037 It’s time for cold-weather meals

037 It’s time for cold-weather meals

There is something special about meals made from scratch. Meals made from ingredients collected on our land give me this warm, cozy feeling. With the seasons changing, what we eat is changing, as well. It’s time for some cold-weather meals.

There is a walnut tree on my land. The beauty was part of why I fell in love with the place.

Storm after storm brought down nuts, some still in the outer shell. For weeks, my husband, Pepper, and I have been collecting the nuts. We took them home to dry in crates. They need to be rotated frequently in the beginning to prevent mold. Everything was announcing that winter is coming.

We’re trying a few overwintering methods for our pepper plants. The smaller ones got a haircut and will overwinter in dormancy. We hope. Still feels extreme. Our favorite plant, Luzy, moved inside to hopefully keep producing peppers. She’s flowering, so I’m tentatively hopeful.

My garden neighbor gave me some carrots from what will soon be my garden. Some of the carrot greens were still pretty fresh, perfect for a last pesto. I separated the carrot roots from the nice greens, composted the rest. And heavily ignored that basket of pears you saw me deal with a few episodes ago.

This used, old nut cracker took a few attempts to get right. Some of the nuts were still very fresh and not dried at all.

This was yet another thing I had to learn. And I did. I’m a nutcracker now. Before long, I had enough freshly cracked walnuts to make my pesto.

When I make pesto, I eyeball oil, nuts, greens, salt, and something cheesy. I still had some nutritional yeast left, so I used that up to free the jar. Usually, I’d add more oil until it blends. But as this was going to be a pesto cream sauce, I added milk instead.

No one would taste the walnuts in this meal, and yet, their presence changed everything. The result was a delicious pesto cream pasta bake. It was so good, my husband requested a repeat. But the days were getting colder and shorter. We both felt the need for cold-weather meals.

A year ago, I was a vegan. Now, I asked my mom for my grandma’s Gulasch recipe. Gradually, over the summer, I chose local and responsibly raised or grown over vegan. Now, I am considering raising my own meat next year. I’ll tell you more about all of that another time. For now, back to goulash.

I haven’t cooked with meat in years and years, but even before, I had no clue how to. So, for once, I tried to follow a recipe. It’s not my strong suit.

I sauteed the meat hours before we needed dinner to make sure it was tender. Patience is also not my strong suit. But I managed to plan ahead, and to wait for it. Adding fries was definitely not the plan, but who cares about the shape.

With peels on and fries, this looked nothing like my grandma’s stew. But, boy, did it taste good. It was a long time before anyone had room for the muffins I’d baked.

So long, and thanks for being here.