In The Valley Kitchen

The Age of Raisin

This is my second try at sourdough raisin bread.  The dough is a mix of bread flour and whole wheat.  After the dough was mixed I spread it out  and brushed with melted butter and Kahlua syrup (Kahlua that has been cooked down a bit to thicken).  Then I sprinkled a layer of raisins and cinnamon and rolled in all up for bulk rising.  After four hours I formed the “boules” and let them rise a wile longer in their bannetons.  The bannetons went to their sleeping quarters (a large tightly covered plastic box) and were put outside for a nice long retardation rest.  In the morning the loaves were baked. If only the smell of the buttery-cinnamon bread baking could be made into a spray.

The theory behind layering in the raisins, Kahlua syrup and cinnamon instead of just mixing it together is that the layers will allow the bread to achieve maximum rise when fermenting and that the final bread will have some unevenness with surprise bursts of cinnamon or sweetness here and there.  More experimentation required.

In the Garden In The Valley

All the Way From Brussels!

December and we are still in the garden picking beautiful Brussels Spouts.

Some people like roasting these in the oven.  But, forget about them for ten minutes and you’re left with Brussels Cinders.

I like a sort of hybrid steam-roasting in a large covered skillet.  I put the sprouts in with a small amount of water and heat on medium high with cover on being careful to stop before the water is gone.  Then add some butter and saute until the sprouts get brown and nutty.

In The Valley Kitchen

Sylvia’s Pickled Carrots

In case you were wondering……

The word carrot is first recorded in English circa 1530 and was borrowed from Middle French carotte, itself from Late Latin carōta, from Greek καρωτόν or karōtón, originally from the Indo-European root *ker- (horn), due to its horn-like shape.

Only 3 percent of the β-carotene in raw carrots is released during digestion: this can be improved to 39% by pulping, cooking and adding cooking oil. Alternatively they may be chopped and boiled, fried or steamed, and cooked in soups and stews, as well as baby and pet foods. A well-known dish is carrots julienne. Together with onion and celery, carrots are one of the primary vegetables used in a mirepoix to make various broths.

Carrots:  Secret Life of:

Flowers change sex in their development, so the stamens release their pollen before the stigma of the same flower is receptive. The arrangement is centripetal, meaning the oldest flowers are near the edge and the youngest flowers are in the center. Flowers usually first open at the outer edge of the primary umbel, followed about a week later on the secondary umbels, and then in subsequent weeks in higher-order umbels.


Historically Speaking…

-Pennsylvania Dutch settlers smoked dried and shredded carrots in their pipes hoping that carotene would mimic the stimulating properties of nicotine without being addictive.  For nearly a century it was believed that carrot smoke improved night vision.

-Heydrich Drumph an out of work farm hand secured a government grant to start a large scale carrot farm on the outskirts of Bavaria in the 1820s. He had chemists extract the orange pigment and develop a line of cosmetic tanning products marketed as “Drumph Tan”.  Unfortunately orange tans did not prove popular and the enterprise declared bankruptcy after a year when Drumph quietly disappeared along with the remaining company assets.  Several thousand barrels of orange tanning cream also disappeared as operations shut down and could not be located by creditors.  Their fate remains a mystery.

ref.  Mole’s Believe it or Not Archive of Astonishment

In the Garden In The Valley

Garlic Planting in Winter Garden

Lots of hard work this week planting garlic.  Many hands weeding, hoeing, peeling and planting.And now the garlic is bedded down and off to sleep.



In the Garden In The Valley

Cabbage Town

Affinity (Cabbages and Roses)

‘Rickety Kate’ (Minnie Filson) 1937

I wonder if the cabbage knows
He is less lovely than the Rose;
Or does he squat in smug content,
A source of noble nourishment;
Or if he pities for her sins
The Rose who has no vitamins;
Or if the one thing his green heart knows —
That self-same fire that warms the Rose?

Captain Cook’s Sauerkraut

Captain James Cook of the British Royal Navy was a renown seamen and explorer. The  innovation of providing sailors with fresh fruit and vegetables when possible and sauerkraut kept the scourge of scurvy at bay.

As described in “Untold Lives‘:  “Lack of vitamin C in the diet of sailors on long voyages resulted in the disease scurvy which could prove fatal.  The symptoms of scurvy are swollen gums that are prone to bleeding, loose teeth, bulging eyes, easy bruising, scaly skin, and very dry hair.  To counter this, James Cook replenished supplies of fresh fruit and vegetables for his crew whenever the ship made a land call.  He also took with him ‘Sour Krout’, that is sauerkraut, cabbage fermented with lactic acid bacteria.  On Cook’s first Pacific voyage in 1768, the Navy wanted to trial the efficacy of sauerkraut in combating scurvy.  The Endeavour was provided with 7,860 pounds of sauerkraut, a ration of 2 pounds per man per week.  Cook reported back to the Victualling Board in July 1771 that no ‘dangerous’ cases of scurvy had occurred and that he, the surgeons and the officers believed that the sauerkraut had played a large part in achieving this.”


In The Valley

Newsflash! Summer is Over

Maybe the Echo Valley fall celebration wasn’t the fall fair, but, heck, it was better!

Delicious pies, great music, dancing, prizes, and the greatest Zucchini parade and races west of the Rockies.

Check out Ron’s awesome video of the event.



In the Garden In The Valley

Winter Garden

Summer is now officially over as the light and dark share the couch equally on this day.  Soon darkness will be arrogantly sprawled out hogging up more and more space every day until poor light is forced into the corner with its knees tucked under its chin.

The winter garden has sprung to beautiful green life with the hard work of dedicated hands.  A beautiful and comforting sight as summer plants loosen their grasp to the land.  The last of the beautiful tomatoes are turning into delicious concentrated sauces in the heat of ovens and stove-top cauldrons.

Digging the potatoes!

In the Garden In The Valley

Harvest Time

We will be remembering this warm beautiful time of gorgeous fresh food in the months to come!

See some pics here and send more for posting!