The ground is soft and spongy, fully soaked with water. The dirt roads that we use daily are quite muddy. The springs are flowing freely again. The slow and steady rains seem to be truly replenishing the groundwater. With the warm sunshine yesterday, the young plants in the greenhouse seemed to grow overnight, just as they do in the spring.
The new year is a time to evaluate the previous season, as well as to plan and dream for the coming one. There are many hours in the office: revising the planting schedule, ordering seed, and more.
The cows spent the last week in the barn, eating hay and allowing us to collect manure. They were relishing the fresh grass today. We continue to work on our small building projects: putting new doors on the grain barn and fixing up the egg room.
- Winter squash
- Pac Choy
Pumpkin Pudding, adapted from nytimes.com
- 1 quart milk
- 6 tablespoons stone-ground yellow cornmeal
- ⅓ cup molasses
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 cups pumpkin purée, canned or made from 2 pounds fresh pumpkin (see below) * make fresh pumpkin 1 day in advance if possible*
- 4 eggs
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ cup raisins (optional)
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 2-quart casserole, soufflé dish or Dutch oven.
Pour the milk into a 3- or 4-quart pot or saucepan, and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, and slowly stream in the cornmeal while whisking the milk. Turn the heat to low and simmer 15 minutes, stirring, until the mixture has the consistency of runny cream of wheat. Stir in the molasses and honey, and continue to simmer, stirring, for five minutes. Remove from the heat, and whisk in the pumpkin until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, and add the remaining ingredients. Pour into the buttered casserole, scraping in every bit with a rubber spatula.
Place in the oven, and bake 1 to 1 1/2 hours until set; a knife should come out clean when inserted, and the top should be just beginning to brown. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
To make the pumpkin purée: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Place the pumpkin pieces on the baking sheet. Roast for 1 hour or until thoroughly tender. Allow to cool. Peel the pieces, and purée them in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Place puree in a colander over a bowl and allow it to drain overnight in the refrigerator.
Advance preparation: You can serve this hot, at room temperature or even cold. It keeps for several days in the refrigerator.