25 June 2010

Visit from Beto and Lindsey (a photo essay)

Sergio's cousin and his wife came to KC for a visit a few weeks back, in time to watch the opening match of the mundial between Mexico and South Africa. The start of the world cup and the start to a whole delightful weekend of quality time with Beto and Lindsey.

Beto and Lindsey in KC for the weekend, all the way from Texas.

Scrabble "IRL" - with iPad and iPhones

incredible ice cream at Glacé

fun with the fun-house mirror at Architectural Salvage

a classy night out at the roller derby where we picked out names for ourselves, should we ever join the KC Roller Warriors: The Serg-eon General, EMilitia, The Beto-nator, and Linz Flare

a wonderful weekend

10 June 2010

Strawberry Weekend

the first quart of 14

Last Saturday Sergio and I went to pick strawberries at the farm. There were more strawberries than the farmers had time to harvest, so they opened it up to u-pick and we took full advantage, coming home with 14 quarts - almost more than we could carry back to the car.

Christy, Nina, and Emilio came along, too, and enjoyed every bit. At first Nina picked indiscriminately but we intervened to show her which ones were ripe and then she proceeded to eat two for every three she put in the basket. Even Emilio, not quite ripe enough himself to pick strawberries, enjoyed the adventure, sitting with Tio Sergio and letting the grass tickle his toes.

our crew

We already had plenty of strawberries to go around at home, as I'd bought some extra at the CSA distribution on Wednesday. So to start our strawberry picking morning off before heading to the farm, we had a strawberry licuado and we finished what I thought was the last of the strawberry jam from last year (although I subsequently found another jar that I'd stowed away for safe keeping; the strawberry jam was our favorite last year and I wanted to make it last).

jam and licuado

The next day the strawberriness continued as Farmer Tom and I taught a Jams and Jellies canning class at Badseed complete with 20 quarts of strawberries. We also had oranges and mint, and by the end of the five hour class, me, Tom, and our 12 students had completed three full batches of strawberry jam (one batch no pectin slow cook, one batch with pectin and one batch of freezer jam), one batch of orange marmalade, and one batch of mint jelly.

jams for sampling

berries ready for jamming

I still had quarts upon quarts of strawberries to contend with at home so I froze 6 quarts for later. I had intended to take a picture of the berries in the freezer, but I seem to have forgotten. I had cleaned them of their green tops and laid them out upside down on a cookie sheet and left them in the top of the freezer overnight. The next day they were a beautiful flat forest of fat little red bushes with a dusting of frost on the top of each. I gathered them into zip lock bags for safe keeping. With some of the remaining unfrozen quarts, I made my own batch of strawberry jam (with pectin) on Tuesday. Then on Thursday we had some out of town visitors so we made dinner and - for dessert - the long awaited strawberry dumplings. My favorite.

dumplings (what's left)

I forgot to take a picture of the dumplings, too, before we devoured them, but to be honest, they're not all that photogenic. They are, however, delicious and all gone. Not to worry, though. Some of those 6 quarts of frozen berries in the freezer will be the next delicious batch of dumplings sometime this summer. Can't wait.

Strawberry Dumplings
Baked strawberry dumplings are similar to a cobbler, made with fresh strawberries and sweet dumpling dough.

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 pint (about 2 cups) strawberries, hulled and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
In a saucepan, combine 1/3 cup sugar and the water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in vanilla extract.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, the 2 tablespoons sugar, the baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter with pastry blender or fork until mixture is crumbly. Add milk and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Place strawberries in a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish; pour hot sugar mixture over strawberries. Immediately drop dough evenly in 8 to 10 spoonfuls over strawberries. Sprinkle dumplings with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar (and a little cinnamon, if desired). Bake at 450° for 25 to 30 minutes, or until dumplings are lightly browned. Serve hot with whipped topping or ice cream, if desired.

Makes 4 to 5 servings.

03 June 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

We traveled to Oklahoma last weekend. Our first stop was in Tulsa for a surprise graduation party for our friend Jon (of ThanksVegan fame) who has just completed his masters degree. Erin pulled off a very nice surprise complete with many homemade cupcakes and big, vegan pizzas. Jon never had a clue until he walked into his kitchen and saw us all standing there surrounded by streamers.

dog's-eye view of Jon and some lettuce and grass

Sergio at the Philbrook

We had a nice (but too short) visit. We spent some time scampering with the canine entourage through Jon and Erin's substantial back yard garden, and then enduring the heat amid the phenomenal edible landscape in the garden of the Philbrook Art Museum. When we weren't watching food grow we were eating food, and otherwise having a splendid time catching up - as we always, always do.

tofu bacon and vegan yum yum pancakes for breakfast (yum yum indeed)

Erin and delicious fries in hibiscus sauce at Hibiscus

I wish we could have stayed longer. But late Saturday night we whisked ourselves a little further south to OKC in order to see my family, particularly my grandmother who celebrated her 89th birthday on Memorial Day.

Mema and me

I spent some good quality time with Mema, also in her garden. We picked a few blackberries, admired the poppies (so numerous), and she helped me to imagine what her wealth of roses, all gone now, looked like in their full bloom just a few short weeks ago.

blackberries and poppies

And, while I was visiting, my mom and I even made enough time to go to the fabric store to look for some things for the baby's room and to talk all about the impending arrival.

Tyler says, "You've got a lot of reading to do."

It was a wonderful visit, but so, so short, as always.