Saturday, August 14, 2010

Just Two Things

But OH, what exciting things they are! To me.

Thing One

After standing in front of the armoire that passes for our closet for several minutes this morning, rejecting everything I could possibly wear because I have been wearing it for three months now in a never-ending and boring rotation of a very limited wardrobe, I pulled out a pair of jeans I have not worn since before I embarked on this amazing and very plumpifying adventure of gestation.

Wow. How's THAT for a first sentence?


I actually attempted to put those jeans on about a month after Cubby was born and . . . HAAAAA. The jeans, I am pretty sure, snorted rudely when I attempted to pull them on. As I recall, they didn't even really get pulled all the way UP, forget getting buttoned. You know those kind of jeans that are not low rise and not stretchy and therefore not at ALL forgiving of any fluctuations in body shape? Those are these jeans. And my one-month postpartum shape was apparently somewhat changed from my prepartum shape. IMAGINE THAT.

However! This morning I pulled those jeans out, pulled them on, and went on my merry way. Which means that everything in my wardrobe will now fit! Except for all the tops, because my top remains in a greatly expanded state of nursing that prohibits the use of any pre-baby shirt. Dammit.

Thing Two

I think I have reached Code Red with the tomatoes. Time to haul the jars up from the cellar, bust out the canner, and sharpen my knives. Let the Canning Madness begin.

Friday, August 13, 2010

To Dry or Not To Dry

I am in a quandary, poppets. Okay, so it's not much of a quandary. Nothing earth-shattering by any means. Not even anything that's keeping me up at night. Anymore than I already AM, that is. (Thanks, Cubby!) No, my minor, quite-benign quandary simply concerns the Baby Cakes tomatoes.

Here's the thing with Baby Cakes, a variety of cherry tomato of which I have two plants in the garden: They produce a WHOLE HELL OF A LOT of tomatoes per plant. Like, clusters and clusters and clusters of small red fruits ripening in the dozens by the day. I grew them for the first time last year, but because of the Goddamn Blight, I had no idea how many tomatoes they could produce in a good year. And that is: A lot. ALOTALOTALOTALOT.

They're too small to bother canning, I have no space in the freezer because I'm anticipating filling it with lamb in the fall, and there are only so many cherry tomatoes we can eat. Especially because of all the other tomatoes I'm harvesting. (Hello, Black Krims! I LOVE YOU.) And so we come to drying.

Now. I do not have a food dehydrator, which means the oven is my only option. So I've been reading up on oven drying tomatoes. So far I have learned the following things:

Tomatoes should be placed directly on the oven racks for drying.

Oh wait! No! They should be placed on cooling racks on top of cookie sheets for drying.

And they should be dried at 145 degrees.

But wait! Should that be 200 degrees?

The oven door should be propped open with a wooden spoon.

Nononono! Leave that oven door closed, you fool!

And they should be dried for anywhere from 3 to 8 hours until they're pliable but not too brittle. They might feel sticky, but shouldn't have any moisture left.

I just love clear instructions.

So now I'm tempted to just abandon the whole idea, because I can just see this all going horribly wrong and ending up with a jar full of moldy tomatoes due to my inability to discern the proper state of pliable-but-not-brittle. Or, alternatively, burning everything in the oven to cinders because my attention wandered between hours four and six.

Someone please tell me you have done this before and you have some good (CLEAR) advice to give me based on your own experience. Because otherwise I'm just going to have to wing it. I'd rather not.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Half a Year

Anyone remember what Cubby looked like as a newborn? Yeah, me neither. Let's find a photo . . .

Cuddled up with Daddy.

That cannot possibly be the same child. That itsy bitsy little bundled up yellow Cubby bears very little resemblance to THIS bruiser . . .

Who needs Daddy NOW, suckahs? Just prop me up and go about your business.

Cubby is six months old today. The way babies grow and the speed at which they develop is nothing short of miraculous. Fun to watch, too. The next six months should be even MORE fun.

Happy Half Birthday, Cubby. And many more.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My List

Are you a list-maker? I'm not. I mostly just keep a running list in my head of things that need to be done--writing it down would just depress me. That said, I seem to be building up a substantial list of food-related chores that I haven't got to yet. And by "food-related," I of course mean, URGENT ACTION NECESSARY ZUCCHINI PLOTTING MASS DESTRUCTION.

So far, here are the things I haven't done with the garden produce:

1) Shredded zucchini for freezing.

2) Processed cooked zucchini for Cubby. It's cooked, I just haven't hauled out the food processor to make it less stringy and more appetizing. At least, I hope pureed zucchini is appetizing. I have my doubts.

3) Boiled, roasted, or otherwise done something clever with the beets I finally pulled out of the garden.

4) Cut, blanched, and frozen some of the chard. It's starting to get a little large, that chard.

5) Figured out what the hell to do with the mounting numbers of cucumbers, now that I've already made freezer pickles, refrigerator pickles, and enough cucumber salad to kill a cat. If cats ate cucumber salad. Which I'm pretty sure they don't. Too bad. I bet Pitty could really put it away if he wanted to.

6) Cooked the broccoli that I've slowly been accumulating from the small side shoots that keep appearing.

7) Cooked, pureed, and sieved some carrots for Cubby. I did this once, except I didn't sieve it. He was not such a fan. But that was awhile ago, and he's gotten a little better about texture since then, so I'll have to try again.

8) There's more. But I'm starting to get discouraged, so I think I'll end here.

Monday, August 9, 2010

So Close . . .

We went to a dish to pass party yesterday, to which I brought a large cucumber salad. That, plus the pickles my sister-in-law made with the MiL, actually used up all the cucumbers in the refrigerator. A cucumber-less crisper drawer during cucumber season, as any gardener knows, is a damn miracle.

Plus, I used several more zucchini for a side dish for dinner last night and then gave a few more to a family member, so I only had one--ONE!--left in the refrigerator. Alleluia!

Then I went out to the garden last night and refilled both the cucumber bag and the zucchini drawer in the refrigerator in one harvesting session.

Squash always wins.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Happy Discovery

Did you know zucchini actually makes a pretty decent quesadilla filling? Well, at least the Ronde de Nice zucchini do; I must assume the same is true of standard zucchini.

I mean, no one is going to mistake it for carne asada or anything, but add enough onion, garlic, chile powder, cumin, and epazote, and it's really pretty good. And God knows, anything that disposes of some of the ENTIRELY TOO PROLIFIC zucchini in a relatively appetizing manner is A-OK in my book.

I used up three whole zucchini making quesadillas for lunch yesterday. And the MiL used one to make a zucchini cake. Which leaves us with only, oh, a dozen in the refrigerator. And several more ready to be picked today.


The zucchini may end up taking over the world, but at least we won't be lacking for quesadilla makings.