Saturday, August 25, 2007

Soggy but not damaged!!

Thanks to all the people who phoned or emailed to see if
we were okay here in Watertown. These shots show that we are just fine. The river is high the ground is soggy, the basement is wet, but we have suffered no damage here at all. The folks in Wisconsin closer to the Mississippi River in La Crosse and Vernon counties and to Lake Michigan in Kenosha county are not fairing as well.

Julie & Peter

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

First Harvest Recipes

We have now entered the time of the year when the summer garden is coming in strong.
Around here it can even be a bit overwhelming. Here are some fast and easy ways to save the harvest and you won't have to spend hours in a hot kitchen boiling jars.
Quick and easy no boil tomatoes.
Here is the best way I have found to save my garden tomatoes. When it's 90+° the last thing a person feels like doing is making tomato sauce. So here is my solution. Things you will need;
gallon freezer bags,
sharp knife.
Simply cut the green core out of your fresh tomatoes toss them into the freezer bags and suck the air out of the bag and freeze. You don't have to blanch tomatoes to take the skin off the skins will fall off all by themselves when they thaw out. Add to your favorite recipes all winter. I can process a large bushel of tomatoes in about 30 minutes.
Fast and easy Refrigerator Pickle Recipe

This recipe is great for cucumbers, hot peppers, green beans, asparagus and brussel sprouts.

Pack your clean quart jars with 6 heads of fresh dill and 6 or more cloves of fresh garlic cut in half pack your clean produce tightly into mason jars.

Bring to a boil in a non reactive pot( glass, enamel or stainless steel-non aluminum)
12c. water
4c. vinegar
1c. kosher( or canning) salt

After this mixture comes to a rolling boil remove from heat and add 1t.(teaspoon) Alum. Stir
Pour hot liquid into your filled jars until it covers all your vegetables and comes up to 1/2 inch from the top. Seal and let cool. After the jars are cooled
place into the fridge after 3 days your pickles are ready. Your pickles will last until they are eaten.

Garden Fresh Salsa
3 to 4 good sized tomatoes
1 onion
1 green pepper
1-2 jalapeno peppers (depending on the heat you want)
juice of 1 lemon and 1 lime
fresh cilantro (to taste)
1-2 cloves of minced fresh garlic
(a little organic sugar if you want a sweeter taste)

Eat immediately with your favorite corn chips or save in freezer containers
Fresh Pesto
2c.packed fresh basil leaves
1/4c. pine nuts(or walnuts or macadamia nuts)
1/4c. parmesan cheese
1/4 -1/2c. virgin olive oil
6 cloves of garlic

Place all ingredients one by one into a blender or food processor(better choice) until it forms a paste place in a mason jar and freeze or use right away. Great on bread, pasta and pizza as a sauce substitute.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Class of '77

I was lucky enough to have gone to my 30-year class reunion this past weekend and had the best time. Funny how 30 years can melt away when you get together with people you grew up with. Looking back I remember how pretentious we all were at the 10 year looking to see who had become "successful". Everyone boasting of homes, careers, spouses, children being proud they were not still "townies". (people who never moved away from our small Midwest town) However even at the 10 year I had my first sense of the reality of time. Thinking 10 years ago I was in high school and 10 years from now I could be a grandmother. Suddenly and for the first time life seemed short because high school didn't seem like such a very long time ago.

I didn't go to the 15 year it was 4 weeks after my daughter had been born and felt like a cow at 33 my body just wasn't springing back like I thought it should and I didn't want to go back looking like I was 5 months pregnant. My ego and vanity kept me from going that year.

By the 20-year we were all just very happy to see each other and we noticed that some classmates had really changed really aged it was shocking. We were all a lot more relaxed about our successes although some just couldn't resist flashing the cash. At the 20 we did have one or two grandmothers in the bunch. Mostly the ones who had started motherhood early and some who had step grandchildren from new husbands.

I think the 30-year reunion was our best reunion ever. My spouse did not want to come with me and this year I didn't mind, I think I would have been horrified to go without him 10, 15 or even 20 years ago, but this year it was just what I needed. Many of my old friends were there by themselves as well. Now it is my opinion that no spouse should ever be dragged to a class reunion unless they are also from that class. How often do we get a chance to step back in time and be a teenager again? I was surprised by emotional response to the gathering of these friends and how much love still existed between our core group of classmates. How we were able to just pick up where we left off and joke and kid around as if no time had passed. And even sing karaoke you can not have any ego to get up and do that. We stayed up too late and we got up too early making the 2-day event into a 3-day marathon of fun. I don't think we really knew how much we missed each other.

When you grow up in a small town like I did you have the same small class in grade school. 33 kids in a classroom everyday for 6 years can get pretty close maybe even closer than siblings, the junior high just added more kids to that core group and the bonds just expanded. High School was the same thing one junior high one high school the same kids every year. I don't think we realized what we had then but I think we do now.

I don't think everyone gets this especially today when families tend to move every 3 years on average. Making what my class had even more profoundly special. It seems sad now when I think about how abruptly life just dispersed us into the world and we all leapt out of the safety of the group into the world, striving and gaining never looking back. Last weekend I think we discovered how important friendships are especially the earliest ones. Who knows you better than the people who shared your secrets when you were 12? We need no ID checks on these folks. Here’s to the graduating class of ’77 at WHS.