This is the year I am completely sold on my mother’s practice of growing roses in pots. How extravagant! In February!
We ran out of drinking water about three weeks ago. Typically, we haul it in, in five gallon jugs, but this winter the snow has uncharacteristically refused to melt for weeks on end, and the drifts over our long country driveway have in places reached over three feet.
For weeks we drank maple sap. It’s sugaring season, after all, and we have no shortageâ€”more than we can handle, for casual boiling. And we’re still drinking it, and eating a lot of new syrup, and frankly it’s getting a little old.
So I just set a pork belly to curing for bacon, and I had a little pile of trimmings I figured I’d cook with the other night, seasoned with salt and smoked Spanish paprika. And I had a bag of chicken wings needing to be eat. So I threw it all in the Dutch oven to brown, let it cool, threw in some onions to caramelize, set some Arborio rice to risottoing, and realized that with all that inherent sweetness (pork and onions, friends) I didn’t want to make that risotto with maple sap.
So, I used beer. Some weak lager someone left from a party months ago, the most neutral liquid in the house. (Yeah, we’ve gone through all the stock in the freezer, too.) The bitterness, I was hoping, would help balance the sweet of the pork and onions. Also, the radicchio I set with the sauce to caramelizing.
It was a fairly intense thing to eat. But good. Needed something bright and crisp to balance it though, like lightly grilled asparagus maybe with lemon juiceâ€”or maybe I should have kept that radicchio more discreet. We drank it with a light, sharp wine (an Austrian Zweigelt) and that helped, it being also a refreshing alternative to more sap.
Of course, close readers of this blog will remember that my wife for her health avoids eating gluten, and will know that beer is glutenous. My wife reminded me of that second fact, several bites in, when I explained to her my clever technique.
What’s the name of this blog again?
Spinach soup, made with an immersion blender. I don’t use them, for some reasons, philosophical and otherwise, but the other cook does. Great color. Those other things are tiny souffles, or you could call them gluten-free popovers gone wrong. More like dumplings, actually, because that’s how we ate them, and the next morning as crusty custard, with butter and jam.
The tray and the yellow pot are boiling maple sap, the biscuits are warming for breakfast, as is my coffee cup, on top of the blue pot which is simmering up some beef broth. The mokapot is brewing the wife’s daily four ounces. A slightly more useful than usual winter woodstove tableau.
Categorized as foraging? Well, we’re scavenging heat, here. And maple sap, and beef bones most people throw out. I think that counts.