Monday, September 1, 2014

A MILLION SWEETS!

What to do with a Million Sweets,
Sweet Million Tomatoes that is!!??

My patch almost literally has produced a million, or more, of these sweet gems.

The rest of my garden hasn't amounted to too much but that's
not the case for my tomatoes.

The plants grew so large and became so heavy with
their fruit that the spindly cages bent under all the weight!


I bravely stepped into the mangled mess and the plants
and cages attacked me - eek.
My flip-flops got tangled and the cherry tomatoes 
went flying as I slowly went down, hitting the hard ground
roly poly - ouch! 





The first picking went directly into
my freezer.

So easy - just wash, destem and place on parchment lined
cookie sheets to freeze.

Once frozen - put these frozen
"marbles" into freezer bags for
use in future sauces, adding
a fresh tomato taste.







The next picking - even larger, really made me think of what to do
this time......

Before

I decided to slow roast this batch.
The tomatoes and several cloves of garlic were sliced in half and
drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with sea salt and pepper, and spread onto parchment lined cookie sheets.

The roasting took approx. 2 1/2 hours at 250F (stirred at the half point). Smelled so good! These can be kept in air tight containers in the fridge for up to 5 days or frozen for yummy soups or sauces.





After


Some of the fresh  ones were tumbled in seasoning and made for
a wonderful addition to the fresh veggie tray as an appetizer.
This Tumbled Tomatoes recipe was served to us by our friends in Mexico
and are so refreshing and delicious.




Tumbled Tomatoes
1 Tbsp. Herbs de Provence - Presidents Choice carries this (I picked mine up in Mexico)
1 tsp. Coarse Sea Salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
Mix herbs with the salt and garlic powder - pulverizing it in a mortar and pestal or salt grinder.
Wash the tomatoes in cold water, drain but do not dry. Place the tomatoes into a large bowl (or container with room to tumble). Toss tomatoes with the herb salt mixture until evenly coated. Refrigerate, tumbling occasionally until water is evaporated. Once water is evaporated, the herb salt mixture forms a light crust on the tomatoes. Serve chilled. This keeps for several days in the fridge. The drier and crustier the coating - the better they taste!



Now, what will I do with all the "big brother" tomatoes?
I see a few jars of stewed tomatoes and fruit relish in the next few days.



Till next time ............ Happy Labour Day everyone.....enjoy the day!



Sunday, August 24, 2014

Music in the Fields

What a fantastic venue for a weekend of



The skies threatened but held off
as performers such as Gord Bamford, Brett Kissel, Tim Hicks,
Lindsay Ell, The Road Hammers, River Junction Band,
Whitney Rose, and my favourites High Valley and Dierks Bentley,
belted out their top songs to an enthusiastic crowd of 
some 7,000 fans!


The camping was literally in the adjacent fields,
with crowded camp sites of tents, trailers, busses, and
all sorts and sizes of RV vehicles!
Most of the time the "fields were alive with the sound of generators" - ugh!
We did feel a little smug with our wee Escape trailer
that required no hydro or generator to function for this event.







The solar panel and propane
provided all our needs for
lights, pumping water, refrigeration and cooking.
It worked beautifully!










delicious and made for a 
quick meal between sets.










The evening performances went well past midnight but we
"old folks" persevered and enjoyed the coolness of these last
summer nights.
After all, we had a cozy warm bed waiting for us in the field....


Till next time, what was your weekend like?


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Early Bird gets a Cream Bun

Recently while camping we were
told about a wonderful bakery in the nearby town of
Goderich that makes homemade Cream Buns 
(I think they actually call them Cream Puffs).
They are famous and you must arrive 
early, before 10 a.m., if you want to score
any of these little gems from Culbert's Bakery.

Needless to say, we weren't early birds
on the day we took a quick trip into town.
(We were on holidays and didn't move too quickly
in the mornings.)
We did, however, enjoy the delicious tarts that are
also made there.

While making pizza dough for our Sunday Supper
I had a craving for Cream Buns, sparked by that
recent close encounter .... why not make them since I've
got the yeast out anyway?

As my pizza dough proofed I set to work to find the ultimate
Cream Bun Recipe.  I found a New Zealand style recipe online
which I slightly modified....




As you can tell, I need to practice
making consistent rounded buns!
This recipe makes 12 rather large
buns - I think 24 smaller ones would
be perfect - next time I'll try that!














For a rookie cream bun maker,
they turned out not too bad!
They aren't Culberts but
the farmer was heard muttering,
"one isn't enough" as he 
came into the kitchen for a 
second helping.
He suggested holding the icing sugar - not a fan!

Note - the pretty T-Towels
I used for this photo. They were a
sweet gift from dear Kathy from
delivery! Bev - thanks again!




Here's the recipe in case you'd like to try making these sometime.
I'll keep practicing to get them just right  ... trouble is - who will eat them???

Cream Buns – New Zealand style

This makes 1 dozen large buns 
2 tsp. yeast
½ Cup lukewarm water
1/3 Cup plus ½ tsp. sugar, divided
½ Cup warm milk
1/3 Cup melted butter
1 tsp. salt
1 Egg – slightly beaten
Approx. 4 Cups all purpose or bread flour
Glaze – Equal amounts of sugar and water (I used 1 oz. of each)
Freshly whipped cream (unsweetened) – for filling
(I ended up sweetening mine slightly with sugar and adding a bit of vanilla and 2 Tbsp. of vanilla instant pudding to stabilize the cream)
Icing sugar for dusting and jam for garnishing
Stir together the warm water, yeast, ½ tsp. sugar. Let stand till yeast begins to get bubbly.
Mix the milk, melted butter, and egg together and then add it to the yeast mixture. Add the 1/3 Cup sugar, salt and 1 Cup flour. Mix, adding the remaining flour ½ Cup at a time. Knead till smooth (may be slightly sticky). Let rise till double in bulk.
Punch down and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into 12 equal pieces – rolling in hands to make nice round buns. Place them onto a greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise for approx. ½ hour or until doubled in bulk. Once doubled, preheat oven to 350F and bake for approx. 20 minutes or till golden brown. While they are baking, prepare the glaze by mixing the sugar and water in a sauce pan – heat to boil and remove. Brush glaze onto warm baked buns – cool. 
Cut the buns almost through on an angle, fill with whipped cream and dust with icing sugar and garnish with a dollop of jam – ENJOY!

Next time you're in Goderich check out this bakery 
and, oh yes - go early!!!!





Thanks again Kathy for these lovely T-towels! I always think of you when I use them.


Till next time .......... join me with a cuppa' and a cream bun.