Archive for July, 2009

Homemade Pickles!

July 20, 2009
Homemade Pickles, attempt 1

Homemade pickles, attempt 1.

When we first got into canning, the very first thing Adam wanted to make was pickles. So when we came across a big basket full of cucumbers at St. Lawrence Market last weekend (5.5lbs for $7, not too bad), we decided to take the plunge.

It’s a long process – step 2 begins 12-18 hours after step 1, so you need to have things timed properly. This weekend we decided we’d make it work on Sunday – and did step 1 as soon as we woke up (late) on Sunday morning, and still found ourselves finishing the process after 11 p.m… Next time I think we should aim for a Saturday.

Anyway – the process really isn’t very difficult, and besides my major flub that I think I corrected decently well, I think we did an ok job. We’re going to leave it a few weeks (or as long as we can stand) before we open them, but here’s the process:

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Our Garden, Week-by-Week: Week 7

July 19, 2009
The whole plot, July 19th.

The whole plot, July 19th.

I’m mostly pleased with how our garden is going, with a few notable exceptions.

First, the bad. What is UP with our roses? Remember how beautiful the rose bush once was, and how excited I was? That day is no more.

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Our Garden, Week-by-Week: Week 6

July 13, 2009

We took about a week and a half off of paying attention to our garden (beyond watering), and man did it show. So many weeds! We finally took some time yesterday to clear out the weeds, tie up the latest growth on the tomato plants, and generally assess. Generally I think everything is doing pretty well!

Basil! (And red leaf lettuce in the back)

Basil! (And red leaf lettuce in the back)

We’ve been regularly picking lettuce leaves for salad, and have made one giant batch of pesto so far from the basil. I think we may do more pesto soon to freeze… anyone else done that? Will it freeze well? I’d love to be able to use it year round. I know canning pesto is difficult, so freezing is the only alternative we can think of. Maybe without the cheese?

And speaking of our basil, I’m thrilled with it’s progress! It’s growing like crazy and it’s just so delicious. So amazingly sweet and tasty. It’s been flowering occasionally, but we pick them off as they appear and haven’t noticed any flavour issues.

Otherwise, how is our garden doing:

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Sunday Morning Breakfast

July 5, 2009
Aaron frying up some french toast.

Aaron frying up some french toast.

We have a visitor this weekend, and Aaron was kind enough to fry up some french toast for a lovely Sunday morning at home. We served it with a nice blueberry sauce and fresh Victoria raspberries, hand delivered by Aaron. Thanks, Aaron!

Breakfast!

Breakfast!

A beautiful day for eating outside – so we enjoyed a very relaxing morning into early afternoon of eating and catching up with our old friend.

Cherry Brown Butter Bars

July 5, 2009
Yummy Goodness

Yummy Goodness

As I mentioned the other day, I’ve been on a major baking kick lately. Luckily I haven’t made *everything* on that list, but I did make a nice dent.

Friday evening I made the Blueberry Oat Scones to serve as our breakfast for the week, and yesterday I indulged in Cherry Brown Butter Bars. Good news: They really are as good as they looked! Definitely a recipe I’ll make again:

Recipe courtesy of Smitten Kitchen, my new favourite food blog. This woman can do no wrong. Everything she posts looks like a recipe I want to make as soon as possible. Her latest post is hamburger buns… sound up my alley? Of course. Back to the Cherry Brown Butter Bars. Full recipe is here, and I stuck to her recipe pretty spot on. My only change was that I did use the entire pound of cherries, and since we don’t own a fancy cherry pitter, we sliced ours in half. That also meant that ours didn’t look near as pretty as hers did, but I’m ok with that. (more…)

I wish all house guests brought goodies like this!

July 3, 2009

Our good friend Aaron is visiting from Victoria – and was nice enough to bring us some goodies from his garden back home. Cherries and raspberries – both amazingly sweet and delicious!

Raspberries and Cherries!

Raspberries and Cherries!

Thanks, Aaron! Come again anytime!

Someone reel me in…

July 2, 2009

I am on a mega baking kick. This could be a problem.

This weekend, I’ve toyed with the idea of making any of the following:

  • Cherry Brown Butter Bars – Do these not look AMAZING? We have cherries that I just may have bought specifically for this recipe… this one is high on the list.
  • A pie of some sort. I started making a from-scratch pie crust yesterday when, in a panic, I realized that the pre-made dough in my freezer wasn’t the type I thought it was. But when I realized that the homemade type would require at least 1 hour of chilling time, I scraped the idea after I’d mixed my flour, sugar and salt… so, I can still make a pie, right?
  • Turnovers – Yum? No raspberries on hand, but we do have tons of blueberries. And… these look easy! And… yum!
  • The Perfect Muffin – They’re just that tasty. And it’s been a little while since I’ve made them. And as I mentioned above, we have tons of blueberries…
  • Blueberry Oat Scones – I know I *just* made these, but I want to try again, ok? This time with milk instead of cream just to see if they’d be as good. And man, were they good.
  • Chocolate Yogurt Snacks – I’m completely out there at this point, right? But I saw these when they were first posted and OMG WANT TO MAKE THEM.

Obviously I’m not going to make anywhere close to that this weekend. Or in the next few weeks, really – but they are all on my “to bake soon” agenda. Maybe I’ll make a few batches of different things and freeze some dough?

Madeleines

July 2, 2009
Eat Me!

Eat Me!

A few weeks ago, my mother-in-law sent me this link with a slight nudge that I try them out for her everyone’s enjoyment. It doesn’t take much to convince me to try out a new recipe, so for a small family gathering for Canada Day yesterday, I took the plunge. The only special piece of equipment you need is a madeleine tray, which I found at my local kitchen supply store.

Clearly David Lebovitz knows much more about cooking and baking than I do, and I couldn’t begin to go into the depth of analysis that he did (the wrong baking powder can leave a tinny aftertaste?) on how to make these lovely little cookies. I will say, however, that I can give a slightly simpler and hopefully less intimidating summary on how to make some yummy madeleines. They were much easier than I’d expected after I first skimmed his 11 step process (though steps 7 and 9 are inexplicably missing…). If you want the full science and lots of tips for making these *perfect*, please read David’s original post. If you want a quick rundown, here ya go:

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Our Garden, Week-by-Week: Week 4

July 1, 2009
Fixing the tomato stake

Fixing the tomato stake

It’s hard to believe four weeks have passed since we first planted our garden.  But many of the plants which started out tiny have grown to be three or four times their size.  The tomato plants are beginning to form little flowers, which is a good sign for an early crop, and the basil and red leaf lettuce is suddenly bountiful.  In fact, Cari just bought a big bag of pine nuts at Costco yesterday so we could make a big batch of pesto.

The rose bush continues to do remarkably well, though it seems to shoot off in every direction.

The only other update to our garden is the family of ladybugs we bought at Practical Art Gallery in Stratford last weekend.  It’s this adorable little gallery of critters and flowers constructed out of metal, run by the artist’s aunt and mother.

We look forward to seeing what happens to our garden over the next four weeks.  Hopefully we’ll start seeing some of our veggies start budding soon.

Photos for July 1st, 2009: (more…)


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