Family Picnic

Posted on Monday 14 July 2014

P7060013 (1)
Jello jigglers, egg salad sandwich, pickles, McD’s coleslaw, bean salad, sour cream and bbq chips, beluga lentil salad, cheese-product, potato salad, pickle! And all those tables of dessert and I forgot to photograph any. Too busy talking.

Hey, have you seen tiny birthday party for a hedgehog?

1:19 pm
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Serviceberry Jam

Posted on Friday 11 July 2014

Start with the berry. Some of this year.

Some of last season.

Then the recipe. Add to
4 cups berries
1/2 a lemon and its zest
3 cups sugar
1/4 water

but so much depends on how much water and pectin is naturally in the fruit. In theory use a big pot so you can do a strong high speed splashing boil. But not for too long or the natural pectin disappears and it goes gummy. Not too long or it doesn’t thicken. Apparently the on the nose. If you miss it you can add apple pectin. [That link has a list of fruit of the three tiers of amount of pectin. It wasn't thickening so I added a plum. Poor choice. It's low in pectin.]

The fruit naturally may have too little sugar or too little acid. The sweet spot of time and heat and ratios is a bit of experience and a bit of luck. You can test along the way by putting a plate in the freezer and dropping some from a spoon onto the plate. If it forms a skin, it will slowly set up.

Again this was hot canning so the lids and bottles were boiled for 10 minutes and the hot contents coordinated to be ready at the same time. The rings just hold the top on a little until the vacuum seals. If there’s water between the outer ring and the lid it can set in with rust overnight. Who knew. You can take off the o-part and wipe it dry as soon as it comes out of the bath.

serviceberry jam
4 cups made 2 jars.

And a wee bit left over to taste. It fell into the overcooked gummy away from the too loose preserves end of the spectrum.

Wonder what the pickles will be like.

1:10 pm
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Watermelon Rind Pickles

Posted on Thursday 10 July 2014

I saw in the The Canlit Foodbook: From Pen to Palate: A Collection of Tasty Literary Fare Edna Staebler’s Watermelon Pickle “Just right for an Alice Munro funeral” I followed the recipe for ingredients, except its half a page doesn’t elaborate nearly enough for someone who hasn’t pickled.

Pick Your Own elaborates out to 17 pages. Instead of a canner, I used an open pot and for the rack at the bottom of the pot, I substituted bottle lids that would otherwise be recycled. I kept with the book recipe to add alum and to use white wine vinegar instead of white vinegar. Instead of a cloth spice bag, I used a tea ball.

One large watermelon, 2 days and rubberized canning tongs was all that was needed which we didn’t have. And alum which is at Bulk Barn. Bulk Barn is amazing. So many grains and spices. We still haven’t made it over to Little Italy’s Cardamom and Cloves spice shop but Bulk Barn should hold us over…

watermelon rind pickles
As a thumbnail sketch: the pink and green are taken off the rind. This is fiddly. I’m told watermelons used to have not only seeds but thick rinds so you got more rind for the peeling time.

Then it is salted, briefly cooked and it soaks, then the sugar bath and the nutmeg and cinnamon bark then the sliced lemon.

watermelon rind pickles
Then the soak in spicy sugar. Then the boil.

Then the canning and the long sit to seal under water pressure. Then it should sit for 6 weeks. Then it will be good for a year.

watermelon pickles
6 weeks to wait, potentially. Although we could open one.

watermelon pickles
You can see the lemon and the one inch long piece of cinnamon per jar.

Ah, and the poem of watermelon pickles that Claudia almost brought to tongue,

There was always another bite:
It was a summer of limitless bites,
Of hungers quickly felt
And quickly forgotten
With the next careless gorging.

from Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle Received from a Friend Called Felicity by John Tobias

11:38 am
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Posted on Wednesday 9 July 2014

Making scones for a potluck by the lake.

1 cup unbleached white
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tbs sugar

chop in:
1/2 cup chilled butter or butter equiv
to larger than oatmeal

1/4 cup (or so) flame raisins
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk

up to 1/4 cup more flour and almond milk in reserve to add in as it’s kneaded or needed.

The texture seems better to not break up butter as fine as I have and to knead it a few times while drier so you fold over layers rather than being towards a cake-batter.

Cut into squares. 425 for 12-15 minutes.

With rhubarb preserves.

Tray headed for the lake.

Claudia’s delicious salad!

Laurie’s black bean and rice soup.

blue cheese and goat cheese
Blue cheese, herbed goat cheese, bread.

Thyme & Again lemon pound cake
Froggie eyes the lemon pound cake. Spicy.

Thyme & Again with spice
White pepper, huh.

balsamic strawberries
Balsamic vinegar strawberries. A little sugar, a little balsamic vinegar and a couple hours.

And people and conversation.

12:07 pm
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We Falafelled for it

Posted on Tuesday 8 July 2014

cous cous
Bulk Barn is amazing. Did you know? Far more varieties of legumes and grains than I knew the food system had. Tricolor cous cous. A bit of kale-spinach-baby-dandelion sauce. A bit of anti-inflammatory turmeric and ginger, and toasted ground rice mixed into the onions and carrots cooked together. Some falafel topped with hot red peppy jelly (perhaps thereby more than cancelling out the turmeric; easy come; easy go; balances out) and some grilled on the grill melty cheese.

12:33 pm
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Posted on Monday 7 July 2014

Slow-cooked Scottish oatmeal with large flame raisins, sea salt, roasted cinnamon topped with milk chocolate lady bugs.

11:02 am
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Vegan Dog

Posted on Friday 4 July 2014

vegan weiner
BBQ fired up again to toast the bunds and the Yves vegan dog. Some belgium sweet seedy mustard, horseradish, relish, catsup and cooked onion. Some green beans beside it.

Blueberry ripple frozen yogurt topped with a rhubarb sauce.

Rhubarb boiled for half an hour with water to make juice. Strained and with the strained bits, mixed with raspberry. A half cup or sugar boiled with a little water and a thumb sized nub of fresh ginger, minced. Mix it all. A flavour inspired by a recent flavour of the week of Pascale’s Ice Cream

Happy July 4th to the Americans.

12:13 pm
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