Archive for December, 2010

Well, “by popular demand” I’m venturing into recipe sharing, although like many cooks, most of my recipes have evolved from tinkering with the ideas of others.  Anyway, here’s a recipe for a holiday quick bread that I’ve made for quite some years now and distributed to various friends, co-workers, and family members.  This year it was included in the baskets that I prepared for family members that included only food and other items produced locally in our area.  (For the record, these included, in addition to Bourbon Pecan Bread, jams from “Grandma Wood’s Kitchen,” Merlot and Chardonnay Vinegars from Virginia Vinegar Works, locally grown and milled cornmeal and whole wheat flour from Amherst Milling Company, artisanal natural soaps and cremes,  local honey from Hungry Hill Farm, and tins of homemade lemon squares.

Bourbon Pecan Xmas Bread Recipe


We had a lovely (white!) Christmas with Nic and Alison and Tim and Megan.   Culinary highlights included cookies galore (mainly made by Nic and Alison, who also brought a delicious homemade apple cake) and a beef brisket bought at the Nellysford Farmers Market and cooked as prescribed by Julia Child.  Oh yes, and a large “growler” of smoked scottish ale from the recently-opened Wild Wolf Brewery.  Outings included a hike up a snowpacked road to feed the cat of a dear friend.  Further family pictures may be accessed here.

Winter hasn’t yet officially begun, but we had our second snowstorm on December 16th: about five inches and COLD.  But we were cozy in our house, amidst holiday decorations and our wonderful wood stove.  A more complete set of views, inside and out,  may be accessed here.

In late fall we  visited various friends to learn about raising chickens (for eggs), a project Monika and I intend to undertake in the spring.  We continued to harvest turnips and chard  (see basket above) as well as collards, kale and lettuce until the second week of December, when a cold spell did most of the remaining garden in.  In mid-November Nic and Alison came over and made us  delicious roasted stuffed pumpkins!

For our Thanksgiving turkey, which we took up to family in Maryland, Monika found Open Gate Farm in neighboring Albermarle County, which raises heritage turkeys and sells them fresh (our turkey from Polyface Farm last year was frozen).  We went out to the farm on the Monday before Thanksgiving amd got a delightful guided tour from Tom Ward.  We also got a surprise: our Bronze Standard turkey had turned out to be much larger (38 pounds!!!) than expected.  This posed a series of challenges: locating a large enough roasing pan;  locating a container large enough to to brine it in;  fitting it into an oven just barely larger than the turkey; and figuring out how long to cook it.  Regarding the latter, we were many hours off in our estimation, but fortunately got the turkey out in time and it was the best turkey ever.  Pictures of our Maryland Thanksgiving may be accessed here.

Early morning view from our front deck

Last night we had our first snow of the season as we sat cozily by our wood stove.  The wet three inches made for a lovely view in the morning, although most melted off by the end of the day.