Tuesday, June 12, 2012

More ideas for your one quart jars

I don't tend to can much in my quart jars- they are a bit big for my family's needs.

Being constantly short on plastic containers, I realized tonight that I could freeze my triple batch of red sauce in jars. Just be sure to leave enough room for expansion. You can easily thaw overnight in the fridge or sans lid in the microwave.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Little Women Letters

One of my favorite things about living in Boston is my proximity to Concord's Orchard House, where  I have spent many happy hours learning more about the Alcotts.  Indeed, all the Church Ladies (and some of our Pious Men!) are fans of Little Women.  So when I saw Gabrielle Donnelly's The Little Women Letters at the library, I quickly snatched it up... and devoured it in the next twenty four hours.

The Little Women Letters operates on a single premise- the Marches were a real family, and Little Women is unknown.  Fast forward several generations to modern day London, where Jo's great-great-great granddaughters are growing up, learning important lessons about life, love, and family in the process.

The Little Women Letters succeed because the March girls are unchanged.  Certainly, some anecdotes are developed, but the original characters remain wholly Alcott's- not subverted to the reader's desires like fan faiction.  Donnelly is incredibly successful at bringing Alcott's lessons about the importance of family, moral character, domestic responsibilities, ambition, and public service to a new generation.

PS.  Be sure to check out the author's account of first encountering Little Women- something that I could relate to well from growing up in a house of brothers!

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Squash Chutney

"She prepares her food in summer, and gathers her sustenance in harvest." (Pro 6, 8)

It might seem a bit odd to can squash chutney in June, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity when my greengrocer was clearing out his stock of winter squash at extremely discounted prices.  The recipe, an Indian take on Our Lady of the Resurrection Monastery's pumpkin chutney,  below made eight pints.  And just like Ma Ingalls, I had my Pious Man/sous chef chop the squash (not, however, with an ax)!

2 acorn squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 t turmeric
2 t cumin seeds
2 t mustard seeds
2 t sambhaar
1 T fresh ginger, grated
2 pears, peeled and chopped
2 apples, peeled and chopped
1.5 cups sugar
1/4 cup rice vinegar or vermouth
1 T lemon juice
kosher salt to taste

Place squash in a dutch oven over low heat; cook covered until squash is al dente, about 15 minutes.  Remove lid and increase heat to medium.  Create a well in the middle of the pan; add oil and let heat a minute.  Then stir in shallots and cook until tender.  Stir in garlic and other spices; cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in fruit and cook a few minutes until juicy.  Stir in remaining ingredients except salt and and cook until thick and bubbly, about 20 minutes.  Add salt to taste. Can in a hot water for 15 minutes, according to manufacturer's instructions.

Friday, June 8, 2012

More summer refreshment

Thérèse's summer beverage hint inspired me to share a few of my own.  Pictured from left to right: iced mocha, iced chai, and peach basil margaritas in two quart jars.

Iced Mocha
Brew four cups of strong coffee; pour into jar.  Stir in two tablespoons of baking cocoa.  Add sugar to taste.  Cool to room temperature; then chill covered in fridge.  Stir well before use, adding milk to taste.

Iced Chai
Pour one quart of boiling water into the jar.  Steep two chai tea bags for five minutes; discard tea bags.  Stir in sugar to taste.  Cool to room temperature; then chill covered in fridge.  Stir well before use, adding milk to taste.

Peach basil margaritas - a peachy take on this Kitchn recipe for strawberry basil margaritas.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bon appetit

"Cooking is crafty, self-empowering, and the closest existing thing to old-world magic. By trading money for raw roots, a thatch of herbs, and a slab of protein, you can transform it into something not only edible, but delicious—that’s powerful alchemy. Plus, making your own food almost guarantees you’ll eat better and feel healthier. It will also give you a chance to engage with the people around you, from the farmer who sells you produce to a loved one you feed to the relatives whose recipes you keep tacked to the fridge." (full post)

Via GOOD, a 30-Day Challenge (with a tip for each day of the month) to encourage eating at home- something from which everyone from families to new grads just starting out can benefit.

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Friday, June 1, 2012

The Holy Father's Prayer Intentions for June, 2012

General Intention: Christ, Present in the Eucharist. That believers may recognize in the Eucharist the living presence of the Risen One who accompanies them in daily life.

Missionary Intention: European Christians. That Christians in Europe may rediscover their true identity and participate with greater enthusiasm in the proclamation of the Gospel.

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You all my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all our associates, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father for this month. Amen.