Fall is for Pastels, Spicy Greens, and Pie


Leaves aren’t the only things that change color in the fall. Flowers, like hydrangeas, change too. Their vibrant blues age into subdued, leathery hues.


Maples are past their peak, but they are still beautiful, and in a way even more so.


It’s the season of spicy greens. Arugula and ruby streaks have a bite. When you sink your teeth into them, you know you’re still alive.


Fall is made for making pies. This is homegrown pumpkin and squash pie, made with cream and tofu. Puree roasted pumpkin and squash with tofu, milk, and cream, and you get a satiny filling. The good thing about making your own pie is that you get to decide everything that goes into it.


Geese Fall as Thick as Snow


The snow geese are back in full. From a distance their flocks look like snow banks. With flocks this large, streams of geese fly in and fly off nonstop. You can watch them for hours and never see them crash into each other.


How do they do that? Fly so close their wingtips practically touch but never collide? Imagine riding in a jet and coming into a landing with hundreds of other jets just feet away and all landing without bumping into each other. That would be a plane ride that would take your breath away.


A Sliver in Time … Pfft And It’s Gone?

Biking to the post office today, the sky was filled with so many snow geese it was hard to stay on the road. Honk! Honk! Honk! It’s hard to pedal straight when you’re eyes are looking up at all the snow geese. Flocks of swan were flying too.

Which brings to mind what an amazing planet we live on. What makes it so amazing is the length of time it has taken for us to get to this point. Today on Skunk Bear, Adam Cole, using the length of a football field, illustrated just how long it has taken for much of the life we take for granted to evolve. If we take a hundred yard football field to represent the 4.5 billion years the earth has been around, and start walking at one end, many of the creatures we know and love don’t appear until the last yard at the other end, and we humans don’t appear until the last eighth of an inch before the end. Civilization, farming, industry, society as we know it doesn’t appear until two hair widths from the end.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8V_glRW1hA&w=898&h=505]

Which shows how precious life is. If we destroy it all, and we seem hell bent on doing that, how many millions and millions of years is it going to take for it to come back again? Next time you see snow geese flying overhead, or the smile of someone you love, consider that it took over four billion years of trial and error for those wonderful things to appear.

Tofu Crouton Puffs


When you want to make croutons, reaching for a block of tofu may be the last thing that comes to mind, but firm tofu makes a nice, crunchy crouton with a light, airy inside. Take an eight to ten ounce block of firm tofu and slice into half inch thick layers. Using paper or cloth towels, thoroughly dry the layers.


Cut the layers into half inch cubes.


Peel some garlic and crush/mince it. You decide how many cloves to use.


In a bowl mix the crushed garlic with 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil, a teaspoon or so of salt, and it you like add pepper. Add other spices if you’d like. Nothing is stopping you. You only live once, live it to the fullest.


Pour the olive oil-garlic mixture over the tofu cubed, and gently toss the tofu cubes until they are coated. Set aside for thirty minutes or so to marinate. While the tofu cubes are marinating, preheat the oven to 450ºF or 230ºC. After the oven has preheated, and about five minutes before the tofu cubes are ready for the oven, grease a 12 by 9 inch, 30 by 23 centimeter, baking pan with olive oil and heat in the oven. You want the oil in the baking pan to be hot when you put the tofu cubes on, otherwise they might stick.


Once the baking pan is hot, arrange the tofu cubes on the hot baking sheet. Be careful not to burn yourself.


Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. While baking, every five to seven minutes, turn the tofu cubes using a spatula, tongs, or chopsticks, so that all sides can brown. Remove the tofu cubes from the oven when golden brown. Place on paper towel on cooling rack. You can snack on them while hot, or cool, and use them in salads or wherever you would use croutons.


You’ll find the freshest firm tofu at Belfast Feed Store. It is never more than three days old, and delivered fresh every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, usually around 3pm. The date it is made is clearly on the label, and you’ll find a recipe under each label. How do I know this? I make and deliver it.


Peace, Love, and Happiness


Few things say peace, love, and happiness like a basket full of tomatillos. Today was the day to clear out the last of the tomatillos, peppers, and tomatoes. The tomatillo plants were still loaded with tempting fruits. This is the first year I grew tomatillos. They have earned their place as a staple in my garden.


While clearing out the tomatillos and other plants in the hoop house, I found a few chrysanthemums in bloom. How did they get there? That’s the great thing about having a garden. Colorful friends you never knew were there sprout and bloom.


Dainty Wall Flowers


The winter flowering cherry is in bloom. It doesn’t put on a showy display of flowers. Its flowers open a few at a time, hanging like forgotten ornaments on barren branches. All winter long it will bloom, even in the snow. A few sad, dainty flowers waiting for suitors who never come.


The cauliflower is none of that. Wild and woolly, it flays its strong arms about in the winter gusts. Bold, brash, grumpy, if it had a voice, it would roar. When you hold a cauliflower in your hands, you’re holding the decapitated head of a proud, angry vegetable.

Ginger-Garlic Pockets


Take slices of firm tofu, A Man and His Hoe® tofu if you are lucky enough to get some, and using a sharp knife, carve out pockets on one side of each slice.


Make a filling. I used the carved out tofu, ground pork, grated ginger, crushed garlic, and salt. Be creative. Use your favorite spices.


Stuff the tofu pockets with the filling.


Fry the pockets in hot butter or oil for seven minutes until crispy brown, flip over and fry for another seven minutes until both sides of the pockets are nicely browned. You may need to cover the pan with a lid for part of the time to thoroughly cook the filling.


Serve immediately while piping hot.

Warning: Only make this for yourself. If you make it for your spouse, friends, or children, they will demand you make it over and over again.

Like a Cloud


What does homemade tofu taste like? Hmm, that’s a good question. I was thinking how to answer that yesterday when I looked up and saw my answer floating by in the blue autumn sky. Fresh, homemade tofu tastes like a cloud.


The best time to eat it is when it is fresh out of the press, floating in cool water, warm and fluffy inside like white clouds floating through the blue sky.


On cold nights, there is nothing better than filling a pot with vegetables, chunks of fresh tofu, and pork, and letting it simmer on your wood stove for several hours.


Miasa 美朝 and her chicks love it cold. The whole family gathers around to make a communal meal out of blocks of fresh tofu. The mothers and chicks keep an eye out for me. When they see me heading out to the cottage to make tofu, they stay nearby, hoping to get a feast of fresh okara (the soybean mash leftover from making tofu) and tofu.

Less Is More Except When It Isn’t


We were shopping the other day and my husband purchased some packaged cookies. The picture above is what the cookies look like on the package. The picture below is what the cookies in the package look like in comparison to the cookies on the package.


Shoot me if I ever create deceptive packaging like that for my products. According to Field Day Organic “We take a less-is-more approach …” I think maybe they are taking this less-is-more approach too seriously. Another value they say they are committed to is “No confusion”. Confusion is exactly what we felt when we opened the package and looked at the cookies inside. Did the cookies shrink somewhere along the way? Maybe we didn’t store them correctly, though I don’t think they would have shrunken so much in just one day.

The packaging does say in small print, “Enlarged to show detail,” but it would be helpful if they indicated the exact cookie size somewhere so you wouldn’t be confused when you opened the package. Looking at the package, I don’t know if it the picture is enlarged 10%, 50%, or 100%.

Well, I’m relieved to know that like so many other companies, they “treasure customers”. I would hate to think how small the cookies would be if they didn’t treasure us.


Here again, there is the cookie as depicted on the box, and what the cookies inside the box actually look like. Less is less, don’t you think?


When Your Heart is Heavy


On a day when it seems like hate triumphs over love, taking a long bicycle ride helps, especially when there are spectacular clouds rolling over the hills. In the end, love will prevail, it always does. Hate ends up snuffing itself out, while love keeps on growing, no matter how many times you cut it down.