Thursday, November 13, 2008


It all started last Friday when my friend's husband made risotto for us, it was simply flavored with parsley and Parmesan and homemade stock. It was soulful comfort food and perfect for winter-y times when I am looking for reasons to stand next to the stove and stay warm.

Fast forward to Tuesday when I was chatting with my neighbor via cellphone despite the fact that she lives, literally, around the corner. We were both extolling the virtues of homemade stock. I happen to have a lot of stock in my fridge and coming off the Friday risotto event, I was inspired. So I suggested a risotto dinner over the weekend. I don't remember ever having made it before, but I am going to give it a try. I am thinking essentially the same thing that was made for me, but with, some teeny chunks of winter squash stirred in, and possibly some crunchy bacon on top. Plus a fresh green salad from the garden.

I have a remarkable number of greens still. Chard, spinach, arugula, and some other lettuce-y sorts of things plus parsley out the whazoo and about 40 leeks. The greens are covered with floating row cover, very haphazardly though effectively. It looks like someone left a sheet out in the garden. This is the kind of thing that drives the SB nuts.

I wish I knew how to harvest and store these greens well. My guess is freezing is the best way, but I am out of freezer space. My future holds a chest freezer, I am sure, but maybe not until the basement bathroom construction is finished. I actually priced them out a couple weekends ago. If we really get the garden and the orchard rolling $200 will really be money well spent.

This winter gardening thing really has me hooked. There is no weeding, no watering, few pests and delightful and nutritious greens leaping from the ground. Unbelievable. I almost feel like I am cheating. The big drawback is that one will need a headlamp to harvest because it is dark by the time I get home. In spring and summer I spend an inordinate amount of time looking at my plants. I mean, really, I just wander around and LOOK at them. So per hour spent, winter gardening is considerably more time effective. We are expecting extended cold temps next week, so we'll see how the greens fare in the weather. I now have dreams of tiny little hoop houses for my beds. I think it would be easy to do and relatively inexpensive. But honestly, there is a limit to the greens one or two people can eat. I am going to have to figure out who I can barter with.

I currently have more stock on the stove. My mama was at Whole Foods. She often picks up a pack or two of organic chicken backs and necks for me when she is there. The other grocery stores no longer carry backs and necks (organic or otherwise). Unless it is at the holiday season - I guess people make stock for gravy or something. I had a lot of veggie ends that needed a home and stock is a rewarding way to use up the carrot and celery ends and long leek leaves and the papery covers of garlic. It makes the house smell fantastic.

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