Last week I hosted bookclub.
Every year I remind myself to keep it simple and just buy some cheese and call it a day.
Well, then I start scheming in my mind and start scouring my cookbooks and Epicurious and I changed my plan! It’s not like I entertain routinely…I’m not sewing…I NEED TO DO SOMETHING CREATIVELY…and on goes my justification.
SO what did I serve?
Corn fritters with chili lime mayo.
Carmelized onion dip with blue cheese (served it with vegetables…broccoli from our garden!)
Edamame and Arugula Crositini (photo above)
Cheese Straws (from Smitten Kitchen)
Ice Box Cupcakes (from Smitten Kitchen)
I have to say, it was all so delicious and totally enjoyable to prepare all these treats. Now next year, just chips and salsa…’cause everyone likes that, right? Maybe I’ll add a trilogy of homemade salsas, make my own chips…uh oh…
I suppose you could say this is a “girls night out”, but since I’m not much of a party animal, meeting with a few ladies to can seasonal fruits and herbs is just my speed. Boy, I’ve made myself to be such a dork…I mean I DO like to have fun, but partying it up at bars and shopping at the mall is really not me, you know? (Not that this is at all bad!)
ANYWAY, a few of us were wishing we would take advantage of the season’s goodness and can it for later during the dark winter months. I am a huge fan of the “Little House” books and would dream of having a cellar of peaches, green beans, and peas…especially like Almanzo’s family in “Farmer Boy”
(Did anyone get hungry while reading this book?!).
A few in our group have had experience with canning, but the majority had never experienced the bubbling pots of blueberries, sanitizing jars, pectin and the headache of multiplying a recipe. It seems like our generation has not been taught to can because our mother’s were presented with jars of jam at the market and tomato sauce…why should we bother?!
Of course, we are not stockpiling for our families like women did generations ago. It’s an adventure and fun to learn a new skill. AND most of all, chatting with friends and getting to know new ones, all while keeping busy with our hands…mixing, pitting, measuring and keeping a watchful eye on the various pots.
Women nowadays seem to be so isolated from one another and never really experience “community” with other females. It may seem old fashion, but this sort of gathering is better than any kind of shopping spree or massage!
So- what did we make? Blueberry jam, Sour Cherry jam, an herbal salt with Rosemary and Orange zest, and a bunch of syrups (Cherry Basil, Lemon Verbena, Lemon Thyme).
We are planning to meet once a month and hope to make 2-3 recipes. August’s plan is canned Peaches, Corn Relish, and Pickles!
The problem now? Which jam to eat?
Since I like to avoid favorites and like to remain neutral, I see no problem with cutting my toast in half and having a little of both!