The Last Harvest

Saturday! Since retirement, the days of the week aren’t the focus of my life, as they were when I had to be at a specific spot at a specific time. I like retirement. I was sitting here just minding my own business, and Saturday night snuck up on me!

Yesterday I milled flour, it took me quite a while, the supply was down to two cups of flour. I only mill about eight cups of flour at one time, then I let the equipment cool down before milling again. I ended up with about 44 cups of freshly milled whole-wheat flour.

Today I used the flour I had just milled to bake five loaves of bread. We were completely out of bread. No, wait, there was one partial loaf left in the breadbox, Chocolate Bread. Not really suitable for savory sandwiches.

This evening I made Hamburger Gravy with potatoes in the Instant Pot. I sauteed ground beef in the Pot, then added chopped onion and sauteed it all, adding a few herbs, Rosemary, Pepper, Garlic. Two cups of homemade vegetable broth were then added. A metal steam basket was set over the meat mixture, and the peeled potatoes were placed on top. The potatoes would be removed from the pot, and a gravy made with the meat, broth, and onions. Three minutes of cooking and dinner was prepared. Of course there is the time it took to heat up the Instant Pot, and then the time it took for it to cool down again, so the process was more than three minutes. While I was preparing the meat and potatoes, Attila prepared the very last harvest from the garden, carrots and beets. They were tiny and sweet, only about a cup all told, so good! So that is the garden done for this year.

Attila has been very busy with his insulation project. About a third of our basement is above ground, and that third was bare concrete blocks, outside and inside. When it got cold outside, it got cold inside too. By bedtime tonight he will have built stud walls and installed insulation and vapour barrier over the concrete blocks in that third of the basement. There is a noticeable difference down there already. I used to feel chilled every time I went to the basement during the heating season, and now I don’t. Not really a scientific measurement, but good enough for me.

Attila is moving along on this insulation project at lightning speed. Just dry wall and paint to go in this corner.
It is a no-stress project, compared to all the other renovations that have been undertaken at Mist Cottage. Attila only has to set his equipment and materials up once, in the now wonderfully dry garage. When he is finished for the day, he can just shut the door and walk away, and it will all be waiting for him just as he left it when he returns to take up the task again. This is a real luxury. Also, there is no deadline with this project, it will be completed whenever that happens, no rush, no pressure. Unless of course I get a bit concerned when it gets too close to Christmas and I want the basement things that are stacked in the living room taken back downstairs. But really, the project is far enough along even now, that this could be accomplished.

I’ve just bagged my five loaves of bread, and tucked them into the freezer. Baking bread is a very satisfying activity, I like it a lot. The bread I just put in the freezer is sandwich bread, it is wonderful. It took me ever so long to get a good loaf of 100% whole-wheat bread, but finally the loaves are light and airy and delicious.

I have been experimenting with 100% whole-wheat sweet breads, and am not satisfied with the results thus far. The loaves taste wonderful, but the bread is dense and a bit dry. So far I’ve made Raisin Apple Bread, and Chocolate Bread. I have to keep trying, practice makes perfect!

Worldly

Weather

2°C
Date: 6:00 PM EST Saturday 23 November 2019
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 2.2°C
Dew point: -1.1°C
Humidity: 79%
Wind: SW 13 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The art of dining well is no slight art, the pleasure not a slight pleasure.”
Michel de Montaigne
1533 – 1592

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8 Responses to The Last Harvest

  1. Diane Dahli says:

    I’ve gone back to eating vegetarian, so can’t use some of your hints. But I really like your take on food—the idea of doing everything from scratch, like my parents did!

  2. Stubblejumpers Cafe says:

    My 100% whole wheat bread we find too filling (heavy?) for sandwiches. Mind sharing your recipe? -Kate

  3. Diane, sometimes I think about cutting meat out, and to be honest, I doubt I would miss it. But Attila turns into a complete Grinch if he isn’t getting meat regularly, and this dish was one he requested. But we don’t use much, the whole dish contained 4 1/2 ounces of ground beef, almost a flavouring rather than a big component of the meal. I use a lot of onions in this dish, we both love onions.

    Cooking from scratch has so many benefits, particularly if you enjoy cooking. For us it is a hobby with benefits. It is an activity we share and enjoy, first good thing about it. It provides us with healthier food, next good thing about it. It allows us to eat whatever we want, as long as we can find the ingredients we can make the dish, next good thing about it. There isn’t any plastic packaging involved, so it is better for the environment, next good thing about it. I am sure there are more benefits that have not come to mind.

    We are so lucky to have grown up during a time when cooking from scratch was widely practiced!

  4. Kate, here it is. I use a Bosch Universal Mixer. The to the left setting is a pulse setting. The numbered setting are 1 and up, 1 being the slowest setting.

    Bosch Five Loaf Recipe
    INGREDIENTS
    4 cups water
    2 tablespoons yeast
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 cup oil
    3 eggs
    10-12 cups flour
    1/2 cup gluten flour
    DIRECTIONS
    Add yeast and warm water to the bowl, a little warmer than usual as bowl will chill it, then dial to left to mix.
    Let it sit for 5 minutes OR until yeast is rising to the surface of the water.
    Add salt, sugar, oil, eggs, gluten flour, and 6 cups flour, then let it run 5 minutes.
    With small lid open add flour 1/2 cup at a time, mixing in after each, until it just comes away from the sides of the bowl.
    Process for 5 minutes on 1.
    Let rise in bowl for 30 minutes with lid loose (or it will break) OR until the dough begins to lift the loose lid from the bowl.
    Shape into 5 loaves.
    Let rise in oven with oven light on for 30 minutes.
    Turn oven on to 450F and bake 35 minutes.

    https://www.maggieturner.net/recipes/bosch-five-loaf-100-whole-wheat-bread/

  5. Teri says:

    DH is like Attila, too many dinners without meat and he becomes grouchy. At best, I might be able to get away with 2 meals a week that aren’t meat-based. All the same, our meat portions are getting smaller over time. And we’re adding in more vegetables. DH has found he really enjoys spiralized zucchini, and that cuts back on our pasta too, which is good for me.

    The basement is coming along very rapidly! Soon it’ll be a finished space with little worry that anything will become dank or dirty if brought down there. And with that lovely window, once the drywall and paint are up you probably won’t need lots of lights during the day.

  6. Teri, I love vegetables! I have not tried spiralized zucchini, it sounds really interesting, something new when the it comes out of the garden next summer! I don’t know about replacing pasta though, I LOVE pasta, just love it. I have made my own in the past, but not recently. The zucchini is better for me though, and you never know, I might just love it as much as pasta.
    Attila finished the stud walls on the exposed walls of the basement, yay. He got the insulation in, but did not have enough time left to put up the vapour barrier and tape it. Once he gets that done, it is ready for drywall! I love it, what a difference it makes. The window does let in a lot of light in the daytime, handy that way.

  7. Margarett says:

    Hello, Maggie: I can report that after having my second rhizotomy, to the left side of my lower back this past Thursday, I was able to make my bed, and not end up-in in tears, since May. Finally, some relief!…I always have problems when I have the cardiac ablations, because of having to “lie flat” for as long as 14 hours…for the procedure, and then post-opertively. It completely wrecks my lower back. The doctor was able to complete “ more disc nerves “ then before, so we are hoping for more positive and longer lasting relief. So now, the colonoscopy in a couple of weeks, and some skin cancer removals, and I hope that 2020 will allow me to gain some increased stamina. I retired after working for 47 years as a nurse, and I am TYPE A personality, and am one to stay busy. These health issues have just pissed me off!! I am going to learn to bake bread. Do you use a bread making machine? My mom would bake yeast rolls, and they were delicious. Our US Thanksgiving is coming Thursday. We will be spending the day with my son and his family….and my 2 grandsons.. I am excited. I am baking a ham, and pumpkin pies. I ALWAYS did all of the cooking until 2 years ago when my health went to hell in a hand basket. Now we start with leaf control…
    We blow it all to the yard, and then Mikey mulches it with his riding mower. We never bag the leaves, and I leave them in my beds until Spring cleanup. This year, we are getting a bumper crop of acorns. They usually skip a year or 2 in between. We have 4 HUGE oaks in the back and side yards. We also get a lot of leaves from our neighbors on 3 sides. The shade in summer is perfect. The Jason deck is completely shaded by 3 in the afternoon. Ok, my dear, I have rambled on and on…but bless you for listening.

  8. Margarett, so glad to hear you have some relief from pain. It is an awful thing, pain. It sounds like you have a lot of health challenges, but keep moving forward nonetheless, kudos to you! I think being pissed off is totally justified!

    I use a bread machine for single loaves, and a Bosch Universal Mixer for large batches. I am afraid I am long past being able to adequately knead bread by hand, thank goodness for modern appliances! Both appliances have been a challenge to adjust to 100% whole wheat, as I now use 100% whole wheat for all breadmaking. I used to order in organic bread flour from a mill in Ontario, but their prices have skyrocketed with the rise of the “artisanal” food trend, so it is pretty much out of reach now. Almost all raw foodstuffs here in Ontario have been priced beyond the reach of working people. I found a bulk store that orders in organic wheat berries for me in bulk at a slightly reduced price, so the bread I make ends up costing about the same as organic whole wheat bread in the stores.
    Whole wheat seems very sensitive to atmospheric and environmental changes, so I have to monitor the process carefully, adding a few minutes to a process here, more water there, that sort of thing. Bread making, for me, is not like cooking, it is more like having a relationship with a living entity, which it is really, the yeast is a living microorganism.

    Your Thanksgiving plans sound wonderful, enjoy!

    I love oak trees, here in Ontario they are the last to loose their leaves in teh autumn, and the last to burst into leaf in the spring.