Thursday, August 26, 2010

Saucy girl

1 bushel, 3 4-Litre baskets, 2 days and 1 seriously messed kitchen later and I am the proud kitchen mama of 26 pints of tomato sauce!

Last year I canned 13 pints of sauce, thought it was really good and ran out well before tomatoe season this year. I vowed to do more. My garden didn't produce quite enough but I had contributions from my dad's garden and I bought a bushel of roma tomatoes.

I thought I'd get it all done in an afternoon - what was I thinking?! After I filled two bread mixing bowls with pulp, I called my mom for more jars and accepted the fact that I would be taking another day to get it done.

Both my stock pots were filled and took hours to cook down into an nice thick sauce. Then to get two canners on the boil. Of course, if I hadn't been so tired, I might have noticed that the burner under the 7 quart canner was on medium instead of high, I might have finished before 11:30pm. Oh well, live and learn...

None of this would have been possible without the loan of a fabulous tomato press from my good neighbour Eric. Like many of his nice tools, it comes from Lee Valley. All you have to do is wash the tomatoes and cut them in half. The press separates the pulp from the seeds and skin quickly and with very little waste. As a bonus, it washes up well too.

Next year I think I'll stick to beefsteak. Last year's sauce was a little sweeter and beefsteaks, like my Brandywine, are so much easier to press. I wound up steaming the romas to make it easier to get them through the press.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blueberry love

When you want a treat for breakfast but don't want to stand at the stove making pancakes, try coffee cake.

I made mine with ground oatmeal instead of white flour, yogurt for most of the fat, and with the blueberry bottom, you don't need much sugar. Satisfying without the guilt.

Blueberry Lemon Coffee Cake

1½ Cupoatmeal flour
½ Cupwhite sugar
1 tspbaking powder
½ tspbaking soda
1 Cupplain yogurt
½ Cuplemon juice
¼ Cupvegetable oil
grated rind of 1 lemon
~1 Cupblueberries - either fresh or frozen

Note: For the oatmeal flour, I measure out rolled or quick oats and grind them in a coffee grinder. If you don't want to use oatmeal, you can substitute white or whole wheat flour. You'll need ¼ Cup less yogurt. Also, whole wheat flour has a stronger flavour that you'll notice.
  1. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients: white flour through baking soda.
  2. In a smaller bowl, beat the egg. Add the yogurt, lemon juice, vegetable oil and lemon rind.
  3. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  4. Cover the bottom of an 8x8 pan with blueberries. I tossed them with a TBSP of flour.
  5. Turn on oven to 350°.  When the oven is up to temperature, spoon batter over blueberries. Bake for 25-30 minutes until browned on top and baked through.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Friday the 13th - Port Dover

bikes backed up on the road into Port Dover

I made it:
  • in the car with the kids and the dog
  • pulling a trailer with my bike for the first time
  • through construction and heavy traffic in the Toronto area
  • following my man on his bike and six friends on theirs - and not following them
We left Stittsville Thurs. morning at ~9:30am with the other bikes and I pulled into Peter and Shauna's driveway in Waterdown ~5:30pm that Afternoon. Shauna, dear friend that she is, had a beer poured for me waiting in the fridge. My man arrived about 45 mins later.

meeting up

Friday morning, the four of us got on our bikes to meet up with the others on Highway 6. A nice fast bit of highway and so many other bikes on the road! You start to feel that motorcycles are taking over. The ride into Dover slowed considerably with the congestion of regular traffic compounded by bikes.

bikes and riders everywhere

Port Dover is a beautiful little town on Lake Erie with charming little shops and a population of 6,000. It exploded to more than 150,000 people -- about a third of them on motorcycles! This was the 50th anniversary and the busiest ever. My 5th time there, it was even more special because I rode my own instead of sitting on the back of my man's.

We walked the town, eyed the bikes and the crowd, took pictures and tried to stay cool. Thankfully, I had lots of sunscreen and water. And then the ride back to Waterdown to rescue Peter's mom who was looking after our and their kids, 4 in all. Peter led us through some twisty, empty back roads - a really enjoyable ride. Dinner, more visiting and then bed. We needed sleep before the long road home.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Friday the 13th - here we come!

Doesn't it look sad, all tied down? Sort of like when we put our dog in her crate and shut the door...

We're all packed and ready to go to Port Dover tomorrow. I'll be hauling the trailer while my man rides his Drifter. Still, it beats being on the back. We're staying with best friends in Waterdown and from there I'll ride. Should be fun!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Summer flowers

a bit of travel, a bit of gardening, lots of hunting Japanese beetles who are eating my poor bean plants. also this, just in time for the last bit of summer.

for my wrist

Even though I'm trailering my bike at least part way (and I'm a little nervous about that) I'm looking forward to riding my bike to Port Dover for Friday the 13th. I'll let you know how it goes when I get back!