September 6, 2010

All good things must come to an end

Although summer doesn’t officially end for a few more weeks, Labour Day Weekend is always the signal that summer is over. Kids go back to school (even though many schools are now starting before Labour Day), the days are getting shorter, the big squash have appeared at the market, and the nights are getting cooler. The last few days have been quite cold compared to the recent heat wave we had. There won’t be too many days left for BBQing.

This long weekend, despite the chilly weather, has been an enjoyable one. We’ve been taking the days as they come, getting something done here and there, and enjoying some good food. Yesterday I met a friend for another jam-making session. She had picked up some peaches and was keen on making some more jam. My freezer was beginning to look pretty full, but there was room for a few more jars.

My friend is/was a trained pastry chef (‘was’ because she switched careers and teaches ESL) and so I picked her brain about some mango freezer jam I had made earlier in the week. The sugar didn’t dissolve and I didn’t think I had done anything wrong (she suggested boiling it and turning it into chutney – I’ll keep you posted on how it tastes). I had made a second batch thinking it was me, but I now believe it was the Certo recipe. This isn’t the first time I’ve made a Certo freezer jam recipe and it didn’t turn out. The strawberry seems to be no fail, but the others, I’m not so sure about. I felt a bit better after our peach jam refused to set; it happens to pros too. She had picked up a new product at Loblaws by Redpath called Quickset. It was a package of sugar and pectin for jam making. We followed those instructions to tee and after an hour or two it was still liquid. We pulled out two packs of the Clubhouse pectin and slowly added them while stirring and waiting. Success! When in doubt, go back to the original way of doing things.

Back at home lunch was beckoning me. Hunger hit me on the way home and I felt like a nice cheese sandwich. I sliced up the last of my gluten-free sandwich bread, toasted it, lathered on some Dijon mustard, sliced some strong creamy brie, and sliced up a tomato. It was slightly messy (but so would regular bread) and it tasted so good.

Afterwards, I made myself a nice cup of lemongrass tea and had some gluten-free lemon shortbread cookies. The tea is wonderful and comes from Nectar tea shop on Wellington St (near Holland) and the cookies are from Patsy Pie. I’ve heard rave reviews about them, but the price of these gluten-free cookies always makes me take a pass. A few weeks ago they were on sale at Farm Boy so I thought I’d try them out. There aren’t many good gluten-free shortbread cookies out there so I picked up a bag. I must say that they are delicious. I picked up a few more bags and stashed them in the freezer. 

Yesterday’s cool windy weather was perfect for a cup of tea and the last two cookies.

The rest of the day was spent in front of the stove. It wasn’t too bad as I was able to stay nice and toasty. I tried to repair the mango jam/chutney and later rearranged the freezer to fit in the day’s canning.

We'll see what this tastes like

Squeezing everything in

Some frozen veggies had to come out of the freezer to make room. They ended up in a marinade and in the oven for dinner. I also scrubbed some beets to roast for tonight’s dinner. It’s a recipe from a recent Chatelaine so we’ll see how it goes (I find their recipes hit-and-miss). Other than the veggies, dinner was simple.

Now that summer is coming to an end I’m hoping that carefree days like this won’t also come to an end.

Orange Marinade: mix together some olive oil, vinegar, orange juice, minced garlic, oregano, basil, salt and pepper


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