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Monday, September 27, 2010

um, i don't have a title for this.


what i've been up to, or why i've fallen off the face of the earth sound like reasonable enough ones, or please, lost routine come back and suffocate us with your monotony, we miss you! seriously, i've missed you. i missed this space, and seeing what everybody's been doing. first zhara got sick, her entire preschool class got knocked out. when she got better, hubs collapsed, and when he was fine, it hit me. i haven't been this sick in years! it was truly horrible, but i have to admit it was nice to be taken care of, for a change. (not that i was able to enjoy any of it, but husband did bring me toast and chicken broth to bed. and he was on toddler patrol the whole time so i could rest). then i got better and went back to work and the day-to-day. and i never resurfaced... i have packed what feels like a million lunches and snacks. i have made enough laundry to have some sort of softener overdose. (i'm all for the arts and such, but could we use a bib when we're glueing glitter to dry leaves?! i swear she messes up three outfits a day.) work has been beyond exhausting. draining. and it seems more complicated than ever to divide the day into more bits than the mandatory stuff. get the kid dressed and fed, and to daycare. get to work. breathe, don't blow a gasket. get dinner on the table. get tomorrow's lunch packed up. get the kid bathed and kissed and tickled. get to bed. repeat. at the end of the day, when i'm showered with never ending requests for 'just one more story' i have to make a very conscious effort to be nice to my kid. i have to pace myself so i can patiently explain yet again why it's night and therefore, bedtime. this kid never wants to go to bed. i could sleep standing, like a horse. it was an intense couple weeks, and i felt like i could talk about nothing else. i can also see very clearly that it would bring everybody down if that was the whole story, but it's not! because every now and then i remember why we do it. we're building a business, and that's never easy for anybody. every beginning implies lots and lots of legwork, and it's unrealistic to expect anything else. no one gets the red carpet from day one. (unless you're gwyneth paltrow.) everybody pays their dues. i decided to simply stop feeling so tired, or more precisely, that being tired is the end of the world. tired doesn't have to equal mean cavewoman. it doesn't have to mean that right now, your bones are mush. tired can mean you've tried your best. tired can mean you're on your way. so you can feel tired and content. they're not mutually exclusive notions.
in between, we have managed to get out and pick raspberries. zhara had a grand time rolling in the grass like a dog, and eating raspberries straight off the bush. i made the best jam ever. and cake, and cupcakes. we had regular plum fest, with jam, compote, pie and ice cream all out of italian plums. we made zacusca. this is a traditional canned veggie spead. i'll do a post on it as soon as i get around to taking some pictures. we made a batch of roasted tomato passata with all the heirloom toamtoes we've been picking from the garden. (speaking of which, i have a lot of green ones that i doubt will ripen with this cold weather - does anyone have a nice recipe for canned green tomatoes?) we've made pear compote. the sourdough starter is still alive, i'd say despite me. we've had some very good sourdough waffles, but the bread is not working out the way i'd hoped. i'm not giving up.
the liquor up there is good stuff. you take a bunch of sour cherries, and you mix them with half their weight of sugar. let them sit overnight to form syrup. then you add alcohol 3 to 1. and then you wait around doing nothing for two weeks. and then you bottle up the liquor, and use the cherries in truffles or something. this is a sweet drink, very fragrant and fresh. a shot before or after a nice meals round things up like nothing else.


these are the tomatoes that got roasted for passata. there's shallots and garlic and all those herbs (all from the garden), i can't begin to tell you how good this is! each time i open a jar i feel i'm making a sacrifice, and i ponder whether the dish is worthy. silly, but it can't be helped.



look at this treasure. they really were so delicious! and the jam is incredible. it's a low-sugar recipe from pam corbin. they also made a delicious mousse in a dark chocolate cake. it got wolfed before i even had a chance to put it on a cake plate.


over the course of my absence, i've won a giveaway hosted on a wonderful blog. i'll tell you all about it tomorrow. (i really, really, hope i do). i was supposed to post about it as soon as i got my loot, and then it all got away from me. in all honesty i haven't had a chance to use half the stuff, and so there wasn't much to say about it...
next weekend we plan to pick some apples. jelly is not my thing, but i'm thinking some more jam can't possibly harm us. tomorrow i'll take a pic with all the canned stuff sitting pretty on a shelf. i want to go pet them. and if that's me plain and sober... maybe i'll drink some of that cherry liquor and take a bath in raspberry jam.

22 comments:

  1. life with children is so much more than any of us could've ever imagined... it's amazing we make it through. lovely post and the pictures are beautiful~ and those tomatoes with herbs from the garden? oh my- definitely worth the effort
    ~Chef Louise

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  2. welcome back,dana!beautiful post,pictures...i miss you!:)

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  3. Everything looks so good! Yum! Welcome back, I can't wait to see your canning efforts :)

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  4. So great to have you back! Sounds like you've been incredibly busy, I hope you're finally able to come up for some air! Wonderful photos and fabulous colours - look at those raspberries! :)

    Your comment about lunches made me laugh! When Big Boy was in preschool, I turned to Pete one morning and said, "I'm sick of making packed lunches!". He replied, "just 12 years to go.." :)

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  5. hi chef! so true, i had so many ideas before actually having a kid, little did i know! thank you! i only wish the last round would ripen already, i could can another batch!

    alison, thank you so much - it's good to be back!

    andrea, thank you! i hope to establish a new sense of order soon...

    celia, it's been weird not being here. i hope to reign myself in and not go mia again. the berries - and the picking, not just the eating, made our day. it was a fun sunday.
    well that's comforting, isn't it!! for each dinner i try to cook something that i can pack for tomorrow's lunch. but i also need to hustle two snacks, milk and juice. so that's three different containers, and to top it there's stuff i can't pack because of allergies. no fish or shellfish, which zhara loves and that's a complete bummer, and no nuts. like, no coconut milk in pancakes. jeesh. who's allergic to smelling coconut?!

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  6. Thank you for follow my blog!I apologize for my no good english. I like more your blog! This cake is very super and your photos are beautiful!:-)

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  7. Your pan of tomatoes & herbs waiting to roast looks absolutely beautiful. I'm not familiar with passata. It seems something I'd like to make. Thanks.

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  8. Dana that last photo of the cake looks divine. I think I would be high fiving my self all over the kitchen if I pulled that one off.
    It's damn hard when you are sick, tired and so incredibly busy to keep that happy mum face on sometimes. Glad you took the time for this post though.

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  9. claudia, we'll understand each other, don't worry :) i know enough italian to read, but i can't speak very well. thank you!

    denise, thanks! it's a very simple process that yields amazing results. i used pam corbin's recipe for roasted passata - you can also make fresh tomato passata skipping the roasting, but i love the flavor. you just lay the toamatoes in a single layer, scatter shallots, garlic and herbs on top and roast. then puree, bring to boil and pour in jars. it's much superior to anything you can find in the store. although you can eyeball quantities, i'd be happy to pass along the recipe if you want! pam corbin further uses this base to make ketchup. next year i plan a bigger batch, so i can try that too.

    chfg, thank you! i'm trying to stay positive and patient! she has her days, especially when she doesn't nap at daycare, but most times she's pretty easy going. except going to bed - that's never voluntary!
    that cake is so easy! once you get done with straining 5 cups of raspberries to get the seeds out, that is. i don't like that part, but it's well worth the effort!

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  10. Imi pare bine ca sunteti sanatosi. Abia astept sa te citesc din nou!

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  11. I'm sure I could figure out some decent quantities, but I'd still love to see the original recipe. It might just inspire me to buy the book. Thanks!

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  12. irina, multumesc mult!

    denise, the recipe is from 'the river cottage preserves' and if you get it you'll want to make everything in it. everything.

    pam corbin uses roma tomatoes for this passata, but i only had heirlooms in the garden.
    4 1/2 lbs ripe tomatoes
    7 oz shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
    3-4 garlic cloves, sliced
    a few sprigs herbs - rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano
    1 ts salt
    1/2 ts black pepper
    1 ts granulated sugar
    1/4 cup oil - olive/sunflower/canola

    preheat oven to 350F. halve tomatoes and place them cut side up in a single layer. scatter the other ingredients evenly over the top. roast about one hour, until they're well softened. puree with a food mill. bring the puree to boiling point, then fill hot, sterilized jars to the brim and seal them. makes two 16 oz jars.

    i had enough tomatoes to nearly triple the quantities. i also used single-serving 8 oz jars because i'm not cooking for a lot of people. i found it necessary to pass the puree through a fine mesh sieve before boiling, as mine still had lots of seeds and peel bits. it goes fast, it's not a thick puree, especially if the tomatoes are good and ripe. i can't say enough how much better this stuff is than anything you can find at the store. delicious. i hope you try it!

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  13. Thank you! Tomatoes seem to be the one thing I can't live without out-of-season. I usually buy canned. This seems like a much better idea.

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  14. Hola . Espero que nos podamos entender , ya que yo aunque pongo el traductor me cuesta muchisimo entender las palabras que quieres decir . M i pregunta es esta , me gustaria que pusieras la receta de esta tarta de chocolate con la mus de frambuesa , me parece exquisita y no sé donde buscarla , te mando saludos desde España Madrid ,porque por aqui nos gusta mucho tu blog .Gracias ISABEL .

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  15. Hi,

    Would you have a recipe for your fantastic rasberry chocolate cake posted above? I fell in love with the picture:)
    It was a pleasure to read your blog. I will come back for more.
    Have a wonderful day today!
    Elena

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  16. Me gustaria que nos contestaras a mi y algunas personas que nos gustó muchisimo la tarta de chocolate y mus que está más arriba , nos gustaria que nos dieras la receta si no es molestia . Espero que pases felices fiestas y te mando un saludo .ISABEL , FELIZ NAVIDAD .

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  17. No sé porque no contesta a ningun comentario que la pongo , a lo mejor es que no me entiende porque ami me cuesta mucho entender muchas palabras , como ya he puesto 3 veces me gustaria saver elaborar la tarta de mus que sale en este sitio TARTA DE CHOCOLATE CON MUS DE FRAMBUESAS la mando de nuevo saludos y espero me diga por lo menos porque no tengo contestación , cuando los demás si la tienen, aunque tambien hay otra persona que preguntó lo mismo y no la respondió nadie . ISABEL .

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  18. isabel, i'm very sorry i missed your comments. life got hectic, and i haven't been around at all since the last posting. i keep postponing a decision to either get back to it or shut it down. i understand 95% of what you say, i just wasn't here to read it... LO SIENTO! i will dig up the recipe for the cake, and the squash muffins as well. it's been months, i know the cake is my go-to dark choc, but i can't remember the mousse ratios off the top of my head. i'll be back.dana

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  19. ¡¡ POR FIN !! gracias por contestarme ya pensé que no lo haria, no te entiendo muy bien lo que me dices pues el traductor no es muy bueno, pero me parece que dices que pondrás la receta de la tarta que tanto me gusta, mira tambien tienes otra sin terminar ( tarta de chocolate con mus de queso de cabra y frambuesas ) esa parece deliciosa aunque digas que no se cuajó bien la gelatina . Te pido por favor que las pongas porque me tienen enamorada y las quiero hacer , nunca dejes de poner tus recetas en esta blog , nos gusta mucho y te hechariamos de menos , solo que termines de poner como se realizan los postres que pones, eso es lo más importante, porque si pones una tarta con muy buena pinta pero no pones como se hace ... nos quedamos a medias. Dime si la pones donde tengo que buscarla y espero entenderte , yo miraré todos los dias. Te mando saludos desde MADRID y te doy de nuevo las gracias , ISABEL.

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  20. HOLA DANA.
    Que es lo que te impide seguir con este maravilloso blog ? te prometo que estoy muy disgustada de que no pongas nada, no sé si es por salud, trabajo o cualquier otra cosa pero espero que vuelvas a estar con nosotras, estabas haciendo un trabajo muy bueno y yo espero tus recetas que me prometistes. Siempre estaré esperandote por esta ventana virtual a que te asomes por ella, te mando un beso muy grande y mi cariño. ISABEL, no puedo entrar mi comentario, lo intentaré como anonimo pero ya sabes que soy LA SOÑADORA .

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  21. Mmmmmm,ce bine arata!Un deliciu!

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  22. Superba poza, delicios tort! Ai cumva reteta la indemana? Multumesc :)

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