A strange title I must admit, but it’s hop season, and time to get crazy. And in case you wonder what the heck I’m talking about, hops are what give your nice tall glass of beer its flavor. Sort of a grassy salt and pepper; hidden from view, but oh so necessary.
I speak with some authority on the subject, having been commandeered as a high school student to help pick the hop crop in Grants Pass, Oregon during the War. By the way, hops are closely related to marijuana, in case anyone is interested. Of course, hops do not contain the stuff that gives pot its signature characteristic, so go ahead and enjoy that glass of beer on a hot afternoon.
Of course, you can use hops in other ways, even as a stuffing for pillows, which is said to bring you some pretty vivid romantic dreams, but the majority is used for beer. Hop bines (that’s correct, bines, not vines climb up wires 25 or 30 feet in the air. They are harvested mechanically now, which is not at all as romantic as when the whole town of Grants Pass turned out in 1942 to strip them off their wires. Meanwhile, it’s October, and time for an Octoberfest!
We all know the most important ingredient for a successful Octoberfest party has to be beer, so invite some guests, draw up a keg, and celebrate the season!
Here is a good supper dish for those waning days of Indian summer, perhaps served with a platter of mixed bratwurst.
BTW, if you haven’t tried Farro, it is an ancient grain which just needs a little more publicity to make everyone on your block “be the first to try”. It is coarse, like barley, and like wheat and barley, needs long simmering to puff it up. It can be served hot, like rice, or chilled like this recipe.
Two or three cups cooked, chilled farro
6 Tbs. toasted pine nuts
2 nectarines, choped
4 ounces crumbled feta
16 finely minced basil leaves
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. white balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper
The farro can be used as a base for a hundred different recipes. It is only limited by your own imagination!