Sunday, September 27, 2009

Stocking the Shelves

Completed writing on 3 October. My drafts are sitting too long! Oh well.
The last bit of summer has us fixing up the pantry and adding some jars to it. FabHub had planted a Concord Grape vine for his Grandmother when she was living here.
Earlier this summer when he checked those grape is looked like they had blighted. There was nothing but shriveled up fruit on it.
Then a few weeks ago he walked past the vines and they were loaded with fruit. Well, loaded enough to make up a few jars of jelly.
We really didn't need this much jelly, but we didn't have the right set up to make wine this year either. Maybe next time.

In other canning adventures, since my tomatoes blighted due to all the rain this year we didn't have to fool with them, so I got an idea about canning some potatoes. Lots of times I get home from work a little late and don't have time to make them the "right" way, so I end up not making them at all. We share a potato patch with my brother-in-law and our part is waaaaayyy to many potates for us to not eat them, which led to us giving the canned potato a try.I asked around to see if anyone had done it before and found out the in-laws don't like frying the canned potatoes or using them in a potato salad. After thinking about that for a bit it made sense. Because they are basically stored in water the starches will come out of the potato and cloud the water. I figure that when you use the potato without the starchy water the flavor would be changed. When I cooked a test batch I dumped the whole jar in the pot and added another quart of water. They cooked up pretty nicely and there were no complaints. They are a bit "stickier" than regular mashed potatoes, but still real. Since then I have read were some Internet people really liked the canned potatoes fried. So I don't know, maybe we will try that too. I could slice some up and can them that way, just to see what happens. It isn't like we will run out.

Events around the house include our work on remodeling the basement. Since we practically live down here it is about time we did some work to it. Right now the walls are painted block, there is a drop ceiling, and we heat the house entirely with a wood stove. That is not as primitive as it sounds, just really cheap way to have heat - most of the time anyway.

Part of the remodel is insulating the walls and putting up green board drywall to help keep out some of the creeping cool that comes through the blocks. That creeping cool is nice in the summer, but lets the house chill up too quickly in the winter. And in November, just in time for a 12.1% increase in our electric bill, thanks Electric Company, we are also installing a heat pump that will back up the wood stove. We plan on setting it at about 55 degrees in the winter and hope to keep the chill out when the wood stove cools off. Reworking the lights and furniture in the family room end of the basement will make the whole area better all around. The floors will get something done too, but we haven't figured that part out yet.

So the first step of the project is the walls. We started in the pantry by removing every thing and putting up some poly foam on the walls. We didn't add the dry wall in here though. Then we painted the shelves and put them back in the room. Next is figuring out what needs to get stored in this room and what of the "stuff" that was here needs to disappear. So far I have put back in the rest of last year's tomatoes - one reason this year's blight didn't bother me. The remaining green beans, new grape jelly, potatoes, and pork jars - yes, home canned pork. And yes, that is what I thought too the first time I saw it. Turns out to be tasty and a good idea. Anyway, I also added in my Sam's club overstock and all my picnic supplies. Progress will be gradual until we get the heat pump installed and then it should get really messy around here. I am sure to share pictures as we go.

When my mom came back from visiting her new grandson, Garrett and his parents (hi Kim and Steve), she brought me some apples that she had picked up somewhere. They weren't pie apples, but I used them in a pie anyway. Mom has also supplied me very nicely with Georgia Pecans, so I found a recipe called Upside Down Apple Pecan Pie in order to use both of them.
Looks kind of odd doesn't it. This is what it looks like when it comes out of the oven.
I need to use a different crust though. This is a Jif box, which don't seem to be big enough for two crust pies anymore. Looks like I will have to start mixing my own.
This is what it looks like when you flip it over.
I should use a flat serving dish instead of a wide shallow pie dish then it wouldn't have shown so much edge.
This is what it looks like after FabHub and I have the first pieces.
Very tasty. I will use pie apples next time though. The ones I used were to soft and kind of let the pie sink in.
So that is my latest adventure. Next up - more apples. I got a wild hair the other day and decided to buy a bunch of apples at the Farmer's Market. Actually paid a bit more per pound than any of the grocery store prices, but I like to support the locals when I can. I didn't know how many I needed to make up some jars for winter baking, so 15 pounds didn't turn out to be a lot of apples, but as long as the apple man didn't give me any bad ones I might go back for more next weekend. As for now, I need to go bake up a pie for the guys - they are building a new porch roof to replace the one that got blown off in February 2009. Check out the blog pictures, 'Catching Up Again 21 February' if you haven't seen them before. Really wild what the wind can do.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Out of Order

Looking for a new post? I added a lost post from the 18th of August below the End of the Midwest Adventure. The date wouldn't change and I didn't want to start over. Enjoy!