Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday morning

It's pretty rainy here today...well, it's actually been pretty rainy for a couple of days.  When the weather's like this I have a tendency to get uber-domestic.

Yesterday I made granola (again), and banana bread, and chicken cacciatore from scratch.  The bread that is currently baking in the oven was started last night, too.

The last few days have been good for cleaning up the garden (between - and sometimes during - rain showers).

Earlier in the week, before all the rain, I'd set aside this sunflower head so that I could try my hand at toasting seeds.  I figured, "how hard could it be?"

As it turns out, not very hard at all.

I started out by separating the seeds from the head and washing them in the sink.  The seed head was pretty dry, and all the ripe seeds separated by the simple action of rubbing my palm across the flower head. Once they were in the sink, I picked up double handfulls of them and rubbed them against each other to knock off all the garden dust and debris.
They were then left to sit in the sink so that the debris could settle and the seeds float (coincidently, this step corresponded perfectly with the amount of time it took to check my email!).

Because I didn't think to put them in a salt brine last night for today's roasting, I opted to boil them in a brine (5:1 ratio of water:salt) for about 20 minutes.  They're still a little saltier than I'd like, so next time I'd probably do 6 parts water to one part salt.

Once they were boiled, I drained them in the colander, then spread them on a baking sheet for toasting.  They were toasted at a higher temperature (375F) than I normally would have done them - but - I was baking the bread at the same time.

I took them out and stirred them at 10 minute intervals to check on their progress.  I think they were in and out of the oven about 4 times...making the total roasting time about 40 minutes.  It was pretty obvious when they were getting close to done, as the whole house started to smell like roasted seeds.  Mmmmmm.

The inspiration for all this activity was a memory I have of big sunflower heads that Mom and Dad grew on the farm when I was young.  I remember passing those seed heads sitting in the shed, drying, while I fed that cats (I think) each night.  It's funny, the way that memory is, but I don't remember if we ever did anything with them, or if they just eventually ended up in the massive compost area that we had behind the greenhouse.  Either way, the sunflower seeds today are a little tribute to those long-ago sunflowers, to that long-ago garden.

Enjoy the weekend.


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