Archive for June, 2011

Slowly becoming (mostly) local

June 26, 2011
Victorian BBQ Sauce

Victorian BBQ Sauce

As I’ve become more aware of the actual carbon cost of food and the distance food travels from harvest to my house (like the average 1800 MILES a carrot travels!), I have become more aware of the process of mass food production.  There are some things I’ll never be able to “buy local” (citrus doesn’t handle New England well!)  but  I’ve started to make choices to reduce my carbon consumption.

This year, I’m a member of the Olde Nourse Farms CSA.  The farm that operates this CSA is one of the oldest farms in the US.  One of their variations that I love is that it is on a “point system” so I can choose from a variety of products available.  This week, I was able to obtain 3 pounds of rhubarb to try one of the variations of the Victorian Barbecue Sauce I’ve seen floating around the internet.

Knowing that the BBQ sauce(s) of the Victorian era were mostly used to cover up the taste of less than succulent meat, I wasn’t surprised to discover that all the recipes called for cinnamon.  I clubbed together one that drew upon the flavor profiles I liked and viola: 2 pints (4 half-pints) of BBQ sauce for later this year.  Yes the sugar wasn’t from Massachusetts nor were the spices but the prime ingredients were from Massachusetts.

8C chopped rhubarb

3C light brown sugar, lightly packed

1 chopped medium onion

1/2 c white vinegar

1t cinnamon

2t ground ginger

1t sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan.  Bring to a boil over a high heat.  Reduce heat, continue to cook at a soft boil for 30 minutes stirring frequently (I like my sauce a bit thicker, thinner sauce and greater yield at 20 minutes).

Ladle into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch head space, remove air bubbles adjust head space if needed.  Wipe rim with wet paper towel.  Put lid on jar.  Screw band until finger tip tight.

Place jars in boiling water for 15 minutes, cover lid.

Remove lid, allow to remain in hot water for 5 minutes.

Remove from water bath and listen for the happy sound of popping jars.

I found this flavor profile to work well for chicken and pork – and of course in the crock pot. :)

Father’s Day, the 2011 version

June 19, 2011

So, in my now twice in my life Happy Father’s Day blog, I’m going to skip my normal disdain for the day (well, more specifically all Hallmark holiday’s – and I just learned this one was created by NIXON!) and smile.

My dad (and mom) are in a mini-van (ring of hell #1) with 3 tweeners (ring of hell #2) going to the CWS (return to ring #1) after going to Carhenge and other “tourist sites in Nebraska” (enter rings #2, #3 and #4).  For fun.  The kids are good kids, I don’t understand my father’s love of long distance driving (30 minutes, I’m done) and who buys a mini-van by CHOICE?  But they are having fun being with the 3 oldest grandkids, the grandkids appear unharmed from the pictures and are being tortured at Denny’s (yes, I went there)-as-a-resturant that must come with the grandparent license and I can’t wait to hear all versions.

The past year has been hard – from all angles.  Unemployment, illnesses, strange weather and a list of things have taxed and pushed.  At one point last summer, my dad swore to me I’d look back on 2010 and laugh (I’m not sure I ever will but I see his point).  A college friend posted this article from The Atlantic MonthlyI thought about it and realized the greatest lesson my parents taught my siblings and me is that we will fail.

How did we learn this lesson? My dad is 6 5.  When we were little (read 4 and 5), we’d engage in a 2-1 basketball game against our dad.  He’d block our shots (ok, we were midgets, block is a loose term, all he had to do was put a hand over our heads, I maintain he was trying to pad his statistics).  He’d shoot HOOK SHOTS (we stood no chance).  We’d play until we made a basket purely by luck.  We thought we “won” (we scored on dad) but we really learned.  We learned that sometimes you have to try a lot before you make a basket, we learned that sometimes a game ended before we could score, we learned (in retrospect) that sometimes failing is the best thing.  Painful life lesson best learned on the backyard basketball court.

I’m a t-ball purist.  I’m not sure letting all kid receive an award is the best idea: I was the worst player on my team until my sister joined.  She picked flowers in the field.  We were bad, we had fun and the other kids had to put up with us (I’m sure it was painful for the 2nd graders. . . ).  I do know that learning how to fail and failure being ok if the effort was there is a valuable skill (and probably is somehow related to continued creativity and imagination).

Happy Father’s Day Dad.  You taught us it’s ok to love to do something we are bad at for fun, that sometimes you loose and you were always up for coloring our food.  Now, if we could do something about your Phanatical Jayhawk addition, all would be right with the world.