There are 470 members in our CSA. When I was preparing food, I was dealing with quantities like 10 pounds of potatoes for potato salad, plus two quarts of homemade refrigerator dill pickles, two pints of sweet pickled onions, and a pint of soy mayo. The summer salad used 12 cups of boiled corn, all cooked in the solar oven and cut off the cobs, plus 4 huge Armenian cucumbers, another two pints of sweet pickled onions, and a flat of tomatoes, which were all seeded to keep the salad from getting too soggy. The 6-quart pot of beans barely fit in my solar oven. Due to the sheer mass of beans and water to heat, it took five hours to cook. Many breadsticks to roll out, and so on and so forth.
Let me put this another way. I'm tired! Don't get me wrong, it was a fulfilling experience - cooking and preparing wonderful food to inspire members to try cooking with the sun and find new ways to use what they get in their CSA shares. But, I'm happy to finally have my refrigerator and freezer space back, as well as time to catch up on everything that I've let slide for the past month. (Yes, I've been working on this for a month - canning green tomato relish, candying citrus peels, pickling onions and cucumbers, freezing corn, and so on!)
What's on my schedule for the next month?
Clean (out) the house
Cleaning has been ignored for a bit, with the exception of making sure my working area in the kitchen was sanitary. I still have clean underwear so the laundry must not have gotten out of control yet.
The house, though, is so cluttered, it's scary. I don't think there are any overdue bills lurking under the piles, but I won't know for sure until I look....or the lights won't come on when I flip the switch.
Organizing the fridge & freezer
There's food in there, good food, but it's been so crowded I've had a hard time finding it lately. It's time to inventory again and get back to meal planning for a while.
BBQ Sauce: This is on the schedule for the very near future. I've got a flat of tomatoes to process. After poring over recipes, I want to try my hand at homemade barbecue sauce. I've made it from scratch starting with tomato sauce before but never from raw tomatoes.
Tomato Jam: To get the sauce to cook down quicker, I'll be seeding the tomatoes. I don't want to waste all that flavorful juice, though, so I think I'll try adding one or two tomatoes to the seeds to make tomato jam. Has anyone ever made tomato jam? What do you use it for?
Eggplant & Tomato Relish: another interesting looking recipe from the Joy of Pickling book I found in a used bookstore. I've liked every recipe I've tried in this book so far. Oh darn! When I searched for a link for the book, I found out there's a new completely revised edition out....with 25 new recipes. How long until Christmas? Hm, can we have Christmas in July maybe?
Vinagre: Yesterday I picked up an organic pineapple at the farmer's market. The closest the vendor can get them is from Oaxaca. I specifically purchased it to try making Vinagre (Spicy Pineapple Vinegar) as featured on Daisy Cooks! I don't like habaneros and no chiles are ripe locally yet so I picked up a poblano pepper from the Mexican market this morning.
Dried Tomatoes: I dried a bunch of cherry tomatoes this week. I love the taste of them but have never used them regularly in cooking due to their cost. Any suggestions? Best ways to keep them in storage?
I've missed my self-defense classes for the past week while we gave the new dog a chance to get used to his new home. I'm looking forward to starting up again next week. I'm loving, absolutely loving, punching and kicking my weight bag at home. Talk about working out stress issues! Even my TMJ is improved after a good workout.
Now that my time isn't so strapped, I'll get back on my bike for errands...provided I can get them done before it hits 105 degrees outside (the forecast temperature for all of next week). Oops, I need to remind my sweetie to fix the handlebars.
I tweaked them (to the left) when I fell off my bike last week heading over to take care of a friend's cats while she was away. My knee looks worse than the handlebars and we won't talk about the bruise I got from falling forward on the bike. Let's just say that if I were male, I probably still couldn't talk yet.
I should get my new orthotics within the week and be able to start walking in the canyon again. I've missed my nature fix.
Train my dogs
Classes start next weekend. Daily follow-up is going to be important if we want to end up with two good, well-behaved dogs.
How can you help?
- Tell me about your experiences with tomato jam.
- Suggest good uses for dried tomatoes.
- Send dog training treats.
- Drop a hint with my sweetie about the new edition of The Joy of Pickling.
- Come eat up some of the leftover potato salad from the demo!