Fresh and Homemade

This past weekend proved to be full of fresh and homemade surprises. My husband bottled his homemade strawberry wine and we decided to give it a try. Even though it’s “unaged”, it was terrific. Dry, mild,  and aromatic, the strawberry flavor was light and very enjoyable. It our opinion, it was a huge success and will be repeated next year. He’s thinking peach wine might be next on the agenda.

When I came home from work on Friday, not only was I surprise by a chilled bottle of strawberry wine, but a freshly baked loaf of baguette. I’m blessed with husband who has decided he likes baking! In order to round out the afternoon, a trip to the local farmer’s market- at this time of year, indulgence is super fresh produce from the local farmers market. The corn was turned into fresh corn cakes with ham, the tomato and zucchini part of a quick summer pasta sauce, and the blackberries went into a homemade pound cake.

We decided we wanted to try our hand at making our own pasta, so Sunday evening was experiment time. All it takes is some eggs and flour, and if you can make a pie crust, you can make pasta! Mix mix mix, knead, refrigerate, roll, and slice. I tossed together a quick farmer’s market/garden style sauce, some fresh parmesan, and this was amazing! I HIGHLY recommend anyone try making your own pasta, you will be very pleased with the results! It’s hearty, tasty, and the texture is terrific. AND, it even reheats well! I might even dare say it’s better the second time around! Of course, I have to credit Miss. Jenna Woginrich at Cold Antler Farm for trying the recipe. 🙂

To top the weekend off, my husband (despite his really strange milk phobias) agreed to willingly make the switch to raw milk. Thanks to our knowledge of WAAWWE, a store devoted to local, healthy, and humane food, we knew that the owner sells raw milk from her farm down the road. So after a short jaunt, we met up with Lisa Kaiman of Jersey Girls and purchased our first 1/2 gallon of raw milk. Free with the purchase was a healthy dose of milk and food talk, including topics that I am familiar with, but were new to my husband. We both were educated on a number of things, and my husband was so intrigued that I convinced him to watch Food, Inc. with me.  I was familiar with a lot of the information given, but a lot of it was new to me. I can add that movie to the list of things that continues to push me toward eating more sustainably! Interestingly enough, my husband was moved at the end of the film. He told me that he had expected all of the ethical and environmental impacts, that they were not a shock to him, but what scared him was the ability of Monsanto to patent a gene. He went on to explain to me all the future implications this could have for the patent of any genes, ownership of life, and a slew of ethical situations. I may even have him write a post for this blog, adding a new perspective for many of us. Personally, I was disturbed about the use of chemicals to “disinfect” food, the creation of “fillers”, and the super-resistant diseases coming from commercial farming practices. We have already switched over our beef, and we’ve been trying local pork and poultry and really like it. I think this film may have been the final push I needed to switch all of our meats over to local, grass-fed, and humane products.

Just beyond the weekend, Monday afternoon a co-worker of mine who lives just up the road told me that he has a huge collection of wild blackberry bushes on some of his land and he can’t manage to get to all of it, let alone pick them all. So, he told me to feel free to head up after I got out of work and help myself to whatever I could get at. Despite it being somewhat muggy, I convinced my husband to put on some jeans and a long sleeve shirt and tag along. We ended up with quite a bit, but boy, was it something rugged to get at them! We had to follow deer trails through an overgrown marshy area and let me tell you, some of those thorns were huge! I felt spoiled thinking about the farm berry picking I’m use to. But we kept picking until we couldn’t reach any more bushes. Not a bad haul for 30 minutes of prickly bushwhacking!

*Final Note: The raw milk is amazing. Even my husband likes it! He says it tastes less “milky” than store bought milk. It sounds kind of odd, but I get what he’s saying. It’s mild, sweet, and filling. Maybe I’m a werido, but I swear I can taste hints of fresh grass in it, and it lacks that sticky and shallow bitter aftertaste you get with store stuff. And the best part? It comes with cream. 🙂 Right now we’re mixing it in, but sometimes with my morning coffee, I don’t mix it up and get a nice shot of cream in my mug. Shhhh… don’t tell the hubbie I’m skimming his cream!! 🙂 If you are interesting in learning more about raw milk, Lisa has a nice article on her Jersey Girls site, and there are thousands of websites to search, all available at the click of a button.

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