October 18th, 2018


On a related subject . . .

I've been posting poems for Hallowe'en. This isn't a creepy sort of poem, at all. But it's still very seasonal. It's about Autumn, which is here at last.

When the Frost is on the Punkin
James Whitcomb Riley

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,
And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,
And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it’s then’s the times a feller is a-feelin’ at his best,
With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

They’s something kindo’ harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here—
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin’-birds and buzzin’ of the bees;
But the air’s so appetizin’; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur’ that no painter has the colorin’ to mock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin’ of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries—kindo’ lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin’ sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover over-head!—
O, it sets my hart a-clickin’ like the tickin’ of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin’ ’s over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too! ...
I don’t know how to tell it—but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin’ boardin’, and they’d call around on me—
I’d want to ’commodate ’em—all the whole-indurin’ flock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

Living dangerously

So, today I cooked pumpkin (with more to do) for my Pumpkin-Pepper Soup, to be served at January's Winter Rendezvous. And for supper, I experimented with doing Mongolian Beef for the heat freaks. Here are my notes on the latter experiment.

Pillage the Village Stir Fry
First Attempt

1 lb. stir fry beef
1 lg. carrot, sliced thin
1 head of broccoli, sliced
1 lg. onion, sliced
2 bell peppers (1 green, 1 orange), sliced
3 jalapenos, sliced

Seasoned beef with salt, Chinese Five Spice, and ginger.
Placed beef and veggies in a bowl.
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar;
1/4 cup soy sauce;
1/4 cup chili oil;
1/4 cup garlic chili sauce.

Brought cast iron wok to screamin’ hot, added sesame oil and dumped in the fixin’s. When beef was more or less browned, put the lid on and steamed the veggies. Served over rice.

Made about six huge portions; the tasting portions we serve at the Rendezvous would make this serve about 10-12.

VERY tasty. Pleasantly hot. The heat was pre-eminently in the sauce, though; need to make sure that the campers get sauced when this is served up.

Beef was a bit dry. Need to make sure I start with really good beef (talk to Rice’s). I think I should season and sauce the beef and cook it first, then add the veggies. That would mean using the squarehead pans, rather than the flat-top.

Make sure all the sauce is drizzled over the pans we serve this up in! And tell servers to “dip from the bottom.”

Ingredients: Carrot, onion, and broccoli -- good amounts. Could have used another bell pepper.

Jalapenos added some good heat; might use serranos instead to get more punch. Dare I use habaneros? Add more chili oil? Definitely need to add more garlic chili sauce, so that the little red flecks show. Hot enough for us, but not quite to the standard of the heat freaks at camp.