I Just Want to Lie on the Couch and Read a Good Book

Hurricane rains, and it’s ridiculously steamy here in Southern Ontario considering the autumn leaves already rotting on our sidewalk. It feels like we’re living in the middle of a tropical jungle, not waiting for that nice killing frost that will put a happy and natural end to my food gathering and preserving efforts.

I feel tired today and not ready to start up a brand new week. That dreaded Sunday evening feeling. Spent most of the afternoon preparing food, including a superb grape/rhubarb cobbler using the cooked grape pulp leftover after the juice was strained for the jelly-making. This has to be one of the simplest desserts to bake, with the basic cobbler topping coming from my Joy of Cooking: 1 and 1/3 cups flour, 2 tbls sugar, 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, mix together, then cut in 5 tbls butter (approximately) and add 1/2 cup of milk. This makes a biscuit dough that you can cut or shape to lay over the sugared fruit of your choice in the 8×8 greased pan. I used the grape pulp, plus some frozen rhubarb, added 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tbsp flour. The biscuit dough needed a bit more flour to make it easy to work with. Bake at 375 for 45 mins. Eat plain or with milk over top.

So don’t throw out your grape pulp! Except this only worked because the grapes I used were next thing to seedless. Too many seeds would have made the pulp inedible.

I also baked cookies for school lunches, and made supper. And did piles of dishes. And spent 45 blissful minutes on the couch reading Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, which I recommend highly. I keep picking it up at bedtime and then being unable to stop reading and as a result getting to sleep way too late. The kids didn’t know what to make of mommy reading on the couch. F was sure I was reading the hymnal and kept wondering why I wasn’t singing the book.

To update on the grape jelly: it appears to be jellying! Thanks to Nath for commenting on the last entry and letting me know her saskatoon berry jelly took two months to turn to jelly. I was certain I’d failed and would be using the pretty purple liquid as grape syrup for pancakes, or something, when I happened to pick up the jar I’d stuck in the fridge (half-full; I ended up filling 5 and 1/2 half-pint jars) and saw that the liquid was gelling. I literally ran up the stairs calling, “The jelly is jellying!” This qualifies for high entertainment in our house, I guess, because the kids and Kevin were just about as excited as I was. They should really inform you of this timelapse jelling effect somewhere in the recipe. I had the candy thermometer out, to ensure I’d reached prime jelling temperature (220 degrees, in case you’re interested; hmmm, I guess that’s Celsius), and kept lifting the wooden spoon staring at it with faint hope of seeing some “sheeting” action. Kevin was hauled in to evaluate: “This looks like dripping to me–does it look like dripping to you?” “Yes, it looks like dripping.” Finally, thinking I’d misunderstood the instructions, I just gave up and poured the hot syrup into the jars.

Long story, not short, I’m afraid.

I write these posts in the kitchen, and am beginning to suspect that’s skewing the content. I should be running a kitchen show. A kitchen show for people who want to learn how to cook from someone who doesn’t know what she’s doing.

That’s my time. Baby CJ’s livid in the living-room, and the kids are still upstairs pattering about on not-so-innocent little pittering feet.

Casual Canning
Theories Advancing, Retreating

1 Comment

  1. Unready, Unwilling, Unable

    Hey Carrie-

    I love that when you need to consult a cookbook you turn to the encouragingly titled “Joy of Cooking”, and when I need to check my own cooking methodology I always reach for Julia Child’s “The Way to Cook” for its reassuring, my-way-or-the-highway dictatorial tone. I’m discovering more than I want to know about myself every day – thanks for helping.



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