Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Beautiful Evening for Apples

We picked our first early fall apples this evening - McIntosh and these lovely unnamed green apples with a blush. They grow on what seems to be a wild tree out in the middle of the field - maybe planted by a farmer's apple core or a passing deer.

Timothy was a willing helper.

Friday, July 29, 2016

A Lovely Meal at the Fitz

Rachel and I enjoyed a late anniversary celebratory meal this past weekend by driving up to one of our favorite restaurants - Fitzgerald's.  Sitting on the scenic Eagle River beach with views of Lake Superior sunsets and wind surfers, the restaurant is well known for its excellent smoked meat, accompanying sides, and drinks.  

We always like to get the poutine as an appetizer.  Crispy french fries are covered with sauteed pearl onions, white cheddar cheese curds, and a light gravy.  It's practically a meal in itself (if you get it with smoked meat on top, it would be for sure).

Douglass Houghton's Anchor
This is the first time we've gotten Douglass Houghton's Anchor - a hefty platter that must be split.  Smoked pork sandwich, ribs, and brisket with three kinds of barbeque sauce and sides.  Eagle River has the ominous distinction of being the place where Douglas Houghton died a young death.  His boat sank in a storm just off shore.  If we had finished his namesake meal, I do think we would have ended up on the bottom of Lake Superior somehow.  Gladly, we did not - and went on to enjoy a piece of caramel cheesecake to top off the meal.

Caramel Cheesecake

The Harvest Approaches

I snapped a few photos of the summer harvest and coming wheat harvest yesterday.  The strawberries are done for the year (hooray!) but the sweet corn has a way to go.  Potato bug harvest is underway - we've been picking them since spring.  Thimbleberries are ripe and ready to pick!  And the wheat is getting close.  It's great to see God's provision!

Sweet corn, strawberries, potatoes, and wheat



Wednesday, March 30, 2016

First Fresh Produce of the Year

We just dug this out of the garden yesterday (under a foot of snow).  I've been anticipating this first harvest of the year since about the time I forgot how much work the fall harvest was. Can you guess what it is?

April 2 Edit: No this wasn't an early April Fools joke and since people are having a hard time guessing, I'll give a few hints.  Ella guessed that these are parsnips.  They are not.  Nor are they carrots, ginger, or some odd kind of turnip or radish.  By the way, did you know that they grow ginseng up here?  It is not ginseng.  Lisa said they look like something that should not be eaten.  She's partly right.  You would not want to take a chomp out of this strongly flavored food.  It's usually eaten in small quantities mixed with other ingredients or foods.

April 8 Edit: Ok, I misled you a bit in the preceding paragraph.  It is, indeed, some (odd) kind of radish.  If you need a more direct hint, check out this link: Hungry for Horseradish.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Feeling Sappy

I'm not usually accused of having a sappy personality.  Silly for sure, or even maybe crazy - but not sappy.  But this year we're all feeling a little sappy after drilling a bunch of little holes in maple trees and hanging bags on them to catch the lifeblood of the trees (you'll never enjoy pure maple syrup innocently again).

We've collected around 100 gallons of sap so far and boiled much of it down on an evaporator we got from a very generous friend who was getting out of maple sugaring.  The evaporator is a wood fired stove with a couple big pans that sit on top, directly over the flame.  



We haven't drawn off any finished syrup yet, but should get about 2 gallons from what we've collected so far.  We have yet to see how much longer the trees will bleed flow and what our potential for production is this year.  I don't think we'll run out of wood, but we might run out of time.  Each finished gallon takes about 8 hours to boil down - and that's time that could be spent grafting and pruning apple trees.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Turkey's Done

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

On the Making of a Jalapeno Pie

Earlier this year we decided to make a jalapeno pie - an enjoyable yet infrequent occasion at the Barnhart house.  For the uninitiated, jalapeno pie is not sweet but savory.  It's equal parts spicy flavor and meaty cheesy goodness.  It's not eaten fresh, but refrigerated and sliced thin.  It's good with an icy beverage.

I know very little of the origins of this pie.  I was introduced to it when on vacation with the VanderWalls and it was made by a friend of theirs.  I've made it by memory a several times since then with a few modifications.  I recommend that you make it your own by tweaking the ingredients, amounts, and order to suit your taste.

Now the good part - the construction begins.  The basic ingredients are pie crust, jalapeno, onion, cheddar cheese, and pepperoni.  I've noted our modifications in the captions.

The jalapenos are sliced open, seeds removed, and then sliced thin.  Our absolute favorite pie crust is the easy and hearty crust in Baking With Julia, but any crust should work.

Ingredients are assembled.

Layer pepperoni first.  We tried half turkey pepperoni and half thin sliced pepperoni from our deli to cut down on the grease a bit, but the turkey pepperoni has an odd texture when baked - I'd go all regular next time.

Add sliced onion.

Add jalapeno.

Add banana peppers if you'd like (our modification).

Add cheese.  We did a mix of cheddar and pepper jack.

Continue layering until you run out of ingredients or pie crust to put it in.  You're goal is to pack it in tight so that it doesn't shrink too much when you bake it.

You might as well make two while you're at it.

Bake it until the cheese is bubbly and brown.
All that's left now is to let it cool then stick it in the fridge for future enjoyment.  Because it's so rich and spicy, you will want some friends to enjoy this with.  It should keep for at least a week in the fridge, though.