Tag Archives: #yummyyummy

From Vine to Bottle to Table


Amazing .. you can still buy these!


Here’s a question … do you know what this is?

I woke this morning thinking about my Grandma Penrod and her patience as she taught me to “put up” tomato juice for the first time using the standing sieve and pestle … just like this.  This was my introduction to the wonderful world of juicing tomatoes for canning.

My dear grandmother and I spent hours in her basement squishing juice and pulp through those tiny holes in the sieve with the wooden pestle, scraping the pulp off into the juice, then emptying the battered skins and seeds into the trash.  I didn’t think we would ever get through that first bushel of tomatoes.  I used this method for about 3 years or so then my dad brought home to my mother a “Vitorio” juicer (which, being young and poor, I borrowed).


Vitorio Juicer (like the one I had)

Wonder of all wonders that baby could “crank” through a bushel of tomato juice in about a third of the time. Cranking was tiring and as the years went by (and I bought my own magic juicer) I had my kids turn the crank and squish the fruit through the feed tube (lots of fun and lots of mess). Seeing dozens of bottles of juice lined up on the counter, lids popping as the bottles cooled … made my heart just sigh with accomplishment.

Then one year my Inventive Dad ‘added a motor with a pulley belt” to mom’s Vitorio and BOOM we were in major juice production mode. (I started borrowing her’s again) because bushels and bushels of tomatoes became juice in mere minutes (more or less) and canning that would have taken a full day or more, became a mild morning’s work …

Then, one day, after my house was childless and I began contemplating the harvest quantity requirements for fall canning I realized that  I probably didn’t need to can much or at all. I stopped canning  … for many many years. Just how many jars of fruit can one person use in a year?

Anyway … I married Sweetie and became addicted to his spaghetti sauce (made from store bought tomatoes).  We decided that “the sauce” would be even better with home grown and bottled tomatoes like his grandmother used and so I enlarged my garden and increased tomato production  from summer slicer amounts to my heck that’s a lot of tomatoes! AND since no juice is added to the sauce, I’ve changed up my bottling technique …  now I just toss them  fresh picked into a large kettle, stew them a bit, stick the filled jars into the cold pack pot and voila tomatoes for sauce, all chunky and juicy, seeds and all.

IMG_1651Come January, when we’ve eaten the last of the made fresh from the garden sauce,  Sweetie starts the mid-winter batch;  the jars are opened and the contents blend with secret ingredients that simmer for hours and hours filling the house with whiffs of summer.  From vine to bottle to table those tomatoes become a mouthful of wonder, topping fettuccini or polenta and crowned with fresh grated parmigiano-reggiano.

Our meal a gift from our grandmothers …







Gnocchi … Potato Heaven


I love January … it’s my it’s OK  to hibernate most days month … snuggled beneath a fuzzy blanket, Squeaks the cat kneading the edge finding a place to burrow in to and Mala our Puddlepointer disgusted because she’s not ‘in the truck’.  (BTW To pronounce Puddlepointer correctly is to enunciate the u as ‘u’ rather than an ‘uh’ as in puddle).  Today the air is thick with a winter inversion, 30 degrees and frosty, which if I were in Council I’d be skiing but in Boise the plan is to lay the floor pavers for the greenhouse … at least once the inversion lifts and it warms just a tad.

Meanwhile I thought I’d check out my Pinterest Boards and review my dreams.  I chose Yummy Yummy, my food collection … I realized something right off.  My food pins fall into three categories; anything dark chocolate and gooey, dishes that soothingly urge comfort – oddly the main ingredient in those recipes is ‘beans’ … why beans? I have no idea, and seafood. Buying seafood can be risky living in a desert, 1000 miles from the ocean … fish mostly smells fishy instead of fresh.  To overcome my house smells like fish for days smell … I’ve become a fan of flash frozen wild caught shrimp and salmon.

Instead of just dreaming about food and vegetating under this blanket all morning I am going to DO something and build a Pinterest dinner … rather than hoard my dreams I’m going to make a couple come true.   Now these recipes really wind up my taste buds …  Seafood Gnocchi with White Wine Parmesan sauce, Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Balsamic Reduction and for dessert Paleo Chocolate Souffle’ …. I have everything but the seafood and sprouts … humm, Sweeeeetie~ ?

That yesterday and the Gnocchi turned out Fabulous! (I use the recipe from the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook — it never fails). The recipes were as good as they were touted and I’ve never made or used a Balsamic reduction  before and it added a warm sweetness to the sprouts that I hadn’t anticipated. The flavors in these two dishes complemented one another so well my taste buds were totally satisfied.  So much so that I didn’t even start the souffle’ …

Fresh Gnocchi & Home Canned Spaghetti Sauce

Sweetie headed to Council yesterday for some end of the season bird hunting and I sent him off with a bag of fresh gnocchi …  this was his dinner last night, Gnocchi and his own killer spaghetti sauce … the pictures of my plates were not as appetizing as my yummy yummy dinner tasted … I do need to work on my plate presentations.

… my mouth is watering … now how about that chocolate souffle’?