sustenance.

Toast with cream cheese and strawberry balsamic jam.

Broccoli raab and kale with garlic, chile, and a fried egg.

The border of my ripe bananas lap blanket.

I set aside Thursday afternoon for writing. And while the words didn’t come easily, I’m a few paragraphs richer today.

taste-testing, peas, pesto.

jaminaction

Strawberry-balsamic jam on a slice of fresh-from-the-oven homemade bread. Not a bad start to Sunday morning.

compoteinaction

Strawberry-rhubarb-fresh mint compote over plain, local yogurt. A mid-Sunday morning snack.

pickled sugar snap peas

Deb does it again — saw this recipe for pickled sugar snap peas over at smitten kitchen, and had to mix up a batch. I can start eating them this evening…

pesto

More green in a jar. In the spirit of eating everything in my share, I chopped up the remaining garlic scapes, picked my basil stems clean, tossed a few walnuts and a generous helping of olive oil into my mini-cuisinart and began blending, adding more olive oil and some salt and pepper to taste to get it right. My new favorite sandwich, courtesy of the folks up at P’s farm, is toasted bread (in a cast-iron skillet), cheese, pesto and as many greens as you can fit into a sandwich — fried egg optional. Yum!

But where are you, you may be wondering, on that sock? Is there a chance you’ll make the KAL deadline? I don’t even want to show you what Boh looks like this morning. He’s concerned. Very concerned. He thought the weekend’s canning adventures were over, and then yesterday he watched as I left for about an hour, Border’s coupon in hand, and returned with 2 more books on pickling and preserving…

sock2gusset

I did get a few solid hours of work on sock number 2 in yesterday, thanks to the very last episode of Season 2 of The Wire, and some knitting podcasts. I’m in the midst of the gusset increases, and if I can turn the heel and get an inch or two of the leg done today, I just might be able to eek out a full pair before it becomes July.

i blame the strawberries.

I did not knit AT ALL yesterday, despite my KAL deadline. Boh is displeased.

bohdispleased

Also, I may have developed a repetitive strawberry hulling injury.

7plus colander

I blame the strawberries.

I picked 7 more quarts early yesterday morning, plus a big blue colander full. I mean, I couldn’t help it. I brought the colander along just in case, and I just had to fill it. We had a lot of rain on Friday, which meant that the berries grew even more rotund and juicy. Saturday morning was cool, humid and overcast, and I had the patch to myself. If I didn’t pick a few more, those strawberries were going to overripen on the vine, and we can’t have that. No, we cannot.

Thus, my adventures in water-bath canning began. I didn’t necessarily intend to make jam from the start; I simply got home with all of my berries, looked at my overflowing freezer and the abundance crowding my countertops and realized that jam might be the way to process some of this deliciousness. I ventured out again, intending to try to scavenge a canning stock pot and rack from a thrift store, when I discovered a special on a 21 quart canning pot with its own rack at the grocery store for 24 bucks. Throw in a 12 dollar “welcome to canning” set complete with tongs, jar lifter, funnel, seal checker, and some other thing I can’t remember, a few boxes of lids and some more half-pint jars, and I was ready to go.

Adventures in water-bath canning, take 1: strawberry-balsamic jam.

jam1

jam2

I used Eugenia Bone’s Well Preserved (which I heard about over here) as my guide, and found the instructions to be clear and logical. The book is organized by “master recipes” that require some kind of preservation technique, and then Bone provides a handful of recipes that utilize the preserved food in question. I like the layout and the emphasis on using your preserves, but I may supplement with a massive canning/pickling book to be able to look through a range of options for one particular fruit or veggie.

jame3

I am so excited about this. In fact, as soon as all the jars were in the water bath, I mixed up a batch of no-knead bread (in its second rise right now) to properly enjoy my jam. The tough part about canning is that you have to wait another 6-8 hours for the jars to cool and the seal to set. This morning, as per Eugenia’s instructions, I tested all my seals by unscrewing the tops and picking up the jars by their lids: success! Those seals are tiiight, baby.

So, back to the tough part about jam: no instant gratification. Hence strawberry recipe #2: strawberry-rhubarb compote with mint.

compote1

compote2

Simple, aromatic recipe. I’m planning to enjoy this over yogurt in a few minutes. Plus, it used up another pint of strawberries.

Had enough? No? Good, because I did not stop there. (Boh begged me to pick up the socks, but I ignored him.)

dipped strawberries

No recipe here — I just melted some chocolate chips, added some butter until it was runny enough for dipping, and twirled the biggest, prettiest berries in my colander in the chocolate. I laid them out on wax paper and slid the tray into the fridge to chill.

whatstrawberry

I just couldn’t help it.