August 31, 2015

Crushed Tomatoes

Another item checked off my canning bucket list: tomatoes.

My friends and I got our hands on a bushel (53-ish pounds) of San Marzano-type tomatoes and spent six hours blanching, peeling, de-seeding, cooking and processing them.

By the end of the night, we admitted defeat. We only had several pounds to go but could not bare to look at another tomato. Canning is exhausting on such a large scale, and I am sure tomato remains coated every surface of the kitchen.

However, it was all worth it. After five batches, we ended up with nineteen 1L (quart) jars of crushed tomatoes / tomato sauce / tomato juice.

Pro tip: having company and drinking wine helps with the canning process.

July 31, 2015

Summer Lovin'

Temperatures have been hovering around 30 degrees C all week, which makes me ecstatic because I get to bust out the rarely-worn summer dresses.

I spent last weekend at a cottage where we woke up bright and early to watch the sunrise, went for a run, did a bit of yoga, made a delicious breakfast and canoed on the lake, all before noon.

Life is good.

June 30, 2015

Rhubarb Snacking Cake

Ah, summer. This is when I feel the most in my element. I went strawberry picking this weekend and canned some preserves. I also got my hands on some garlic scapes and made a pesto.

Several weeks ago, I was eating asparagus to my heart's content. The first sign of spring is always exciting, even if it was a bit delayed this year.

Rhubarb is the other trigger that spring has arrived. I've had a colleague tell me that rhubarb grows like weed in her backyard. It's not the first I've heard of this wonderful problem, but unfortunately it's not an issue I run into.

May 31, 2015

Chocolate Raspberry Rugelach

I'm sure it must be obvious by now that I am a huge fan of Smitten Kitchen. I follow many food blogs but I usually end up back at Deb's site because she has the ability to simplify recipes so that they're less intimidating to tackle.

When I first got my hands on her cookbook, I immediately bookmarked this recipe because it contains all of my favourite things: a dark chocolate and raspberry filling encased in a buttery dough. A baked good that must be made immediately, correct?

Then the procrastination kicked in. Months turned into years until finally, due to the fear that my fancy schmancy French jam will expire on me, I finally dove in.

April 28, 2015

Halifax 2015

My friends and I had this crazy idea to drive out to Halifax to visit a friend, so that's what we did over the Easter long weekend. Mind you, it's a 17 hour drive one-way, so a good chunk of our five and a half days was spent in the car. We did a bit of exploring in Montreal, Quebec City and Hartland (home of the world's longest covered bridge), and then crammed even more sights in once we were on Nova Scotian soil.

The highlight for me was Blomidon Provincial Park:

The East Coast received an impressive amount of snow this winter and the evidence was everywhere – snowbanks that were as tall as I, potholes riddling the streets, etc. To get down to the beach, we had to carefully climb down narrow stairs that were still packed with snow (lest we slip and break out neck). It was cold, foggy and snowy, yet the weather seemed fitting for this East Coast setting. Imagine looming cliffs with waterfalls, tides receding over the red sandstone, no one on the beach but us – it was magical.

The weekend was also filled with food (so much food): smoked meat sandwiches, turkey with all the trimmings, a full-on lobster meal and a homestyle Quebecois lunch. However, this was my favourite:

Montreal is known for its bagels and they are best fresh out of the wood-burning oven, still steaming hot when you tear into them. They're so good that we went to St-Viateur twice and were so excited the second time that we forgot to pay for parking and got a ticket. These bagels cost an extra $53 and they were worth it.