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The Remains of the Fall

March 20, 2019

Welcome to the vernal equinox. Technically it’s the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere, but you and I both know we’re still in the unlocking. Still, we’re getting close. The seasonal soft serve shops are starting to open. The snow has mostly melted.

But this morning as the kids went to school, the temperature was below freezing.

During the summer and fall, we try to squirrel away enough local vegetables to sustain ourselves through the long cold winter. Remember, while there may be hoop gardens which will produce early leafy greens, it’s going to take months before the farmers markets are bountiful with local fruits and vegetables.

In our freezer, there is still one last packet of pesto remaining. Perhaps tonight is the night to finally crack into it. What else has survived winter and made it into the solstice? Well, let me share my secret shame. Although, part of the blame for not eating all the vegetables falls on Mrs. Fussy’s shoulders.

Of course, a lot of the fault is mine. For example, I probably only made about half the chicken stock that I intended to cook over the winter. Now I’m going to have to keep an eye out for colder nights when I can let the stock cool in the garage. While I love turning old bones into liquid gold, I’m less crazy about buying bags of ice to cool it down.

As for the yin yang beans, I have nobody to blame but myself. The dried heirloom beans from Bella Terra Farm are always so tempting. But they come in their pods, so extracting and sorting them is a true labor of love. It’s not that I mind the meditative act of processing the beans, it’s just that I’ve been short of time lately.

This may sound strange, but I blame Mrs. Fussy’s brief experiment with vegetarianism for getting in the way of our vegetable consumption. Hear me out.

Turnips. We have some turnips that have been languishing the refrigerator. Thankfully, they are a hearty root vegetable, and are likely still good. But my favorite way to cook turnips is to braise them with chicken stock and butter. And for a while there, chicken stock became a prohibited ingredient for family meals on every day but Friday.

Thankfully, those days are behind us. But the turnips still remain.

Yes, I know I could have roasted them. And roasted turnips are delicious, sure. However, it felt like a wasted opportunity. I like to make foods as tasty as possible, and I really didn’t have the time to start researching other preparations. So instead, they have simply sat in the refrigerator, unloved and unconsumed.

Another side effect of the vegetarian push from the missus is a freezer that’s still full of meat. We’ve got meatballs from Providence, but also some pot roast that I made at the beginning of the season. There are a few other meaty odds and ends in there as well. It’s not a ton of meat, but given how little of it we eat, this could linger in the chest freezer a long time unless we make some plan to eat it soon.

Early spring pot roast is a lot more appealing than trying to make it appetizing once summer rolls around.

Let this be fair warning that Albany is thawing. It’s time to eat through what remains of the fall and the winter, and get ready for the spring and summer ahead!

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