Friday, August 28, 2009

Wine, wine everywhere...

...nor any drop to drink. I currently have two very promising batches of wine in the making, one rhubarb and one dark cherry. With a lot of help from my darling husband, we re-racked both wines last night - not without complications, of course.

I believe that Billy may have inhaled/huffed/swallowed a moderate amount of the cherry wine in his efforts to get the siphon hose working. Gravity has never been my friend and it certainly wasn't on our team last night either. In our clumsy efforts to decant the wine from the old container to the new, we accidentally stirred up the sediment in the bottom, thereby setting our wine back a little in the "clearing" process. :(

The job was not without its rewards though. The smell of the cherry wine in particular was heavenly! It is agonizing waiting for these wines to be finished and ready to drink, but such is the lot of a first year winemaker. As long as I make at least 2 or 3 batches per year, I should, in theory, never run out of tasty homemade wines.

Which brings me to the point of all this rambling. I will shortly be in possession of a few pounds of blackberries. I am on the fence about whether or not I should then turn said berries into yet more jam (the cupboard already holds upwards of 3 dozen jars of assorted jams) or try my hand at some blackberry wine. There is a poll at the bottom of this page where you can vote on what becomes of my gorgeous blackberries. Keep in mind, those of you who are in the area will probably at some point receive as a gift and/or partake-of the end result in some fashion, so - speak your piece!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fallout from a Blowout

On my last trip to Target, several weeks ago, I bought one of their little red reusable shopping bags for 99 cents. Why not? I'm forever forgetting my reusable bags, and I figure if I have enough of them stashed throughout my car, I might actually use them!

Anyhoo, as I am putting my newly purchased goods into the trunk of my car, I notice a blowout in the seam of by BRAND NEW BAG. Had I not had perishable goods in the car and places to be, I'd have marched straight back to the Target customer service desk and asked for my money back. However, I did have dairy products in the car and it was a mighty hot day. So, I decided I'd get my refund on the next trip.

Well, that Target bag has been riding shotgun with me for a few weeks now, irritating me anew each time I see the darn thing. So I ask myself - what am I doing? Is it really worth hanging on to to get my 99 cents back? Am I really that cheap?!?

A) Yes, I kind of am.

B) I feel that my earth-muffiny righteous indignation is entirely justified. This was supposed to be a reusable bag. An earth saver! This sorry sack didn't even last for one stinkin' use! And it isn't even recyclable!

C) I am a world-class Target shopper. Honestly, if you ask me where I bought something, the odds are excellent that the answer will be Target. Thus, I felt personally slighted by the store that I had so faithfully shopped on a weekly basis for years - over a 99 cent bag. I make no claim to being rational about this - quite the opposite indeed. I know I'm neurotic and I'm ok with that.

So what is a girl to do? Chuck the bag and beg the Earth's forgiveness or burn a little fossil fuel trucking that stinker back from whence it came?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Satan's Fruit Roll-up

Cherries are expensive. And, I may have gone a little overboard and bought a pound or three too many, just as my family's infatuation with the short-lived fruit abruptly ended. So, I found myself with a mountain of cherries, going south fast. What to do?

I froze some, turned some into wine, and my old standby for fruit on the cusp of funkytown, made some into fruit leather. Thumbs up on the first two! The wine is coming along well and I have a good amount of cherries frozen and awaiting their final destination in the form of a crisp or a smoothie. The fruit leather....not so much.

As they usually do, the girls tore into the fruit leather the minute it came out of the dehydrator, as did I. In fact, we all took our first (and last) bite at the same time. Whereas Livy tried to muster a compliment for my efforts through her just-ate-a-lemon pucker, Scarlet cut straight to the chase - "Ewwww!". Yes, they were hideous. Inexplicably foul.

Needless to say, we all promptly spit out our horrid cherries and composted the remainder. Unfortunately, fruit leather has a nasty habit of glomming itself onto your teeth and staying there as long as it pleases, toothbrushes be damned. How could something so good go so horribly, nauseatingly wrong?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A nasty case of "Sauce Shoulder"

My tomatoes are coming on fast and furious these past few weeks, prompting me to keep up a similar pace in turning them into something yummy. Today I took it upon myself to turn 5 pounds of ripe roma tomatoes into a lovely veggie pasta sauce, 8 cups of which went straight into seal-a-meal bags, and then the freezer (woohoo!).

Immediately following my spontaneous sauce-making spree, I felt a well-earned sense of accomplishment. A few hours later, I felt a well-earned throb in my right shoulder. I have dubbed this achy side effect of my 'mater milling "sauce shoulder". Though cranking 5 pounds of tomatoes through my tiny food mill, while listening to my ipod was actually relaxing at the time, I'm presently paying the price for my zeal for the homemade. Owie.