Friday, July 11, 2008

Day Three and Still Celebrating



On Sunday our morning was much more relaxed. Leisurely coffee on the front porch as we watched the folks across the street swim in their pond, their splashes breaking up the reflection of the birch trees on the blue surface. Barb brought her jars of strawberry jam out to the porch to photograph and Mom was inside making a fresh batch.

Suddenly, I wanted to make some jam of my own, and amazingly I could, even though I missed out on the strawberry picking. Mom and Barb generously offered me their remaining berries – exactly the right amount. They had picked enough at Dutton Berry Farm to make jam and strawberry shortcake, but we never got around to the shortcake. We didn’t really need it (see desserts below).



So there I was, still in my nightgown with strawberry fumes bathing my face in steam as Mom sterilized the jars for me. Phew – even my late arrival didn’t mess up this tradition.

Rich, Barb and the boys left at 2:00, and Mom, Julie and I headed to Manchester for some shopping. We caught some amazing sales – 50% off the lowest price on sale items in every store. Good times.

We got home around dinner time and Tom made salmon with lemon caper sauce and jasmine rice, while I sautéed up the beet greens from my Farmer’s Market beets. I also sautéed the baby zucchini and summer squash with an onion, a tomato cut into chunks and some garlic scapes. I know summer will bring a lot more zucchini my way, but these ones were the best – so tender and small and so welcome in the beginning of the season.



So here’s a summation of the fourth of July traditions: strawberry picking and jam making, awesome fireworks by neighbors, the Londonderry parade, sitting on the porch talking – amongst ourselves and with neighbors who stop by, lots of good food, a little bit of shopping, a campfire with s’mores and sparklers, and a craft project of some sort.

This year's craft was inspired by an oar I saw for sale at the Farmer's Market. It had a trout painted on it and was $35. My Mom told me they had just replaced the oars on their canoe, so I could have one of the old ones to paint my own fish. It's kind of dorky looking, but I had a really nice time painting it and Steve thought it was cool.



The only activity we skipped this year was canoeing at Lowell Lake and having a picnic on the appropriately named, "Picnic Island." Absent the hubby to help carry the canoe, it was the only tradition missing – except of course him. Tom was so used to Steve being with us, he actually set him a place at dinner tonight. No joke.



Maybe next year…


The Recipes:

Salmon with Lemon Caper Sauce:

4 serving size pieces of salmon
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 jar of capers
Juice of 1 lemon

Put salmon in a glass baking dish. Mix butter, capers and lemon juice and pour it over the salmon. Cook at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, basting the fish with the sauce halfway through the cooking process.

Strawberry Jam:

4 cups crushed strawberries
7 cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of butter (to reduce foaming)
1 pouch Certo

Wash 8 jelly jars and sterilize by filling with boiling water and leaving until ready to use. Put jar lids in bowl and will that with boiling water as well.

Put crushed strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in large Dutch oven and cook over high heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a full rolling boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred. Add package of Certo, return to a full rolling boil and boil one minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat. Ladle jam into prepared jars and fill to within 1/8 inch from top. Wipe jar rims and threads with damp paper towel to make sure no jam interferes with the seal. Put lid on and screw band and screw as tight as possible. Invert the jam on counter and when all the jars are filled, cover them with a clean hand towel.

After five minutes, turn them back over and cover again. When jam is completely cool, press down on lid to insure it sealed. If it buckles, the seal didn’t take and the jam needs to be refrigerated and used first.

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