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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Hot and fresh


So, what this is, it's a handful of top leaves or head leaves from winter collards. Since they are from the head, they're semi-blanched, like Nappa cabbage. Very mild and sweet, from a long series of light frosts. What Risa's done is chop them up and drop them in a steam basket in her largest Revere saucepan. In the bottom of the pan is 1/2 water and 1/2 liquid left over from pickled beets, for steaming with a bit of acetic acid/beet sugar flavoring.

Earlier, she roasted some German Butterball potatoes in the Dutch oven with onions. This did take awhile. She could, alternatively, have boiled the potatoes. The Butterballs are yellow like Yukons and similarly flavored, but they can be harder to clean, so she (gasp!) peeled them, with the peelings going into the compost. The ducks had rolled these spuds out in their quest for slugs, and so Risa is using them instead of her seed potatoes. They came from the same part of the garden as the onion bulbs and collard leaves.


The diced potatoes and onions have been stirred together with a bit of olive oil, to avoid clumping. Risa likes to do this with a chopstick. She pops a pie tin on top of the saucepan for a steaming lid and slides the roasted spuds into a bowl, with an inverted saucer over the spuds, and puts the bowl on top of the pie tin. We now have greens in a steamer and potatoes in what is in effect a warming oven. The reason for stacking like this is she has limited woodstove surface to work with and she's ready to put on the main dish.

She takes two trout, thawed out from the freezer, and shakes them in a bag with some spelt flour, salt, finely ground veggie flakes, and Mexi seasoning. These trout are smallish, one per person, a Rainbow and a Brookie both caught in a lake in the High Cascades last summer. She pops them in to a Cold Handle frying pan with a little bit of pre-heated grape oil, and sets the pan on the hot spot on the stove, moving the steamer aside.

Beloved will be home in about an hour. Risa brings out some home-canned apple juice, builds up the fire a bit and goes out to put the poultry in for the night. If she's timed it right (and she's pretty sure she has), five minutes after her spouse's arrival, dinner will be served hot and fresh.

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