Sunday, September 30, 2012

Domestic Goddess Day

It's a lovely late fall day, and I spent it converting the seasons bounty into food for the winter and starting pumpkin mead and plum wine.

A few weeks ago Midwest Brewing sent out an email talking about making pumpkin ale for your holiday gatherings. We aren't quite setup for making our own beer yet, but I've been wanting to try making some mead, and since it needs to age for a year, I decided to start it now. I drew from a number of different recipes to put it together and this is what I came up with:

3 lbs fresh clover honey
1 gallon spring water
13 5/8oz pumpkin
1.5 tsp acid blend
1tsp yeast nutrient
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 crushed campden tablet
1 packet Lalvin D47 yeast.

I cut up and seeded a pumpkin and roasted it for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees. It was just soft enough to get the peel off, but not mushy. I cut it into smaller chunks, put it in a straining bag and tossed it in my bucket.

Meanwhile, I heated the water and honey to about 100 degrees so the honey would melt down into the water. Once warm and incorporated I poured it into the bucket over the pumpkin. Next the acid blend, nutrient, cinnamon and campden went in. I gave everything a good stir, closed up the bucket and took it down to the bar. Tomorrow I'll put in the yeast and let it start fermenting.

There was a lot of simmering going on.

Next, it was tomato time. I still had 3 bags of tomatoes from last year in the freezer, so I cooked them down along with a handful of this years fresh tomatoes and jarred them off. In total I got 11 pints of tomato sauce. I opted not to season any of it so that I can tailor it to my recipe when it's time to cook. This years harvest is a lot smaller than last due to the drought and my problems with a virus in the soil, so I'm not sure I'll have enough tomatoes left this year to make another batch. If I do get enough for a smaller batch, I may try those with a clove of garlic.

On to breakfast. Aaron and I lost our habit of morning workouts over the summer, and have been relying too much on packaged food, so it's time to start meal planning again. We both need to make an effort to get more protein and vegetables in our diet, so these seem like a good solution. While my bacon was baking I diced a red pepper and a package of baby bellas and sauteed them in olive. Both the meat and veggies went into the fridge for awhile to cool before going in the muffins.

Then we went to dinner at Nate and Jessica's, and I gave their daughter her first toy light saber. I'm a hero.

When we got home I preheated the oven to 375 and whipped up a dozen eggs with some salt and peppers in a bowl. I put about half a slice of bacon into each muffin cup, divided the veggies evenly among the cups and then added a little italian cheese blend to each. I filled the muffins cups with the eggs, gave them a quick stir to mix the ingredients and put them in the oven for  25 minutes. If they taste half as good as they smell, they will make an awesome breakfast.

Last but not least, I started a batch of plum wine. I used the recipe from winemakers recipe handbook. I haven't decided on a yeast variety for it yet, but I figure I have 24 hours to decide. (Editor's Note: I decided on Montrachet. I considered Cote de Blanc, which is what the fruit type/yeast grid I got from Midwest suggested, but the Cote de Blanc is supposed to ferment to a drier wine, and I want the peach to be a little sweeter and have more body.)

Zoe and Lukas were my faithful assistants all day.

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