Thursday, July 30, 2009

It Struck Me As Odd

On my last visit to my parents, in which I raked up on tomatoes, my sister and I were sitting at the table with Mom, talking. The subject, for some reason I cannot recall, was pecans.


(A little back-ground is required here. My mom's cousin has pecan trees on her lake property and last year they were bountiful. She and her hubby brought bags of pecans to Mom & Dad who shelled and picked them while watching TV. They currently have 18 quarts in the freezer. Now back to our story...)

Mom made a sullen comment that someone kept using all of her pecans. Sis asked who would do such a thing. Mom rolled her eyes in my direction. Sis asked what I was doing with all of Mom's pecans.

Hmmm...I did make my father a carrot cake for Father's day. Left it there. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing....Oh, wait! In January, I made a batch of spiced pecans for my parents to snack on and left January.

I was telling a co-worker because this had completely baffled me. Mom is generous. I once mentioned how much I coveted her slotted spoon. I now have 8 of them. There is a new one each time I visit. So why the pecan paranoia?

Seriously...there are 18 quarts in the freezer! And neither she or my dad cooks with them!

My co-worker thinks that each time I visit, I should make two pecan pies. And pecan sandies. And the fruit cake cookies that call for 10 cups of pecans.

Any ideas out there to further use up my mom's pecans? I'm open to suggestions.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Portrait in Red


I've eaten tomato sandwiches, bacon and tomato sandwiches, had buttered toast with sliced tomato for breakfast, and took Frank Stitt's Cornbread Panzanella to movie night. I think I prefer Ina Garten's Panzanella recipe, but this was pretty tasty, too.

I also made salsa and tomato basil jam which I canned. I have a tomato for lunch today and one for tomorrow and I'll be done with Dad's tomatoes. I'll have to buy more.

In the photos, the salsa is the lighter red...9 pints. The tomato and basil jam is the darker red...4 pints. And then I made a cherry jam using Splenda. It's the darkest red...4 1/2 pints.

This is Mom's recipe for salsa, which was a bit complicated to interperet.


11 large tomatoes
2 bell peppers (I used one green and one orange)
6 jalapeno peppers
2 large onions
1 TBS pickling salt
8 cloves garlic
1/3 c cider vinegar

Peel and seed tomatoes. Medium dice the tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers and place in a soup pot with finely diced jalapenos and minced garlic. Add vinegar and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for an hour to 75 minutes. Place in sterilized jars. Apply lids and rings and place in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

You can adjust the heat by adding and deleting the jalapenos. Being a wimp, I only used 5 and it was more than enough heat for me.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

notes from the meeting

For all the middle-aged Trekkies out there...

notes from the meeting

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Tomato Time!

I received an emergency email last Thursday from my dad stating that I needed to come down ASAP. Oh my! Had Mom taken a turn for the worse?


Tomatoes were in! In fact, on Thursday he picked three five gallon buckets full of tomatoes. So I re-arranged my plans for the week-end and headed south. I came back last night with a bushel of tomatoes. Sis took a bushel with her. We left Dad with about half a bushel and many, many more to be picked this week.

I gave about half to friends and co-workers, put some of the greener ones in the windows to ripen, and pulled out enough to make salsa and to eat tomato sandwiches for at least a week.

My friends and family consider me a heretic because I don't eat my "mater" sandwiches on white bread but prefer whole wheat. I do, however, slather it with Hellman's mayo and sprinkle it with sea salt. I've been known to add chopped basil for brighter taste. But a basic tomato sandwich is divine.

I may go for a little panzanella, too. Hmmm...Caprese salad, anyone?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ducks In A Row


My dad always says "Get your ducks in a row"...meaning, make sure everything is in order and you have everything you need before starting a project.

Many years ago, Mom was big into country geese and made dozens of them in ceramics. They usually wound up atop the upright piano. One day my dad was waiting in the car for her and that little mean streak she tries to hide came out. She stopped by the piano and began arranging the geese. When Dad came back into the house he stared at Mom, who smiled sweetly and told him...

"I just couldn't leave until my ducks were in a row." Dad is a sweet, long-suffering man, so he just rolled his eyes and asked her if she was about done.

The point of this story is that I find myself using this phrase often. And each time I do, I think of that incident.

It's like those moments when you suddenly realize "OMG! I sound just like my mother!"

Monday, July 6, 2009

Day 12

Michael Jackson is still dead. Alert the media!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I'm Pickled...Or How I Spent My Holiday Week-end

I got up Friday morning and straighted the house a little. Then I headed out to have my car serviced and run it through the car wash. And then I hit the road for Alabama to spend the holiday with my family.

Friday evening I made a vegetable salad that needed to marinate overnite. Next, I made dill pickles. I cheated and used a packaged mix for these but I used Dad's home-grown cucumbers.

pickles july 09(2)

Saturday morning I made banana bread and baked beans. Dad cooked ribs and corn on the grill. I also made some sugar free strawberry ice cream. So our 4th of July celebration included ribs, marinated veggie salad, roasted corn, sliced tomatoes, diced cantaloupe, baked beans, banana bread, and strawberry ice cream. Not bad for 6 people!

Today I put the finishing touches on a batch of bread & butter pickles I started on Monday. The photo above shows the dill pickles on the left and the B&Bs on the right.

Bread & Butter Pickles

2 gallons sliced cucumbers
1 1/2 c pickling salt
2 c vinegar
1 oz alum
5 lbs sugar
4 tbs mustard seed
2 tbs cinnamon
1 tbs celery seed
12 whole cloves
6 c vinegar

Place cucumbers in a non-reactive container with salt and enough water to cover. Refrigerate three days.

Drain the cucumbers and combine with vinegar, alum, and enough water to cover. Refrigerate two days.

Drain the cucumbers. Bring to a boil sugar, spices, and vinegar and pour over cucumbers. Refrigerate overnite.

Boil the pickles for 10 minutes and place into sterilized jars. Place in boiling water bath.

I can hardly wait to make a turkey sandwich to have with the B&B pickles. Ham for the dills.