Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Preserving Summer, Part 1

Summer is in full stream. Garden is growing and producing goodness everyday. During my evening walk through I see new things growing and ripening.

While the it takes care of itself, and I work on planning our fall garden. Every weekend is full of trying to preserve the taste, flavors and produce of the summer season. My yellow pear tomato and grape tomato plants are in abundance, so I've been oven roasting them. Since I don't yet have a dehydrator, I have to use the oven in between my bread baking schedule.

Oven drying small tomatoes are simple, I got this recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with oil, then slice all the little tomatoes in half. Placing them on the sheet slice side up, then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

 Then place in the oven for three hours, around that time start checking the tomatoes. You want them to be dried and leathery, so they may need to cook longer depending on their size.

Then you can store them in an air tight container or place in zip lock bag and toss into the freezer. During the winter pull them out and add to soups, chili or pizza.

Now freezing is another busy task I take on pretty much each weekend. I've been keeping busy with green beans and corn from the farmers market. Now you can find blanching times every where on the internet. I usually turn to Each vegetable has there own required blanch time. So you cook them for the time necessary then immediately put the produce into ice cold water, this stops the cooking process.

Then place them into the a zip lock bag, now for a great trick I learned at a 15Thousand Farmers. Once the veggies are in the bag, zip it almost close, stick a straw into the corner. Then suck the air out of the bag, creating a vacuum seal.

With these little things done here and there, my family will be able to enjoy this bounty of summer during the chilliness of winter.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

An Evening in the Park with William

William Shakespeare, that is.

That evening I loaded my new picnic, thanks mom, with dinner for the family. Picnic dinner included pasta salad, yellow watermelon (from our garden), wraps, a bag of fritos, and brownies for dessert.

We loaded up the car to include a blanket and headed out to the park. Once we arrived and picked out a spot. Close to the front and on the edge. We sat behind the chairs that you could pay to sit in. They are more comfortable than the benches and they come with a waitress to get you items from the concession stand and bar. We laid out the blanket and grabbed a bench. The picnic basket got opened to be enjoyed.

The set was great, the play that evening was "Much ado about nothing" set into the west. 

While waiting for the play to begin, JP took the girls over the playground over the hill. And there was a water feature, nothing attracts like a flame to water or child to water. Little bit ran through again and again. Then they returned to wait for the play to begin.

I don't have any cool photos during the play out of respect for their wishes. But I can say this that it was fantastic. The actors did great, giggles and applause soared through the crowd and the sun set and darkness set in. At intermission, little bit hand our donation to one of the actors, cause only through donations can they keep Will free.