Monday, December 5, 2011
The last blog I posted was October 28th...two days before I broke my ankle in New Orleans. HOWEVER, I am going to skip over that story to share the video I shot today.
FarmerChefBuilder Jeff and I started noticing the annual gathering of the starlings over the last few days.Today they came into the backyard, creating a deafening wall of sound. I ran out with the camera and caught some in flight. Enjoy!
A side note about the birds: European Starlings were Introduced as part of a plan to introduce to the U.S. all birds mentioned in the works of Shakespeare. They crowd out native birds (bluebirds, titmice, nuthatches, swallows, wrens; sometimes even American kestrels, flickers, acorn woodpeckers) and can destroy crops. *See National Invasive Species Information Center of the USDA.
Friday, October 28, 2011
To pick up where we left off...we left NOLA on Tuesday morning after a spectacular breakfast at Mother's. We drove across Lake Pontchartrain and then north up to Mississippi. On our way we stopped at various antique stores (didn't find anything there) and then just high-tailed it to our serene place in Clarksdale, Mississippi. I can't put my finger on what makes it so special. Maybe it is the quiet, the stillness, only to be broken by the flock of birds that live in the big bush. I wish I could tell you where it is, but they are getting all the business they can handle.
|A Mississippi Delta Bottle Tree in Clarksdale, MS|
|More Delta Tamales from Abe's with no extra chile or cheese|
Delta Tamales from Delta Fast Food in Cleveland, MS
Once in Greenwood I was on a mission to try the famous pie at Crystal Grill. Okay, this seemed like a good idea at the time. Apparently Jeff was still on his tamale quest. The pie was a chocolate meringue and the meringue tasted like toasted marshmallows!
|True Southern Hospitality - A stunning cocktail buffet set up on a blueberry farm.|
|Pinwheel Pickled Okra and Cream Cheese Sandwiches. Delicious!|
|We were fed wonderful vegetables grown by and in the garden of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Greenwood.|
|Progressive Dinner of Chicken and sides|
|My Dinner plate - Okra, Chicken, Greens|
|Delta Shrimp and Grits at Delta Bistro, Greenwood|
|The Southern Foodways Symposium Lunch - Korean/Southern Bento Boxes - Incredible!|
|My new favorite cheese from Chapel Hill, North Carolina|
Thursday, October 27, 2011
We are on our annual trek to The South. We love it here. Phase One: our free days until the Chefs Collaborative Summit '11 begins. Our first full day in New Orleans, LA (NOLA) started with lunch at Napoleon House. The place is dripping with ambiance. Take a look at the walls. I really don't think it has been painted for 75 years! It is a little touristy, but there are locals to give the place an authentic feel. We had a quarter of a muffaletta, the classic New Orleans sandwich with provolone cheese, salami and a great olive mix.
We got out of the "Quarter" as soon as we could (not a big fan of crowds) and went straight to our favorite "rusty/dusty" antique yard right off of Magazine Street in upper Garden District/lower Uptown. We bought the kettle in the picture along with some other cool props and metal crates that we will have to ship home. I don't think we can carry that home in luggage!
Chef's Collaborative Summit while in NOLA. Little did we know it would include a 3 hour bus ride. (The theme of Gilligan's Island kept floating through my head..."a 3 hour tour".) First stop: a rice farmer who, along with his wife, also raises crawfish in the same rice fields, Frey Crawfish . They are very "green" and sustainable. Above is the photo of the mudbug (crawfish) sorting machine he created.
Don's Specialty Meats, that is most famous for cracklin's, which are not to be confused with fried pork skin. Cracklin's still have a little bit of meat...Most folks I have talked to said that they couldn't help but eat a full pound bag of them on their way home. Fear not...we at a couple of them, and no more. We did, however, buy some local andouille sausage and tasso ham. As you can see from the photo above, I was surprised to find stuffed catfish available, too. Dang...they have some of the most amazing food so readily available.
Cochon Butcher . I don't think I have ever had a better banh mi!
Domenica. We watched the very talented Chef Alon. He lived in Parma, Italy and studied the Italian method of butchery and sausage making/meat curing. It was fascinating to see him cut the pig up in a new way, well, new to us. We also learned about the heritage pig that he raises for the cured meats. I couldn't find my notes but know that it is on
the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy's list. I can't heap enough praise on the class and the meats. They were both incredible!
Phase 3 & 4 - next post!
Sunday, October 23, 2011
We decided to simplify our lives (yes, can you believe it?) by farming on a smaller plot of land. We had been over-achievers for 3 years by farming on 2 acres. It was too much for us (me, Farmer Jeff and one other very part time person) to farm and maintain that much land/plants.
|Our beloved Elder Statesman, Callebaut.|