Let’s get it out of the way right now: duck is fatty, and duck is delicious, a rich dark meat that is quite distinctive and … – surprise! – does not taste like chicken. I sometime roast a duck mainly to collect its fat […]
Quacking from Rappahannock (our blog)
To the music of “These are a few of my favorite things” – and with apologies to Maria! – let’s all sing together: Soufflés & Quiches, Omelets & Crepes Clafoutis, Flans, and Croque-Madames Waffles & Cremes, Meringue & Mousse Not to mention sunnyside up […]
Despite Thomas Jefferson’s efforts 200 years ago, olive trees don’t grow in Virginia. Erratic winter weather with nightly lows in the single digit temperatures followed by days at 70F — as well as hot muggy summers — don’t make happy olive trees. Anything below -10C (14F) will severely damage even a mature olive tree.
Don’t get me wrong, I love olive oil. And I used quite a bit of it along with avocado oil and nut oils. But in the last few years, I have been switching part of my cooking fats to … lard, specifically home-rendered lard from locally pastured pigs. Here, in the Northern Virginia Piedmont, what other cooking fat is locally available to me? in such abundance? and so easy to make at home? (more…)
Before I planted blackberries in the garden, I used to go forage for them. They grow all over the place, tenaciously clinging to their chosen spot and taking over the neighborhood: the clump expands rapidly and any cane that touches the ground roots to produce […]
Who hasn’t plucked and munched on a handful of wild blackberries or huckleberries while hiking? Didn’t it feel like a tiny treasure hunt, the taste of wild berries sharper, more intense than their tamed counterparts?
Sure, foraging for berries takes time, but you didn’t lift a finger, did not drop a single bead of sweat to propagate, nurture, plant, weed, fertilize nor water the little suckers! You only have to show up and pick. Even with decent foraging skills, a couple of hours of picking yields a harvest that may look slim. After all, I can pick 5 times faster from tidy rows of ‘Apaho’, ‘Triple Crown’ or ‘Navajo’ – three widely planted thornless cultivars – than from a fiercely tangled thorny thicket of wild blackberries. (yes, I have measured!)… but of course the tidy rows have to be maintained, pruned, trellised, weeded, mowed…
Besides, there is nothing like picking wild berries on a warm scented summer morning: the sweetly clean fragrance of pink bouncing-bet, the sharp minty smell of trampled horsemint, the aroma of over ripe berries, the muskiness of rotting vegetation, the heady pervasive scent of flowering basswood humming with bees… it’s… wild! And some berries simply are not cultivated. So if you want them, you get to pick.
Most common berries fruiting in June or July for us include: (more…)
So far, it’s been a good year for berries! A cold winter and abundant spring rains have given the plants what they want. You will not hear me complain about the past winter nor about the rains (yet, at least…) I am actually harvesting red […]