Caregiving from my kitchen

WIAW 78

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WIAW 78 - The End of August - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

Wait – it’s Wednesday? I’ve been scattered this week, for some reason…

It’s the end of August? But we just got here! I’ve only been writing about corn for – oh, a month already…

And my friends across the nation are sending children and grandchildren back to school, though in New York we still have another 2 weeks. We have to get the hay in first, you know…  Well, that’s how the schedule started, but now – we don’t have a/c in our school buildings, many of which are as much as 100 years old. We don’t expect children to learn in a brick oven, and we can’t afford to retrofit. June isn’t usually as hot as August, here. And upstate, they are still haying on family farms, with all hands in the fields!

As I said, I’ve been scattered and distracted… I’m sure there’s a brain here somewhere… If I find it and dust it off, maybe it will even work. (I hope so – it’s well past the warranty.) They do tell me that time speeding by is a sign of my advancing age, but I thought surely I had a few good years left!

I have been eating. (Or I’d be worse!) I even took pictures yesterday. Not very good ones – sorry about that.

WIAW 78 - Breakfast - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

Breakfast was a quickie. I’d made a big batch of refried beans (I’m trying to streamline breakfast) but this time, instead of eggs, I added cheese. Lots of cheese. Plenty of ooey-gooey luscious melting cheddar cheese… And I finished the tortillas. I buy a package of 30, I eat 3 at a time, they come out even, right? But Rich has started also eating tortillas instead of bread, and he eats however many he feels like at the moment, which is fine, and I needed to get to the supermarket… So I ate lots of beans.

Lunch was my usual salad. Mixed vegetables and cucumber salad, and beans, and cheese…with rice cakes with peanut butter on the side.

WIAW 78 - Lunch - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

I made a passing reference months ago to the fact that I have started to make kefir. Mostly, that’s beyond the scope of this blog – I’m talking here about finding easy ways and shortcuts for getting food on the table, not about the kind of home processing of food that I find interesting, when I am up to it – pickling, dairying, and so on. But one reason I started making kefir was precisely that it is easier than making yogurt (which I’ve done in the past) because it is much less temperature sensitive, and that making either is much less expensive than buying them in the store.

So I make it – and sometimes I just drink a big glass of it by itself, and sometimes I blend it with fruit, or with, say, cucumbers (now that’s a wonderful and easy soup!) Or I use it in recipes instead of buttermilk (I’ve been using it in both the biscuits and the corn muffins – very good.)  Or I strain it the way you strain yogurt to make Greek Yogurt, and use it the same way. And I save the whey and drink it – a bit funny looking, but I like the tart flavor – kind of an unsweetened lemonade. Or I strain it even more, and press it until it is the texture of feta cheese, and use it in salads or recipes.

Here, you see two uses. I had mixed the strained kefir with sliced cucumbers as a salad, and let them marinate, and then I crumbled pressed kefir cheese over the salad. The kefir that had been with the cucumbers had picked flavor up from them, so it didn’t all taste the same. One of these days I’ll probably write a post about it, if there seems to be interest, but it is a bit of a stretch.

WIAW 78 - Dinner, late August - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

Anyway – dinner! We pick the CSA up on Tuesday evenings, and I have finally started to plan an easy dinner for Tuesday. Ideally, I want to be open to using some of the vegetables at their freshest, but the meal had been sliding later… So now I plan, and sometimes even start, something that is not dependent on the pickup (either without integral vegetables so I can add some later just on the side, or finishing up what we have.) Yesterday, I used this to finish a pot roast we had last week – chopped the meat and cooked carrots, and chopped a pepper and squash to saute.

WIAW 78

When we got the vegetables home, I went ahead with heating the pot roast and rice, and sauteing the squash – and cooked the corn we’d just brought in, and ate that while everything else finished cooking. And went in the kitchen and realized I didn’t take a picture of it… so here is a corn cob, slightly used. Oh, well.

Everything all day really tasted better than it looks. Honest! My pictures have been getting better – when I find that brain again, maybe I’ll remember how.

But meanwhile, thanks for putting up with me, and I hope you enjoy what you are eating! Are you sending children to school? Are you going back yourself? (Many of my friends are teachers, others are themselves students.) Does this change the way you’ll be cooking in the next months, and, if so, is there anything you’d like me to write about (when that brain comes to light?)

Meanwhile – this week Laura at Sprint to the Table is hosting Jenn’s party, so come on over! (As I slide in and pretend I’m not late…)

What I Ate Wednesday - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

WIAW 78 - A Day in Late August - www.inhabitedkitchen.com

 

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8 thoughts on “WIAW 78”

  • Do you have any advice for obtaining kefir grains? I looked online and they're *hideously* expensive, but when I tossed out feelers to see if anybody anywhere near me had any to share, nobody nibbled. I found "kefir starter" at a local organic chain, but it's really not the same thing, and it too is expensive.
    • That's really the hardest part - getting started - because you need the grains. Unlike yogurt, you can't just culture from a previous batch - you need these odd little blobs of culture (called grains because of their appearance, not actually grain at all.) And no, "kefir starter" is... a non-starter. But the grains themselves multiply, so people do share them, you just have to find the people who have them. I got mine from a Facebook group Kefir grains, Scoby and others to share They share cultures for a number of foods, including milk kefir. If you join, make sure you go to the Files and find the appropriate Request list for your area - there may be someone sharing in person in your immediate area, but you're likely to do better asking for someone in your country to mail them. (It is an international group.) People who have them to share go down the list to send them. That's the way that one works. If you're not on Facebook, there used, at least, to be email lists to do the same... People do mail kefir grains all the time, so you don't have to find someone local. (Though I have shared locally - and I'll tell you, it feels a little odd to meet a stranger in Union Square and hand over a small zip lock of a white substance... ;-) though the only thing I've received in return is a green pepper! When I was a child I carefully walked around the Square to avoid the drug traffic there.) Craig's List? Meetup to find other interested people? Maybe Google+ has something like the Facebook group? But that's the one I know. Good luck! (And then - you share... that's the payment. You get, you give.)
      • Thanks! I will poke a little harder at G+, since I don't FB. Craigslist never even crossed my mind, although that might be because my local Freecycle specifically does not allow foods anymore. LOL! for going to Union Square to trade a baggie of white stuff for some green...
    • Thank you! It really is... Enjoy your weekend! (LOL You made me blink a moment - oh, you're in the UK - our holiday is next weekend!)

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