It’s Saturday! I think Saturdays are lovely days here at the Thistle Field, as we often spend the day working hard on all things home and garden related. I typically do quite a lot of cooking, which is not unusual on any day, but on weekends I tend to make special extras that don’t make the cut during the week.
This morning began with a hearty breakfast of an omelette filled with mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, and local goat cheese from Linden Dale Farm, served alongside a wheat baguette and black raspberries. I had been to the farmer’s market yesterday, and bought a nice jar of chèvre, among other delicious items.
Tangentially, I appreciate that Linden Dale offers their chèvre packed in glass. (Thank you!) I try to avoid plastics in my zero-waste quest, and I am also attempting a completely plastic-free July, per the Plastic-Free July challenge. At first blush, this sounded like a very easy challenge, but I was shocked by how much single-use plastic I saw at the farmer’s market. I was prepared with my cloth bags and my basket, as always, but everyone offered me a plastic sack for my purchases. I politely refused them (as always).
Many products were packed in plastics. I cannot see the need to bag, wrap, or package fresh produce, for example. I saw breads wrapped in plastic bags, but I chose a baguette that did not have a plastic wrap. I like to make my own bread, but every once in a while I buy some. Obviously, making your own is the easiest way to avoid the issue, but I was glad to find some sans-bag. I also bought freshly-ground horseradish packed in a glass jar, milk in glass jars, half a dozen ears of corn, shiitake and cremini mushrooms, a big head of leaf lettuce, a hot soft pretzel for hungry Miss Thistle, and a dog treat for a special furry guy. That basket was heavy! Little Thistle provided some counterweight on my left arm as we hustled and heaved that market basket back to the car, but it’s clear that I need some strength-training. Whew!
But, back to today … After our hearty breakfast, we headed out to do battle with our thistles. Thanks to our recent due diligence, we are keeping pace with those buggers this year. But, all it takes is one week of slacking and they pull into the lead. Stay strong, Thistle Family! Stay strong. Eyes on the prize.
I harvested several heads of cabbage from the garden, which were shortly thereafter rendered into the latest batch of sauerkraut fermenting in the kitchen. Just for funsies, I mixed red and green cabbage in this batch. It should be a pretty pink color when it finishes. I spent part of the morning (and part of the afternoon) whining about the last batch of sauerkraut, which I woefully neglected on its last day of fermenting. I had been keeping an eagle eye on it, but then Thursday happened. The brine level in the crock had dipped a bit low, but the situation was still fixable. But what did I do? Distractedly, I forgot to take off all of the top layer of cabbage that had been (accidentally) exposed to the air, (boo! hiss!) and got some of the exposed cabbage into the jar I was packing. Such a bummer, and I know better. The anaerobic environment is everything. You had better believe I made sure this new batch had a deep covering of brine! Oh, beautiful jar of kraut, I am sorry for what I did to you! Onward and upward …
Tomorrow I will cut more cabbage to pack my biggest fermenting crock for yet another batch of kraut, and I also plan to try an Eastern European recipe for pickled, spiced cabbage, which gets canned on Day Two of the process. It sounds like something that will be delicious in the winter months!
Finally, moving on to that rhubarb! I harvested two pounds of rhubarb from the garden, and made a crumb-top rhubarb pie using this recipe. I added a sprinkle of cinnamon to the rhubarb filling, and I am glad I did! The pie smelled amazing as it baked, and the sweet-tangy taste explosion of the rhubarb filling was perfection.
As a child, Mr. Thistle had an unfortunate run-in with a stringy rhubarb pie, and had been an avowed hater of rhubarb since that day. He has since changed his mind about rhubarb, thanks to our Earl Gray rhubarb jam, but I’ll admit that I was a tad nervous about the pie. I didn’t want to trigger some visceral memory of that two-decades-ago pie that turned him on rhubarb, but luckily all was well! The pie was decidedly not stringy, and the bottom crust was deliciously buttery, while the crumb topping added some nice crunch thanks to the almond meal. I’ll likely put this recipe on repeat since we have very enthusiastic rhubarb plants.
Dinner-time rolled around and I hadn’t even given it a thought. My goat-cheese obsessed brain turned to pizza, and I whipped up a quick tried-and-true pizza dough. I topped it with chèvre, shiitake and cremini mushrooms, grated Parmesan, flaked red pepper, and Kalamata olives. Insane! It was so good. More please.
So, that’s one day of culinary adventures and misadventures (I’m looking at you, kraut) in the books. I likely won’t bake any desserts tomorrow, seeing as we have a pie from today, and a chocolate cake from yesterday on hand. What can I say, sometimes I just go hog-wild. Or maybe just hog …
Do you love rhubarb, or are you cautiously suspicious like Mr. Thistle? Do you grow your own? If you don’t, I can certainly recommend it! It’s a fairly foolproof plant (stalks only, people) that provides robust flavor for very little effort on the part of the grower.