Category Archives: urban simplicity

>Julia’s Omelet and My Big Decedent Frittata

>I spent much of mid-day today in a reflective mood…after dropping my son off at his mother’s house I had the morning and afternoon to myself, before a family dinner engagement. I managed to take a nap, meditate, go for a good steam and swim, and read half of this book.

As usual after a good swim I find myself hungry. I had come across this video of Julia Child making an omelet recently, and being Christmas I felt like having something a little special…but also something simple. I scoured my fridge and I came up with some gravlox, onions, broccoli, eggs, and feta. So I made a frittata, and ate it with toasted whole grain Monk’s Bread (yes, I do purchase bread now and again).

I don’t really care for many of the so called “celebrity chefs,” but I can watch clips of Julia Child…especially the old ones like this one. To some she may seem a joke, but she was classically trained, and it shows in her technique. It’s an interesting little clip and very French…to care so much about something as simple as an omelet to devote an entire episode to it…

At any rate, this is how I made my decedent lunch:

Preheat your oven to 400F. Gather the ingredients; par-boil the broccoli, then slice it along with the onion and salmon.

Mix everything together except the onion.

Heat an oven-proof skillet over high heat with a few tablespoons olive oil; when the oil is hot add the onion and saute them until they begin to brown.

Add the other ingredients and put the pan in the oven.

Cook the frittata for about 5 minutes, then carefully flip it over and cook another minute or two. Remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for a minute or two (while you prepare your toast).


After eating the entire thing it’s best to lay on your couch and take a nap (like I did).
.

Winter and Spicy Stew

Well, Buffalo’s climate is once again living up to its reputation. We got pelted with something like a foot of snow today (judging by the news, so did much of the rest of the northeast). I was out driving in it today (yes, I do use a vehicle now and again) and at points it was near whiteout conditions…traffic would come to a halt because the farthest you could see was maybe ten feet in front of you.

Here’s a shot of my backyard, note the Chinese trike buried in snow…I won’t be riding that any time soon (to read more about the trike click here).

By this point you’d think I’d learn to use the firewood in the backyard before the snow really hit, leaving wood on the front porch for times like this. Anyhow, I had to retrieve firewood from the backyard and had to shovel not only a path to the wood, but also shovel out a small clearing so I could split a few logs.


I was craving something hearty and spicy for dinner, so I scoured my refrigerator and freezer. In addition to leftover frozen turkey and turkey stock I had plenty of vegetables to work with. I also had some kim chi, some not-quite-ready citron confit (preserved lemons), and a can of white beans.

I used a basic stewing/braising method; it’s simple and can be done with most foods. This is how I made mine: Start by dicing the vegetables (note my two pugs in the background waiting for scraps to fall).


I sauteed the harder vegetebales first in a little olive oil, then added garlic, a little curry, a couple chilies, cumin, allspice, cracked black pepper, and alittle sea salt.

Then I added the turkey stock, a couple preserved lemon wedges, a good scoop of kim chi, and the rest of the diced vegetables and potatoes. After simmering it for a few minutes I added the drained and rinsed white beans.

After simmering it for about twenty minutes longer, I ladled it into a bowl that I warmed over a flame (the rear of my house is cold this time of year). Not bad, I thought as I ate it…for being made out of leftovers and a few other ingredients I had on hand. It was perfect food for a cold winters evening such as this.

>Winter and Spicy Stew

>Well, Buffalo’s climate is once again living up to its reputation. We got pelted with something like a foot of snow today (judging by the news, so did much of the rest of the northeast). I was out driving in it today (yes, I do use a vehicle now and again) and at points it was near whiteout conditions…traffic would come to a halt because the farthest you could see was maybe ten feet in front of you.

Here’s a shot of my backyard, note the Chinese trike buried in snow…I won’t be riding that any time soon (to read more about the trike click here).

By this point you’d think I’d learn to use the firewood in the backyard before the snow really hit, leaving wood on the front porch for times like this. Anyhow, I had to retrieve firewood from the backyard and had to shovel not only a path to the wood, but also shovel out a small clearing so I could split a few logs.


I was craving something hearty and spicy for dinner, so I scoured my refrigerator and freezer. In addition to leftover frozen turkey and turkey stock I had plenty of vegetables to work with. I also had some kim chi, some not-quite-ready citron confit (preserved lemons), and a can of white beans.

I used a basic stewing/braising method; it’s simple and can be done with most foods. This is how I made mine: Start by dicing the vegetables (note my two pugs in the background waiting for scraps to fall).


I sauteed the harder vegetebales first in a little olive oil, then added garlic, a little curry, a couple chilies, cumin, allspice, cracked black pepper, and alittle sea salt.

Then I added the turkey stock, a couple preserved lemon wedges, a good scoop of kim chi, and the rest of the diced vegetables and potatoes. After simmering it for a few minutes I added the drained and rinsed white beans.

After simmering it for about twenty minutes longer, I ladled it into a bowl that I warmed over a flame (the rear of my house is cold this time of year). Not bad, I thought as I ate it…for being made out of leftovers and a few other ingredients I had on hand. It was perfect food for a cold winters evening such as this.

Backyard Bouillabaisse

I recently came across these photos on my old laptop and thought I’d post them. They’re at least a few years old pictures of when my son and I made bouillabaisse in our backyard. We basically dug a hole in the ground and started a fire. Then we put a pot on it and cooked a bunch of seafood. It was delicious…it reminds me of summer.

>Backyard Bouillabaisse

>I recently came across these photos on my old laptop and thought I’d post them. They’re at least a few years old pictures of when my son and I made bouillabaisse in our backyard. We basically dug a hole in the ground and started a fire. Then we put a pot on it and cooked a bunch of seafood. It was delicious…it reminds me of summer.

>Snowy Ride

>I knew full well what I was getting myself into when I rode my bike to work this morning…the newscasters have been telling of this storm for a couple days…schools were closed this morning before it even hit. When I left at 7:00am it was overcast with just a few flakes in the air. How bad could it get, I thought? I’ve ridden in snow before, I also thought. Well, it hit about 9:00am, just as predicted, and it let up about 5:00pm, just as predicted. By the time I left work there were about 10 inches of snow on the ground and because of the wind it looked as if it were snowing horizontally. The ride was a little treacherous, but I rode slow and put a lot of my weight on the front tire, which I’ve found is a good way to control steering in icy conditions. Most of the way home I was actually going as fast as the cars (probably about 10 mph), and only once did I almost fall (when I hit a small pile of snow protruding out of a driveway). I rode mostly in the middle of the street because the sides were not plowed, so when traffic would speed up I’d have to pull off to the side to allow them to pass. Side streets were, and still are, an un-plowed mess…I had to push the bike down my street. There was one point (about halfway home) when the snow was whipping in my eyes and I felt I had lost control of the bike when I thought that this was a really stupid thing to do, but at the same time I felt truly exhilarated…and it is just one more bit of proof that it is possible to navigate the streets and use a bicycle as your primary mode of transport even in the winter…even in Buffalo, NY. I was a teenager during the blizzard of ’77 and have loved these storms ever since (now I’m showing my age). Anyhow, here’s a few photos of my bike and the riding conditions. The first one is of the bike stuck in the snow, where I put it when I first arrived home so I could shovle the stairs to carry it up. Take note that the bike’s kickstand is not down…the bike just sort of stood there in the snow. The second photo is of the handlebars (my dashboard); the snow and ice buildup was about the same on the handlebars as it was on my gloves and helmet. The last is a photo of a handpainted Chi Rho that I painted on my top crossbar when I first got this bike. It’s what I see when I look down (as I have to do when riding in a snow storm); it guides me and keeps me centered.

Snowy Ride

I knew full well what I was getting myself into when I rode my bike to work this morning…the newscasters have been telling of this storm for a couple days…schools were closed this morning before it even hit. When I left at 7:00am it was overcast with just a few flakes in the air. How bad could it get, I thought? I’ve ridden in snow before, I also thought. Well, it hit about 9:00am, just as predicted, and it let up about 5:00pm, just as predicted. By the time I left work there were about 10 inches of snow on the ground and because of the wind it looked as if it were snowing horizontally. The ride was a little treacherous, but I rode slow and put a lot of my weight on the front tire, which I’ve found is a good way to control steering in icy conditions. Most of the way home I was actually going as fast as the cars (probably about 10 mph), and only once did I almost fall (when I hit a small pile of snow protruding out of a driveway). I rode mostly in the middle of the street because the sides were not plowed, so when traffic would speed up I’d have to pull off to the side to allow them to pass. Side streets were, and still are, an un-plowed mess…I had to push the bike down my street. There was one point (about halfway home) when the snow was whipping in my eyes and I felt I had lost control of the bike when I thought that this was a really stupid thing to do, but at the same time I felt truly exhilarated…and it is just one more bit of proof that it is possible to navigate the streets and use a bicycle as your primary mode of transport even in the winter…even in Buffalo, NY. I was a teenager during the blizzard of ’77 and have loved these storms ever since (now I’m showing my age). Anyhow, here’s a few photos of my bike and the riding conditions. The first one is of the bike stuck in the snow, where I put it when I first arrived home so I could shovle the stairs to carry it up. Take note that the bike’s kickstand is not down…the bike just sort of stood there in the snow. The second photo is of the handlebars (my dashboard); the snow and ice buildup was about the same on the handlebars as it was on my gloves and helmet. The last is a photo of a handpainted Chi Rho that I painted on my top crossbar when I first got this bike. It’s what I see when I look down (as I have to do when riding in a snow storm); it guides me and keeps me centered.

Autumnal Food and My First Snowy Ride on the Mundo

Bread For Thanksgiving Dinner

I am truly blessed in that I have three lovely sisters who give me the day off on Thanksgiving. The only things that I am required to do are bring freshly baked bread and carve the bird. I know that my younger sister likes roast red pepper bread, so I usually bring that. But this year I changed it a little by making two doughs and combining them: one was the red pepper, the other was Parmesan. The outcome is visually stunning; the flavors aren’t bad either. Here’s the recipe in pictures:

I started by making two separate straight doughs, utilizing the sponge method (basic bread dough recipe), the difference is that I added pureed roast red peppers to one (you’ll have to adjust the recipe because of the moisture content of the peppers) and Parmesan cheese to the other (click on any of the photos for a larger view).

After they had risen, I cut each dough into 5 pieces, ten pieces in all.

After gently flattening each piece, I placed a piece of Parmesan dough on top of each piece of red pepper dough and gently rolled it into a loaf.


Then I put them in loaf pans, and placed a clean garbage bag across them to rise.

After they rose, I brushed them with an egg wash, sprinkled them with poppy seeds and baked them in a preheated 400F oven.

The finished bread:


Turkey Stock and Mashed Potato Bread

Each year after thanksgiving I always offer to take the turkey carcass(es) of my sisters hands. Sometimes they won’t give them up because they have plans for them themselves, and other times–like this year–they are glad that I am interested in taking it/them. Anyhow, we had two turkeys this year and my apartment-sized refrigerator is not nearly big enough to hold them, so I left them wrapped in plastic in the back of my pickup parked on the street all night. The temperature was hovering around freezing, but I have to admit that I was surprised to see them in the morning.


Here they are unwrapped…sort of gruesome looking, sort of like returning to the scene of a crime…almost enough to make a person go vegetarian. But with the resulting broth all these nasty thoughts were forgotten.

Anyhow, homemade broth is as simple as this: put the carcass(es) in a pot with any meat trimmings, scraps, juices, a few vegetables, and just enough cold water to cover it. Bring it to a boil, then lower it to a simmer. Simmer the broth for 2-6 hours, skimming any scum as necessary.


While it simmered I whipped up a batch of potato bread using leftover mashed potatoes. I used a straight dough method with the exception that I added an egg to the dough for a little richness and lightness in its rise. The rear of my house is cold so I rose the bread next to the simmering stock pot.


After it rose once, I shaped it into a loaf, put it in a loaf pan and let it rise again. Then baked it in a 400F oven.

After the stock had simmered for about 6 hours I strained it twice, first through a colander, then through a small fine mesh strainer; a china cap, or as the French refer to it, a chinoise

Freezer ready:

Pear Butter with Red Wine

Last week I was able to take home a couple dozen locally grown pears. They were already past their prime when I received them, that’s how I was able to take them home, but I still thought I would eat them before they were too far gone. Well, of course I didn’t. Instead of throwing them out I decided to make pear butter, which of course is a variation of apple butter. It is so easy to make. Basically you just cut up the fruit (with or without skins), add a little liquid (I added red wine instead of water), and if you want it a little sweeter, you can add a little sugar (which I did). You cook the fruit and puree it (at this point it will resemble apple sauce). Then return it to the heat to evaporate most of its moisture. The flavors will intensify and its color will darken considerably. The consistency will become spreadable (especially when it is chilled); it will have the consistency of butter, hence its name.


First Snow/Ice Ride on the Mundo Yuba

We got a couple inches of snow today, which by Buffalo standards is next to nothing. But because it was above freezing during the day when it snowed (slushed) and went below freezing this evening, what was on the street turned to ice. The Mundo is built like a tank, and probably weighs as much as one also. %The thing just plowed through. I used to make the comparison of the Mundo to a Hummer or other big SUV, but now I’m wondering if it shouldn’t be more compared to a bike version of one of the old Volvo wagons…it plows through anything, weighs a ton, makes you feel safe, and has a big cushy feel to it’s ride. At one point I wanted to test the brake on ice, to see how it would handle. I hit the rear brake and the bike fishtailed to one side a little, but the thing is so big and heavy I still felt safe…it were as if I was happening in slow motion. Anyhow, it looks like it will be a good “Buffalo bike,” meaning it should be stable enough for all weather conditions. It may not be fast, but it gets you where you want to go and you can carry a lot of stuff with you.

>Autumnal Food and My First Snowy Ride on the Mundo

>Bread For Thanksgiving Dinner

I am truly blessed in that I have three lovely sisters who give me the day off on Thanksgiving. The only things that I am required to do are bring freshly baked bread and carve the bird. I know that my younger sister likes roast red pepper bread, so I usually bring that. But this year I changed it a little by making two doughs and combining them: one was the red pepper, the other was Parmesan. The outcome is visually stunning; the flavors aren’t bad either. Here’s the recipe in pictures:

I started by making two separate straight doughs, utilizing the sponge method (basic bread dough recipe), the difference is that I added pureed roast red peppers to one (you’ll have to adjust the recipe because of the moisture content of the peppers) and Parmesan cheese to the other (click on any of the photos for a larger view).

After they had risen, I cut each dough into 5 pieces, ten pieces in all.

After gently flattening each piece, I placed a piece of Parmesan dough on top of each piece of red pepper dough and gently rolled it into a loaf.


Then I put them in loaf pans, and placed a clean garbage bag across them to rise.

After they rose, I brushed them with an egg wash, sprinkled them with poppy seeds and baked them in a preheated 400F oven.

The finished bread:


Turkey Stock and Mashed Potato Bread

Each year after thanksgiving I always offer to take the turkey carcass(es) of my sisters hands. Sometimes they won’t give them up because they have plans for them themselves, and other times–like this year–they are glad that I am interested in taking it/them. Anyhow, we had two turkeys this year and my apartment-sized refrigerator is not nearly big enough to hold them, so I left them wrapped in plastic in the back of my pickup parked on the street all night. The temperature was hovering around freezing, but I have to admit that I was surprised to see them in the morning.


Here they are unwrapped…sort of gruesome looking, sort of like returning to the scene of a crime…almost enough to make a person go vegetarian. But with the resulting broth all these nasty thoughts were forgotten.

Anyhow, homemade broth is as simple as this: put the carcass(es) in a pot with any meat trimmings, scraps, juices, a few vegetables, and just enough cold water to cover it. Bring it to a boil, then lower it to a simmer. Simmer the broth for 2-6 hours, skimming any scum as necessary.


While it simmered I whipped up a batch of potato bread using leftover mashed potatoes. I used a straight dough method with the exception that I added an egg to the dough for a little richness and lightness in its rise. The rear of my house is cold so I rose the bread next to the simmering stock pot.


After it rose once, I shaped it into a loaf, put it in a loaf pan and let it rise again. Then baked it in a 400F oven.

After the stock had simmered for about 6 hours I strained it twice, first through a colander, then through a small fine mesh strainer; a china cap, or as the French refer to it, a chinoise

Freezer ready:

Pear Butter with Red Wine

Last week I was able to take home a couple dozen locally grown pears. They were already past their prime when I received them, that’s how I was able to take them home, but I still thought I would eat them before they were too far gone. Well, of course I didn’t. Instead of throwing them out I decided to make pear butter, which of course is a variation of apple butter. It is so easy to make. Basically you just cut up the fruit (with or without skins), add a little liquid (I added red wine instead of water), and if you want it a little sweeter, you can add a little sugar (which I did). You cook the fruit and puree it (at this point it will resemble apple sauce). Then return it to the heat to evaporate most of its moisture. The flavors will intensify and its color will darken considerably. The consistency will become spreadable (especially when it is chilled); it will have the consistency of butter, hence its name.


First Snow/Ice Ride on the Mundo Yuba

We got a couple inches of snow today, which by Buffalo standards is next to nothing. But because it was above freezing during the day when it snowed (slushed) and went below freezing this evening, what was on the street turned to ice. The Mundo is built like a tank, and probably weighs as much as one also. %The thing just plowed through. I used to make the comparison of the Mundo to a Hummer or other big SUV, but now I’m wondering if it shouldn’t be more compared to a bike version of one of the old Volvo wagons…it plows through anything, weighs a ton, makes you feel safe, and has a big cushy feel to it’s ride. At one point I wanted to test the brake on ice, to see how it would handle. I hit the rear brake and the bike fishtailed to one side a little, but the thing is so big and heavy I still felt safe…it were as if I was happening in slow motion. Anyhow, it looks like it will be a good “Buffalo bike,” meaning it should be stable enough for all weather conditions. It may not be fast, but it gets you where you want to go and you can carry a lot of stuff with you.

>A Few Recipes, Thoughts, and a Couple Cartoons

>

100% Whole Wheat Bread:

I’ve been playing around with a variation (simplification) of Peter Reinhart’s whole grain bread recipe. I find the idea of home made bread being made without too much fuss and it not occupying your time and thoughts very interesting. I much rather incorporate it into the rhythm of my day. Many of my breads, for example, I’ll start the sponge before bed or before I go to work, and then mix the dough hours later, either retarding it in the refrigerator or baking it straight away. With this cold snap we’re experiencing in the northeast a refrigerator isn’t necessary…the rear of my house (where my kitchen is located) 9is like a refrigerator. I had to bring the bread to my living room and warm it next to the wood stove to speed the fermentation process. Anyhow, here’s my method, and it came out pretty good.

If I recall correctly Peter Reinhart uses milk or butter or yogurt in his dough (I may be wrong…I haven’t looked at the book for a while), at any rate, I used a straight-dough recipe, or one without fat (ok, I used a little olive oil). The thing that is key I think, and this is something that I picked up from Peter’s book, is that when making bread with 100% whole wheat flour it is essential to soak the flour before mixing the dough.

In the bowl on the left is a sponge with 2 cups of w.w. flour, a little yeast, and 2/3 cups of water; the mixing bowl on the right contains 4 cups of w.w. flour, 1 1/3 cups water, a little salt, and a tablespoon of olive oil (no yeast). I let these sit overnight. In the morning I dissolved a little more yeast in about a quarter cup water (the small container with the spoon in it).

Then I mixed them together, first in the electric mixer then by hand, and mad the dough.

Realizing the coldness in my kitchen (something like 45F), and not having the time to allow for a 12-hour rise, I sped up the process by warming the dough on a stool next to my wood burning stove. I had it covered (of course), but the real challenge was keeping my two dogs away from it.


I divided the bread into three loaves, let it rise again (this time in the kitchen…which was a bit warmer because I was preheating the oven). The outcome was awesome.

Remnants of Summer:

Then I found myself in a quandary…here I had these 3 beautiful loaves of bread, and I knew that I’d never eat them before they went stale. I gave one away, sliced into one, but still didn’t have enough room in my teeny freezer for the remaining loaf. In order to fit the loaf in the freezer I had to take some stuff out. And if I were to take some stuff out I knew that I had to cook it…so I made dinner. Actually, I only had to remove a container of broccoli and butternut squash, both of which I grew on my tiny city plot this past summer.

I basically cooked the vegetables aglio e olio style (with garlic and olive oil) and tossed it with pasta. It’s a method for which I can cook almost any food, and a flavor I never get tired of. Besides the pasta and chicken broth, here’s the basic ingredients I used: squash, broccoli, garlic, and hot peppers.

I sauteed everything in a little olive oil.

Added enough cup or two of chicken broth, and allowed it to cook the vegetables and reduce to concentrate it’s flavor.

Then tossed it with whole wheat pasta and Romano cheese

What’s up with The Gas Prices?

Really? What is up? Two years ago we were at the very same price for gas per gallon as we are today (in Buffalo). Then we went on a roller coaster ride and we’re back where we started. Check out this chart I found at buffalogasprices.com:

Anyhow, I don’t care what the price of gas is I still far prefer my bicycle to my gas-powered vehicle. Here’s a few cartoons I came across that reflect this sentiment:



Super-Ripe Kim Chi:

Lastly, I had to include a few pictures of my latest batch of kim chi (cabbage and peppers grown in the back yard this past summer). It is by far the best batch I have ever made, and it is literally alive with flavor and probiotics. It has an effervescence the almost sizzles on your tongue. Check out the book and/or website, Wild Fermentation, if you want to learn to make it.

A Few Recipes, Thoughts, and a Couple Cartoons

100% Whole Wheat Bread:

I’ve been playing around with a variation (simplification) of Peter Reinhart’s whole grain bread recipe. I find the idea of home made bread being made without too much fuss and it not occupying your time and thoughts very interesting. I much rather incorporate it into the rhythm of my day. Many of my breads, for example, I’ll start the sponge before bed or before I go to work, and then mix the dough hours later, either retarding it in the refrigerator or baking it straight away. With this cold snap we’re experiencing in the northeast a refrigerator isn’t necessary…the rear of my house (where my kitchen is located) 9is like a refrigerator. I had to bring the bread to my living room and warm it next to the wood stove to speed the fermentation process. Anyhow, here’s my method, and it came out pretty good.

If I recall correctly Peter Reinhart uses milk or butter or yogurt in his dough (I may be wrong…I haven’t looked at the book for a while), at any rate, I used a straight-dough recipe, or one without fat (ok, I used a little olive oil). The thing that is key I think, and this is something that I picked up from Peter’s book, is that when making bread with 100% whole wheat flour it is essential to soak the flour before mixing the dough.

In the bowl on the left is a sponge with 2 cups of w.w. flour, a little yeast, and 2/3 cups of water; the mixing bowl on the right contains 4 cups of w.w. flour, 1 1/3 cups water, a little salt, and a tablespoon of olive oil (no yeast). I let these sit overnight. In the morning I dissolved a little more yeast in about a quarter cup water (the small container with the spoon in it).

Then I mixed them together, first in the electric mixer then by hand, and mad the dough.

Realizing the coldness in my kitchen (something like 45F), and not having the time to allow for a 12-hour rise, I sped up the process by warming the dough on a stool next to my wood burning stove. I had it covered (of course), but the real challenge was keeping my two dogs away from it.


I divided the bread into three loaves, let it rise again (this time in the kitchen…which was a bit warmer because I was preheating the oven). The outcome was awesome.

Remnants of Summer:

Then I found myself in a quandary…here I had these 3 beautiful loaves of bread, and I knew that I’d never eat them before they went stale. I gave one away, sliced into one, but still didn’t have enough room in my teeny freezer for the remaining loaf. In order to fit the loaf in the freezer I had to take some stuff out. And if I were to take some stuff out I knew that I had to cook it…so I made dinner. Actually, I only had to remove a container of broccoli and butternut squash, both of which I grew on my tiny city plot this past summer.

I basically cooked the vegetables aglio e olio style (with garlic and olive oil) and tossed it with pasta. It’s a method for which I can cook almost any food, and a flavor I never get tired of. Besides the pasta and chicken broth, here’s the basic ingredients I used: squash, broccoli, garlic, and hot peppers.

I sauteed everything in a little olive oil.

Added enough cup or two of chicken broth, and allowed it to cook the vegetables and reduce to concentrate it’s flavor.

Then tossed it with whole wheat pasta and Romano cheese

What’s up with The Gas Prices?

Really? What is up? Two years ago we were at the very same price for gas per gallon as we are today (in Buffalo). Then we went on a roller coaster ride and we’re back where we started. Check out this chart I found at buffalogasprices.com:

Anyhow, I don’t care what the price of gas is I still far prefer my bicycle to my gas-powered vehicle. Here’s a few cartoons I came across that reflect this sentiment:



Super-Ripe Kim Chi:

Lastly, I had to include a few pictures of my latest batch of kim chi (cabbage and peppers grown in the back yard this past summer). It is by far the best batch I have ever made, and it is literally alive with flavor and probiotics. It has an effervescence the almost sizzles on your tongue. Check out the book and/or website, Wild Fermentation, if you want to learn to make it.

>Pictures of Autumn

>It’s easy to live simply in the city during the summer…there are no heating concerns, and vegetable gardens grow like weeds. But as the seasons march forward, things change.

Autumn has always been, and still is, my favorite season. I had a few days off this past weekend and used the time to ready myself (both physically and mentally) for the cold months…stacked some firewood, uprooted my remaining vegetables, and baked some sourdough. Here’s a few photos:

One of the first signs of Autumn (if you have a wood burning stove or fireplace) is the delivery of wood. Here’s a picture of some of it. My son is now a teenager and this is the first year I asked (made) him help me haul and stack the wood. He did a great job.


I’m a bad gardener. By this statement I don’t mean that I can’t grow things, because I do every year, but more that I let my gardens become sort of feral by mid-summer. Every year I say that I won’t, but I do. Thus, every autumn when I tear them out I am always surprised at what I find. Look at all of these tomatoes…and this is the second week in October in Buffalo!
There were also some swiss chard and cabbage (and peppers, cauliflower, and broccoli which are not pictured).

This teeny head of cabbage I found in a pot I forgot about…it was just the right amount I needed for a vegetable soup.

Three years ago I planted a grapevine that has literally exploded through the backyard (which only measures 25′ by 25′). This coming year I’ll have to trim it back. The grapes are delicious…they taste as good as they look in this photo.


There are, in fact, more grapes than I can consume. So rather than let them rot on the vines (I did give some away) I thought I’d experiment with them (I’m always game for food experiments…especially when it deals with natural fermentation). I’ve never made wine before and know absolutely nothing about it (other than a little Internet research), but I thought I’d try to make some the old fashioned way…crush some grapes and put ’em in a pot to ferment (along with a little sugar water, and yeast). Here’s my son picking some of the grapes from their stems.

I initially let them rest for a few days simply crushed with their skins, then I strained them and added yeast and sugar.

It only made a couple gallons of juice, which I wrapped in a towel (to protect it from sunlight) and put it on a shelf in my backroom where it is cool. This is the initial photo of it. After a day it was alive with action, it was circulating in a sort of vertical swirling motion, and eventually (after a few days) it stopped. It’s now crystal clear and smells like either wine or vinegar. I haven’t tasted it yet, but it will no doubt be vinegar (which is also great!). In another week I’ll decant it and taste it. If it tastes like something that is edible I’ll bottle it.

Another thing about the temperature change is that bread baking, especially naturally leavened bread (sourdough), altered. When the kitchen cools off naturally leaved bread goes from rising in just a few hours in the sultry dog days of summer, to anywhere from 8, 12, 18, even 24 hours when its cooler (depending on the temperature). Here’s a beautiful Pullman loaf I made and let rise overnight. The initial dough: 11:00pm.

Here it is about 8:00am, 9 hours later. It actually over-proofed a little…you can see where I had to trim it away from the edges where it was hanging over.

Here’s the loaf fresh from the oven…it’s beautiful and tasted as good as it looks. The thing about having it rise for so long is that the character of the bread becomes so intense…there are layers of flavors than cannot be achieved any other way than a slow rise. This loaf is called a “Pullman” loaf because of its shape, that it resembles an old Pullman railroad car. It makes an awesome sandwich bread.

Soup made with the last garden vegetables (and a few others that I purchased). This along with the bread made and excellent meal.

Pictures of Autumn

It’s easy to live simply in the city during the summer…there are no heating concerns, and vegetable gardens grow like weeds. But as the seasons march forward, things change.

Autumn has always been, and still is, my favorite season. I had a few days off this past weekend and used the time to ready myself (both physically and mentally) for the cold months…stacked some firewood, uprooted my remaining vegetables, and baked some sourdough. Here’s a few photos:

One of the first signs of Autumn (if you have a wood burning stove or fireplace) is the delivery of wood. Here’s a picture of some of it. My son is now a teenager and this is the first year I asked (made) him help me haul and stack the wood. He did a great job.


I’m a bad gardener. By this statement I don’t mean that I can’t grow things, because I do every year, but more that I let my gardens become sort of feral by mid-summer. Every year I say that I won’t, but I do. Thus, every autumn when I tear them out I am always surprised at what I find. Look at all of these tomatoes…and this is the second week in October in Buffalo!
There were also some swiss chard and cabbage (and peppers, cauliflower, and broccoli which are not pictured).

This teeny head of cabbage I found in a pot I forgot about…it was just the right amount I needed for a vegetable soup.

Three years ago I planted a grapevine that has literally exploded through the backyard (which only measures 25′ by 25′). This coming year I’ll have to trim it back. The grapes are delicious…they taste as good as they look in this photo.


There are, in fact, more grapes than I can consume. So rather than let them rot on the vines (I did give some away) I thought I’d experiment with them (I’m always game for food experiments…especially when it deals with natural fermentation). I’ve never made wine before and know absolutely nothing about it (other than a little Internet research), but I thought I’d try to make some the old fashioned way…crush some grapes and put ’em in a pot to ferment (along with a little sugar water, and yeast). Here’s my son picking some of the grapes from their stems.

I initially let them rest for a few days simply crushed with their skins, then I strained them and added yeast and sugar.

It only made a couple gallons of juice, which I wrapped in a towel (to protect it from sunlight) and put it on a shelf in my backroom where it is cool. This is the initial photo of it. After a day it was alive with action, it was circulating in a sort of vertical swirling motion, and eventually (after a few days) it stopped. It’s now crystal clear and smells like either wine or vinegar. I haven’t tasted it yet, but it will no doubt be vinegar (which is also great!). In another week I’ll decant it and taste it. If it tastes like something that is edible I’ll bottle it.

Another thing about the temperature change is that bread baking, especially naturally leavened bread (sourdough), altered. When the kitchen cools off naturally leaved bread goes from rising in just a few hours in the sultry dog days of summer, to anywhere from 8, 12, 18, even 24 hours when its cooler (depending on the temperature). Here’s a beautiful Pullman loaf I made and let rise overnight. The initial dough: 11:00pm.

Here it is about 8:00am, 9 hours later. It actually over-proofed a little…you can see where I had to trim it away from the edges where it was hanging over.

Here’s the loaf fresh from the oven…it’s beautiful and tasted as good as it looks. The thing about having it rise for so long is that the character of the bread becomes so intense…there are layers of flavors than cannot be achieved any other way than a slow rise. This loaf is called a “Pullman” loaf because of its shape, that it resembles an old Pullman railroad car. It makes an awesome sandwich bread.

Soup made with the last garden vegetables (and a few others that I purchased). This along with the bread made and excellent meal.