Sunday night came and went without me having thought about my weekly Monday morning blog post.
It is not that I don’t think I am doing nothing blog-worthy: quite to the contrary, my life has been chock full of topics. It has just been such that photographing them has been getting in the way. (Photos of the child’s piano recital this weekend? Check. Farm/blog stuff of things like mucking out a barn? Uncheck.)
I will leave you with a mental image instead today. My brother came to stay this weekend and he and I sat grinning rather foolishly at each other across the table on Friday night. The reason for our grins? The meal we were eating.
Two weeks prior, he had come up to help with generalized farm tasks. He doesn’t mind the mundane nature of shelling beans or corn, thankfully; I put him on dent corn detail. You twist the dried kernels from the cob into a bowl, then you toss the kernels into the breezy air and catch them back in the bowl. This separates the nasty bits from the kernels themselves. It’s fun, at least for a while.
So, Friday night, I took a couple of scoops of that cleaned corn and ground it, then cooked it (polenta if you’re fancy, cornmeal mush if you’re not) and added fresh chevre at the table; we topped it with some mushrooms in broth (chanterelles and chicken-of-the-woods, sauteed with shallots and finished with kombucha vinegar; magnifique) with a steaming bowl of cooked greens on one side, a large bowl salad on the other…it was good. Great, even. And simple, hand-made fare.
“…finished with kombucha vinegar”
I’ve been wondering if the really tart kombucha, when I forget to renew the jar in a timely way, could be used as vinegar. Sounds like it can, if that is what you are referring to. Is there anything special that needs to be done to make “kombucha vinegar”?
Nope, Alison: just use it! I ended up putting about a half gallon of the stuff away, it’s pretty tasty!
Sounds great, and I would have grinned too!
That does sound very good. Have you tried — now you’re gonna have to — soaking the corn in lye or wood ashes to make masa, in which the b vitamins are more available? The name of the process escapes me — nix… something or other.
Yeah, there you go, and isn’t it intriguing how, the more deeply you delve into the local-seasonal-homemade aspects of food, the more you wind up cooking and eating like a blinkin’ peasant, and realizing, as you say, that the results frequently are not just good, but great?
Are you still getting fresh chanterelles in your woods? I have not looked lately, but our main summer crop petered out in late August. I have found that you can freeze hen of the woods raw, and thaw them with good results.
Oh yeah, that reminds me — You got your Hen of the woods this fall? Did you find them yourself? I, once again, did not ‘receive’ any, and they are my favorite mushroom next to morels.
Kombucha vinegar! I also have a couple of jars of kombucha that got ignored. For months. I look over in that corner, where two half gallon jars now have more “mother” than liquid, and dare myself to do something useful with it rather than toss the whole silly thing out. This is my first year with kombucha. They aren’t molding, and they don’t smell foul, so can I call it well-aged, well-cultured vinegar?
Sharon and Brett: both mushrooms frozen, and were gifts/trades; they were spring chickens, mid fall chanterelles. They DO freeze well. I needed an occasion to break them out, frankly; my own immediate family doesn’t like mushrooms, darn them…so polenta/mushrooms is kind of my go-to meal when they’re away. And indeed, I can share this with my brother and he, like me, is all over it!
Heidi: Taste it. Go ahead. Really. That’s what did it for me: it tasted divine…and hasn’t deteriorated without its mother.
And Sharon again, I made posole somewhere on this site, with lye. A big pain, frankly, but the result was quite tasty. It’s a lot of work with the whole kernels is all…don’t think we’re risking pellagra here, unless the world really does collapse!
The world? It’s about to, Dear, unless you’re hidden away in little niches like mine, or yours.
Hi! I’m new here. I just stumbled upon your blog and I am having a blast reading through your archives! You have a lovely blog 🙂
Oooh, homemade polenta! Good stuff indeed!
We do the grin-across-the-table thing too, and more often than not it IS more of a peasant meal, simple and amazingly good.
And OW on the dent corn. I’ve done a batch of popcorn and it’s hard on the hands!
I can almost picture your meal…almost, but not taste it since all of the ingredients, except for the shallots and greens, are still foreign to me. We tried to hunt down some chanterelles this past weekend but did not have any luck, maybe next year. I have never eaten one, same goes for chicken-of-the-woods…but I will.:)
Hello Heidi, yes, you can. Mold is a funny thing. As long as it tastes okay it should be fine!
Hi Spider Woman! Thanks; glad I entertain…please come back often.
Meems yes indeed. Nice to know it doesn’t have to come from Italy too.
Sigh, Sara, yeah. I tend to wear gloves, or, in this instance, contract out. But it’s funny how simple the good stuff can be.
Mike, well, some people just go crazy for chanterelles (and chevre too come to think of it). Chicken of the woods can be a great food chameleon; it takes the flavor of any sauce, and somehow makes it more yum. One day indeed!
oh my. yes, I’ve been busy BUT I NEED TO MAKE TIME to come here. What a perfectly lovely feast, I started drooling as I read abt. it.
the smile of contentment & apprecition. lol. Truly there is nothing like enjoying the rewards of such hard work. 😉