preserving my (in)sanity

Well, an update in the weather that I know you’ve all been waiting with virtually bated breath to hear…

(By the way, what is “bated breath”, exactly?  I think I smelled some on the tram today… does “bated breath” mean that something crawled into your windpipe and died and is now being exhaled as you snort and cough all over the pole that I’m hanging on to?!?)

Yesterday was so hot that the charcoal in our new easy light charcoal BBQ (prohibited, by the way, by virtue of my tenancy agreement.  Oh well.) ignited by itself!!!!

JJ: Stop exaggeratin’, lassie!!! Don’t ye think these blog readers already know yer a wee bampot?!?

Yeah, ok, ok… I lied to you.  Actually, those are the remains of the big souvlaki feast we enjoyed last evening…courtesy of Loblaws who had a big sale on these premade things when I popped in Wednesday evening (not as guid as mom and dad’s, but for $1 a stick and no work on my part, they did just fine):

What they did not have at $#&*($&*@#($#@* Loblaws, however – and what I had popped in especially to get – was any local produce.

And herein starteth the rant.  American friends, believe me, I have nothing against your fair country – nor against Peru, nor against South Africa.  However, one might just expect that in Ontario in mid-July one could go to the grocery store and buy… let’s say, local strawberries.  But no.  The closest to “local” I could find there was New Jersey (for those as geographically challenged as I, some 500 clicks/335 miles from here at closest.  This means at least five hours bumping around in some truck just to get here to Toronto, never mind to my local Loblaws from wherever they keep their secret huge warehouse!!!).

Sheesh!!

So, I had to limit my purchases to souvlaki, smoked sausage, four litres of vinegar and sugar.  And no, this is not the fixins for some esoteric greco/scottish summer stew.  Rather, I needed the vinegar for… you guessed it!… more preserves.  And then I hit Bari fruit market for some decent local stuff.

Wednesday’s obsession product was infused vinegars.  From the left: strawberry and vanilla bean, blueberry and lime, ginger and chilli, and Europe’s Best Zen Garden frozen veg mix (I boiled too much vinegar and sugar.  What can I say?)

There are also various other permutations and combinations on the above.  And, if I actually liked salad, I might have been able to tell you some day how they all worked out.  But I don’t like salad.  So, I will have to rely on JJ and other friends to let me know how these all taste – on salad, anyway.  I have been known to dip bread (which I do like, in quantity) in vinegar – yes, yes, I am a wee bampot, I know.

Why all this zeal, especially when it’s not all that prudent to keep a big pot of water boiling for three hours, making it 500 million C with the humidex in my apartment?  Well, I read this article in the Globe and Mail on Wednesday at lunch, which will give you some ideas for fancy flavoured vinegars if you’re so inclined.

I also bought two kilos of “last day special” plum tomatoes at Bari, which I also canned after boiling them in some V-8 juice.

Then, just when I thought I’d had enough, JJ made the mistake of mentioning that he was glad I’d brought in more strawberries, because the ones we’d bought at the weekend had gone somewhat dry…

So, six more 500ml jars of vinegar – three strawberry/mint (at left) and three balsamic/strawberry (at right).

What’s that you say, JJ?  I should learn to like salad, should I?

But why, when there are chips to eat and bread to dip in oil and vinegar??? Huh? Huh?

Oh, and by the way, the sour cherry jam has been a big hit so far with the man of the house:

Wishing you all a lovely Friday and a happy weekend.  Tonight we will be heading out to meet some landlord rep friends (eeek!!!) at an indian restaurant, followed by a pub crawl.

And what does the weekend hold?  I’ll be seeking out some more sour cherries, I suspect…

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8 thoughts on “preserving my (in)sanity

  1. Sequana says:

    I don’t like salad either……never have, never will. Not really fond of vegetables, nor meat…..

    I could live totally happily on just yummy stuff from a bakery. A GOOD bakery, that is……with all kinds of breads and savories and cupcakes (gotta have cupcakes).

    When someone opens a bakery/fabric store, I’m moving in.

  2. pdxknitterati says:

    You’ve been really busy with the little jars! I don’t do vinegars, but I love making jam. Usually plum, in September. The blueberries growing in my side yard are about done, and I’ve only frozen them this year. Berries in the winter, yum.

    Bated breath: as in *abated*? Held?

  3. Amy says:

    You can’t get local produce in the grocery stores here either. You have to go to the Farmers Market, or go directly to Conrad Farms to buy their produce if you want the local stuff.

    I am a salad freak, I could live on nothing but salad. Sadly, you can’t tell by looking at me that I’ve ever eaten one in my life.

  4. clarabelle says:

    Firstly – my gawd, the balcony is looking great! and the herbs as well!

    Secondly – ‘with bated breath’ is a fave expression of mine; I’m always trying to toss it into a conversation (‘bated’ = ‘restrained’, as in anticipation, although it sounds like it means something foul-smelling or something). I also like ‘hoist by his/her own petard’, ditto.

    Thirdly – wow, I’m so impressed with all your conserving! I have a really good recipe for pickled chillis, if you’re interested? And chilli puree? (spoken with bated breath…)

  5. Kathy Rose (in honor of the flawrs) says:

    The actual expression is “baited breath.” It originally referred to the practice of catching fish in one’s mouth by placing a worm on one’s tongue and waiting open-mouthed at the surface for a fish to jump in. Over the years it has become generalized to refer any sort of wild anticipation.

  6. Barb says:

    LOL, I actually believed the charcoal lit itself! It’s been damned hot here too. I love all the vinegars, etc you are making. You are a regular Suzie Homemaker!

    Oh, the sour cherry jam! That must have been heaven!

    Try to keep cool. July is certainly living up to it’s reputation as the hottest damn month of the year…ugh…

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