Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Tomatoes at last

September 1, 2013

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Lest my radio silence be mistaken for lack of gardening, I give you:  Tomato Season.

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I’ve got 26 pints of roasted tomato sauce canned, with more in the works.

IMG_3612My squash are sadly dying from powdery mildew, but we’ve enjoyed some zucchini and flying Saucer squash, and have shredded and frozen some, too, for use this winter.  The Diva and Socrates cukes have been divine.  So wish I’d managed a second planting of cukes.

As always, there is much to do and too little time here at Henbogle.  Sigh.

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Here’s a glimpse of one of the garden’s less demanding residents.  He’s been singing to us for much of the summer.

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Urban greens are on the rise

April 9, 2013

I just read this story about a new urban farming operation sprouting up.  Gotham Greens will build a greenhouse on the rooftop of an industrial building in Jamaica, Queens.  How cool is that!

Blueberries for sale

March 13, 2013

Don’t forget to order your highbush blueberry plants before April 30!  The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is selling blueberry bushes IMG_4288and asparagus crowns to raise funds for its statewide Master Gardener Volunteers program.  Money raised will assist Master Gardener Volunteer community gardening projects and also will provide scholarships to those who cannot afford the Master Gardener course fee.

A high-bush blueberry plant pack consists of three young plants, two varieties per pack, for $35.95 or a pack of 10 asparagus crowns ready for planting in the spring for $15.00. Plants will be available for pickup only at specific University of Maine Cooperative Extension county offices on Saturday, May 18, 2013.  Specific information on pickup is available at the website.  In addition to the plants, buyers will receive expert advice on growing blueberries and growing asparagus at every stage and a take-home package of instructions from Extension staff and Master Gardener Volunteers.

For more information or to place an order, visit the sale website.  The Extension recommends a soil test prior to planting to get the most out of their garden site.

Somerset Grist Mill

February 19, 2013
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An antique but still functional Clipper grain cleaner

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Lambke and the Austrian millstones

A couple of weeks ago, I was very fortunate to be able to lead a field trip to the Somerset Grist Mill.  The mill is located in an old Maine paper mill town on the mighty Kennebec River, Skowhegan.  To the outsider, Skowhegan may appear a bit downtrodden, but it is quickly becoming the bustling heart of the fledgling movement to restore Maine’s once vibrant grain economy to its former glory.  In 2007, grassroots organizer Amber Lambke helped organize the Kneading Conference, which drew bread-bakers, grain farmers and millers from a wide area to learn and talk about bread-baking, using local grains, and to examine how to revitalize the area’s once robust grain production.  The conference, which continues today, was hugely successful, and one of many great offshoots from it was Lambke’s and business partner Michael Scholz’s decision to purchase the former Somerset County Jail and reinvent it as a grist mill, farmers’ market site, and retail space.  After years of research, fundraising and construction, the mill began operating in September 2013.

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Grain hopper for the pneumatic grain conveyance system

I had an image of an old-fashioned pokey complete with small barred cells, but the jail, constructed in 1863 (about the time Henbogle House was built), has been modernized over the years and was in continuous use as a jail until 2007 when a new facility opened.  One or two barred and concrete block cells-turned offices were visible, but the majority of the building reminded me more of an early 70s public school.  Walking down a narrow corridor, we came to a heavy door, and upon opening, could see the workings of the mill.

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Looking down into the bagging area

At the heart of the operation are two wood-framed Austrian mill-stones, a pneumatic system used to move the grain through the milling process, a state of the art robotic grain dryer, and a 1930s Clipper grain cleaner.  Outside the building were grain silos linked to the hydraulic system.

Farmers deliver whole grains to the mill, where it is stored briefly before being moved to storage bins on the top floor, above the milling area.  When milling begins, the grain is gravity fed into the mill. Once ground and sorted, it is fed into the bottom floor for further sorting, bagging and shipping.

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The pneumatic grain conveyor

Of course I could not resist the opportunity to try some of their products, so I purchased a bag of sifted wheat flour (which has some of the coarse bran sifted out) to try, and some oats.  I’ve made pizza and English muffins from the flour, and gave some to my friend Karen and she made pizza.  We agree, it is delicious and makes a very workable dough.  I’ve yet to try the oats but they are on the vacation week cooking agenda.

Blueberries for Sal ( or Julie, or Billy, Andi, Fran, Casey etc.)*

January 24, 2013

Blueberries for Salby Robert McCloskeyBlueberries are a natural for Maine gardeners; they are well adapted to Maine’s climate, highbush varieties offer a long harvest window and large juicy berries that are easy to pick.  Now you can try blueberries and or asparagus and support other Maine gardeners and garden projects.

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is selling blueberry bushes and asparagus crowns to raise funds for its statewide Master Gardener Volunteers program.  Money raised will assist Master Gardener Volunteer projects and also will provide scholarships to those who cannot afford the Master Gardener course fee. Since its inception more than 30 years ago, the UMaine Extension Master Gardener Volunteers program has assisted in dozens of community horticultural projects across the state, including Maine Harvest for Hunger, youth gardening and other community-based volunteer efforts.

A high-bush blueberry plant pack consists of three young plants, two varieties per pack, for $35.95 or a pack of 10 asparagus crowns ready for planting in the spring for $15.00. Plants will be available for pickup only at specific University of Maine Cooperative Extension county offices on Saturday, May 18, 2013.  Specific information on pickup is available at the IMG_1068website.  In addition to the plants, buyers will receive expert advice on growing blueberries and growing asparagus at every stage and a take-home package of instructions from Extension staff and Master Gardener Volunteers.

For more information or to place an order, visit the sale website.  The Extension recommends a soil test prior to planting to get the most out of their garden site.

We started with just 9 plants here at Henbogle, and over the years have expanded to a few more.  In 2011, we picked over 20 pounds of delicious berries.  We use most of these berries for fresh eating, and they are tasty!

*Blueberries for Sal is a Caldecott-honored picture book that tells the story of Sal and her mother, who meet up with a bear and bear cub while picking blueberries in Maine.  Many Maine children of a certain age are familiar with this and Make Way For Ducklings, another fabulous Robert McCloskey picture book.

Brush with Greatness

December 3, 2012

I’m famous!! Or rather, my pie is famous!  It was published in a fabulous new cookbook by Maine food writer Sandy Oliver.Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 3.07.25 PM  I just learned last night my pie was included in this book when I read about it on Leslie Land’s wonderful blog.

Sandy got the recipe when I shared it with her for her column in the Bangor Daily News in 2010.

Of course, I shared it here on Henbogle first, the day I invented it, basing it on a recipe from Epicurious, and with support from my best bud and fellow pie maker Holly.

And now, it is famous!  As it should be.  You’ll have to buy the book to see it.

Sprucing up Henbogle Coop

August 24, 2012

Henbogle Coop was beginning to look a little sad.  The yellow stain had faded and the Coop was in need of a thorough cleaning.

Dan Man power washed it last week when he did the decks.  Now that it has had a chance to dry, time renew the stain and paint the white trim again.  New hens are on the way!

We also mowed the weeds and will spread a giant bale of mulch hay for the new girls to enjoy.  Eight Golden Comet pullets, 12 weeks old, will be arriving this weekend.  They’ll be laying before you can say eggs for breakfast!

Bread baking at the Stone Turtle School

April 22, 2012

It is no secret to long time readers that I hope to someday build a wood-fired oven.  My dream plan calls for a brick Pompeii-style round oven.  In the meantime, I crank the heat in the range oven, and cook my pizza on clay quarry tiles.

This weekend, I took a breadbaking class at Stone Turtle Baking and Cooking School. The instructor, Michael Jubinsky, has been teaching breadmaking for many years, and after retiring to Maine, he and his wife Sandy started the This class focused on pan breads, but I did get to see the wood fired oven in action, and learned a few things about working with bread dough.  I also had a lot of fun.

The school is located at his home in a separate building complete with the wood oven, a pair of wall ovens and a large range oven, and we used them all.  The hands-on class had 11 people.  We gathered around a large wood-topped island where we made and shaped three different doughs and shaped some dinner rolls.

Michael was very knowledgeable and approachable, and filled people with the confidence they needed to succeed.  A friend who had never before made bread accompanied me to the class and had no problem turning out several delicious loaves of bread.  I developed a better feel for dough, and feel more confident now about adding the correct amount of flour, which can vary with the humidity.  The school recommends and uses King Arthur Flour, as I do, so I was already familiar with the feel of the flour and how it handled, which I am sure was an advantage for me.

The school offers several other courses.  I want to attend the (naturally) pizza and flatbread course, and maybe an artisan bread course focusing on rye flour.  Once I get my oven constructed, I may need to attend the 2 day wood-fired oven intensive course, too.

It was a fun day and I highly recommend it to my nearby readers interested in developing their baking skills.

Deliciousness

April 3, 2012

Who knew that Guinness had the power to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary?  For a chocolate party last weekend I made some amazing Milk Chocolate-Guinness Ice Cream, and last night, I made these cupcakes last night to take in to work for a friend’s birthday today.

A significant (ahem) birthday calls for a special cupcake, after all, thus Guinness Stout Cupcakes with Bailey’s Irish Cream Ganache and Frosting.

Wow.  The cake itself was tender and tasty despite being a wee bit overcooked (I’m still learning how my convection oven works).  The ganache filling was incredible, the frosting decadent and, thanks to the Bailey’s, sophisticated.  After the cakes cooled slightly, I used a melon baller to cut out a bit in the center of each cake, which I then filled with the warm ganache.  The decorating is not my strong suit, I’m too impatient for perfectly executed frosting swirls, but the dusting of baking cocoa hid a lot of sins.  It seems they were a hit as I came home with an empty container, and the one that plunged to the floor was devoured (3 second rule).

I (of COURSE) made some changes, and I’ll post my changes eventually, but I based my recipe on one I found on the blog Smitten Kitchen.  I highly reccomend it.  For total caloric and gluttonous overload, serve the cupcakes with the ice cream.

The first part of April is extraordinarily busy at work, but I hope we’ll be back to regular garden posts soon.  We have been eating spinach of late!

Maine Maple Sunday

March 26, 2012

Although the early spring weather and extra warm weather this week has put an end to maple sugaring for the year, on Sunday we celebrated Maine Maple Sunday at Henbogle.  Friends joined us for a brunch featuring that nectar of the gods, maple syrup, and eggs, as the hens have been very generous now that spring is here.

Brunch feature Maple Sticky Buns, Sausage and Leek Quiche with Provolone and Sundried Tomato, Goat Cheese and Leek Quiche, Maple Black Pepper Bacon, Buttermilk Pancakes with Maple Syrup, and Spinach Salad with Maple Lime Dressing, Blue Cheese and Dried Cranberries.  Friends contributed Irish Soda Bread, Fruit Salad, and Mimosas.  Yum.

Unfortunately, the photographer was busy cooking so the 2 photos seen are all I have, but judging from the laughter and paucity of leftovers, I think we all enjoyed ourselves.  I can’t think of a better way to welcome Spring, or celebrate friends, than with Maine Maple Sunday.