Monday, December 30, 2013

Polenta Porridge

This dish is something else.  Matt got the idea for it from an Italian cookbook with a strong bean emphasis which we picked up at the library.  Its unlike any other dish we've made, I think, but it is so filling and yummy, despite its foreignness.  It should be a rather thick porridge, but it should not be stiff.  If its too stiff just add a little more water.  I thought it was even more fabulous with a pinch of crushed red pepper included, too.  But, of course, I sort of wish every thing I ate was spicy.  This recipe makes quite a big batch.  It feeds Matt and I several times each, but since it works for breakfast, lunch, or dinner its not too hard to eat it all up.  We especially like how easy it is to add it whatever vegetables are in season or whatever beans are on hand in the cupboard--including, for the first time, our own homegrown beans.
Polenta Porridge

1 C dried pinto beans (or similar bean)
1 large bunch spinach (or other green)
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 zucchini (or a couple potatoes), chopped
1/4 C olive oil
1 C yellow polenta
8 C water
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

Soak beans for eight hours.
Drain and rinse.
Combine beans, carrot, onion, garlic, zucchini, oil, and eight cups cold water over medium-high heat.

Bring to a boil.
Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.  The beans will not be cooked, but do not fear.
Begin to add polenta a little at a time, stirring to prevent lumps.
Cook 45 more minutes, stirring frequently.
With about 10 minutes cooking time left add in the spinach.
Test beans to be sure they're cooked through.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve (with a slab of crusty bread).

Friday, December 27, 2013

Planning Our Day

I have always kept a journal in some way, shape, or form for as long as I can remember.  Earlier this year, Matt and I started co-journaling, too.  We have found it to be a tremendously helpful process in planning our days and weeks, as well as keeping track of all that we get up to.
Our Life Is An Adventure journal, made by the ever-crafty Becky from Life for Us.
See, we've both always been list makers.  I tend to write them in my journal and day planner.  Matt tends to write them on scraps of scratch paper.  We decided that perhaps we'd be better off if we combined our efforts.

I think the idea for co-journaling came from about after Matt read The Good Life: Helen and Scott Nearing's 60 Years of Self-Sufficient Living.  He said they made a list together every evening of what they planned to do the next day.  It struck us both as a very good idea.

This is the key difference between our old way of list making and the new way.  In the old way of list making we'd end up with lists of things we wanted to do a mile long.  But, some of it would be long-term dreams--like building a greenhouse-- and some mundane, day-to-day stuff--like paying the water bill.  It wasn't always the most helpful list and sometimes the sheer length of it could overwhelm me giving me the sense that there was too much to do and not enough time to do it all.

So instead of all that we now only make a short list of just the things we want to do the next day.

That's it.

We check them off the list as they are accomplished.  Then that evening when as we make our list for the following day we make a second list for the current day, if necessary, listing anything else which we accomplished that didn't make the to-do list from the night before--the bonus tasks, if you will, that we didn't even plan to get done.

Here is are some real-life examples:

6/28/2013
-Went to Pompey’s Pillar for birding
-Planted six hills of butternut squash
-Pulled weeds
-Birthday party at Patrick’s
-Symphony in the Park
-Started hard cider with 3711 yeast, also started rhubarb wine
Projects:
Mix shredded paper into compost pile     X
Turn other compost pile     X
Thin chard     X
Transplant peppers
Harvest oregano
Hem tapestry     X
Mail tie-dye to Jamie     X
Plan Menu     X
Plant YNP trip/food     X

6/29 – 30/2013
Yellowstone trip
7/1/2013
-Cut scapes (1 lb 13 oz)
-Weeded and pulled aspen sprouts
-Sketched garden
-Plan food for 4th of July:  Crackers & hummus, falafel, fruit, PB & J
Projects:
Transplant peppers
Harvest oregano
Bake bread     X
Make crackers     X
Soak garbanzo beans     X
Make garlic scape pesto     X
Work on ticket art
Look up YNP campgrounds     X
Water houseplants     X

7/2/2013
-Pulled weeds at the community garden
-Baked bread (two loaves which were huge)
Projects:
Transplant peppers (couldn’t - still too hot out)
Meet with Chelsey
Water garden     X
Finish garden sketch template     X
Work on ticket art     X
Meet with Ryan    
Pressure cook garbanzo beans     X
Make garlic scape hummus     X

7/3/2013
-Harvested all cauliflower
-Checked cherries at RMC (should be ready next week)
-Hung out with Ryan
-Met up with Chelsey
-Made another batch of garlic scape pesto
-Played guitar
Projects:
Pack car up with all tie-dye gear     X
Make sure we have enough money for change     X
Prep food     X
Sell lots of tie-dye     X

7/4/2013
Watched fireworks and sold tie-dye in Laurel
Projects:
Pack clothes     X
Order dresses
Water garden     X
Move seedlings out of direct sun     X
Wash Vibrams
Empty photos off of camera     X
Charge batteries     X

7/5/2013
-Emptied tie-dye gear from car
-Transplanted peppers and eggplants outdoors
-Packed for Yellowstone
-Transplanted tomatoes and cauliflower into bigger pots
Projects:
Go to Yellowstone!     X

7/6/2013
-Hiked Fairy Falls-->Imperial Geyser-->Meadows Trail.  Saw Grand Prismatic from above on a ridge.  Stormed.  We ran, but didn't quite make it.  As I write we’re in the tent listening to the continuing rain.  Crazy traffic today compared with May visits.
Projects:
Hike somewhere fun     X
Eat something delicious     X

7/7/2013
-Hiked the North Rim Trail
-Unpacked car from Yellowstone trip
-Inventoried tie-dyes
-Purchased more white fabric to dye
Projects:
Hang out tent     X
Hang out sleeping bags     X
Tie-dye work     X
Order dresses
Check other supplies before ordering     X
Deposit checks     X
Price spotting scope     X
Price telescope lens     X
Contact Chantz – WSP     X

Some days we forget or are too tired to make our list.  We just pick it up again on the current day.  Many normal, day-to-day activities--such as laundry, cooking dinner, and the like--are not ever listed.  If something makes the list, but doesn't get done it just gets added to the list the next day if it still needs to be done.  Some times it takes several days before it gets check off, but that is okay.  Other lists and plans get scribbled in the margins as needed, too, like menu and trip planning.

It works well for us.  Its interesting in that having our day's tasks laid out in advance really seems to make us more productive.  And its satisfying to lay out a day's worth of work and systematically check it all off.

Monday, December 23, 2013

A More Local Sweet and Sour Sauce

I love making sauces.  This has, I am sure, come up before.  They are almost always easy to make and they are so flexible.  It can be a marinade for kebabs or tofu or a sauce for tossing with stir-fry or roast vegetables.

So, one day I was feeling like stir-fry.  I was also feeling like making something new.  I started flipping though the cookbooks and came across a recipe for sweet and sour sauce.  This is something I've never made before.  I was intrigued, but it called for pineapple and pineapple juice.  We don't ever have pineapple juice around the house.  We rarely even get whole pineapples.  But, then I noticed it said "or juice of your choice" in parenthesis after the listing for pineapple juice.  Aha, I thought, that's the ticket.  I've got loads of super, sweet apple juice in storage.  It seemed like it would make a keen substitution.   So with that recipe in mind I made a more local sweet and sour stir-fry for dinner.
And it was, indeed, a fine substitution.  The sauce was tangy and sweet and quite, quite tasty.  It was also tremendously fast and easy to make.

It wasn't the bright orange color I remember from the sweet and sour sauce at the Hunan restaurant where we ate in my youth, nor quite as thick, but it tasted great none the less.  Matt said he wasn't sure he'd ever eaten sweet and sour much before so he didn't have anything to compare it to.  He didn't really launch into the world of Asian-themed cuisine until he met me.

Apple Sweet and Sour Sauce
1/3 C apple juice
3 T apple cider vinegar
2-3 T sugar
1 T tamari (or soy sauce)
1 T cornstarch

Whisk together all ingredients.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

How Do The Christmas Cacti Know?!

The two at the library always bloom for the month of December.  Its remarkable.  Every year.   The lovely flowers are such a bright, wonderful contrast to the snowy cold and icicles.  Its like a hint of spring for the winter solstice.  They makes me happy.  
This cactus has two colors of blooms this year.  Its never done that before.  I think its pretty terrific.  I like the salmon-orange colored blossoms best of all.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Good Life - Inspiration Thursday

If you've never heard or read anything by or about Helen and Scott Nearing you're in for a treat.  This back-to-the-land couple is inspiration for my soul all over.  Moving from a New York apartment to a farm in Vermont during the Great Depression they made a rich, meaningful, hand-made life for themselves and chronicled it, as well.  Their self-reliance, determination, cooperation, humility, humor and ecological sensibilities make my heart soar.

So, imagine the surprise and delight Matt and I shared when we realized this summer that one of our favorite bands, Railroad Earth, had written a song about the Nearings and the "good life" they built together.

You can listen to it here.

"They got bread in the oven, got books on the shelf.
They're looking deep into each other eyes, keeping to themselves.
Pursuing ideals with grace and style and they're making ends meet with their huggle belly guile."

"They got the power of the sun and the strength of the soil.
Finding peace in their hearts and faith in their toil."

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Simple Woman's Day Book for December 18, 2013

A Simple Woman's Day Book for December 18, 2013


Outside my window...the snow is melting.  The sky is a happy blue with bit, white, fluffy clouds.  The clouds have been making for some particularly impressive sunsets this past week.

I am thinking.... about Adam and how excited I am for him to come north for the holidays!  He arrives Monday.

I am thankful for... Matt not working evening shifts on a regular basis any more.  Since he is in the package shipping industry this is a pretty busy time of year for them.  As such he has been picking up some extra shifts.  That is all well and good on a sporadic, as-needed basis.  But, I am sure glad he is home to have dinner with me most of the time.

From the kitchen... we're making plans for special holiday treats!

I am wearing...  a long black skirt made by the grandmother of a friend and a silky, black paisley top with sandals (until I walk home at which point the outfit will be paired with my very 80's, grey, high-top snow boots with the Velcro closure and fabulous grip).

I am creating... a black dress, but very, very slowly. 

I am going... to enjoy the heck out of my 12 days off.  Oh.....man....am I looking forward to it.  

I am reading... The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks and 

On my mind... Siam Thai, my new favorite local restaurant.  My boss took us out to eat there yesterday as a sort of end of the semester thank you.  It was AMAZING.  I don't really eat out, but next time I do I know where I am going.

Around the house...  the pile of stuff destined for donation is always growing.  Where does this stuff some from?!  Its not like I am out shopping every other day....yet I never cease to have junk cluttering up my valuable space.  

One of my favorite things... is not wrapping presents.  Seriously.  This has to be my least favorite part of Christmas.  I love the lights, the music, the food, the warmth and time with family, finding a gift I know will be perfect for so-and-so, the cheer and general sense of good-will in the air.   I love pretty much everything about the holiday season.  But, boy does wrapping presents make me into a Grinch.  I am terrible at it and enjoy it not at all.  It nearly drove me to tears two nights ago.  But, the end is near.  I like gift bags.  Gift bags are where its at.  But, they're not nearly so fun to open.  So...I struggle on--and Matt swoops in to take over when he can tell I am being pushed over the edge.

A few plans for the rest of the week... are to wrap those three last presents, music and dancing Saturday, bake a little bread, sew some bandanas for Matt to tie-dye, and undoubtedly some reading and Scrabble.

A small window into my life...
Another batch of homebrew in the works.
 This format come from the Simple Woman blog.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Leaf Patches

I got this awesome little skirt at a recent clothes swap.  Its made of a sort of rough-looking linen, but is soft to the skin.  Its a good length and an all around good fit.  It has a nice deep pocket and a cute little dragonfly patch on it.  But, it also had a stain.
But, I thought I could figure out a way to make it work--a patch of some sort.  The credit for the leaves though lands squarely with Matt.  He's quite the creative idea man.  He frequently makes little suggestions for my artsy endeavors that are almost always a great improvement to the project.  He's the idea man, but, I'm the one that's got to make it happen.
I cut some rough leaf shapes from some more of the scrap fabric from my dancing cloak and stitched them on.  I only needed one leaf to cover the stain, but I liked the look of three.  I sewed quite close to the edges of the leaves, but didn't worry about the potential fraying around the edges of the leaves.  The pocket edges were sewn so that they fray so I figured I was just going with the theme of the skirt.  Plus, as I recall that particular fabric didn't fray all that much.  It seemed to go with the sort of home-spun looking fabric.
I really liked it.  Its my nature skirt.  The leaves were definitely a good idea.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Snowy Signs of Life

One of my favorite things about snow is the tracks left in it.  I can follow rabbit tracks and follow along to see where they go--the answer is:  all over tarnation.  I can see the wispy outlines of wings fluttered against the snowy ground as a mourning dove lands.  I can marvel at the long toes of the blue jays from the prints on the porch railing.  And I can smile at the fact that throughout the cold, snowy days there has been one spot cleared down to the grass in my yard and its directly under the feeder.  I watched a squirrel clear away the snow in search of sunflower seeds dropped  from above by those messy, messy birds.

I hope the snow lasts until Christmas.  I love a white Christmas.

Canning Savory Jelly & Mustard


We'd never made savory jelly before.  Eaten it and enjoyed it, sure, particularly from Becky's Berries, but we'd never tried our own hand at making it.  But, now Matt has the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving--a belated birthday gift from my mom--and there are so many new recipes to try!
Frankly, I don't know how I lived this long without experiencing the mouthwatering wonder that is garlic jelly.  I mean, really, I love garlic everything!  How did I not know about this for so long?!  We got to use our own homegrown garlic in the recipes, too, which makes my heart happy.
And we made something else new to us--mustard.
So far we've only made one variety, but I can see more if it in our future, too.  That was an interesting process and very easy.  I, personally, cannot stand regular yellow mustard, but I do like to use more flavorful, brown mustard in cooking, in things like my mustard stir-fry sauce.  Ginger-garlic mustard will be perfect for that.
We made:
8 – ¼ pints Red Pepper-Garlic Jelly
2 – ½  pints Thai Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce
5 – ¼ pints Thai Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce
3 – ½ pints Roasted Garlic Jelly
3 – ¼ pints Roasted Garlic Jelly
6 – ¼ pints Ginger-Garlic Mustard
The project dovetails nicely, of course, with Matt's recent bread experiments, too.  I started my day with pepper jelly on toast!  Yum.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Runner Sled

I had never ridden a runner sled before yesterday, at least that I recall.  And, as such, I had no idea what fun I'd been missing.
The runner sled experience is vastly, vastly superior to the plastic saucer sleds that I am used to.  The runners slice through the snow sending me flying downhill with delightful speed--even inducing me to let out a few shrieks of astonished joy.  The ability to steer prolongs the downhill glide and adds to the adventure, especially if you're the type that likes to launch off jumps built up in the snow--which Matt most certainly is.  It is also great for riding double.  Matt said he can remember when all three of the boys could ride together.
That would be Matt at center flying face-first down one of the sledding hills.
See, the runner sled belongs to Matt's folks.  Matt's dad mentioned some time ago that he'd repaired the broken wood on it--broken most likely from three boys repeatedly going off jumps.  Ever since it was brought up Matt has been dying to give it a go.  It was clearly an object associated in his memory with a jolly good time.  This recent spell of winter weather served up just the right opportunity for sledding.  The snow is thick and it is above zero on the thermometer again, too.  So, Matt picked me up after work and we went to the park.  There were several others seizing the last bit of daylight for a chance to glide down the hill.  It was splendid to sled in the purple twilight with the brilliance of the white snow reflecting the dying light.
I like that you can see how snowy Matt's pants are in this photo.  My skirt was equally powdery.  You can also tell how dark it is getting.
As we returned to the car with Matt pulling the sled behind him he remarked that it was just as fun as he remembered.   It nice when that happens.  I thought it was pretty darn fun myself.

Everybody is a Genius - Inspiration Thursday

"Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing it is stupid." - Albert Einstein

Monday, December 9, 2013

Deep Brown Gravy

I call this gravy deep on account of its having such a rich, deep flavor.  Its pretty amazing-so creamy and savory.  Its our go-to brown gravy.  We made a double (or maybe triple?) batch for the Thanksgiving meal.
Deep Brown Gravy

2 T cornstarch
2 T tamari (or soy sauce)
1 1/2 C veg stock (or water)
1/2 t garlic powder
2 T tahini (or other nut butter)
1 t thyme
splash of oil (optional)

Combine cornstarch and tamari into a smooth paste in a medium-small saucepan.
Whisk in stock and garlic powder.
Cook over medium-high heat, whisking often, until it starts to thicken and come to a boil.
Remove from heat.
Whisk in tahini.
Serve.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Storing Carrots in the Ground

We may have planted an excessive amount of carrots this year.  We sure do like carrots.  But, we still have almost a whole 12 x 4 foot bed of them in the ground.  And we've eaten our fair share already.
Unsure about where we were going to store all these carrots Matt decided to just leave them in the ground for storage.
Matt placed black trash bags filled with leaves (which he had collected to save for his compost pile) across the whole bed--right over the carrot tops.  He then covered the whole thing with a sheet of plastic, creating a low hoop tunnel of sorts.  He pinned the edges down with bricks.  Its Matt's version of a vegetable clamp.
So far it has been fabulous.
The carrots stay fresh and delicious and are harvested only as needed.  If you ask me, there is something special about the way a carrot tastes the day it is picked.  You can tell it is still alive.  As a result, the crisper drawers of the fridge are not overflowing with mountains of carrots.
We dug carrots Thanksgiving morning.  We're hoping to be able to dig fresh carrots on Christmas morning, too.
IF the system works to keep the carrots good through this record breaking cold spell we're having that is.  The high, and I repeat HIGH, for the last three days being -12, -8, and -2 degrees F.  That is pretty cold for Billings.   Matt dug 12 pounds of carrots and our last pound of leeks ahead of the storm.
So, we'll just see what the rest of the carrots look like when it get back up into the 30s the next couple weeks.  I am crossing my fingers....
This photo was taken one day after all the rest in this post.  That lump at the center-right of the frame is the plastic covered carrots.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ring The Bell and Let the People Know - Inspiration Thursday

This isn't the first time that Playing For Change has made an appearance on my blog.  What can I say?  I love it.  I love the music.  I love the bridges being crossed.  I love the awareness being raised.  I love the lives being changed.  I love the message being shared.
"Everybody's got to live together.
All the people got to understand.
Love your neighbor like you love your brother.
Come on and join the band.
All you need is love and understanding.
Ring the bell and the let the people know.
We're so happy and we're celebrating.
Let your feelings show
Love is all you need, love is all you need,
Love is all you need."

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Our Thanksgiving Feast

It was quite a good Thanksgiving feast: mashed potatoes and gravy, cornbread stuffing, homemade pickles, Bek's quinoa stuffed peppers, fresh lefsa (Sharon figured out how to make dairy-free lefsa! Huzzah!), sweet corn, unbrie cheese, hummus and flaxseed crackers, soft, white dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, Ryan's awesome tomatillo salsa and chips.   Matt and I had chickpea cutlets, a recipe we've used a number of times from the cookbook Veganomicon, while the rest of the fam had their turkey.  The gals played Bananagrams while the fellas watched football.  We capped it all off with two kinds of homemade pie--gooseberry and apple.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Its Beginning to Look....

...a lot like Christmas!
That is what Matt and I were saying as he cleared away snow from the front porch this morning (and I took photos of the snow).  We got more than six inches in the last 24 hours.  It looks so beautiful and has made me quite happy.  I rather like snow in December.  Now when it snows in October or April I might grumble, but in December--no problem.  Its winter!
In addition to the snow making it all Christmasy we also got the tree all set up and decorated--not that it takes much.  We've got a rather small plastic tree which was one of the many things I inherited from my great-aunt when she moved.  There are probably just a couple dozen ornaments, if that, all of which are from my childhood.  And we've got three strands of bubble lights.  It is the perfect amount of decoration for me.  Small enough I don't have to store a whole big box of stuff all year, but bright and sentimental enough to launch me into Christmas cheer.
My dad dropped off some Christmas packages when he was in town a week ago.  (That is actually what prompted me to set up the tree--I had gifts to put under it.)  One from my step-mother he told us we should open it the day after Thanksgiving.  It was something we'd use through the holiday season.  So now there is an awesome new bubble light fixture in the front window, too.  Dana knows how much I appreciate bubble lights.  They're so fun and make me think of my grandmother.
My mother painted this ornament for me for my second Christmas.  Most of my ornaments are of this highly sentimental, homemade fashion.  It makes my heart happy to hang them up.
Matt and I have been busy making Christmas gifts, too, but still have a few more work sessions in store before we're done.  I have a nice sense of calm about it all--which has not always been the case.  I wish I had a few albums of Christmas music though....
Like the "cushon" on our bench?!

Matt's Sourdough Experiements

Matt has been making sourdough.
Sourdough baguettes.  Sourdough rounds.  Whole wheat sourdough.  All white sourdough.  Sourdough pizza.  Sourdough french toast.  Sourdough bagels.  Sourdough, sourdough, sourdough.
He was inspired to try his hand at it by his reading of Cooked by Michael Pollan.  There was a chapter on fermentation that apparently piqued his interest.  (It also inspired him to try brewing a batch of mead, too, in addition to the beer he brews.)
Since then I couldn't begin to count all the loaves he's made and recipe variations he's tried.  He's been primarily working out of two books we picked up at the library:  The River Cottage Bread Handbook by Daniel Stevens and Crust and Crumb by Peter Reinhart.  The latter he finds a bit pretentious.  The former he seems particularly taken with.  I wouldn't be surprised if it got added to our list of books we'd like to eventually purchase.  Our library, it seems, lacks any bread books specific to sourdough.
Its sure been an interesting, ongoing experiment.  Experimentation which I wholeheartedly support as its been keeping me well supplied with yummy, crust, fresh bread.
We've sure learned a lot and I am sure there is still so much more to learn.  I would say perhaps the best thing Matt's discovered is the secret to really thick, crusty bread.  The secret is to bake it at the highest setting of the oven (500 degrees F. in our case) with a pan of boiling hot water on the rack below the bread.  Oh, it makes for an amazing crust!  We did break one glass pan though during the learning curve though, I will admit.  Other than that it has been 100% amazing.  I love a thick, chewy crust.
Another thing we've learned is that its entirely unnecessary to use dry yeast.  A lot, I'd venture to say most, of the sourdough recipes we've found call for the use of both the sourdough starter and commercial dry yeast.  This didn't make any sense to Matt and I.  We'd always thought that was part of the charm of sourdoughs--you don't need to spend hard earned money on commercial yeast.  (I admit part of this presumption on my part was due to a passage I remembered from Walden by Thoreau where he remarks, "I have gladly omitted it since, though most housewives earnestly assured me that safe and wholesome bread without yeast might not be, and elderly people prophesied a speedy decay of the vital forces. Yet I find it not to be an essential ingredient, and after going without it for a year am still in the land of the living; and I am glad to escape the trivialness of carrying a bottle-full in my pocket, which would sometimes pop and discharge its contents to my discomfiture."
We wanted to make bread with only native yeast acting to raise it.  Turns out, Thoreau was right and that works just fine.  Commercial yeast is completely unnecessary.
But, just when things were going so well Matt didn't feed the starter for three days and whamo!  The starter has been struggling ever since.  There is very little bubbling and it lacks the tangy smell it had previously.  After trying to nurture it back to health for the last couple weeks I think Matt is ready to call it a lesson learned and start a fresh with a new starter.
It gives me a whole new respect for those folks who can trace the origin of their starter way, way back.  That's pretty impressive since just a couple days neglect can really do some damage.  Of course, nowadays one can always put it in the fridge for a bit if it is not actively being used.  Then it doesn't need fed every day.  Of course, that also means there is no fresh sourdough bread to eat every day either!
Another really interesting thing we found is how variable the sourness of the bread can be.  It seems like the taste develops with time in a number of ways.  One, a brand new starter doesn't seem to be as tangy as a more mature starter.  Second, depending on how soon you pull out some of the starter after feeding seems to impact the sourness.  Starter used more closely after feeding time seemed much tangier than when Matt poured off some starter to use much later in the day.  Third, it seems to me that the bread gets tangier when its had a day to cool and rest.  Bread eaten right out of the oven didn't seem to have as pronounced a flavor as it does once it has had a chance to cool.
I've also read, on the Root Simple blogNatural News, and others sources, that there may be additional health benefits to eating this sort of bread as opposed to that raised with commercial yeast--nutrients being more readily available for absorption, lowering glycemic values, and perhaps even reducing the amount of gluten in the bread.  And even if in the end that is all proven false, hey, its still yummy bread to eat.
When I first met Matt I wasn't convinced I liked sourdough.  But, like so many things, it sure has grown on me.  I, for one, am pretty content to be the taste-tester for all of these experiments.