Monday, September 24, 2007

Scooter Boy

My ds does not love to have his picture taken. He usually acts like Sean Penn around the paparazzi when we pull out a camera. As I mentioned in a previous post we don't even think to take pictures very often, and so therefore rely on our Thich Nhat Hahn approach most of the time. So if you look at pictures of ds on this blog, I don't think you will see him smiling. Until now.

When we were in NYC in June we spent a lot of time in park where ds managed to borrow another toddler's scooter. I thought such things, like adult tricycles, only existed in big cities. Then a friend told me you could just get one in Target. So we got it on Sunday and he LOVES it. We got it on the street and he said with glee, "Mommy, take a picture of me!" And here it is.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Celebrating our Local Harvest

Last night we celebrated our amazing local harvest with wonderful friends, food, and music. All of the produce was procured from local farmers, and some of it came right from my very own garden. One friend even brought along another, more surprising, locally produced item. I'll let the pictures tell the story:

Sir D and Lady K hold the plates of Crostini - one with Roasted Eggplant and Pinenut Puree and the other with Ricotta paired with the Apple and Peach Chutney I canned last weekend.

Lady D displayed the Caprese. The tomatoes and basil for this dish were the most local of all ingredients - right from my garden. Sir D said the tomatoes were the best he ever tasted, and that compliment earned him a bag of them when he left at the party's end.

Along with the Crostini the evening got rolling with a game of croquet.

We all dug into bowls of Shell Beans and Summer Vegetables (Onions, Garlic, Carrots, Fingerling Potatoes, Green Beans, Tomatoes, Bell Peppers and Summer Squash) topped with Basil Puree. Even the jug of beer on the table came from a local brewery.

G tried to get a head start on dessert, Fresh Peach Pie with Cream Cheese Crust and Whipped Cream.

But I managed to show it off first, with some mild protest from G.

Then the music got started. Sir D called this Singing for Your Supper.

The little ones were especially entranced.

Then Sir D presented the most curious and delightful of local products: A Spam guitar.

G loved it and was delighted when he got a chance to play it.

MFK Fisher wrote "There is a communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine is drunk." When the bread is local, I think the communion is even happier. I am so very grateful for my community - the friends, food, music, and laughter - that sustains us all.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Adventures in Canning 2

We did it! Overflowing baskets of produce met with 5 women and 5 hours and became 100+ jars of local bounty: tomato puree, 3 different tomato sauces, pickled cucumbers, okra, beets, and onions. Every one of the jars seemed to seal correctly, so in 2 weeks we'll pop 'em open and have a tasting party. I expect great things, but even if they don't meet my expectations, I'm already satisfied; we spent a wonderful day combing the local markets for the best produce, had delightful exchanges with septuagenarian farmers, and shared the hot, steamy, vinegary work with stories and laughter. It just doesn't get much better than this for end-of-summer pleasures. Here are the pictures:

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Adventures in Canning

A long time since my last post. We travelled to the beach in early August, celebrated dh's father's 75th birthday mid-August, and immensely enjoyed every day, especially those last lazy ones by the pool. So, it's the end of summer and the growing season is winding down and the abudance is amazing. I've planned my Local Food Harvest party for next week and some of my friends and I are definitely on for a day of canning this Saturday. I'm excited and a *tiny* bit nervous about canning. I'm afraid my enthusiasm for the subject may be betraying absolute ignorance. Here is an exerpt from an email I sent my friend who will be one of those joining me:

I feel I need to make it *very* clear that I have *never* canned before and have no canning materials. I *just* realized this may be a problem. I previously assumed you follow a recipe, put the jars in a big pot of boiling water, and voila. Just a minute ago I looked on-line at the AVM recipes I plan to use and discovered a line I had previously not seen - "place jars in canner". Oops. I don't even know what a canner is. I googled canning and came up with similar. I think my method could work, and when I talked to a neighbor (who is a fan of she who eats, btw! but more about that later!) about canning, my impression was she uses a big pot, too. So our canning adventure goes with a *big* disclaimer. Eat at your own risk. Because of it I plan to make the spaghetti sauce from AVM and store it in bags in the freezer. I'll also try to can the sauce recipe and the dill pickle recipe of aforementioned neighbor. So, when you ask, what do we need, I really have no idea and the thought of that makes me a *little* nervous. I think it will be a fun day with great women, a good learning experience, and possibly an amusing blog entry. What I hope it isn't: a future intimate relationship with clostridium botulinum. So, at this moment I plan to go to the farmers' market at UNC-A (where my CSA farm Full Sun will be) and stock up on tomatoes. A farmer at the FBFC tailgate market, who has had the best looking cucumbers for pickling, told me to call her tomorrow because she doesn't know if she will have any Saturday. Alas, cucumbers are now at the end of their season. (Note to self: time to pickle cucumbers is late July/early August.)

Be sure to stay tuned for the next installment and, hopefully, pictures of the adventure...