Hitting the carrot jackpot

I love carrots!  You knew that, didn’t you?  If you didn’t, you do know.  Love them so much that years ago, while in high school, I ate so many that I think my skin turned kind of orange.  I’ve tamed my appetite since then, but still think carrots are wonderful.  Not all carrots, mind you.  Some are too old or large to still be sweet.  But when you find good ones, I think they’re like gold.  Only orange colored.

My boss likes to garden,  He has a large garden at his country home, and this year had a bumper crop of carrots.    However, none of his household members are all that crazy about carrots.  So he brought some into work to share.

I brought home a large bucket of very tasty carrots.  They were just begging to be part of dinner.  So tonight I prepared them for dinner using a recipe from Tyler Florence.

Roasted Carrots with Orange Brown Butter

Scrub and peel a bunch of carrots.   The recipe said to leave the top on, but since the carrots came to me already shorn, that’s the way I fixed them.

Place in large, shallow baking pan and drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake in 400 degree oven for half an hour or so (until tender when pierced with a fork).

On top of stove, in saucepan, melt a few tablespoons butter.  Keep heating until it starts turning brown, then add a few tablespoons of orange juice and a half tablespoon of brown sugar.  Heat a few more minutes to thicken.

Take roasted carrots out of oven and drizzle with orange browned butter.

Last step – pile on your plate and enjoy!

Putting the yard to bed for winter

The weather is getting cooler.  No killing frosts yet but mornings are chilly and the air has that nice clean feel about it that means it really is fall.

Which also means leaves to rake and garden beds to clean up.  The sprinkler system is blown out, the yard mowed for hopefully the last time before winter.

And newly planted pansies fill the planter on the back patio.  Wait.  Newly planted pansies in October?   Isn’t that a spring activity?

I noticed a nursery vendor at the Sunday Yakima Farmer’s Market had, along with the expected ornamental winter cabbage, “snow pansies”.  They looked so pretty I bought a few pots, planted them, and headed back a week later to buy some more.  They are supposed to be hardy enough to keep blooming until it gets quite cold, then be the first flowers blooming in the spring.  I read up about them and found that they aren’t recommended for containers, due to more less soil insulating the plants.  I’ll follow the advice to add some mulching to help.

We’ll see if they actually fill out a little before winter sets in.

As American as ….

…..Pear Pie.

Not what you expected from me, is it?  I work for an apple processor.  So this should be about apples. But, we also process a lot of pears.

Last week, I was working on a project with Bartlett pears that I collected from our bin yard.  I’d dragged in two 5 gallon buckets full, and peeled and cored them both by hand and using a mechanical peeler.  But the weird part is that my project needed the peels and cores, not the peeled pears.  So I dunked the peeled pears in a bucket of water with ascorbic acid to keep them from browning and asked around to see if anyone wanted any peeled and cored pears.  I found a few takers, including myself.

So last night I decided to bake a pear pie.  The first time I’d ever had a pear pie was some years ago when my friend Grace treated my family to dinner, and wowed us with this as a dessert.  Since then I’ve enjoyed things like spiced poached pears, served with oatmeal at of all places a Best Western along the Columbia River.  But I’d never made a pear pie until last night.

The pie was easy to put together.  Make a crust, slice up the already peeled and cored pears, then add some sugar, flour and cinnamon. I did get a little fancy and used a Nordic ware pie topper I bought last year for the top crust.

Here’s the kind of design it makes.  This isn’t my pie, as I forget to get out my camera.  Instead of taking a photo, Dave and I just helped ourselves to a piece of warm pear pie, and the another. But mine looked pretty similar, except for the color of the fruit.   By afternoon today the pie was history.

The Fruits of the Yakima Valley. Once again, always a delight.

Stay hungry. Stay foolish.

My reading on the internet last night brought news of the death of Steve Jobs, founder of Apple computers.  I am writing this on my old workhorse eMac computer.  My Macbook is nearby, also used daily.  Our original iMac “died” some years ago, but was in some ways my favorite due to it’s bright orange color and bubble shape.  Apple  brought to me an ease of using computers.  And fun!  Always “oh so wonderful”. Never a drudge.

Thanks, Steve.  You graduated from high school the same year I did, even though you were born a year later than I was.  So I  consider you a class mate of sorts, in our journey through life.

I liked the line from the Whole Earth Catalog that Steve Jobs quoted in a commencement speech a few years ago.   It was on the last page of the last issue.   “Stay hungry.  Stay foolish”.

“Stay hungry.”  That’s what keeps me thinking and sometimes writing  about food and nutrition and cooking and gardening and on and on.  And about life.

“Stay foolish”.  That’s what keeps giving me joy as I hike in the mountains and giggle with friends and family.

Peace to all of you.

What more is there to say?  (except maybe try to get back to blogging and being foolish a little more often???)