Year Long Cider


another fall mean another cider. bottling the previous year's batch and starting one for next year.
although much of that years time is unattended, it is all well spent. from the moment the airlock is
set in place to when it is finally removed, the yeast spends a year happily converting local sweet cider
into a bone dry and crisp autumnal drink. i left the 2013 vintage a little more still than in years past.

the above is a glimpse at the process.





i spent a couple of hours yesterday with my head in the trees. one tree in particular. tucked behind
the building i work in is a serviceberry tree. for the last few years i've always wanted to grab some
of those berries while they are available for a few short weeks. and each year i miss the season completely.
not this year.


serviceberries are similar in taste to blueberries. they are delicious. not surprisingly, most of my time
picking was spent with a companion of sorts: a hungry robin. the robin clearly had much more practice than i
in harvesting the berries. she jumped from branch to branch wasting little time filling her belly. but i can carry 
many more berries than she can. and i have plans for the few quarts i slowly collected.




Fresh Sardine Croquettes and Sauce Gribiche

. sardines and sauce gribiche  

similar to ball lightning, fresh sardines are something that are known to exist but are
rarely seen. in fact, today was the first time i have ever seen them. apparently, i'm not
the only one to get excited by them. according to the fishmonger: "we sell out of them
super fast." translation: "if you want some, the time is now!" sold. eight little guys were
heading home with me moments later. 

after a little gutting, they were fried in butter. the flesh was picked off and cooled. adding
in parsley, dill, salt, pepper, a little potato, an egg, and some torn bits of stale bread to the
flakes of fish, the mixture was formed into cylinders and then rolled in a beaten egg and 
then more bread crumbs. next up: fry until golden.

i like to top strong flavored fish with (my version of) sauce gribiche: mayonnaise, mustard,
capers, cornichons, hard boiled eggs, parsley, dill, tarragon, chives, salt, and pepper. it's
probably the best thing to serve with pretty much anything that has been fried.



Slow Roasted Carrots with Coriander and Bay

. slowcookedcarrotswithcoriander  
polar vortex or not, it's slooooooow cooking time. the time of year when the oven is fired
up shortly after breakfast and when pots are set to barely simmer throughout the day. in my
place usually involves stock making or braising a tough cut of meat. that's all great, but i've
recently began thinking about slow cooking vegetables. i usually belong to the high heat
school of vegetable roasting so i had to rethink my approach when going slow.


when i mean slow here, i mean really slow. roasting carrots might normally take 45 minutes to
an hour. for these carrots, i wanted to roast them for 6 hours. in order keep them from drying out
i had two secret weapons: olive oil and pig trotters. (i'll spare the photo for the squeamish.) using a 
fair amount of olive oil and adding a split trotter to the mix, the coriander coated carrots were
 kept at a comfortable 250°F for about 5 hours. covered with foil, they slowly cooked away, the
trotters helping to keep things moist. the last hour i removed the foil for some browning. the
result: the best carrots i've ever had. incredibly tender but still has some bite. sweet, but not
overly-so. just real carroty.


i made twice the amount you see here so these carrots are going to be around all week. their
first task: lightly smashed into toast with goat cheese and a touch of honey.