Parties, Foraging, & Stocking Up Again

Today I collected several cups worth of elderberries in the park. Last week I got some in the community garden, and the ones in my own backyard are a few days away from perfectly ripe. All free, all delicious, and not usually available even at farmers’ markets. I’ve got a deal with Ellen that she’s going to turn them into wine that we’ll eventually share (I collect the fruit, she ferments it–I don’t have room in my apartment for fermentation jugs that have to sit around for months).

Bactracking a bit here, I promised a party update from the last night of The 250. We started off with what has become my go-to appetizer for entertaining: pickled sour cherries with Hudson Valley Camembert (thank you Anne F., for coming up with that unlikely but scrumptious combination!). You can get the recipe for the pickled cherries at the end of this post. It’s a bit late in the season for cherries, but the recipe works equally well with small plums.

The main course was moussaka. Moussaka is slow food, labor intensive and definitely not something you’d make for a worknight meal, which makes it all the more special for celebrating. The recipe is in my book, but I’ve also posted it here. My dad was visiting from SF, so I had a willing sous chef (thanks, Dad).

We also had skordalia (Greek garlic dip), homemade sourdough crackers, an heirloom tomato salad, and a ginger cake (made with wild ginger, Asarum canadense, and spicebush, Lindera benzoin–both plants native to our Northeastern U.S. woodlands) with peaches and whipped local cream. We washed it all down with some lovely local wine pairings suggested by Darrin of Red, White, & Bubbly.

Okay, so that was the party, and judging by the lack of leftovers and the number of empty wine bottles, a good time was had by all.

(Both party pics photo credit www.tasteoflocal.com, a new local foods site that launches Sept. 5th)

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

It’s stockpiling time again. The dehydrator is humming on the floor of my living room/kitchen/dining room (what do you call that kind of one-room combo anyway? You’d think New Yorkers would have come up with a name for it by now. Mine is a one-bedroom not a studio apartment, so the studio tag doesn’t fit. The Almost-Everything Room?). The first few jars of this season’s tomatoes got canned yesterday. The freezer is filling up with fruit and greens. I’m canning ratatouille tonight.

If you’re interested in food preservation (pretty much an essential for a locavore), I’m teaching a workshop on it at Genesis Farm. And if that mention of free-from-the-park elderberries caught your eye, I’ve got a wild edible plants class for BBG coming up next Sunday.

Last but not least, I got two bits of press this week. The NY Times made it sound like I’d never canned before The 250, which isn’t true, but it was still nice to get the mention. Alexa Schirtzinger asked very intelligent questions about eating locally, and you can read her interview for Plenty Magazine here.

Cheers,

Leda

Not sure what this is about? Read Getting Ready for the 250-Mile Diet and The Rules

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2 responses to “Parties, Foraging, & Stocking Up Again”

  1. acmeplant says:

    I thought the same thing when I read the Times piece. I guess a mention in the Times is good, whatever it says, but we all know you’re much more expert than they made you out to be. I’ll go read the Plenty article now!

  2. Miriam says:

    Yes, the NY Times article seemed to play on the difficulties of eating local in the city. The interview on Plenty came from a favorable bias and was much friendlier. But the Time’s photo of Leda storing her preserves in a box that was obviously going to go under a piece of furniture was kind of cute. And it helps you realize how much can be done even when space is severely limited.

    I make wine in my apartment kitchen and have no special room for storing it. Although visitors are intrigued, my family simply views 16 full carboys in the living room as a normal part of life.

    Miriam

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