So this is a meal Julie and I had last night that consisted of tamales, carmelized carrots, and salad. Everything except the butter in the tamales and some of the ingredients in the salad dressing were grown in my garden. The tamales were my first experiment with grinding my own masa from the Abenaki flour corn I grew in my garden last year. I treated the dried corn with pickling lime before grinding it in my new hand-cranked mill. This is the nixtamalizing process I talked about in a previous post. The masa did not grind up as finely as I'm used to, but I liked the texture and they held together just like tamales made from finer masa. Even the corn husks are from my garden. They were the same husks that covered the cobs of the flour corn. We dipped the tamales in salsa made entirely from ingredients I grew in my garden as well.
The salad, which included oak leaf lettuce, ruby streaks mustard, claytonia, bull blood beet leaf, frisee endive, and spinach, was all picked fresh in the hoop house. The greens have a distinct sweetness that I think only can come about from greens that have been grown in cold conditions. The carrots are from a fall planting that actually made it through the hot, drought conditions of late summer. I was able to harvest about seven gallons of carrots and they are being stored in the root cellar under my floor. These carrots are very sweet and tasty in a way that I think can only be achieved in a fall planting. They are sauteed in oil with salt until they are slightly crisp on the outside.
After getting back from traveling for the holidays I've been racking my wine for the second time. "Racking" is decanting the wine off of the sediment. This time I was racking the wine off of the tartaric acid sediment that precipitated out over the last few weeks of cold stabilization in my under-the-floor root cellar. It worked perfectly to leave the carboys in the cellar while I was away. The cellar hangs just above freezing in the middle of winter, which is not only perfect for storing vegetables, but is perfect for causing tartaric to crystalize in the wine.