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Monday, July 9, 2007

It must really be summer.

I picked my first tomato today (I wrote, on Thursday; I ate it with my dinner on Sunday night)!!

I grow tomatoes in a raised bed under a hoop house covered with ventilated clear plastic. This has the dual benefit of keeping them warmer at night (otherwise anything larger than a cherry will not ripen outdoors) and un-eaten by the deer. I do mostly determinate varieties because of limited space, except that I always grow Brandywine (the tomato pictured above is a Gold Nugget--a variety I love for its compact habit and fairly heavy yield). With the weather they're predicting for this week (98 degrees tomorrow and Wednesday--before you scoff, please keep in mind that a majority of folks around here, us included, do not have A/C), I'll be picking more soon if not today, assuming I can keep things watered. I've also picked two yellow squashes, and they were delicious. Now, if the deer would just stop eating the zucchini blossoms . . . .

Other notable food last week included (for the July 4th BBQ we attended) dijon-thyme marinated pork chops with rhubarb-ginger chutney, and a couscous salad with chopped spinach, green and yellow beans, and sugar snap peas from the garden. Then, for Sunday lunch, to celebrate Number One's safe return Saturday evening, we had dutch baby pancakes with buttermilk syrup and fresh mixed berries, of which I had picked the raspberries and marionberries myself. I picked berries three times in the last two weeks, and made most of them into low-sugar (1.5 C for 4 C fruit) freezer jam. It reminded me of picking berries with the Scary Feminists when I was very pregnant with Number One (hi, gals--did you have a nice birthday, ME?). I made raspberry and golden raspberry from my first picking excursion (I'll be sure to post photos when we start eating this--the golden raspberry alone didn't look very appetizing, so I mixed a few tayberries into most of the batches, and it's beautiful!), tayberry from the second, and marionberry from the third. After nigh on 20 batches, from 5 1/2 flats of berries (only the goldens were not picked by me), I am DONE for the summer. Any further berry picking will be just for eating.
Buttermilk Syrup

2 C sugar
2 C buttermilk
1 C butter
1/4 C light Karo syrup
1 t baking soda
2 t vanilla

Put all ingredients other than vanilla in a large (at least 6 qt, and 8 qt would be even better--this stuff greatly increases in volume as it boils) pot, and bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. When it reaches a full rolling boil, set timer for 7 minutes, and keep stirring. When the timer goes off, remove from heat, stir as foaming subsides, then stir in vanilla. Serve warm over everything--waffles, pancakes, french toast, ice cream, etc. etc.

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Blogger Adriana Velez said...

Mmm, garden-fresh tomatoes! And I remember the berry-picking/jam-making well.

July 9, 2007 at 10:34 PM  
Blogger Swizzies said...

OMG, I SO love fresh yummy tomatoes.

And that buttermilk syrup? Holy crap, that sounds good. And familiar...have I made this before? Is this one of your older recipes? Something tells me I have tried it one way or another. And YUM.

July 10, 2007 at 1:06 AM  
Blogger janeannechovy said...

I'm sure you've eaten it before, since I used to make it in NYC. I just haven't made it for a while, and hadn't ever blogged about it. It's going to take me a while to get through all my old delicious standards, if I'm going to keep posting new stuff too. ;)

Di--where are you guys heading on vacay?

July 10, 2007 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger ME said...

Hi JA,

I did have a groovy birthday! I wore my "I'm a feminist and I'm OK" T-shirt to the ward service project (same one I wore when we made freezer jam).

Mike and the girls surprised me with cupcakes and rounding up all the workers to sing Happy Birthday.

We cleaned up and went to the good Chinese buffet for dinner and saw a production of The Fantasticks, my all time favorite play. Twas a good time all around.

July 11, 2007 at 9:44 PM  

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