So I got out one of the peanut butter jars I'd saved and started putting the leftovers in it. That jar went into the freezer.

Almost every day I'd add bits of leftover vegetables, meat, rice, pasta, cheese, beans, gravy, broth, etc. By summer's end I had a dozen jars full of frozen odds and ends for soup fixings. Perfect additions to keep that soup pot going.

Soup anyone?

Soup Season © November 2018 by Leigh  

November 10, 2018

Experimenting With Daikons

This was my first year for growing daikon radishes. They are very popular in Asian cooking, probably best known as an ingredient in kimchi (Korean lacto-fermented vegetables). In hunting areas they are referred to as "forage radishes" and commonly included in deer forage plots. Livestock will graze the greens too. I grew them as a cover crop, because they are excellent for helping to loosen and add organic matter to heavy or compacted soils. They've grown well, so how could I not experiment a bit to see how I could add them to our diet?

For ideas, I turned to Farmer John's Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables. (Out of print, but reasonably priced used copies are still available.) I like this book because it's organized by season and discusses many of the less common vegetables - like daikons.

The roots and greens of young tender plants can be eaten raw. 

Chopped daikon greens and sliced roots in salad.

Mature leaves can be added to soups, so why not as a cooked green?

Daikon greens sauteed in bacon grease with salt, pepper, & onions.

The flavor is strong; similar to turnip greens. The next day I used the leftover greens to make soup for lunch.

Cream of greens soup uses a white sauce base. I added the leftover
cooked greens plus about 1/4 cup caramelized red onion chutney.

Yummy! The chutney (link will take you to the recipe) added just a hint of sweet and sour, which complimented the natural flavor of the greens.

Next experiment, oven-roasted daikon roots and sweet potatoes.

Seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Roasted, the daikons were fairly mild and similar to turnips.

And of course I made a batch of kimchi. I do quite a bit of lacto-fermenting, but I've never tried kimchi, because I've never had the daikons. I looked at recipes in Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions and Sandor Katz's Wild Fermentation, also Jo's timely "Making Kimchi Cockeyed Style" blog post over at The Cockeyed Homestead. I didn't have all the ingredients to follow any of these recipes exactly, so I bought a few things from the organic produce section at the grocery store for my own variation.

Napa cabbage, ginger, daikon radishes, and carrots.

Veggies chopped & fermenting in a solution of water, salt, & whey.

It will be ready in a couple of weeks. It makes my mouth water just to think about it! LOL

I'm glad I stumbled across this wonderful root vegetable, because besides its culinary versatility it's healthy too. According to OrganicFacts website, daikons contain calcium, vitamin C, digestive enzymes, and are high in fiber. They have a number of health-promoting properties: antibacterial, antiviral, expectorant, and antioxidant. It's a diuretic, so it helps the body detoxify. Looks like I've found a new garden staple.

Do you grow daikons? How do you use them? Any more recipe ideas?

November 7, 2018

Random Cat Shots

Like I have nothing better to do. 😺

Meowy, the quintessential barn cat.

And Sam, who just likes to be comfortable.

Random Cat Shots © November 2018 by

November 4, 2018

House Project Phase 2: Pantry Roof

Please take a few minutes to click here and answer
my Research Question. Thank you for your help!

Phase 1 was installing the siding on the back gable end of the house. Phase 2 was dealing with the leak in the roof.

Photo from last spring, when we first discovered the leak.

Down came the gutter and old fascia board. With the fascia board gone Dan could see that the ends of the rafters were in bad shape. To assess the extent of the damage he cut away a section of the roof.

You can see why the roof was sagging in the first photo.

This happened because the builder didn't extend the edge of the roof out far enough. That meant rain water could leak behind and underneath.

Fortunately they were only rotted at the ends. He didn't have to replace them entirely (which would have meant tearing up the entire roof). He just needed to sister in new ends.

Then he put back the section of roof he removed, and a new fascia board was added.

Then it was on to the roof itself. The leak was caused by the way the roofer installed the shingles. An asphalt shingle has a series of flaps with cutouts separating the flaps.

Asphalt shingle

The first row is started at the edge of the roof, and they are nailed in place above the cutouts. The next row goes on top and is supposed to cover the nails.

Properly installed asphalt shingles.

Whoever installed our pantry roof left nails exposed through the cutouts.

The most logical fix was to cover the entire roof. For that we chose metal panels. Dan considered a number of ways to do this job, but finally decided that simplest was best. And quickest!

You can also get a glimpse of Dan's solution
to that odd angle on the roof - he boxed it out.

These are the same metal roofing panels we put on the barn, but the pantry roof is steeper, so Dan had trouble walking on them. No traction. To put on the ridge cap he used a rubber-backed runner rug to keep from slipping and sliding. It worked very well.

Also a "boot" for the bathroom vent pipe.

The next day we got two inches of rain. The roof was secure and snug.

The last step will be painting the fascia and siding, and then putting the gutters back up. Happily, the forecast calls for sunny, mild temps over the week or so to get that done.

November 1, 2018

Research Question For My Readers

For chapter two. I would like to know how you would define a particular word. There are no right or wrong answers, and your answer doesn't have to be lengthy or profound. Just off the top of your head, tell me what you think of when you hear or read this word.

How would you define?

Thank you for taking time to help!

October 29, 2018

Sweet Potato Harvest - The Nancy Halls

While Dan's been working on the pantry roof, I've been harvesting sweet potatoes. The mornings getting chillier and chillier and I need to get them dug before first frost. I planted two kinds this year, Vardamans and Nancy Halls. I started with the Nancy Halls.

Nancy Hall sweet potatoes are an heirloom variety and this is my first year to grow them. I planted two rows, which quickly grew to look like one huge bed. The first step was to pull the vines and feed those to the goats. Then I raked back the mulch, 

and the hunt is on.

This variety sprawls both above ground and below. I found the largest sweets directly under the vines, but underground runners went everywhere. I found lots of medium and small ones well beyond the rows where they were planted, even down in the subsoil. That meant they were more time consuming to find and dig than my bush-type Vardamans.

The Nancy Halls aren't a familiar bright sweet potato orange but are more mellow in color.

Curious marbled interior

The real question was, how would they taste? I haven't found all varieties of sweet potatoes to be equally delicious, so I was curious about this rare old variety.

The first taste test was oven baked sweet potato fries.

Nancy Hall oven fries made with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

We had these with burgers and thought them quite good. The next night I served them baked.

Baked Nancy Hall with butter and served with ham and Pasta Cheesy.

The kitchen smelled like a bakery while they were in the oven! They are a pretty golden yellow color when baked and have a dry flaky texture. The flavor was excellent!

Last test - sweet potato pie!

I like sweet potato pie better than pumpkin (or cushaw), so this was an important test. I had trouble, though, because the flesh was so dry that it was hard to process for pie filling. For that I use baked or steamed sweet potatoes and run them through my Foley food mill. But the Nancy Halls weren't creamy enough to process well, and without changing the recipe the filling was too thick to stir. I added milk to give it a more pourable consistency. After all that I thought the pie was just okay. 

Even so, the verdict is that these are a keeper, and I'll keep a couple of nice ones to sprout next year. They make plentiful vines to feed the goats and are excellent baked. For pies, I'll continue to use my Vardamans.