Long time no see! I've been missing in action only because I've been in action elsewhere...it's hard to work, go to PT (I can move my arm for the first time since last November!!), get in three squares a day and deal with the mister...who announces every Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday the games that will be on TV and then asks about "game food." I know it's my fault, I've spoiled him to the point of no return, but in my experience, dealing with wild animals, it's always best to feed them, makes 'em more sluggish, promotes naps, allows me more free time in the long run...at least that's my theory.
I've also been spending a lot of time biking...yes, that's right, I'm a biker now, a rebel biker as I ride helmet free (!)...in our guest room...whenever I can find the time, where I watch fascinating television like Botched...it's SO hard to turn away from that one!!! I also watch The Great British Bake-Off - my new favorite and Chef's Table, which is more about famous chefs around the world, than food; so of course I get off the bike and head straight to the kitchen! Rehabbing my knee works up an appetite! My doctor assures me it will happen...he tells me that riding this contraption will help... he tells me that I'll be "good as new." Well...he's an optimist. Me? Not so much. You see, my knee is still the size of a head of cabbage, swollen every day, causing me to limp, walk slowly and to spend an inordinate amount of time trying not to whine and kvetch to anyone and everyone who will listen...this forum included! Oh put away your violins, I don't need your sympathy, remember I've got the mister!!! He asks me daily about my knee and my arm and then says things like, I could use some help in the yard...Well sad for him because I'm to frickkin' busy in the kitchen making his game day food to help in the yard!!!
Okay, I'll stop now...that felt good though! By the way, it took the mister 2 hours to put together my bike. Two hours of him saying bolts were missing, or the directions were wrong - dozens of swear words later the bike was assembled...directions were correct and nothing was missing - go figure!
Tomatoes...our season is almost over here in the Northwest, in fact, Summer is almost over! A good friend brought me a 20 lb. box of canning tomatoes from the other side of the mountains and I was happy to get them cored, sliced, and into the freezer. It's my favorite way to preserve tomatoes - it's super easy to do, no peeling required, no boiling, cooking, nothing like that!
Canning tomatoes are not usually pretty...that's why they are used for canning. They can have bruising, marks and even some mold, but don't let that stop you from using them! Just cut away any bad spots and all will be good! I don't peel my tomatoes because I don't happen to mind the peels when I make a marinara or spaghetti sauce. When I add tomatoes to soups and stews, I never peel them - but if you don't want the peels, and easy way to remove them is to make an "X" on the bottom of the tomato with a knife, just to score the peel. Drop the tomato into boiling water for about a minute, remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice water. Let sit for about 30 seconds more and then the peels will slide right off. But who has time for that?!?!
After I cored and sliced my tomatoes into chunks, I squeeze out some of the juice/seeds with my hand into a bowl and then put the tomato pulp into freezer bags. (I didn't squeeze very hard, just tried to get rid of a bit of the liquid, not all of it.) I added 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon sugar to each gallon-size freezer bag, mixed it together, closed the bag and that's the whole process!
I add sugar to my tomatoes to help cut the acid and to make them a bit sweeter. You can leave it out if you prefer, but a little sugar goes a long way when it comes to tomatoes...and other things!
Twenty pounds of tomatoes got me nine 2-lb. bags of tomatoes to freeze...and that's without most of the juice!
I saved the juice from the tomatoes, had about 4 cups worth. I put it into a non-aluminum pan, added 1/4 cup of sliced onion, 2 celery ribs with leaves, roughly chopped, salt, pepper and one little piece of green pepper (that's all I had on hand). I brought it all to a boil, reduced the heat and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Once cooled, I poured into a pitcher and put into the fridge...we both enjoyed our homemade "V-8" juice!