September 30, 2011

1 hour in the dog house.

 Lesson: Don't be greedy. Cut the bread after it's cooled down!
 Lesson: I should never need to buy apples or pears to can.  Ever.  Please remember.
 Lesson: Sunrises are pretty, even with power lines.
 Lesson: I love fall.
Meet the troop: Butter,the male model, pretty and dumb.
Sir Aussie Austin Poopsy-Paws, aka Goofy.
Cyrus, wimpy, he wants to go home. (That mat can not be straight, even for one second before one of the dogs come and move it.)
In full dog glory. (Not posed!)
I love breakfast, Oat Bread & Pear-Vanilla Butter & Gingered Pear-Raspberry Butter.  Want some?

September 29, 2011

September 29

Shane and I had an argument, it went like this:

Me: I'm going to buy pears from the store.

Shane: But there are free pears on T&G's tree.

Me: Yeah...but then I'd need a ladder.

Shane: So your going to spend money because you are lazy?

Me: Lazy? Why don't you go pick them?

Shane: Because I don't can.  What are you going to do when we try to be self sufficient one day?

Me: Well I'd imagine we'd have a ladder.

So I went to T&G's and climbed into the pear tree and low and behold there were no pears.  I picked 6 up off the ground and went to the store.  I spent $15 on pears and when I got home my aunt sent me a message asking if I wanted pears, because she had way to many! Drat.

I wanted to share a pumpkin spice pull-apart bread recipe with you today because it was devine, but I didn't because I really am to lazy.  Here is a picture instead.

Today I canned:
Pear-Vanilla Jam (for you CSJ-ers)
Apple Pie Jam
Tomato Pomegranate Jam
Queen's Tea Jam (Apple and Earl Grey Tea)
Paradise Jelly (Apple and Cranberry)
Gingered Pear and Raspberry Butter

September 27, 2011

Winter Pasta

Yes Mom, I'll eat my kale. When it's in this pasta!  I talked about a bag of kale that showed up on my doorstep over a week ago now, with kale that amounted to four or five bunches.  I've had kale out my ears for days.  We ate it in a white bean stew, I had it in several salads, even baked it as chips (which I found revolting) but this was the best way to eat it.  The only way I really enjoyed it.  I'm not a kale lover, you see, something about the texture and just how bitter it can be.  My Grandpa was talking about a Russian kale as being sweeter than it curly counterpart, so I might try that one.  But I will not be planting kale next year, thats for darn sure.  Okay...maybe just one for budacole.

This winter pasta recipe comes from here, 101 cookbooks, or as I like to think 101 reasons to throw you hands up in the air and chuck 101 kitchen pieces out the window along with your camera after you realize you will never be as talented as Heidi.  Jealous much Alyssa?  To the pasta; it's well balanced and earthy, zippy and fine.  And seriously, what is better than filling up on pasta?!  On a blustery day? In the beginning of fall?  If you can remember, I'd use a whole wheat pasta, you know, add a little more fibre.  But clearly I forgot, such is the story of my life, so I did feel a little guilty eating a big bowl full...twice.

Winter Pasta

Makes four or five moderate lunch-sized bowls.  Add a few slices of chicken or a poached egg and you've got four entrees.

4 cloves garlic, peeled
4 shallots, peeled
1 bunch kale, 8oz, taken off the stem and thoroughly washed
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup (2oz) goat cheese
salt and pepper
a squeeze of lemon juice, optional
12 oz (340g) dried penne, (whole wheat if you'd like)
a few leaves of thyme

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil over high heat.  Drop in the cloves of garlic and shallots.  Boil for 2-3 minutes.  Drop the kale in for 10 seconds, no longer.  Quickly pull out the kale, garlic and shallot with tongs or a slotted spoon and place in a food processor.  Begin to puree the mixture adding oil and goat cheese to the bowl.  Add a couple of tablespoons of boiled water if things need to be thinned out.  Salt and pepper the sauce and add a squeeze of lemon juice if necessary.  Set aside.

Bring the water back to a boil and drop in pasta.  Cook according to the directions on the package.  Drain and add to the sauce right away.  Combine the two and spoon it into bowls.  Top with thyme leaves and sprinkled goat cheese.

September 26, 2011

Mushroom Morning!

We went mushroom picking with Kevin and Kim Sunday morning.  I woke up early enough to whip up a batch of pumpkin doughnuts, which we ate on the way up Chilliwack Lake road with Tim Hortons coffee.  We drove up to our top-secret mushroom spot after we blindfolded our guests so they had no idea where we were.  Kidding!
 Shane gave a thorough lesson on picking and identifying chantrelles and we got to work.  We got much less wet than in the past, but I think that is because we didn't have to bushwhack our way into the patch.
Keenly observing and mentally note taking.
 Cleaning and picking.  Where you find one, there is usually more.
Shane's 100-mile-an-hour taped boots didn't hold up.
 Not a chantrelle.
There was a fair amount of mushroom throwing and a few pings of a machete.  Bear spray was not necessary today, but we had it just in case.
There were salmon galore in the stream which came out through this pipe.  I guess that would mean they were stuck.
So cute!  We gathered over three pounds between the four of us in two hours.  We put together an awesome brunch, with chantrelles at the center and after cleaning divided the rest in two.  It was a very fun morning!

September 24, 2011

September Movie Nights

Chocolate caramel popcorn, red wine and You've Got Mail.  One delicious fall evening.

Misty Mornings

The fog was palpable when I stepped outside, a mist on my naked skin.  Like soft rain hanging in the air, clouding up my eyes.  The air was warm and the fog damp while we smoothly walked along.  The spiders had been busy spinning webs last night and everywhere I looked I saw them glimmer in the light.  They've cocooned my flowers and strung between branches with beads of foggy water clinging to.  It was raining under the trees, listen to the drops falling from one leaf to another as the condensation rolled down towards the ground.  The stork stood tall but faint in the river, feet in the water, head cocked, listening for fish?  The couple ducks swam round in and out of the invisible visibility line.  Orange and brown leaves floated down from nowhere, like fish in the sky drifting on the air, down to my feet.

September 23, 2011

September 23

It's the first day of autumn! woot woot! Strangely it's also the warmest its been all week, with a warm wind coming from the south.  I spent the majority of my day in the garden pulling weeds galore.  So. many. weeds.  I need to cover the bare ground with something (I'm thinking heavy thrift store rugs) and the earth wouldn't feel the need to cover itself.  It'll look nice eventually...hopefully by next summer.  Maybe I'll show you pictures tomorrow of what we're about to do.

This morning, the first Shane and I have spent together in a while, we made french toast with the leftover cinnamon raisin bread and roasted potatoes with some beautiful purple potatoes my grandparents gave us.  Of course we made pumpkin spice lattes as well, since no good fall breakfast (lunch or dinner!) is complete without some pumpkin.

Now I'll be off so make some spiced caramel popcorn and watch You've Got Mail with my only mother.

September 21, 2011

With bread and eggs

I baked this cinnamon raisin bread yesterday.  It's warm fall scent enveloping the house, like a sweater.  I was happy with the results, but not thrilled, so I won't be sending a recipe your way.  This was bread baking endeavor number four for the season.

I did my grocery shopping today, but forgot my list at the first store I went to.  So as much as I hope I won't need to pick anything up until Monday I realize it's a futile wish.  I ordered three pounds of pork shoulder from my butcher shop today.  I'm planning to make sausage, nothing to fancy, no casings required.

I saw a heron standing in the stream on our walk yesterday, tall and proud like.  As we eyed him up in passing the chatter of blue jays distracted me with their calls and funny dance on the strong trees, that had branches dipping like arms for a wash in the water.  Finally the geese honked and sputtered low overhead as though their flight was new and three seasons rust were in their wings, going south.  When we looked back the heron was gone.
We get our eggs from a friend that lives a forty-five minute drive away.  Often our meetings are on short notice but never without eggs.  She doesn't always have time to wash them and so oftentimes I come home with three dozen to a bucket, each needing a gentle scrubbing before they're nestled comfy in their trays.  This work makes me happy and my mind sometimes wanders to the chickens who've laid them.  Dirty eggs are so much closer to the farm than clean eggs.  I know these chickens and the love they receive.  Yesterday these eggs were lain and today I eat.  Thank you chickens.

September 20, 2011

Note on Kitchen Table

I came across a poem yesterday that reminded me so much of summer.

I will be back soon to bake some bread,
But now I'm picking wild berries instead,
Out on the meadows, under the sun.
I know I'm leaving my work undone,
But the wind was soft on the summer grass;
The trees stood up tall for me to pass;
And the blue sky smiled and bent down low.
So what could I do but laugh and go?
-Mary Martin Palma
Wild strawberries in Vienna.

September 18, 2011

This weekend

This weekend I:

Went to the store three times after I triple checked my list the first time so I wouldn't have to go back.

Failed at making pie crust again.

Weeded my muddy garden so when my Grandfather comes for coffee this evening and peeks in the garden I'm not totally embarrassed.

Made a nice crusty bread for a kale and bean stew (#3 for the list)
Pumpkin Spice Lattes! Homemade of course.
Simmered a pot of chicken stock all day.

Spent four hours of my afternoon reading (!!)
All burners go.
Made a few preserves, my favourite one being plum and chocolate.
Spent an hour trying to figure out how to use four bunches of kale in a few days.  (Thanks Oma!)

September 16, 2011

September 16

I organized my pantry today.  Don't you just love things in jars?!'s just me?  Your weird.  I have all these extra jars kicking around, to big for a family of two to use, so I threw out all the opened packages in the pantry and put the contents in pretty glass jars, labeled the top when necessary, like labeling lentils and cooking times for pasta.  I used to have little things on display on these shelves and though I love them dearly, all but my beloved recipe box and favourite picture of Shane ever got to keep their places.

Fun fact #1:  I broke a bowl all over the kitchen today.  Shattered.  Everywhere.

Fun fact #2:  I can't stop eating candy corn.

Fun fact #3: I swore I was done with excessive preserving for a few weeks.  I bough crab apples, plums and peaches.  To be canned tomorrow.

Fun fact #4:  I've been meaning to make green tomato chutney for a few days now.  I've had the spices out for days.  Tomorrow, I'll do it tomorrow.

Fun fact #5:  It's been so long since I had an apple, my first bite the other day reminded me why I wait through spring and summer.  Say no to storage apples!

Fun fact #6:  Don't buy a white couch if your dog sits on it while you are away.  Or buy a share in your favourite bleach company.