Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bug Budies Honey Harvest !

It always amazes me when you have these lifelong visions for something. Then one day they come true, that feeling is truly untouchable!

Recently I had one of those powerful days when Jim and I set out to harvest our honey. We were happily accompanied by close family and all of us were on the same page of joy and gratitude. We set off to uncle Harry's where our bees have been enjoying the summer sun and abundance of wild flowers.

All suited up we lit the smoker and headed to the hives. For the first time holding a jar of stink (bee gone), a product that we used to remove the bees from the honey supper that we were intending to take. The removal of bees from a honey super may be done by shaking the bees off, using a feather or brush, a bee escape, or something like "bee gone" that sticks. We put drops of the "bee gone" on a piece of fabric that went over the honey super and waited for the bees to go down into the bottom of the hive. After 5-10 minutes we took the honey super off, covered up the hive, and took the honey super to the truck. Bees were still buzzing around us in confusing and shock but we drove off and headed home.

We used a brand new global bread knife to remove the capping's from the frames. Spinning only capped honey because uncapped honey has a high water content and could ferment.

Our hand crank extractor fits two frames at a time. All of us enjoyed hand cranking out the sweet smelling honey. As it spins you can see honey hitting the inside of the extractor like rain drops. Hard to believe that it adds up to be much but we ended up harvesting 20 pounds. Not much in the bee keeping world but for our first year we were thrilled!

When all the honey spinning was finished we celebrated the abundance of family and honey with Champagne, "Black Current Honey Wine"
made by our dear mentor beekeeper, Todd at Honey Gardens (www.honeygardens.com) in Ferrisburgh VT, and a big pot of Choucroute, with Red Hen Bread (www.redhenbaking.com/).
Plus lots of French Mustard! We toasted to all of the many people that graciously guided us along the way.

All of this outside, dining next to one of Jim's rockin' bond fires.

Choucroute is a famous Alsatian recipe for preparing sauerkraut with sausages and other salted meats, and often potatoes. Riesling is added with juniper berries, caraway seeds, and bay leaves. It simmers for 40 minutes and is served hot with crusty bread! This is a great recipe to make for a crowd and is best served on cold nights.

Grateful for this opportunity to share our story with you.

Bee well and keep in touch!


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

End of Summer

This is a picture that was taken last week in one of my cooking classes. My class and I went to my favorite local market across from the Inn called Sweet Clover Market. We shopped for ingredients to create a spontaneous lunch back at the Inn.
This is a salad made with local ingredients; ripe peaches, tomatoes, blackberries picked by a friend, Maple Brook Farm fresh mozzarella, baby basil from the Inn's garden, and 30 year old balsamic vinegar. It was so beautiful and a lovely marriage of flavors.

I have been very much inspired this summer to take advantage of the flavorful and gorgeous local bounty. For the first time I participated in a large garden, we grew scallions, cucumbers, herbs, carrots, beets, celery, and kale. I had so much fun in the garden from planting the rows of seeds in the pouring rain to weeding on a hot sunny day. Growing your own food is extremely rewarding and I enjoy being close to nature in that healthful way, not to mention the flavors are so much better than the grocery store alternatives. By growing some of the food we consume we are helping out the environment by not having our food travel from far away.

Here in Vermont the blueberries are almost gone and apple season has blessed our tables. It is harvest season and the farmers markets are full of all kinds of squash variates, winter greens, tomatoes, potatoes, colorful rainbow carrots, and the last of the peaches. Fall raspberries are here and over the next week I plan to pick 10-15 pounds that will end up in our freezer for winter smoothies, galettes, and pancakes.

Enjoy the Apple Galette recipe!

Thank you to all of my readers for your time.
Be well and keep in touch!

Apple Cranberry Galette

Serves 6

1 cup all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons sugar
4 ounces butter, cold cut into chunks
4 ounces cream cheese, cold cut into chunks

1. Add flour, salt, and sugar into the food processor mixing bowl with metal blade. While the machine is running add butter and cream cheese. Stop food processor when dough comes together on one side of the bowl. Do not over mix!
2. Form into a ball (There should still be streaks of cream cheese) and chill for 2 hours to overnight.
*You may freeze dough for 6 months. Always defrost overnight in the refrigerator.

4 tart baking apples, peeled and sliced thick
2 tablespoons flour
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup fresh cranberries
1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, diced
Extra sugar for sprinkling
2 tablespoon heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 400ยบ.
2. Stir together apples, flour, allspice, cinnamon, salt, cranberries, and sugar in a large bowl until combined.
3. Roll dough out to a 12inch circle. Carefully move pie dough onto baking sheet, then spoon apple mixture onto center of dough, leaving a 2-inch border around edge.
4. Fold edge of dough over filling, pleating dough.
5. Then dot filling with butter pieces. Lightly brush dough with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar.
6. Bake until apple filling is bubbling and pastry is golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool slightly on baking sheet. Serve Galette warm with ice cream.