Sunday, August 30, 2009

Not Too Exciting

How's that for an eye-catching title for a blog entry? Can't be helped -- that's life a lot of the time. Much of this week has been spent coping with a bumper crop of broccoli, carrots, green beans, tomatoes and eggplant. I froze the tomatoes, that's a no-brainer. Read up in The Victory Garden about freezing the other veggies. Green beans and broccoli have to be blanched, then chilled, before packaging. Here's some broccoli in the ice water bath:
But when I strained it again, it was so wet I thought "This will end up chunks of ice." So I spread each batch out on a cooling rack to dry off for an hour:
It was much drier. So we'll see how that worked the first time I cook it. Then what to do with carrots? Victory Garden says they don't freeze well unless pureed, which I assume means cooking them first, but I wouldn't know what to do with ten pounds of pureed carrots. So I shredded them and froze them -- maybe they'll be ok to use in carrot cake, carrot tea bread, etc. We'll be getting plenty more to eat fresh, so if these don't turn out, at least I tried.

Finally the last and arguably most important step:
Ever since seeing a video of the Texas-size island of plastic bags floating off the west coast of the U.S. I've felt compelled to re-use the plastic bags I already have until they're unusable, and to find as many substitutes as possible going into the future. I wish I could ask my grandmother what she used before plastic bags existed.

Then the eggplants. We celebrated DGS's twelfth birthday last night (even though he was born just yesterday!), and I offered to bring salad and veggies. I scooped the eggplant out of its shell and cubed it, chopped up some tomatoes and onions and garlic. Sauteed the onions and garlic, added the tomatoes and simmered until the juice was reduced, added the eggplant and cooked until soft. Then I piled that back up in the shells and sprinkled with shredded Parmesan cheese, baked 20 minutes.
Very tasty! For a salad I sliced leeks and poured boiling water over them for one minute, then drained. Then I added thinly sliced cucumbers to the leeks. The dressing, one my grandmother used to make, is sweet cream, cider vinegar, salt and pepper, a little sugar. You kind of have to taste this as you go -- I like a lot of vinegar and not too much sugar. My younger son ate three helpings of this!

So we're eating well, the freezer is filling up for winter, and the kitchen is cleaned up. I haven't gotten back to the rest of the house, though.

Tomorrow the grandkids start school, and are dismissed at noon all week, so Grandpa and I will be picking them up and feeding them lunch. Monday, Wednesday and Friday I'll also be coaching each of them for an hour on their music lessons. They have wonderful teachers, but in 30-45 minutes a week, they're very limited in what they can do. I'm well-qualified to be their music theory teacher and practice coach, and we enjoy the time together.

Have a great week!

fall is in the air
plenty to eat

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