I Think I Can

Among other things, it's been a canning day today. Mike and I were up at our usual early hour. He needed to go into town to straighten out an auto-pay issue at the bank...it meant paying a personal visit...and I needed to go to the grocery store. He dropped me off, took care of his banking business while I did the grocery shopping, then picked me up. We had it all done in less than an hour. Don't you suppose we were feeling pretty smug at our efficiency? Yes. Yes, we were.

When we got back home and had the groceries put away, I set out on two canning adventures. We had a pile of cucumbers in last week's CSA share. Ordinarily, I'd make a chilled soup or cucumber salad with such a bounty. With us gone for the entire weekend, and another CSA share to pick-up tomorrow, I decided to use this group to make a batch of Calico Sweet Pickle Relish. I've been making this relish for decades, and it's pretty easy. I've linked to the recipe there, but basically, you finely chop the cucumbers, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and some onion...this can be accomplished in just a few minutes with a food processor.

The whole mix is put into a large container with some pickling salt and water, and then it's allowed to sit for 24 hours before draining and processing it. That will be for tomorrow's effort.

While I was getting the cucumber mixture ready, I had 3 pounds of red onions cooking down. These are to try a new recipe published in our local newspaper for Caramelized Red Onion Jam. Sounds yummy, huh?

The recipe called for a cup of maple sugar, which was new to me. I found some on the King Arthur Flour website. There are cheaper ways to purchase it if you want to purchase larger quantities. Since this was my first time ever using it, I decided to purchase just the amount I needed. Once the onions are cooked down, the maple sugar, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and salt are added and it's cooked down to a syrupy consistency.

Mine took about 20 more minutes, and then it was ladled into jars and processed. As I'm writing this, it's cooling on the counter top, and so I haven't tasted it yet. I did lick the spoon, however, and that one taste held great promise for new recipe success.

When I try a new canning recipe, I use an old lid on one of my jars and process it just the same as the others. The lid usually seals, even though it's been used before, but that one jar is intended to be opened and tasted as quickly as possible. It seems silly to waste a new lid when it's just going straight into the refrigerator. In any case, I'll have to get back to you tomorrow with the verdict on the recipe.

Miss Sadie has transitioned to indoor/outdoor cat status, and the change in her personality has been astonishing. She's so much more relaxed and happy now than she was before being allowed the run of the place. I wouldn't have expected such a change, but there you have it...one happy cat.

Mike goes out on the ATV and runs it all over the property and down into the woods to chase away any lurking monsters. Then, they're allowed out together, and they stay together most of the time. It's warm in the sun for a black cat, and Sadie has figured out to come in and out of the kitty door on her own. Smitty is usually right behind her.

The only other thing I have to tell you is that I'm nearly finished with poor Mildred. She's not a looker, but she seems happy enough. There was plenty of down time this past weekend, and so I got quite a bit finished. It was a commitment stitching all those lazy daisy polka dots on her jumper there. I'm sort of hoping there won't be so many polka dots on future pieces. There have been plenty on the ladies I've already finished.

With my canning and grocery shopping done, I still have just a little housework to finish up and then I should have time to do some sewing. I'm woefully behind on the Monday Minis and on the Small Quilt Mystery, but I'm thinking I might do some quilting on the Wheel Estate quilt this afternoon. There's plenty to keep me busy no matter where I start.

7 comments from clever and witty friends:

Doreen Auger said...

My head is spinning with your tasks!! The onion jam sounds/looks awesome. We went to a cafe a while back that had bacon jam on one of their sandwiches. I requested it on the burger I ordered and it was beyond awesome!! So, of course, I had to come home and find a recipe...I did and made my own. Yummy stuff and similar to your onion jam.
We haven't gotten into the CSA basket 'thing', although a neighbor offers it. Their are too many things that DH really doesn't care for and that would be a challenge to use up. I've followed your ideas/recipes and they do look really good....I would like them but.............

Vroomans' Quilts said...

The relish recipe looks like a good one and I might just try that - love relish. Miss Sadie is lucky to have such caring parents and a wonderful watchful big brother.

Brown Family said...

What did you do for Mildred's hair? That has me stumped. I skipped it and went on to her dress. I am glad Sadie is getting use to the inside - outside routine.

piecefulwendy said...

Both of those recipes look yummy. I am the only person who can tolerate green/red peppers in this household, so I'd have to make a small batch of that relish, but it is tempting. And that jam -- yummm! Since I've been reading all of your canning activities, you almost make me want to get back at it. Ha! I think I'm happy Sadie is an out-and-about kitty now; although I have to admit it stresses me just a teensy bit. Glad it makes her happy. Some of us have to be Mildreds in this life; I'd say you did the best you could with her. I would not have enjoyed stitching all those french knots!

Kate said...

You've been really, really productive. The caramelized red onion jam does sound yummy. Happy stitching this week.

quiltzyx said...

Speaking of cucumbers, my boss Laura's new thing is putting sliced cucumbers and (today) strawberries and some other fruit into her water in the morning & she just refills the water over it for the day. I haven't tried it, but it's beginning to intrigue me. Usually I'm a straight water kinda gal though.

Your relishes all look good, even though I'm not much of a relish person. Really only like dill pickle relish. But I can appreciate yours from afar. And Doreen's bacon relish peaked my interest. I had some "sweet hot" bacon jerky this weekend. It was different, indeed, but I liked it. Some pieces were quite hot.

Mildred has a LOT of dots! Wow! Good job on those Barbara!

Dar said...

Your cucumber relish looks good and the red onion jam sounds interesting. With all your canning and I remember you said you are only doing small batches, what kind of canner are you using. Is there room for an inch over the top of the jars and how many jars/per pot will it hold? I'm looking for a new cooking plan.