Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Traveling Kitchen

Sunday evening we moved all of the appliances out of the kitchen and into the living room. They didn't travel far, but far enough to make the floor available to tear up linoleum, make repairs, and replace the old linoleum with tile.
The old flooring has been removed, the thin strips of wood that formed the sub floor and were laid down in 1930 were showing damage in just a few spots. These were cut out and the bottom layer of floor and very old timber was exposed. The area cleaned and prepped and then replaced. Notice the walls and cabinets? We painted the walls about two weeks ago, then the cabinets were scrubbed down and refinished a couple of days ago. The only thing left to do is the floor!
The replacement of the sub flooring was a sturdy piece of plywood. This formed a solid layer for building the next layer of flooring is ready to go down and it is called cement backer board. This is the layer that will hold the tile. It is now in place and so are the tiles with spacers and they are drying and setting.
In the meantime, the kitchen has only been moved a few feet away and it is not available for canning or chopping or cutting or cooking in anyway. As soon as the kitchen project is finished, we will be ready to get back to our regularly scheduled preserving!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Happy Autumn!

The first day of Fall arrived with fog in the morning. It was as if Mother Nature was celebrating the change of season with a change in temperature. After 10 days of just near or at 100 degrees, this was a welcome change and relief. It also meant it was time to make some tomato basil soup.
First the tomatoes were washed, sliced in half, drizzled with olive oil and slow roasted in the oven for about an hour at 400 degrees. There was about 15 pounds of tomatoes in the bucket and they were all used.
Near the end of the roasting time, onions, celery, garlic, apples, and carrots were chopped and sauteed in butter in the big soup pot. As the onions turned translucent, the rest of the vegetables were getting tender.
They were stirred and mixed to create a delicious vegetable base with just the slightest bit of browning for extra rich flavor. The roasted tomatoes were out of the oven and ready to be added to the soup pot.
You can see the tomatoes have turned lightly brown on the edges and they are completely juiced up. Those juices are also added with the tomatoes to the rest of the vegetables.
Once the roasted tomatoes are added to the vegetables, chicken stock is also added. There are 4 cups of chicken stock or one whole organic carton. If you make stock yourself, that tastes even better! After simmering for 30 - 40 minutes, the soup is ready to be pureed. The blender works great for this task in small batches, so have another soup pot ready.
Once the soup is all pureed, return to the heat and add fresh, chopped basil, salt and pepper to taste. At this point it is ready to can, freeze or eat. When mixing it to eat, add coconut milk, soy milk or cows milk depending on your preference. They all taste good! This batch is ready for the freezer and it made five hearty meals plus leftovers. What are you doing with your end of the season tomatoes?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Last Day of Summer

The last day of summer, 2012, was such a beauty! It was also a Friday, so after enjoying a few hours on the farm after a work day, we drove down the river to have a burger out at Galice. It was a great end to a very busy, but wonderful summer!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Dehydrating Eggplant

The eggplant has ripened with abundance. After enjoying it piece by piece for dinners, we harvested most of it. It seems a little later this year, but that was the way the summer weather worked.
Each eggplant weighed a little over a pound and there was about 20 pounds in this basket. Eggplant is always best used as quickly as possible after picking.
It is great preserved in the dehydrator. Most of the eggplant harvest yesterday was dehydrated. There will be plenty of eggplant for soups and casseroles this winter and it stores so well. These were cut in half and then in quarters and sliced about 1/4 inch thick. They dried in about 8 hours.
Of course there was plenty of left over eggplant for dinner and with some fresh tomatoes we had the makings of Eggplant Parmesan for dinner.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Happy September

Autumn is getting closer and in the garden there are literally bushels of apples and pears and plums to pick. There are gallons of ripe tomatoes and peppers and beets and cabbage and cucumbers and zucchini and eggplant to harvest. The pumpkins are turning orange with each passing day. Right now there is only time for tender little pickings for daily eating and preparing for the end of the summer rafting picnics. In just a few short days there will be more hustle and bustle as we pick, pluck, and preserve the summer bounty! Can we be thankful enough? ~