01 July 2011

Summer Days...food and more

I'm in love with summer days.  Days of clear blue skies, a scented wafting breeze, berries ripening, bees buzzing lazily and days that stretch sunshine until 10pm!  I'm at home and there is no place I'd rather be, putzing in the garden, making jams and conserves in the kitchen, grilling supper outdoors and reading the last pages of a great novel. 

John and I visited a lovely farmer, Nina, at a local Farmers Market and purchased all of these beets!  I really enjoy Nina's sense of style with her signs and table layout!  I came home and made a lovely Beet Relish to enjoy this winter and present to my Preserve It! Class at The Market later in the week.

Fresh shell peas are had to come by these days!  A yield of 1 cup shelled peas for every quart of pea pods seems skimpy, yet SO worth the effort!  I made my peas into a "Pea Cream".  It's a condensed sauce of peas, stock. garlic and seasonings that can be frozen and then made into soups, a spread for toasted baguettes, pasta sauce and more! 

Our "South Bed" perennial garden is full of lovely blossoms and Pierre's playground!  Pierre is allowed to romp and roam, roll in the grass and take naps in the shade as the invisible fence encompasses this entire area.  The small red tree is a dwarf peach and he is quite smitten with it....it's just his size! 

Two years ago we lost a huge, magnificent ash tree to Emerald Ash Borer.  I wasn't planning to plant anything in it's place until this little beauty of an American Chestnut!  I cannot wait for the harvest to begin (it will be a number of years) and just ponder the possibilities of my own chestnut tree!  Soaking the leaves in Calavados to wrap tiny goat cheeses, roasted chestnuts, Marrons, a candied chestnut treat, soups and MORE! 

Pierre is always shy for the camera.....

My mom, Linda, makes a mean Strawberry Pie!  Perfectly ripe, ruby red berries in a homemade glaze...the nicest blend of sweet and tart!  

Of course I needed another tart pan, I didn't have one this shape and it was on sale.  Justification.

Pate Brisee with freshly ground peppercorns always makes a lovely tart.  I made several batches this week to keep in the freezer for quick weekday tarts and quiches.  The dough freezes beautifully and I can take a package out in the morning to be defrosted and ready to roll when I get home from the shop.  

My quiche turned out lovely and the shape of the pan inspired me to be fussy and add a few sprigs of chives!
Now it's off to work I go...the cacao beans are calling me to make chocolate bars this morning!  Peppalo Stone Ground Chocolate is our new company and we are having a blast!  More about this in the future... 

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