Archive for the ‘Canning’ Category

Happy Birthday JT

December 3, 2010

No it’s not Justin Timberlake’s birthday!

Today is my dear friend James G Thornley’s birthday! I’d like to take a few minutes to tell you about him.

He is an excellent chef and a BBQ master. Takes him forever to clean the grate though.

He loves adventure and has traveled the world.

He enjoys canning vegetables, even when he has stayed up until 4am partying the night before.

He grew up on a farm and still enjoys a good pony ride.

He's feisty though his bark is much worse then his bite.

He has more friends than anyone I know...

...ironically he will not join Facebook! ...ironically two hot birds and a Turkey.

He enjoys a good hike, here he is on a Haleakala in Maui...

...and here he is on Piestewa Peak in Arizona

He is quite the swinger!...

... incidentally he also enjoys golfing.

He and actor Michael Keaton share a similar profile.

He is thoughtful...

...and always has a rebel yell chambered and at the ready.

A few little known facts about James. He raised birmingham roller pigeons in his youth and used to show them at the PNE!. His favourite pigeon was named Bernice, sadly she was attacked by a hawk while James was training her. He was an extra on 21 Jumpstreet, Johnny Depp often stays at James home while in Vancouver!. Okay that’s not true at all, but he was on 21 Jumpstreet. He enjoys the odd pint of beer and occasionally dips into a glass of Crown Royal.

Seriously though Jamie you are truly a great friend, you have a big compassionate heart and your loyalty never waivers. You have learned to endure my close walking in the mall, my incessant arm bars and my steam rolls while on vacations.

Happy Birthday buddy!

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Beets and Feets

September 8, 2010

This past Sunday my friends Dawne-O and James invited me to help jar/can/pickle vegetables. It was a perfect fallish day for canning, you know the kind of day where you are with good friends, the house is warm with the smell of the pork butt (“high roasted with spices and sea salt and pepper at 450 for about an hour, then covered and cooked for another 4+ hours at about 300”) your friend so thoughtfully prepared in advance for dinner. The kind where one or two of the friends has had stayed up partying until 4 am a little to much to drink the night before but are happy and safe knowing their other friends will comfort them if they burst into tears from vodka depression. The kind where your playlist spans The Little River Band to Vampire Weekend.

James arrived with 20lbs of green beans and enough beets and other vegetables to feed that family of 30 kids on TLC for a week.

Dawne-O made the brines both for the beans and the beets. I emailed her for the recipe and she sent me the following instructions – “Beans, which I doubled, quintupled, etc., started out as 4 cups white pickling vinegar to 4 cups water, scant half cup pickling salt, 1/3 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons dried chili pepper, 2 tablespoons black peppercorns, 2 tablespoons mustard seed, 2 tablespoons coriander and 2 bay leaves. Bring to rolling boil and then ladle over prepared (sterilized and filled) jars and leave 1/2″ head space. Process for ten minutes.”

The brine for the beets is slightly different – “Beets – 2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar to 1 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon pickling salt, 1 tablespoon mustard seed, star anise, cloves cardamom. These are processed for 30 minutes. Again, this was multiplied.”

Both the beans and beets require blanching before they are canned.

Pouring the brine into the jars.

Into the canner for processing.

And there you have it, winter rations for all.

You have all heard me talk about my friend Dawne-O before, she’s kind of amazing when it comes to food. She announced that she was going to make us a peach tarte tatin for dessert promptly blanching and disrobing a half a dozen freshly picked Okanagan peaches of their skins. FYI, according to Dawne she used pate brisee for the pastry, not puff, which is classic. Delish!

Naked peach alert!

While waiting for our pork butt to warm I began complaining about my sore feet. Mike mentioned that we should call the nice people at Golden Feet to see if they could accommodate all four of us at the same time for foot rubs. Mike and Dawne have been going to Golden Feet for some time now and have invited me to join them on a number of occasions. I was skeptical and a little weirded out about having my feet and especially my vulnerable pinky toes handled by a complete stranger. It was amazing!!! Seriously make an appointment today, it will change your life.

The only things I found odd about the whole experience where the cost (only $37 for an hour!), the soccer ball light fixture in the room which in the end we chalked up to feet = soccer, and the fact that the song What Child Is This played at least three times.


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