Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Yesterday was a really awesome day.  It was really lovely weather, and Paul and I got up early and went to the St. Lawrence Market for the Sunday antique market. I’d never been before, and there was some really cool stuff there.  AND! I got a quilt stand! I know, I know, you’re thinking “how old is this lady?! Ninety-five?!” because really, who buys quilt stands? Well, I do.  I have this beautiful quilt I got last year in Montreal that’s more than a hundred years old and I love it and the backing is silk and I always want to look at it but I simply cannot sleep with it on my bed – I’ve done so on a few different occasions, and I’ve made existing tears bigger, and felt the backing rip over my feet.  My mom has an antique quilt stand and I thought it was exactly what I need and then I stumbled right upon one yesterday! Mega score. Paul and I also bought a Super Nintendo with a whole bunch of games.  After the market we were really hungry.  Like low-blood-sugar-cranky-pants-hungry.  I was too hungry to even think about what I wanted to eat, but Paul wanted savoury french toast.

So savoury french toast we had.  When I later explained the concept of savoury (rather than sweet) french toast to my dear friend Mara, she cringed and pretended to vomit.  To each their own, I suppose!  Really it’s just adding a bit of salt to your egg/milk mixture (and herbs, if you want to ) and then varying your toppings. Instead of maple syrup, I had mine with this delicious fresh yellow tomato and sour cream.  Paul had something strange like sour cream with ketchup and hot sauce. Either way, a delicious brunch.

Speaking of tomatoes, that yellow tomato came from Paul’s mom’s garden in Kitchener.  He went home for a quick visit and came back with 3 litres of tomatoes for me.  About half were red and half were low-acid yellow, so I decided it was definitely a bad idea to try and can the low acid ones.  I had been intrigued earlier this summer by a recipe for a yellow tomato sauce on 101 Cookbooks and decided to try it out.  The recipe was really very simple – as tomato sauces likely should always be – and it was more that I had never thought of making a sauce with yellow tomatoes before.  But how pretty!  I invited Mara over for dinner to see my new place and Paul and I made this yellow tomato sauce, also stealing the onion technique from this tomato sauce recipe from over at my other go-to food blog, Smitten Kitchen.  I think I’ve now decided that cutting an onion in half and letting it simmer in with sauce is basically the most ingenious way to get onion flavour into sauces.  Or soups for that matter, or who knows what else!  I love it.  I love this onion technique the way I love cobbler.

This sauce smelled so good while it was cooking.  Paul and I both had our concerns that it wouldn’t taste nearly as good as it smelled, but it was actually really delicious. We sauteed and threw in some of my many CSA veggies at the end (namely a funny shaped yellow zucchini, spinach, and a store-bought portobello mushroom) in an attempt to use up the many veggies I’m having a hard time consuming now that I live alone (I’ve been giving away cobs of corn and bunches of beets!)

We had the sauce over pan-friend mini gnocchi, topped with parmesan, and served it alongside a simple salad of lettuce, grated carrot and pea shoots (also all CSA items) with delicious ACE bakery baguette.

And then we ate it on my back patio.  It was awesome.  And we had cobbler for dessert (again).  This time it was peach rhubarb cobbler, and Paul thought it was better than the peach blueberry one, but I didn’t think so.

Then I left my camera sitting on the patio overnight and I’m pretty sure it rained and I KNEW when I was coming inside last night that there was something I meant to remember but couldn’t actually remember what that thing was and when I remembered this morning it was out there on the ground all soaked with beads of water but miraculously it seems fine.  The reason that I went looking for it this morning was because I was making another something delicious for breakfast in honour of Paul’s first day back to school, and first day going to school full-time in a very long time.  Again, in an effort to eat up some of my veggies I made corn pancakes!  I used a Smitten Kitchen recipe again, which you can review here – though mine seemed to turn out quite differently – the batter was pretty runny, even though I added a generous extra sprinkling of flour at the end – and they turned out more like crepes than like puffy pancakes.  But I didn’t mind, they were delicate and delicious and not too sweet so they were so good with maple syrup and coffee.  And man, they fried up really nice and golden, which I must say is the most satisfying pancake-cooking experience.

So there you have it.  A lot of really good foods in a short period of time.  And well-balanced meals! And local fruits and veggies! A pretty great day off in every way possible.

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Okay, so I obviously owe anybody who has actually been reading my blog an apology.  Because I haven’t posted in like, a month.  There are various excuses for this, which include:

a) being out of town for various stints of time to do things like go visit family, go to Hillside festival, go to Muskoka, and just do the sorts of things that people like to do when it is July.

b) not being able to find my camera cord and therefore not being able to upload any photos to my computer to include in a post.

Anyways, I do apologize, and I very much intend to continue updating regularly now that I have found my camera cord and will be more around in this hot, humid, sweaty city.

So please accept my apology, and onwards!

I haven’t made a lot of things of note lately, so I think I’ll talk a bit about some of the little food projects I’ve done recently.

So I’ve been trying to grow some foods on my lil balcony this year.  I got a few yellow beans and one or two peas earlier this spring/summer, but now those plants seem to have withered and some died with the heat of this summer.  My kale and my tomatoes are still flourishing though.  And my tomatoes have finally started to ripen! I’m growing Golden Nugget cherry tomatoes, which I started from seeds from Urban Harvest.  I’ve started picking some and it’s really satisfying, though I don’t think they’re my favourite tomato variety.  I think next year, when I have a south-facing balcony at my new apartment, I will try and grow a variety that needs more sun and maybe will be one that I like a bit more.  But these little guys are still great.

Next, I’ll tell you about the dinner that Paul and I made the other night.  It wasn’t really anything particularly fancy, but it was so so delicious.  It was on the holiday Monday, the holiday known by a million different names – everything from the simple “Civic Holiday” to “Simcoe Day” to “Alexander Mackenzie Day” in my hometown of Sarnia.  Anyways, it was a nice day and we decided to have a sort of BBQ styles supper, but since neither of us eat meat it would be altered slightly.  But we had really delicious corn on the cob, some of which had been bought at a regular grocery store in Huntsville last week, and some of which came in my CSA last week.  We also made mashed potatoes, and a REALLY good mushroom-miso gravy that I’m not entirely sure how I made it so damn good, but it was really really good.  And then we had these BBQ tofu sandwiches, and they had iceberg lettuce on them, since that came in my CSA last week as well.  I have a total love affair with iceberg lettuce.  I know that it probably has no nutritional value, and it doesn’t really have much flavour and it isn’t in any fancy mesclun mix salads and whatnot, but it is SO crunchy and SO SO refreshing.  I love it.  And there is something about having iceberg lettuce on a sandwich with mayo that just tastes simultaneously amazing and also gives me that feeling that I’m eating some kind of junk food, even if I’m not really.  It’s like a McChicken, or the cheese sandwiches I used to eat when I couldn’t find anything else I wanted to snack on in my parents’ house.  Anyways, it was a delicious BBQ dinner, and even Kat watched us eat and said “Oh wow, you really did make a BBQ dinner, good for you guys!”

Ah, yes. Kat, the delightful Kat Burns gets an honourary blog mention here because she recently returned from her Western Canada tour with a gift for me.  She herself even proclaimed that she almost never buys gifts for people, but that she made an exception in this case, which made me feel very special.  This is what she got me:

How perfect is that? She got it at this place in Winnipeg, which sounds like a great little place.  I think when I move into my new place I will put this up in my kitchen.  My new kitchen.  I am moving out of this lovely house where I’ve lived for two years to live all on my own, and I’m looking forward to it though I will also be sad to go.  But my new kitchen is a serious downgrade.  Last night I found myself reading the tips on Smitten Kitchen about how to make the most of your small kitchen and looking at the photos on her page, I think my new kitchen is almost identical.  I’m moving from having a lot of counter space and shelving space to having barely any counter space at all.  I won’t have room for a real table and chairs in my new kitchen. And, perhaps worst of all, I’m moving from having a giant full-sized gas stove to having one of those 3/4 size ELECTRIC stoves.  Sigh.  The up-side is that I will have a full-sized fridge all to myself, which I can barely fathom.  But it will be an interesting transition, and I will keep you all posted with how I cope with it.

And last, but certainly not least, I ventured into a new realm of preserving yesterday.  Thus far, I’ve only made jams.  Jam is the easiest thing to preserve, because fruit is so high in acid and so there’s little risk of spoiling and there’s so few ingredients.  But yesterday I made PICKLES.  Yup, pickles.  I’m not supposed to open the jars for two whole months! That is allegedly how long it takes the flavours to mingle and mellow, but it’s going to be difficult to wait that long.  I made five jars of dill pickles, and 2 jars of dilled beans, and I may pickle more things yet.  It was very easy, and very satisfying.

So that’s all for now folks, I hope I haven’t lost all interest there ever was in this blog, and I leave you with promises of many more posts to come soon.  Like PIE! Stay tuned…

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