Sunday, July 17, 2005

domestic diva

That's what I feel like today. Mostly because I was able to devote a significant portion of my day to the domestic chores I love (this is something I haven't been able to do in a loooooong time). It started a couple of days ago when Steve (wonderful man that he is) helped me pick all the currants in the garden. There were LOTS of them. At one point he wandered over to a different portion of the jungle vegetable garden and hollered, "Hey, there's a zucchini here that's big enough to turn into a dugout canoe." Well...that's not really what he said, but he did indicate that this particular zucchini had, shall we say, gotten away from me. So we picked it.

Fast forward to today. The day I woke up and decided to make the jam (imagine an oratorical echo here). I busily got together my pots and pans and assorted little jam/jelly making doohickies like this and this and this.

I destemmed and washed all the currants. Mushed them up in the pot and began to cook. The recipe I used was from Oded Schwartz' Preserving.
For every two pints of currants add 2 1/2 cups of water.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or so until fruit is pulpy.
Strain into a jelly bag [note: I use cheese cloth lining a colander suspended over a large pot which works just fine]
It takes about 2 hours to strain completely
Measure. For every 2 cups of juice add 2 cups of sugar
Add the juice of one lemon
Heat gently until sugar is dissolved then bring to a boil.
Skim foam.
Cook 10 minutes or so until jelling point has been reached.
Ladle into jars, seal and process.


V's friend B is spending the day with us today. She had never even heard of currants. How deprived a life she must lead. She didn't even know that they were a fruit or where or how they could be grown and that you could, of all things, cook and eat them. I have her the teeny-tiniest taste of the jelly on a spoon and she loved it. Told me that it was fabulous. I gave her a spatula and the pot it was cooked in and told her to knock herself out. People I am serious when I tell you that pot looks like it was never used. Amazing.

While making jelly somehow the little fairies who occasionally share my domicile managed to wash and dry two loads of laundry, run the dishwasher twice (not sure how we wound up with so many dishes today but we did) and Steve vacuumed (thank you honey, you are the best!) This added significantly to my domestic divaness feeling as the house is clean AND I was able to do all these fun kitchen things.

As the jelly juice was straining I took that huge honkin' zucchini and made zucchini bread with it! Mmmmmmmmm. It was so delicious. The thing was so humongous I got three loaves out of it. It's been such a long time since I baked anything that one whole loaf has already disappeared. Back to B...she had never, I mean NEVER, in her whole entire life had zucchini bread before. I mean can you think of anything so sad? She's already eaten 1/2 of a loaf all by herself.

In addition to currant jelly Steve thought that perhaps I wanted to go collect the raspberries to make raspberry jam. Being the adventurous brave determined soul that I am I ventured outside to collect said berries. This in spite of the fact that it was drizzling. Those of you who know me know that I am a wuss and I hate to garden in the rain. Any rain. But as I was collecting berries and not actually planting anything or weeding I perservered. Unfortunately it began to rain harder. The silly cat had followed me and true to her garden cat personality took great delight in hiding under the bushes, batting at my feet every time I came near her. This scared the dickens out of me as I kept thinking I was about to fall into a prickly pile of raspberry canes. When I finished I found that I had not quite, ahem, nearly *cough* anywhere near enough berries to make even the most miniscule taste of raspberry jam.

Being on a baking roll [no pun intended there] I realized that I did have enough to make one quick and tasty batch of....muffins! See note about zucchini...I made 12 muffins but somehow there are only 6 left. Of course after all of that cooking and washing up I am now totally and thoroughly (as we say in our family) gepoopinde.

It was a GREAT day, I was so happy to spend the day in the kitchen like that. It made me realize how very much I miss that aspect of my life. Of course with three kids, a job, etc., it's not hard to understand why that doesn't happen very often. I think the kids and Steve really appreciated having fresh baked goodies and I appreciated the time and space to make such lovely things for them.

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