Sunday, October 4, 2015

Family History Pie and Grape Harvest Update

    I held a training session this evening for the family history consultants in our ward.  I felt that it went well. I'm particularly concerned about motivating our youth consultants to have more confidence in their abilities and the faith to trust God that He will give them the help they need.  As a post-training treat I served two pumpkin pies.  One pie was made with a "normal" pumpkin pie recipe, spiced with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.  The second pie was spiced with just ground allspice.  This was how my grandmother, Sylvia Lee, made "squash" pies.  I really liked her squash pies, but I can't seem to get mine to turn out exactly how her squash pies tasted.  When I asked her for a recipe many years ago she told me that the only difference between her squash pies and her pumpkin pies was that the squash pies were seasoned only with ground allspice. As she didn't measure exactly, she couldn't tell me how much allspice to use.  I suspect I may be using too much allspice. I have been mirroring the cumulative amount of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves from my pumpkin pie recipe to determine how much ground allspice to use. I will have to start reducing the amount and see if that turns out closer to the taste of Grandma Silvia's squash pies.

Pumpkin Pie on the left, Squash Pie on the right

     The squash pie was well received by the family history consultants as well as by Linda, Don Jensen, and his wife Heidi.  I even got some compliments on my pie crust. I gave everyone a slice from each pie.  Everybody seems to like both pies, some preferring the pumpkin pie and some preferring the squash pie. Actually, they were technically both squash pies as they were made from the same Potimarron winter squash. I may have already done that little rant in my blog how the term "pumpkin" is botanically meaningless. There are four separate subspecies of squash, Maxima, Moscata, Pepo, and Mixta, all of which have some cultivars which are called pumpkins. Potimarron is from the Maxima subspecies which includes the hubbards and most of the better winter keepers. It looks like a Red Kuri and I still have a lot of them.

      Grandma Sylvia was not a wonderful cook in that she had a somewhat limited repertoire. I don't think she did much cooking for her family as she grew up. Then she married my grandpa Guy Dudley Tunnell when she was just 18 and suddenly had to cook for Grandpa Tunnell and his three boys from his first marriage. I'm sure that was quite the "Trial by Fire". However, she made the best of it and there were a few things she became quite good at making. Besides her squash pies, she made the most wonderful beans and cornbread.

    I finished juicing grapes yesterday evening. My total production for 2015 was 16 gallons of canned grape juice and a little more than 9 quarts of raisins. I may have made 10 quarts of raisins as Linda and some of the grandkids have been helping themselves to the raisins during the past few weeks. That is an incredible harvest from just eight grape vines.  Now the only canning projects looming on my horizon are chickens and finishing the applesauce.

     I had a wonderful surprise at work this past Friday.  My good friend Ian brought by a nice little bag of Chanterelle mushrooms.  I used part of them to make an eggplant dish.  The recipe didn't call for mushrooms, but it seemed like a good fit. I made this sauce using onions, white wine vinegar, chanterelle mushrooms, and cream. I wasn't particularly crazy about the eggplant by itself, but the sauce was very good.  As long as there was lots of sauce on the eggplant, it was tasty. Since I have more eggplant in the garden I need to find a few more good eggplant recipes.  The rest of the Chanterelles are going into a French mushroom soup. I went ahead and cut up the mushrooms and sautéed them in butter as Chanterelles don't keep very well as fresh mushrooms.

Cantharellus cibarius

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