Thanksgiving 2016 is in the rear view mirror at this point but we are still basking in the cozy feeling of spending extra time with our family during the holiday!
After the super warm fall weather, we finally got the more typical, predicted frosts and so we have been taking precautions when needed. Dave protected our cool season plants when necessary by using plastic sheeting on a small portion of the fields where we still have turnips, radishes, carrots, scallions, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, spinach and believe it or not, lettuces with good success. Brrr…too cold for me as you can see Dave has to wear plastic gloves due to the very wet AND cold he experiences as he removes and applies the covering both morning and night. Our new raised strawberry beds got a head start with the extra fall warmth and the bare root plants grew into 400+ established plants in just a few weeks time. With hard frost on the way, though, we gave them a snug blanket of straw for the winter. My next focus was on protecting the broccoli as I was planning a repeat of the Thanksgiving Broccoli Pie we took to last year’s Thanksgiving dinner. We harvested broccoli for this over several days from a small, fall patch of plants and were delighted to have this bunch at the ready, which I blanched and set out to dry for the pie. I substituted our fresh scallions (which are abundant this time of year!) for the leeks.After last year’s worries that I didn’t weight the crust sufficiently, I decided to invest in ceramic pie weights (instead of the dry rice or beans that I have used in the past) and put them to use this time around. I had help constructing the pie again this year as Peter proved to be interested in being my sous chef! Here he is applying the egg wash to the edges of the pie after we filled it with the cream sauce, broccoli and cheese. We then topped it with the upper crust and additional egg wash and cut vents for the steam to escape. Et violà! We enjoyed Broccoli Pie ala Yotam Ottolenghi for the second year in a row! I also had help with the dinner rolls that I have made for more years than I can remember. Once the subject of a local TV show called Breaking Bread with Father Dominic, Peter and Stefanie decided to learn the secret of twisting the dough into braids. Here they are with their pan of rolls ready to rise for a bit before cooking. Peter also showed great interest in the chickens and was rewarded with a bit of personal affection that they showed him!
We are not the only ones enjoying the late broccoli harvest. The giant leaves of the plants are impressive here but…The scale is a bit more evident when you see the full grown hens going mad over them…We are patiently waiting for the first eggs to be laid…nearly 22 weeks and counting! Maybe they need some musical stimulation in the form of entertainment? Thank you to Fran Vandermeer, (Kate’s wonderful college VB coach and now dear family friend) for sending this cute suggestion…an Egg-xylophone!
Coulter, now 19 months old – and more adorable than ever – would agree, I’m sure! He is too big to fit into his car and has to ‘drive’ it with one leg hanging out the window…But he still loves the thrill of the breeze from a high swing…Walking stride for stride with his dad at the local park…And hopefully, snuggles from his Nana…