I spent the bulk of the day on my feet in the kitchen. We went crazy at the farm stands and green markets this week and J and I had to take care of a lot of very perishable produce before it started to turn brown and mushy. Thank goodness there were two of us in the kitchen today, because I never could have gotten all of this done by myself. I'd still be standing in front of the stove stirring two pots of jam at once.
The day started with pesto - more pesto than you can shake a stick at. I don't know why you'd want to shake a stick at pesto, but you certainly couldn't shake a stick at this much of it. (We ended up with about 8 pints of pesto by the end of the day.)
Pesto #1 - Basil Pesto
In the food processor combine almonds (pine nuts make me itchy), garlic, Parmesan cheese, basil leaves, salt, and really tasty olive oil. Blend until a rich herby-earthy paste forms and you wish someone made basil scented eau de toilette.
Pesto #2 - Garlic Scape Pesto
In the food processor combine almonds (no itchy pine nuts for me), Parmesan cheese, salt, roughly chopped garlic scapes, and your best olive oil. Blend until you just can't wait any longer and have to get a spoon full of the herbal/cheesy/nutty mixture into your mouth. Pause for a moment and be amazed at how garlicy and herbal garlic scapes are.
By noon, we had moved on to salsa. We blended fresh red onions (from Briermere farms) with some Vidalia onion, cilantro (Briermere again), jalapeno peppers, a habanero pepper, lime juice, salt, black pepper, and two cans of organic plum tomatoes (no juice). Sometimes I add garlic, but not today (there was enough garlic in the pestos to power me through next week). We ended up with two quarts of salsa.
After a bite of lunch and a short break to update my Twitter status and check on my Facebook news feed (I'm an addict), it was time to focus on the fruit. Jason pitted six (yes six) pounds of cherries and I washed and measured out four pints of blueberries. We made jam, jam, and more jam.
Jam #1 - Cherry Jam
Simmer cherries, sugar, lemon juice, and salt for about 45 mintues. Let it cool. Portion into jars (I used plastic freezer jars). Try to resist eating it directly out of the pot or spooned over vanilla ice cream. I made two and a half pints.
Jam #2 - Blueberry Jam
Simmer blueberries with sugar, lemon juice, and salt for about 30 minutes. Let cool and jar it up. This stuff smells like heaven and I want nail polish in blueberry jam color. I ended up with one pint. I need more blueberries!
Jam #3 - Blueberry/Cherry Jam
You know how I make jam by now - fruit, lemon juice, sugar, salt, simmer, cool, store, try to resist pouring this over everything in the refrigerator. The blueberry and cherry combo is amazing. I made one and a half pints but I only froze one pint. The other half pint is in my refrigerator, waiting for me to make waffles. Oh my!
While the jams were cooling, I blitzed up the strawberry sorbet mixture that I had macerating in the refrigerator overnight and poured it into my ice cream maker. Thirty minutes later, J was licking off the dasher and I packaged up a quart of strawberry margarita sorbet. We actually made slightly more than a quart so we had to eat some of the sorbet before we could seal the lid. The things we'll do for quality product. We all make our sacrifices.
Once we cleaned up the kitchen and sat down for a well deserved rest, J started reading the grocery circulars that came in the mail while he was in Las Vegas. He was beyond excited to find some amazing prices on fresh cherries. Upon further inspection of the circulars, he realized that today is the very last day of the specials. So, he jumped off the couch, grabbed his wallet and keys, and ran out to the grocery store.
He returned home forty-five minutes later with (I'm not joking here) twenty-eight pounds of fresh cherries. Seriously. Since they don't fit in the refrigerator, they are hanging out in the cooler with lots of ice until J and I can get to them tomorrow morning. We'll pit them all, freeze some for use during the winter (J loves making smoothies and froyo with frozen berries), make some into sorbet (J loves his frozen desserts), make some into jam, make some into chutney, put some into sangria, and eat some as is. It's going to be a very busy day. I might even experiment with making my own cherry-yaki marinade (a take on teriyaki sauce).
Anyone want to come over and pit some cherries for me? Anyone? Anyone?