Sunday, April 5, 2009

No show snow

We were supposed to get this gigantic dump of snow of epic proportions this weekend. Everyone canceled everything. The stores were stripped of vittles. Mass hysteria, cats and dogs living together, killer bees!!! Not so much, actually.

We got much less than we did the week before, about maybe 5 inches. Now it was a nice wet snow and the moisture was much needed. But not the big dump predicted. I haven't checked around, maybe somebody in Colorado did get that major snow, but not our foothills.

Which is too bad. We need the moisture desperately. There have already been some major wild fires this winter. I should have shook my rain stick some more. Last time I did it, we had the blizzard I show a picture of below.

Last year was a bummer of a brewing year. I got humbled. I fought (and seem to have won) an infection in my kitchen of the vinegar making critter. Now, I loves me a good vinegar and mead makes one of the finest. But a 5 gallon carboy of vinegar is more than anyone needs. It was started last Leap Year Day with the fruit added last summer. I bottled up the carboy of this reclaimed plum/peach mead yesterday and got 24 wine bottles. I am going to set it back until Leap Year. There are still some of the sharp acetic overtones that need time to mellow. It has a pretty good mouthfeel but wouldn't clear. I bottled it cloudy. And I am sure it will settle out in the bottle and will have to be poured carefully. A lot of time, I just go ahead and shake the settled stuff back in rather than deal with the clumps and strings of settled matter. Cloudy is better than chunky. I will try a bottle in a couple of years and see where it's at. If it will hold, it will be cool to have it for Leap Year!

I bottled up 23 wine bottles of a pretty good Day at the Fair mead. It's my standby. I almost always have some in stock. It's brewed up with apple juice, spices, and pecans. It brews up quickly and then just gets better. It wouldn't clear either. It was made with the same batch of yeast as the Plum/Peach mead.

I wanted to bottle up the mead that I made when teaching the mead class early this year (in Feb) but ran out of time. It's already good. And it cleared. This one was made with 2 packet of a different run of yeast. I sometime wonder if my problems last year had more to to with the yeast than me. But in any case, my brewing this year has been better.

Whee! It's snowing now again!

I got really grumpy because everything that I had planned for the weekend got cancelled. And so I looked forward to just hanging out with my husband and watching movies, eating popcorn and fudge, and relazing around was also wrecked as the weather was fine to get work done. So I went up to the studio and bottled mead. It needed to be done but still....

I keep reviewing my garden plan and thinking about what needs to be done. I started some more herb seeds. I love herbs. Hence the name of my blog. Someone pointed out to me that for the name of my blog, I don't talk about herbs very often. I think it is because working/playing/cooking with herbs is just something I do comfortably and often, nearly daily. So I don't think critically about them like I do skills that are newer in my life, like brewing and knitting.

So here is my pledge to you: I will post something herbal every week. So I will start today:

Herb Vinaigrette

Take a small glass jar, tall, like what expensive stuff olives come in. Fill it 1/3 full of the best quality olive oil you can buy. Pour in red wine vinegar to about 1/4 of the jar (slightly less than the oil). Add 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp. of dried Greek oregano or dried thyme leaves (or a bit of both!), 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of fresh ground black pepper. Shake well.

Pour over chopped romaine lettuce with sliced fresh mushrooms and halved grape tomatoes. Or pour over slightly cooled angel hair pasta with the mushrooms and tomatoes sprinkle fresh grated Parmesan over the top. Yum.

I got a bag of Greek oregano from our intern's Greek grandmother's garden. Wow. It is incredible stuff. I doubt if you can get this, but you can grow your own Greek oregano. It is stronger and more resinous than regular oregano.

Greek oregano loves the Front Range gardening conditions - sunny and dry. It doesn't tolerate clay soils very well so if you have clay, amend with compost to make it drain better. Or grow it in a pot as it does well. It put out long bright green runners along the ground and then blooms in summer with a tall stalk of small white flowers. It dries well and keeps it's flavor for at least a year.

There. Herb stuff. Better?

Now I'm hungry and going to cook up some pasta!


tandama said...

I am so grateful I read this during lunch time. Sounds very tasty! Thanks for sharing the herb tips. Good to know what likes growing in Colorado!

Spike said...

Yeah, it was really good. I added some shredded turky and green olives to it as well. And ate it all up!

It one of those things where I know it so well that I forget that other people don't know it. Sort of like weaving knowledge to you...