Thursday, May 26, 2011

Peach Ambition

In my last blog entry, I stated that I planned to do some canning this summer. Well, wonder of wonders, I actually did it! I spent the better part of my morning messing up my kitchen canning a slew of peaches! How many are in a slew? I'm not exactly sure. And, why is it called canning when you’re actually using jars, not cans? Shouldn’t it be called jarring?

I started with this many peaches:

Which, I thought, would yield quite a lot of canned peaches. Well, by the time I blanched, shocked, peeled, cut, simmered, and jarred all those peaches, my final yield was:

2 quarts and 3 pints! I thought it would be more, but these will sure taste good in the winter! Besides, it’s only the beginning of peach season, and I have LOTS more jars. I can, if I choose, buy more peaches & can them, too. Can’t wait to taste the fruits of my labor! (pun intended… HA!) What do you plan to can, preserve, sauce, or jam this summer?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lazy summer days

This summer, I'm not taking any classes. This is strange to me, because I have taken 2 classes every summer since I started graduate school, back in 2007.

This summer, my daughter is in preschool, full-time. She's been in preschool at least part-time for about 3 years, but never during the summer before. I would keep her home with me, but we had to pay for summer at her preschool in order to ensure her spot in the fall. Doesn't make any sense to pay for full-time preschool, then not send her. Besides, she's such a social creature - she has way more fun with her friends at school than she would have at home with me every day.

This summer, I don't have a job. The last summer that I didn't have a job was 2003 - the summer that I met my husband in a Red Sox chat room. I had a summer job lined up, but then it fell through and by that time, it was too late to get another summer job. Thus, I had all the time in the world to hang out in an online chat room and lay the foundation of my relationship with my future husband.

So what are my plans?

First: catch up on sleep. I did not know that I was so tired until I didn't have to get up at a prescribed time for the last 2 days. Yesterday I slept in until 10:00am. TEN A-M!!! That is very, very late for me. This morning, I was up and at 'em by 9:30. If I keep going at this pace, I'll be getting up at 8am by Friday! Then I can drive my husband to work and my daughter to preschool and actually have the car for the day. Oh, didn't I mention...

This summer, we only have one car. We had a second car until very recently, but it died a sudden death about a week before we left for our vacation in May. We will need a second one once fall classes start in mid-August, but until then we are planning to get by with the one.

Second: do some canning! If you have never had a fresh, Chilton County (GA) peach, you are missing out on one of the great joys of summer in the South. They are the sweetest, juiciest peaches I've ever tasted, and this summer I intend to buy a slew of them and can them! Then on those chilly, rainy Mississippi "winter" days, I can taste a bit of summer. (I put "winter" in quotes, because I grew up in Massachusetts. The winters here barely qualify - they're more like very chilly, wet, long, rainy fall).

Third: Bake. At least, I want to bake enough bread so that we don't have to buy it at the store. I tried to make some in the automatic bread maker yesterday and it failed to raise. I should have known better - my Gram taught me how to make bread by hand, and that's how I should do it! I also want to make muffins for breakfast and cookies for snacking on and try my hand at some of the Pioneer Woman's recipes, specifically her knock you naked brownies. I also really want to try making brioche, seeing as how I searched for a brioche pan for over a year and I finally found - and bought - one, but I have yet to use it.

Fourth: This is the one that I'm most hesitant to put into writing because it is the most difficult for me - clean and organize - my kitchen at the very least. HELP!

In addition to the above, I have also planted a patio container garden. I'm starting small - I have mint (transplanted from Gram's brook up North), basil, sage, rosemary, thyme, tomatoes, and crook-neck summer squash. I can't wait for those tomatoes & squash! Hopefully next year I'll add some lettuces and maybe some cucumbers.

What are your summer plans?