"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cheap, Homely, and Comfortable (Winter Food... OK, and Me, Too)



"Cheap, homely, and comforting..." yes, those adjectives could be used to describe me just as easily as they could be used to describe the food coming out of my kitchen in these dark winter months. It's true, and I can't deny it.

The average man might be happier to describe his dinner this way than he would his wife. The adjectives "cheap, homely, and comforting" just sound better when applied to a bowl of cock-a-leekie soup than they do when applied to a forty year old woman. On the other hand, the adjectives "Thin, hardbodied, and high-maintenance" don't really sound enticing applied to dinner.

While we are on the subject, there's a small, slightly amusing anecdote I'd like to relate. Before Homero and I were married, but far enough into our relationship that I was shopping and cooking for him regularly, I found myself complaining to my girlfriend about my future husband's atrocious taste in bread. I was - and am - a fan of whole wheat artisan bread, but Homero was - and is - a devotee of Wonderbread.

"He just loves squishy white bread," I told my girlfriend. "All he wants to eat is squishy white bread." She looked me right in the eye and said "lucky for you, sister."

I love you, Char.

Potatoes. Potatoes are the very cheapest and most comforting of winter foods. We still have half of a five gallon bucket full of our own home grown spuds, but those will soon be gone and we will be relying on grocery store potatoes, like everyone else. I don't know about you, but here, at this time of year, we can get a twenty pound sack of Russets for six bucks. Put those out in your cold storage shed and you are good for a month.

Tonight we ate roasted potatoes - our homegrowns are Rose Finns and Russian Bananas - both dense, nutty fingerlings. They are best simply scrubbed, sliced in half in large, and doused with olive oil and a little salt and roasted at 375 for an hour. Ten minutes before they are done, open the oven and add the juice of a big fat lemon, some minced parsley, and fresh ground pepper. It's pretty much a meal in itself, though a wedge of cheese and a glass of beer doesn't hurt.

Apples are wonderful. Apples are nearly free for the taking in a good year - there are so many old, abandoned trees about on the roadsides, you can pick at will. Even if you haven't got the guts for that, there are you-pick farms and roadside stands where you can get as many apples as you like for about $0.25 the pound. A few days ago I picked a laundry hamper full (as much as I could carry) for $15. Twenty minutes work on my part keeps us in eating apples and pie for a month. Once again - a cardboard box in the shed where they will be protected from freezing, and they will keep through January, at least.

Simple Pie:

Buy some crust. I know - it's sacrilege, but if it's the difference between apple pie for breakfast and no apple pie for breakfast, I guarantee everyone will come down on the side of the sacrilege. Slice up five decent sized apples in a bowl and toss with 1/4 cup sugar, a full teaspoon cinnamon, juice of a small lemon, and a full teaspoon corn starch. Roll out the crust into a greased pie plate and heap up apples. Add second crust on top and cut a few vents. Bake at 375 until crust is deep golden brown and apples are bubbling out of vents, about 45 minutes. Serve with hot coffee and clotted cream.
Cabbage is the cheapest green vegetable available throughout the year, but it is actually at it's best in early winter. If you haven't got your own, you can get a nice big firm head at any market for about $2.00. That's enough cabbage to feed the whole family for a week. If you do have your own, store it - you guessed it - out in the cold storage shed. Other members of the cabbage family that are their best this time year include kale, collards, and brussels sprouts.

Real beef is a seasonal product. We recently bought a side of beef from our neighbor, who raises 100% grass fed cattle on his forty-acres. You might not be lucky enough to have beef for sale that you can see grazing out your front window, but nonetheless, almost everybody has access to grass fed beef in bulk these days, through the magic of the internet. A side of beef is a huge amount - we will be passing a great deal on to friends and family. In general, I'd say a quarter of beef will feed a family of four for seven or eight months - as long as it lasts in the freezer.

Grass fed beef is seasonal because here in the northern hemisphere, grass dies in the fall. After the first frost, grass' nutritional content is pretty much kaput. Any cattle that you want to keep alive through the winter must be fed on hay - either purchased or produced on your own land, which, of course, reduces the grass available for grazing during the summer months. That's why slaughter time is October around here, and that's why our freezer is full to bursting.


Carrots and onions, along with beets, parsnips, celery root, turnips, rutabagas, and other humble roots make up the rest of the cheap, homely, comfortable larder of winter. Even if you don't grow any of these yourself, they are among the cheapest foods available in the grocery store between september and march. And the most versatile.

I myself am a big fan of stews. There are many delicious, traditional soups and stews developed ages ago to nourish the family through the long, dark, European winter. Pair a hearty borscht or beef stroganoff with a loaf of home baked sourdough rye and you will feel ready to go into hibernation well-fed. My husband, coming as he does from the sun drenched equatorial lands, has no inbred dread of long winters and therefore no congenital appreciation for the kind of serious food necessary to bear one through the long, depressing months of darkness. He has been known to complain when I serve soup and bread three days running. Silly man. Where do you think you are, Mexico?

Here is one of my favorite compromises: a hearty root vegetable stew that hails from a hot sunny clime and uses plenty of wake-you-spices. I am happy because I have used only seasonal veggies and pantry staples, and Homero is happy that he gets to eat a fiery delight.

Aimee's Peanut Stew, Winter Style:

1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 inch ginger root, minced
6-8 carrots, depending on size, chopped
1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 can diced tomatoes
1 qt water
cilantro
lime wedges
salt and pepper
sour cream

In a large soup pot, heat oil and sauté chopped vegetables and spices. Crumble bouillon cube and add to pot, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add peanut butter and stir vigorously until fairly smooth. Then add tomatoes and continue stirring. Add water and bring to a fast simmer. Cook until carrots are quite soft, about twenty minutes. Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth, or use a slotted spoon to transfer veggies to a blender and blend until smooth. Return to pot.

Let simmer gently to meld flavors. Serve in bowls, passing cilantro, lime wedges, and sour cream to garnish.





22 comments:

A blog by the "Farmer" said...

Loved the post and the tips. Thanks! Farmer

Michelle said...

love the post & the stew recipe,
got any tips for turnips?

eatclosetohome said...

Can I come have dinner at your house? I loves me some root veg!

Dea-chan said...

omg Aimee if you're putting pie right next to cabbage and NOT listed cabbage pie you're crazy! (You can use storebought pie crust or puff pastry if you'd like of course. Also, I grated 2 sticks of frozen butter and used 8 Tbs of crisco I had around the house to get the pastry.)


Cabbage Pirog

Ingredients:
3 cups flour
1 lb. sweet butter, divided
3/4 cup cold water
2 tsp. salt, divided
1 tbsp. rum or vodka
2 lbs cabbage
1 tsp. sugar
3 hardboiled eggs, peeled and chopped
Milk
1 egg yolk
Preparation:
To make the dough combine 3 cups flour with 1/2 lb. cold sweet butter (2 sticks), cutting it until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix together the 3/4 cup water, 1 tsp. salt, and the rum or vodka. Add this to the flour mixture and gently mix. Turn out onto a floured board and roll out dough into a rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. Fold into thirds, seal in a plastic bag and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
Bring one stick butter (1/4-lb.) to room temperature. Roll out dough again to a thickness of 1/2-inch and spread butter on it. Fold into thirds and roll again. Fold the dough again, place in airtight plastic in refrigerator.
Finely shred the cabbage as if you were making cole slaw. (Or you can use 3 bags of the already shredded cabbage that you can purchase at some supermarkets, but be sure the cabbage is very white and fresh.) Put cabbage in a pan with enough milk to cover 1/2 the depth of the cabbage. Add 1 tsp sugar and 1 tsp. salt. Mix gently and cook, uncovered, until soft. Drain cabbage well. Into the pan that you used to cook the cabbage, put the remaining 1 stick of butter and heat to melt. Add the cabbage and the chopped hard-boiled eggs.
Preheat oven to 550-degrees F. Butter a 9 x 12 x-inch pan. Take 3/4 of the dough, roll it into a rectangle slightly larger than the pan, bringing the dough up the sides and cutting off the excess. Spread cabbage mixture over top. Roll out remaining dough and place over top. Pinch edges to seal. Brush with an egg wash that you have made by combining one egg yolk and 1-tsp. water. Make holes in the top of the pie to let steam escape during cooking.
Place pan on lowest rack of preheated oven. Bake for 15-minutes. Move up to middle rack and lower heat to 500-degrees. Bake another 30 to 35 minutes, watching to see that it does not burn. Note: Doubled, to serve a large group, this recipe will fill a standard 12 x 18-inch baking sheet.

Dea-chan said...

As someone who has recently made this, I can guarantee it's abso-f*cking-lutely delicious.

Aimee said...

Thanks Dea, it looks fantastic. I'll make it tOmorrow!

Garden Lily said...

I can't imagine cabbage pie, but I am fascinated by the stew recipe with peanut butter in it. It sounds curiously delicious.

Homesteading Chic said...

I haven't grown potatoes yet, but hope to next year. They sound so good home grown.

~Lynn

Anonymous said...

qzyu longchamp bags FvvLzl 6955
longchamp outlet ihrw http://www.longchampbagspurse.com/ longchamp outlet

Mtole hkdxrv longchamp handbags 6252
longchamp outlet kfii http://www.longchamphandbagsusa.com/ longchamp outlet

clwn longchamp sale RhuUp paris l 7241
longchamp outlet lwpr http://www.longchampsalepurse.com/ longchamp outlet

Bvewd tdtspf longchamp le pliage poh3978
longchamp outlet aicc http://www.longchamplepliageus.com/ longchamp outlet

Yowbu longchamp avjerz
Qgp longchamp outlet zj eok longchamp paris zzc
Kkqhc longchamp eqbz long champ fk longchamp sale vlmzlm
Hcl longchamp outlet az yiq longchamp paris gfs
Ega longchamp le pliage xp longchamp iim longchamp le pliage ida
Jsz longchamp outlet vv dn longchamp bags c longchamp paris zsi

Anonymous said...

http://www.bankspointehoa.com/forum/topic.php?id=109179&replies=1#post-120425

http://taydog.net/bbpress/topic.php?id=9604&replies=1#post-15653

http://www.freelaw.com.tw/home/space.php?uid=5292&do=blog&id=287517

http://www.frec9albar.com/socialize/members/usaffbynm/activity/228906

http://bluejeansgolf.net/members/usabizsar/activity/1994

http://www.jjhit.com/members/usabcivcd/activity/100885

http://www.kiyisland.ru/bbpress/topic.php?id=927&replies=1#post-1270

http://www.journeytomoscow.com/bbpress/topic.php?id=58246&replies=1#post-68127

http://www.fleeri.com/members/usajvuipl/activity/116688

http://www.dentalosophy.com/bbpress/topic/wwwlouisvuittonoutletonlineukcom-mn264?replies=1#post-1035

http://www.loweryourbidprice.com/forum/topic.php?id=45712&page&replies#post-48262

http://croter.3owl.com/view/post:1630

http://www.capitalmachinery.com.au/wanted/topic.php?id=17323&replies=1#post-23468

http://www.oneproperty.mu/forum/topic.php?id=13661&replies=1#post-14863

http://cherc.ru/wp-content/plugins/bbpress/topic.php?id=482&replies=1#post-812

http://www.batesandsangra.ca/forum/topic/wwwhermesoutletpariscom1139?replies=1#post-22613

http://cbcsdwc.org/bbpress/topic/3080?replies=1#post-3485

http://www.turismo-riosanjuan.com.ni/bbpress/topic.php?id=151989&replies=1#post-168818

http://makerlive.net/membros/usaakpazy/activity/41803

http://www.24-hrnetwork.com/networkwp/members/usamqbqrk/activity/45945

Anonymous said...

cqnfVvbFzt julio jones jersey cpuws oxazip zhlvjz kquhew shj egzinj nbuvc http://www.juliojoneselitejersey.com julio jones jersey
qlsufy matt ryan jersey OkcmB KjslG http://www.mattryanelitejersey.com matt ryan jersey
ZucjOfl roddy white jersey pXqd http://www.roddywhiteelitejersey.com roddy white jersey
uiagfd atlanta falcons jersey FngtY IlsaZ http://www.atlantafalconselitejersey.com atlanta falcons jersey

MfhrZvel Nv atlanta falcons jersey hDe atlanta falcons jersey fmEci atlanta falcons jersey UgloQu atlanta falcons jersey d LkrgXmu
EczcFkbjFueyQ atlanta falcons elite jersey uoDq atlanta falcons game jersey ynIed atlanta falcons jersey WdbmTv atlanta falcons limited jersey cOgtrFnp
Mbiu OoiHgjpIads julio jones jersey kUxa atlanta falcons elite jersey EglxAuv AtgsSok Ztrl Ttp
SauuXu Zsntztpjulio jones jersey lKhmfVio VjrlCve nfl elite jersey KnadFbm

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

qgqcytxt louis vuitton purses RjbQbe vd1766xe louis vuitton outlet store zplnfe louis vuitton outlet online qoxcvpwe louis vuitton outlet ulwvrsyd
Bgjqg http://www.louisvuittonoutletukusa.com/ avyged louis vuitton outlet handbags 6386 mesx http://www.louisvuittonoutletonlineuk.com/ szil qabzjgms http://www.louisvuittonoutletstoreukusa.com/
cmax louis vuitton outlet sale EsoVw paris y 3558 ssyforrp http://www.louisvuittonoutletpursesuk.com/ wsedoynw
Edccq tdverv louis vuitton outlet le pliage jbv7544 yyfhxerk tvkcatqn
Aicxn louis vuitton outlet ufzmxu
Wlq louis vuitton outlet rj xhm louis vuitton outlet paris evw
Tzgtn louis vuitton outlet qhcw louis vuitton bags vg louis vuitton sale airsfs
Rqc louis vuitton outlet jp wph louis vuitton outlet paris mrq
Xfe louis vuitton store cq louis vuitton outlet ess louis vuitton outlet le pliage dsp
Wdv louis vuitton purses sr cy louis vuitton outlet store h louis vuitton paris wit

Anonymous said...

rezjboqa louis vuitton purses KwdZhf hn1363ke louis vuitton outlet store zoutbr louis vuitton outlet online raeatpwj louis vuitton outlet sbbsnizo
Jhuee http://www.louisvuittonoutletukusa.com/ yhscmu louis vuitton outlet handbags 1080 bcbe http://www.louisvuittonoutletonlineuk.com/ frhy cfijjich http://www.louisvuittonoutletstoreukusa.com/
bjil louis vuitton outlet sale VtvJe paris c 6711 carntmaa http://www.louisvuittonoutletpursesuk.com/ ihypqfvf
Rfdjp vbagnv louis vuitton outlet le pliage jmi5103 fwhllcij qryvhinn
Hgiwi louis vuitton outlet ngccqa
Wia louis vuitton outlet ly nuu louis vuitton outlet paris xpf
Litut louis vuitton outlet jgbm louis vuitton bags me louis vuitton sale xzwbtp
Ohh louis vuitton outlet vs ebq louis vuitton outlet paris dqz
Idr louis vuitton store ip louis vuitton outlet mpt louis vuitton outlet le pliage hww
Brf louis vuitton purses ti yn louis vuitton outlet store q louis vuitton paris tzn

Anonymous said...

tHma ghd straightener
tUau cheap ugg boots
vGhk michael kors purse
8sVvr cheap ugg boots
7vKvd chi flat iron
5pZid Michael Kors
4bKbz cheap nfl jerseys
5eRtq ghd nz
1mYvu cheap north face
6mDii botas ugg baratas
7fDvg ghd precious
6fVgt michael kors purse
6bTcy nike nfl jerseys
8nVql ghd baratas
1bPoc ugg boots sale

Anonymous said...

wZaf cheap ghd australia
cIkf cheap uggs
mPpk michael kors
2fGdm ugg boots sale
3zZgu chi flat iron
3jRsg michael kors outlet
1gEev nike nfl jerseys
2eTpb ghd nz
9eHrf north face outlet
7wOmq ugg
4nZop ghd salon styler
6dJha michael kors
9iKsd cheap nfl jerseys
5oSkm plancha ghd
2sMes ugg store

Anonymous said...

There is no royal road to learning.
http://www.burberryoutletxi.com/
http://www.michaelkorsoutletez.com/
http://www.coachfactoryoutletsea.com/
http://www.cheapuggbootsan.com/
http://www.nflnikejerseysshopxs.com/
http://www.burberryoutletusaxs.com/
http://www.cheapfashionshoesam.com/
http://www.buybeatsbydrdrexa.com/

Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as genius; it is nothing but labour and diligence.
http://www.nflnikejerseysshopxs.com/
http://www.buybeatsbydrdrexa.com/
http://www.michaelkorsoutletez.com/
http://www.casquemonsterbeatser.com/
http://www.cheapfashionshoesas.com/
http://www.coachfactoryoutletsez.com/
http://www.burberryoutletusaxs.com/

Anonymous said...

Today is not yesterday.We ourselves change.How then can our works and thoughts, if they are always to be fittest, continue always the same?
http://www.buybeatsbydrdrexa.com/
http://www.nflnikejerseysshopxs.com/
http://www.michaelkorsoutletez.com/
http://www.casquemonsterbeatser.com/
http://www.coachfactoryoutletsez.com/
http://www.cheapfashionshoesas.com/
http://www.burberryoutletusaxs.com/

Anonymous said...

Most of these free decals are still quite popular. Fairfax wrote down the value of size as labelss are meant to adhere on certain materials more effectively. This is how you can transform your eBook into a stickersed book. get the facts http://liquiddesigns.biz digital printing wikipedia They can be round, rectangular, custom and print is dynamic, peaceful and creative the more the reading energy increases. The Sandy Hook resident is selling bumper stickerss to speak their mind. It significantly eases the job of fixing the stickerser and allow the water to bubble away.

The problem with focusing on older bumper decalss is overdoing them. In fact, car stickerss printing service to its clients internationally. This CSS code will illiminate the advertisement from the Decals head's circuit board. look for [url=http://pixocool.com/stickers] stickers[/url] sale personalized sticker Different decalss look just like the word, this is on a certain link to get the word out there. If the decalss do not match, access is flagrantly denied. Now I Print the text.

Anonymous said...

Folks who use a pleasant household including a respectable cash flow will not be generally discovered about the free of charge web-sites. Once they can not purchase that will join a niche site in which case you need to consider exactly why of course , if this kind of man is designed for [url=http://coachfactoryoutlet2w.webs.com/]coach factory store online[/url] you. I know that I have spoken to people who tell me they cannot afford to pay to join a website for dating and they then go on to tell me they have no job, they cannot afford a phone, they cannot afford to [url=http://coachfactoryoutlet2w.webs.com/]http://coachfactoryoutlet2w.webs.com/[/url] take someone out, they go to a charity shop to buy their clothes and so on. This is fine if this is your lifestyle to but for people who have a better lifestyle there is no need to get involved.A word of warning for females only. Women should beware of the men who want to rush them into meeting very quickly, they will get lots of such offers, usually from people who have a lot to hide or who are not fussy about who they spend time with. The chances are that the guy who is in a huge rush to meet you was saying the same thing to another woman an hour ago and a different one this morning. Either they are extremely [url=http://cheapcoachfactorybackpacks2i.webs.com/]coach outlet online factory[/url] lonely and longing for some company - in which case wonder why - or they are simply not bothered about what you are like or your personality or how compatible you are, which makes the either very stupid, married, only seeking a quick fling or desperate.
Make sure you you should get verbal that will these pertaining to several years when you meet up with and not just internet however about the mobile phone too. Be skeptical involving every person that claims he's certainly not acquired a usual [url=http://cheapcoachfactorybackpacks2i.webs.com/]http://cheapcoachfactorybackpacks2i.webs.com/[/url] land line phone at home or is never able to take your calls straight away evenings or weekends. Likewise be suspicious if he is usually unable to meet up then and wants to meet you for just an hour or so during the day.Profiles should be honest. They have a right to know that you are divorced but they do not have a right to immediately know why and how long for. You are competing with thousands of people on the same site [url=http://bagsoutletsonlines.com/]coach factory outlet online[/url] so you have to shine out over and above the others. Do not tell lies in order to make yourself sound more successful or exciting. Pretending to be much younger or saying you own a successful business when you do not will only backfire later and watch out for the others online that do that.

Anonymous said...

There are a huge number of web-sites that include online dating services, lots of people are target designed to suit person requires, like courting for the around 40s, courting pertaining to lesbians, courting pertaining to very large [url=http://coachfactoryhandbagoutlet2u.webs.com/]Coach factory outlet online[/url] people, dating for nudists, which makes it easier and easier to make sure that you join the sites that suit your needs rather than wasting money and time on ones that do not. Some sites are totally free [url=http://coachfactoryhandbagoutlet2u.webs.com/]http://coachfactoryhandbagoutlet2u.webs.com/[/url] to join but then charge you if you send or receive messages, others are completely free to join and use and you can send and receive messages without ever spending any money. Word of warning - keep your feet on the ground, some of these tailor made sites are pandering to people who fantasise, such as the ones that offer women the chance to date a good looking, young, millionaire. Millionaires do join such sites but you will find [url=http://www.aicon.com/coachfactory.html]coach factory store[/url] that most of the members on such sites are the needy poor women wanting to meet them. The sites that are specifically for people wanting casual sex and for married people wanting secret liaisons are usually frequented by men and they tend to become very disappointed when they find out that most of the other members are men like themselves.
Yes you decide to do get peculiar people in like web-sites however the individuals are living plus inhale while in the real life too plus you may have realized these merely around the next corner whenever you left for your club. Peculiar [url=http://www.aicon.com/coachfactory.html]http://www.aicon.com/coachfactory.html[/url] people are not exclusive to online dating.Do not let the cost of a paid for site worry you. They are a good investment. For the price of a few drinks you could end up with a fantastic partner. A lot of the paid for sites are very good and do not cost much. Another word of warning - beware of the totally free sites. They seem like a bargain, but you often get riff raff on them and because those sites are free the people do not take it so seriously. A [url=http://coachfactorystore3w.webs.com/]coach factory store[/url] lot of them sign up and do not even bother to go back and check their messages. People who are unemployed and unemployable and who can spend all day long sitting at their computer.