Saturday, July 25, 2009

Two Days of Tomatoes

The rain has been wonderful for the garden, but terrible for going out picking! Over the past two days, I've picked an overflowing basket of tomatoes.
Because of this overabundance, I've been getting creative with cooking. Yesterday I made a cheddar omlete with tomatoes and this morning I made a goat cheese omlete with tomatoes (pictured below).
Thursday night I watched a preview viewing of Julie and Julia, which is based on the book of the same name by blogger Julie Powell, who spent an entire year cooking though Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and blogging about it. The film alternated between Julie's (played by Amy Adams) life and that of Julia Child's (Merle Streep, because, ya know, who else could pull that one off!) life in France. It was a truely hilarious and touching film. Nora Ephron did a fabulous job at the screenplay and directing. Since then, I have been putting way too much butter in the pan to cook the eggs. You know what? They've been the best and most beautiful omletes I've ever made in my life! Vive le beurre!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Rainy days (thank you, thank you, thank you!)

The rainy days have actually made me long for my newly acquired outdoor furniture. My mom has this crazy thing about changing stuff out every few years in my patio (it could also be that I happen to buy crappy stuff, so it needs to be changed every once in a while!). The way she sees it, its like buying a new comforter for your bed- don't just change the sheets, change the curtains and rugs as well. Hence, cushions were bought as well...all on sale, thank goodness!

This set of chairs and the table were actually at one time on my Mom's front porch. They've been sitting in the bamboo jungle (aka, Mom's backyard) for over a year, just collecting vines.

The table and chairs are all new, as well as the umbrella (ya know, "curtains."). I love sitting out there now. Surprisingly, under the umbrella I can work on my laptop without the glare I had before.
Love it, love it, love it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Sauce

The tomatoes are finally coming into their own and I have way too many of them! I've decided to make some tomato sauce from the recipe found in Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle:

10 quarts Tomato Puree (about 30 lbs tomatoes)
4 Large Onions, Chopped
1 Cup dried Basil
1/2 Cup Honey
4 Tbs. dried Oregano
3 Tbs. Salt
2 Tbs. Ground Lemon Peel
2 Tbs. Thyme
2 Tbs. Garlic Powder
2 Tbs. Dried Parsley
2 tsps. Pepper
2 tsps. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg

Soften Onions in a heavy 3 gallon pot. Add small amount of water if necessary, but no oil. Add pureed tomatoes and all seasonings. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for 2 to 3 hours, until sauce is thickened, as desired. Stir frequently, especially at end, to avoid buring. Freeze leftovers in easy to use containers.

First, part of the ingredients: Tomatoes (10 lbs worth in the large gray bowl, and onions from my garden) I had to do a 1/3rd of the recipe because it calls for 30 lbs!!!

I chopped everything up, putting the tomatoes in the food processor, then got them going on the stove, with a few dried herbs added (can you believe that cinnamon is an ingredient in tomato sauce!?!). It started out
The end result was a nice, lovely red with a deep, rich flavor. Very much unlike any tomato sauce I've ever tasted.
It made up 10 1.75 cup containers and 2 2.5 containers full of sauce, all nicely stored in the freezer, ready to pour over pasta or to make pizza whenever I want! Yum! I can't wait!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

4th of July weekend- What I did...

My 4th of July was very productive! I made these lovely blueberry muffins...
I took several pictures of Gabby with my sunflowers...
I proved to myself that I could draw facial features...
And cut them out...
Then glue them together to make monster masks for my Youth Services class.
Cute, huh?
I also made delicious hamburgers for dinner that night, but we were so hungry that no pictures were taken of them.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My garden attacked me and the dogs fought back

Sunday night, after my great mowing and weed eating extravaganza of the back yard, I sat the sprinkler out in the herb garden, then took a shower. I went back out, in nightie and flip flops, to move the water. What I thought would be a simple task turned into a muddy nightmare! The trusty flip flops caught on the low fencing and I fell, face forward, into the garden. My left knee was attacked by a decorative mushroom when I landed. I'm telling you, it has taken me a few days to get over the trauma of it all!!!

Now, here are the pictures of the aftermath... the fence is bent and the devious mushroom is impacted about 3 inches into the ground.

Bent fence, but still keeps out the dogs and cats (don't ask me how, they could all jump it if they wanted to!)

Bruised and swollen above the right knee... no clue what I hit with it!

A nice, swollen goose-egg bruise on the left knee, thanks to the mushroom.

Ruby is very concerned...

Henry is ready for revenge (actually, he was just in the process of barking, but I couldn't resist the pic!)
I decided the fighting wasn't worth it, put the water in the garden again and sat back, relaxing with an adult beverage (mmm, Rahr Red Rocks!!!), a YA novel, and my IPod.