roses, bread, and home-canned tomatoes

Roses, Homemade Bread, and Home-Canned Tomatoes for Supper

Roses, Homemade Bread, and Home-Canned Tomatoes for Supper

Chocolate Box Cottage Diary Vol. 1 

Week 24: June 18, 2021

This week was filled with roses, homemade bread, and home-canned tomatoes. I can’t decide which is more beautiful, I love them all, but let’s start with bread because I am so happy with this loaf!

I have been baking with sourdough for a while, pre-2020. Sourdough baking has its own special learning curve, distinct from baking with yeast. The basic skills you learned when baking yeast bread apply, but differently. The timing is different.

If you’re used to the predictability of yeast, particularly with regard to how long it takes the dough to rise, you’ll find natural learners like sourdough and lievito madre, which is what I used for this loaf, take longer. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in fact it can be a good thing! I find it easier to dovetail sourdough baking with other tasks around the house, with work, meetings, appointments, and even unexpected interruptions. All good things.

Roses. Rambling up the wood shed, spilling over pathways, swaying behind fences, these old-fashioned beauties sprinkle petals like fragrant snowflakes. I only harvest a small amount of flowers at any given time; I want to leave plenty of flowers for the butterflies, bumblebees, and other insects, and we enjoy the visual treat that blooming roses provide in our surroundings here at Chocolate Box Cottage.

Lastly, tomatoes. The tomatoes ripened last summer as wildfires in Oregon raged, destroying several nearby towns, including my childhood home, my grandparents house, and my Aunt’s house. Our vehicles were packed with important documents and belongings – we were ready to evacuate. Meanwhile, I kept up with the day-to-day tasks like canning tomatoes, making jam and veggie ferments, picking apples and making applesauce. All winter we ate from the abundance in our pantry.  

Meanwhile, Sam took care of all the mowing and weed eating, repaired and thoroughly cleaned Miriam’s car after a slight mishap along a curve, completed several maintenance tasks for the Ford pick-up truck, installed a window unit air conditioner in Miriam’s cottage ahead of a heat wave, and grilled some very fine steaks from local beef! He did a lot more than that, of course, on top of working four tens for the road department.

The baked loaf, and isn’t it pretty! Carrot, Herb, and Black Sesame Seed Naturally Leavened Bread. I learned this scoring pattern (that’s what the cuts in the crust are called) from Reneé, artbreadlove on Instagram. It was so helpful, thank you Reneé!

Do you like to see the “before” as much as I do? I find it fascinating to see what types of cuts bloom into what types of patterns.

“Crumb shot” is baker’s lingo for a picture of the interior of a loaf of bread. This Carrot, Herb, and Black Sesame Seed Boule (round loaf) is soft and airy inside, like sponge cake. The crust is tender, which is what we prefer, and the loaf is already almost gone.

Sunday after church Sam said he wanted to show me something. It was this: pink roses and purple clematis rambling over a fence forming a picture frame!

This pink rosebush (I wish I knew what variety it is) is taller than I am. It blooms with abandon all summer.

I picked two baskets of roses. The rose petals I harvested today are for an old-style potpourri and one of my favorite tea blends. I hope to make rose-scented vinegar and rose petal sugar for cooking and baking. Have you ever tasted pound cake made with rose petal sugar?

*Roses for edible purposes must be unsprayed – not treated with pesticides or drenched with systemic fungicide.

One of the tasks on my to do list last weekend was to clean windows. 🖼 When it came time to clean the kitchen windows, I enjoyed the serendipity of lemon verbena’s signature sweet, floral, lemony aroma. Oh my, is it ever heavenly! 👼🏼 You won’t ever hear me complain about cleaning windows with this herb close by!

If you read last week’s Cottage Diary entry, you know why I am planting beans…or should I say re-planting.

My favorite tree is the Catalpa. The kids planted several Catalpa trees from seed at our previous home and of course when we moved to Chocolate Box Cottage, we left them behind. Sam thoughtfully brought me several of the curious bean-like seed pods full of seeds so that I could have Catalpa trees again.

A rainbow of garden tomatoes canned with herbs.

Canned tomato bounty from last September, flavored with dried herbs to make week-night meals simpler.

My last jar of Mexican-Style Tomatoes went into Chilaquiles, a ground beef casserole that includes tortillas, cheese, and lots of flavorful spices.

Chilaquiles for dinner topped with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa, also home-canned, cilantro, and sour cream. Mango with a squeeze of lime for dessert!

A jar of home-canned Italian-Style Tomatoes went into this Goulash with ground turkey, zucchini, lentils, and corn. Toppings: Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (home-canned) and halved grape tomatoes.

Weekly tea with my beloved Mom, Donna. We both look forward to Thursdays!

A breakfast planning meeting.

Sam checked off several maintenance projects on the Ford today.

Sunday supper on the front porch: grilled tri-tip steaks, garden salad, corn-on-the-cob, and spiralized curly fries.

Did you know that wheat grains are called “berries?” This jar stays in my kitchen cupboard and is refilled from a 5-gallon bucket of wheat as needed.

This grain mill is a KoMo Fidibus 21 mill, made in Germany. I bought it secondhand and it is a trooper.

What kind of alien is this? A big batch of homemade whole wheat bread dough!

While the loaves are still warm, I brush butter on them for a soft crust.

This was enough to make Jasper tired!

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