Since I MISS not being able to reference end of summer / garden 2013 happenings, I am throwing in here a quick mish/mash of what's happened just since one week ago at this house.....in no special order..... 1) 2 Batches of Lydia Bastianich's special slow-cook fabulous pasta sauce, prepped, cooked all day, then frozen......... THIS wonderful sauce is one of Rodger's summer favorite projects....awaiting the ripening of the Italian Sauce tomatoe, the San Marzanos.....he really doesn't mind the all day task of making this.....usually I help in the prep part. Ingredients: chopped onion, garlic, fresh basil, Sauce Tomatoes (in our garden were the San Marzanos, (yum), and begins with, as always, the prep work....let's get the garlic / onions chopped and ready. . . Then, you core the tomatoes..... yep, get that little green core out: . Then...every tomato is run through the little machine that peels, mashes, de-seeds everthing....you lose a little mass of your product here before you even cook: . This is a great machine..... . ANd finally, you slowly slowly cook the processes tomato mix for a few hours until about half the volume is gone by losing all the water......nothing left but intense flavor. Remove from heat, COOL, package and freeze. Ah. Ready for winter pasta cooking. . After the mid-September cooler weather began to arrive, and forecasts of rain coming, every tomato plant (9) were pruned, trimmed so all growth would concentrate on what fruit was already there: . And finally with rain coming this afternoon, the possibly "last" tomato picking was done, even pale marzanos to bring in for ripening: . NOW. Onto Tomatillos........we've always made TOO much Salsa...this year I really cut back and still have a dozen pints from last year to give away somewhere. I harvested two boxes like this after I'd made all I wanted, and two friends took them to make some on their own....Rhonda & Kim will have some stored for winter too now, yea: . One afternoon, after all that work growing a garden, fighting moles, weeding, watering, feeding, etc, I couldn't just throw anything out.....ALL these little watery but delicious Stupice had to be used.....So I processed them, put 'em on to cook, and here showing the new hot sourdough bread cooling on the country. . THIS part of the sourdough bread baking was taken 2 days ahead of the final bake....you feed the starter for about 2 days....baking the bread before waiting that long means none or little real sourdough flavor: As always with bread the MOST in touch you are with leading UP TO the bake, is that final knead of a dough that is finally elastic, touchable, puffy, rich, aromatic, completely a tactile experience: . AND, this fall, finally, after being given the recipe by dear friend Nancy Grossenbacher back in May, but getting busy with all that summer brings to this part of the country, I FINALLY got time to make it this week: ROSEMARY SYRUP. THat began with the harvest of a dozen or two sprigs of rosemary off our big plant: . After stripping the leaves from the stems, pour a bottle of inexpensive white wine into your pan, a little balsamic vinegar, couple cups of sugar and simmer this stuff for a little while: . Once you've reduced the volume of the syrup to about half, it's a little thicker.....turn off the heat, cool, and bottle it up....KEEP IT IN the fridge: . **IT truly was the surprise of the summer, I can only call it quite an elegant little topping for.....some say ice cream, I would also think some feta cheese/cracker workup.....it's delicious. . So, 2nd Stupice harvest, these babies looked perfect and tasted perfect: . Had to cut a tiny slice in the top so I could drop 'em into boiling water for a few seconds so they'll peel quick: . I worked those tomatoes the same as the Marzanos...peeled, cored, mashed....and they're ready to cook down: ***after cooking down to half the volume, I said....HEY! I LOVE good tomato juice and gave up on making some more sauce.....these were cooled, and now have some delicious Stupice Juice out in the garage. . And preparing for the 2015 garden? First on the list was this.......these leeks are going to seed....just propping 'em up to keep 'em outta the dirt in the rain....here's the first peek at my 2015 leek crop: WHEW. Update a few days later......... ***The rain came, our fire danger's gone, we're all happy about that, and Ive begun thinning out a few of the plants detritis in the garden. A sad week for me, but so relieved the 2014 WORK part of gardening is over. C'mon FALL.
a few more notes on a garden ending its summer life......and I'm a little awestruck how veggie clans call carnivores MURDERERS......you ought to see how a garden is murdered, sawed up, tossed, brutalized, savagely eaten, sometimes boiled in hot oil OR water..... veggies ALSO lead a horrible life. Just this morning at our favorite produce farm, the Pumpkin Patch, a beautiful jersey calf saw me coming back to the car, and began "hinting", obviously, for me to come over....there were some cabbage leaves JUST under the fence she couldn't reach....and up until THIS point in her life, believed Humans cared for her lovingly. Whew. Onto things that move me in the garden as it passes on............ The Giant sunflowers become So mammoth, I have NO idea how the stems support their weight. IN FACT, in THIS year, I really fear that when rain really starts, the wet weight will make them collapse....they are ONLY standing now because I've supported the stems with steel fence posts and baling twine.....hoping against hope they blooms will dry, and through the first two months of winter, birds will dine out there regularly. The blooms LOVED the hot dry August heat: . ***I DID try to straighten one stalk out, and it simply broke. They are now "SET" in place for better or worse. . This other view shows a bit better just how tall these really are (awell they WERE least 10 feet until they got so heavy they began to bend under the weight of those huge blooms): . The other "tall" plant for the season has now been, as I described brutally hacked, harvested, pulled and thrown in a compost pile on the back hillside. BUT. Just before they were, they offered beautiful sunset glimpses: . Then the brutalizing of all tomato plants began. It began as 1st fruit ripened....that point in the season tells the grower....PRUNE BACK all the new stems, esp where blooms are starting up.....discourage the new growth, and that will encourage growth into fruit already set but small. That was a month ago. This past week, with a clear end in sight (daylight hours and rain forecasts ahead), I TRULY snapped off ALL branches without any product on it, or ANY blooms Anywhere, thinned out clogged areas to let light in, and though the plant now looks old and worn, the fruit show up to light and are seriously ripening at full speed: The truly heavy yielding sauce tomatoes that LOVED this August, the San Marzanos show being brutalized: . ***** THE DEER FENCE has been shortened and wrapped just to include the remaining tomatoes.....the other side? ALL cleared out, corn, tomatillos gone....clearly showing murder and mayhem had taken place: . Even the fabulous cherry SUNGOLD got knocked back, but that is ONE tomato, I NEVER tire of walking out there and eating off the vine. It does NOT want or NEED salt or pepper...or anything.....It's rich sweet taste is pretty darn fabulous.....I ALWAYS miss them ..... and as I type, am just happy knowing some are out there waiting.....orange, right, warm, sweet.......yum. . The future Leeks for 2015 harvest are at this stage, and will magically sprout next spring....bees of ALL kinds love garlic blooms....they're now tied up so these drying blooms won;t fall into the wet soil when it arrives next week and rot: . There are so many peppers out there, I GOTTA get serious and find a pepper jelly recipe...harvest these tings and try one out: . Marigold. Such a modest little flower but some varieties get larger all summer and seem to peak as many other things are simply gone...I love these bush Marigolds: . And lastly, when MAC has set still as long as he can, and gives the Master that "look" long enough, a break is taken, and friends the Teals have given blessing to his swimming off their dock at their place out on the island, we take off....and this is the shipping channel on the Columbia Mac and I see when he dives off after the decoy ducks: . so now that leaves ONE MORE THING OUT THERE IN FULL HARVEST MODE: Spices. Basil, Parsley, Celery, Oregano, Thyme.............. and the BAY LAUREL....FULL of new single branches to harvest.........bay leaf. better fresh or dry? Off to pick tomatoes. .
How does this ever happen....we're now at 422 jars of canned/frozen things and the tomato business hasn't started.....(130 jars are TUNA....yes, THAT won't happen again).... but I swear, next year, this is being cut back big time. The garden.....LAST year things were ALL done by Sept 2.....it began a wet fall .....while this year, we're having a heat wave this week, and under red flag warnings about dry heat and fire danger. Hence, tomatoes are ripening so fast, I can hardly keep up. What to do with all those babies. CORN - - -For a hot year, this corn year was strange. Half pollinated ears in some cases, NONE with the sugar content they should have had, nonetheless, I will finish 'em up today....barely froze 4 quarts.....the few remaining are gonna become creamed fresh corn where a mite of sugar can be thrown in. Garden CLEAN up . . . . begins on a small scale today.....getting corn stalks pulled and outta there, some other things pulled.....the mole war is still on, but they haven't learned there won't be so much water out there anymore......they're gonna have to dig deeper.....we must get rid of them this winter since I don't to fight this war next year. TOMATOES. YIKES......yep, we planted them with just a teaspoon of microbiotic mix on each plant. I have never seen the size of the tomato plants we grew this year, and the amount of fruit, although they have come on very late.....gotta stody more about these microbio kids. there. That's about it for now.....but had to note for future references, about this garden state in mid September 2014.
Lessee. We still have 20 pints of Tomatillo Salsa from last year unused. As years rolled by, seems this item is losing its usability or interest in the kitchen, and no one requests it. I cut back on the number of Tomatillos grown, but am realizing I still have too many plants out there ripening with cute fruit.....hmmmm. So, by Sept 5, I believe I'm done canning Tomatillos this year....two times, mostly half pints, but it was fun to do. First get whatever prep things done you CAN do like garlic, onion: . A don't know WHAT canners did before the Cuisinart Machine came around: . And finally, our little tomatillos are peeled and ready for the chop too: . And then, all things are combined: Onion, Garlic, Seasonings, Tomatillos & the magic of canning, Lemon Juice: . After a 20 minute cook, everything goes into the jars, then the water canner for 20 minutes: . and we are now done with Tomatillo Salsa for 2014.
Finally....on labor day, Sep 1, we spent the day with Marie at her restaurant, the John St Cafe canning 130 lbs of tuna filets, all cleaned, prepared on the coast from neighbor Aaron's trip as described in the last post.... Just a quick look, we got the jars in one place, lids off separated, and everything made ready for the sterilizing dishwasher....commercial speed and size, wish I had one at home: We then began to work the 6 heavy bags of filets......cutting and packing into jars. THESE were beautiful filets, caught from 40 miles out in the Pacific: . NOTHING was added to the jars except TUNA. As we packed, placed lids on, we set them aside to load into the 3 pressure canners we had on hand: . When the pressure canners were loaded, they were heated to 10 lbs pressure, and set for 90 minutes: . At 90 minutes, they were pulled and set in a few placed to cool: . At the end of the day? 260 jars, mostly half pints of new albacore tuna were canned. We split them evenly, and all went home tired, but happy. . **scuse some of the pics....all taken with a cell phone.