I saw this old barn along the detour road to the Abbey. I loved the play of shadow and light on the roof when I drove past it on the way to the Abbey. I stopped on my back to the main road to take the photo I saw. It was not until I was looking through the view finder and framing my shot that I noticed the leaves that were sending a hint of the coming change of season.
Monthly Archives: August 2011
This calf was bathing in the creek along the drive into the Holy Cross Abbey. the look I was given when I stopped to take the photo was that you would expect of some one being photographed by the paparazzi. And it si really hard to get a decent photo of a black cow in a shady spot.
The Holy Cross Abbey has a number of cattle on it. One of the tenants of the order is that each abbey should be self sufficient. And that means that they work just like the rest of us while serving God. So this particular abbey tends the fields and animals, create wonderful fruit cakes and honey, and serve the community.
A quick sneak post. I am far enough inland that I am only seeing the outer bands from Irene. The town is eerily quiet. I went out onto the front porch to see how the winds felt and watch the rain. The winds were just starting to be strong enough to rattle the storm windows and push me about. But we are getting off lucky.
I have decided to give canning crushed tomatoes a try and took the day off yesterday to drive over to my new favorite pick-your-own near Berryville, Virginia.
Since I was close to the Holy Cross Abbey, I decided to go over to the abbey store and possibly pick up a treat for my dad. He loves their fruitcake and it is honestly really good. And I do not like fruit cake as a general rule.
I followed the directions I had but it turns out the main road into the abbey was closed for repairs. So I had to back track and follow the detour. the detour road is definitely not for the faint of heart. Basically it is a one lane dirt road. It is not a road to drive if you have a sports car or a car that sits low. My truck loved it. The road condition forced you to drive slow and with the windows down, you could hear the beauty and solitude of the farm fields. Plus see interesting things like this old church along the road. the abbey shop was closed when I got there put just the drive alone with worth the trip.
I managed to end up with almost 5 pounds of lovely plums recently. I knew I had to make an Asian style plum sauce. But I still had a lot of plums left over. So I had to think of another way to preserve these lovely plums. Well a certain some one thought she had a taste of summer in the middle of a dark and dreary Chicago winter last year. She will definitely feel summer when she gets a jar or three of the jams I have been busy crafting all summer.
And can I say that plum jam is a lovely shade of redish purple?
When most people think of preserving tomatoes, they think of canning either straight tomatoes or a simple spaghetti sauce. I will be doing that late on but right now I am exploring tomato as a fruit and making a tomato jam. Tomato jams can apparently be either sweet or savory. I am going for a savory one my first one.
I am using local heirloom tomatoes in this jam and it is taking awhile to cook down but that is fine with me. I had about 4 pounds of tomatoes so I adjusted the acid aka the vinegar a bit and added more. I kept the amount of sugar the same though. The key to being able to can this jam is having enough acids in it. I do plan to try another savory tomato jam plus one or two sweet tomato jams as well. And later on, I will be getting together with a friend and learning to pressure can so I can have some just plain simple pints of tomatoes to enjoy all winter long.
Wate not, want not is a proverb I have heard before. And with watermelon, why waste any? I have eaten a bit of the red flesh and the rest is waiting in the refrigerator to be turned into watermelon jelly over the weekend. And the rind? Why waste it?
Pris of KnitBuddies grew up eating watermelon rind pickles and loves them. I personally have never had them. Watermelon rind pickles are definitely a labor of love. They are not quick to make. They require scraping away as much of the red flesh as possible, peel the green rind off, a 12 to 24 hour soak in a brine, than cooking it until it is fork tender. And than you finally start getting to the fun part! Next up is a long slow cook in a sugar brine full of spices before you can even begin to think of canning them. I have linked to the recipe I am using as my basis for the pickles. I have changed the spices though to match what Pris remembers using growing up. In the pot are several cinnamon sticks, s small handful of peppercorns, some allspice berries, a good grating of fresh nutmeg, a small handful of cloves, and several coins of ginger. It still has another hour of gentle cooking to go at the least. Like I said, a labor of love.