Post #1969: The Soup Project

Just because I’ve posted here now two days in a row, don’t think I’m making a habit of writing here everyday or anything. It’ll be at least another few months before I have anything approximating time for writing (but the completion of my graduate studies is only six months away now!)

As I mentioned yesterday, the news lately has been a real bummer to me – so I have decided instead to do a combination dinner/canning project that involves 8 weeks of soups. I love soup! But because it can be ingredient and time-heavy, it’s not a go-to for a quick after-work dinner in our house. So my plan for the next 8 weeks is on one of my days off (Sat, Sun or soon – Mondays!) I will make a large pot of soup for dinner and either 1) pressure can half of it for future eating, or 2) make a pressure-canning version of the same, or a different pressure-canned soup stock that can be used at future meals. The reason that I am not simply making soup and then pressure-canning the recipes directly is because pressure-canning itself does a lot of the cooking and there are many soup versions that go into the cans “raw” and are cooked in the process. Also, pressure-canned soups cannot contains grain-starches or dairy – which means that one is often making a “base” to be added to when it is opened and reheated later.

I canvassed my Internet friends yesterday and got some ideas – and here are the recipes I’ve chosen to go along with those ideas:

Week One (November 2): Turkey Rice Soup and Canned Chicken Stock

Contrary to my starting pitch, this first week is aimed at getting rid of some turkey soup stock that has been in my freezer since last Christmas. Yes, it’s still edible, but it has to go – so I’m going to pick up some turkey legs and boil them up to get some soup meat happening and otherwise add some rice and veggies and cook it up. I’ll use this week to put the extra effort into pressure canning a big batch of chicken stock.

Week Two (November 9): White Bean and Chorizo Soup

Because there is lots of kale in the garden right now, a soup with beans, chorizo and kale seems particularly appropriate so I’ve chosen this recipe to pull it off. I plan to double it and pressure can half. A bit of an experiment, but the worst thing that can happen is the beans will be mushy which doesn’t matter so much in soup.

Week Three (November 16): Chicken-Bacon Corn Chowder & Chicken Corn Chowder Base

This is a two recipe week with mostly the same ingredients. Bacon isn’t a great thing to use in pressure canning because high-fat items can go rancid – and I found a canning recipe that essentially cooks the soup in the jar. I like the idea of not twice cooking the chicken. Stovetop Recipe. Pressure Canning Recipe.

Week Four (November 23): Red Lentil Soup and Beef Stock

These items are totally unrelated to each other, but I’m in need of some beef stock on my shelf for the upcoming entertaining season (gravies and so forth) so I figured I should get that in here while I can. Red Lentil soup on the other hand, is one of my favourite foods. This is the lentil soup recipe and I do plan to double and can. As for the beef stock this recipe looks like a good one.

Week Five (November 30): Really the best chili I have ever made

I made this No-Bullshit Chili Recipe with some moose meat that a friend gave us after his hunting trip last month and it is probably the best chili I have ever made or tasted. One batch makes a lot, so I plan to make this one again and can half of it (or more) for easy winter heat-ups. Also, use whatever meat you want!

Week Six (December 7): Potato-Leek Soup & Potato Leek Soup Base

This Julia Child recipe was recommended to me and it looks fabulous, but is full of dairy so no good for pressure canning. On the other hand, this recipe is meant for pressure canning, and when later-served can have dairy added into it for extra depth. I’m trying both in week six.

Week Seven (December 14): Vegetable-Beef Soup two ways

In this week I will try two new recipes. Here is the stovetop version by Williams-Sonoma, and here is the canned version by Canning Homemade! which cooks in the jar.

Week Eight (December 21) – Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

For the final week I’m only making one recipe, will double and then pressure can half of it. This Roasted Root Vegetable Soup by The View From Great Island looks like a fabulous cap to 8 weeks of eating and canning!

By the end of it all – if I really get through all the weeks, this plan will provide for about 16 meals (considering leftovers) and 30 jars for the pantry to be used at different junctures through the next year!

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Post #1968: Canada is making me unhappy, so….. Soup!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABecause I am downhearted about the Canadian news in the last week – the shooting, the scandal, the tawdriness of the responses to both – I’m setting up a new little project for myself this morning. One that involves nutritious, healing food – and canning! For the months of November and December, I am aiming to make one batch of soup per week – which will be one of our weekly dinners – but additionally, I plan to make enough so that a few jars can be pressure-canned for future eating also. This fundamentally means the soups have to be free of grain starches (flour, barley, rice) and dairy – but pressure canning does allow me to use meat ingredients. I also have a hankering to make some fresh batches of stock and to pressure can those also as it’s much more convenient than freezing (we are running out of freezer space in our house).

I am currently using my social network and the NY Times Recipe Box to compile my list of upcoming soup projects – and will post here when I have determined and idea/theme and recipe for each week. We’ll see how far I get with this – but as it meets two needs – immediate dinner satisfaction and food preserving for dinners/lunches in the future – I feel like it’s something I can do for the next several weeks. Also, I made an absolutely, incredible chili recently, and will include that in one of my upcoming weeks as a thing to can so I can share the recipe.

Stay tuned people! I’m about to use a food project to get happy…… (I loves me a project!)… and I’ll share the process and results with you!

 

 

 

Post #1967: Adams River Sockeye

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September was a bit crazy on the work front, but I’m making up for it this week by working on the banks of the Adams River this week – taking pictures and video of the spawning sockeye and the activities at the festival for our web and social media presence. It’s one of the few perks I get – and it’s a pretty decent one.

Post #1966: Taking myself seriously enough to make art.

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After years of indulging in craft, I feel like I am ready to make art – though the distinction has always been a problematic one for me because I recognize how it’s used to minimize the artwork of women, of indigenous people, of “folklorists” from various ethnicities and so forth. So what I mean really is that I feel a growing curiosity about taking all the skills I have learned in the process of making beautiful but utilitarian objects (bedding, clothing, linens & home decor objects) – and turning them towards a different type of inquiry. Taking myself seriously is part of this process. At the moment that means engaging in ideas about textile arts, looking at textile and other found objects differently, and thinking of the narratives that most interest me (family, words and language, tactile histories). It also means setting intention to find the time for  textile “sketches” and technique work in the nooks of  my days, given the absence of large blocks of time/energy available at the moment. I feel like I am at one of those junctures where I can see all that I have done up until now as the jumping off point for the next thing I want to explore.

Post #1965: How the weeks flow by.

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Last weekend was a road trip that included a visit to the cabin and a funeral. This week has been a litany of communications products, lectures, and small snatches of time for handwork – I’ve finished a cowl and started a sweater. I look forward to a weekend of small errands, friends, philosophy and music – though mostly what I want is to sleep in and catch up with Brian. I feel good today, as though I’ve been pushing through all week and finally come to a slow down. A rolling stop, as it were.

I’m going to a lecture tonight on using stitching as illustration. It all feels pretty good right now.

Post #1964: The hands and the heart are always connected.

Whenever I experience stress or confusion in my life, I crave comforting words from my partner, sleep, and then craft – in that order. Locking myself in the sewing room to either start a new project or reorganize old ones has the same effect. The point is to be alone and imagining the making of the new. This weekend I did both – reorganized my sewing room, and made a new skirt. (That was followed by making a second skirt last night, which I am wearing at work today.)

The picture on this post is of a quilt that I made for some friends who got married this summer. Whenever I give a quilt I think of it as giving someone a hug that doesn’t end. For what else is it to wrap oneself in the hard work and time of another – than a multi-faceted embrace?

Sitting down at the sewing machine is often daunting, sometimes frustrating – but almost always I am rewarded by the small accomplishment found in the work of the hands.

Post #1963: We don’t really plan for anything

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My cousin died two weeks ago and since then planning has been difficult. I was organizing a meditation retreat for 20+ people, but now I won’t be able to attend because of the funeral. I thought I was leaving Friday and coming back Sunday but now I’ve switched everything around to make driving easier and the family visit longer. I had a September that was all balanced and organized and now a bunch of it has been thrown out the window. And yet I still try to make plans, because that’s what I do. I plan my life as much as one can which is ridiculous in one sense, but absolutely essential in another. My cousin did not plan to die, but she could have planned a life that did not involve the death she had.

Post #1961: We got ourselves a platform, baby.

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After work on Friday we drove to our place at Link Lake to camp for the weekend. We didn’t know how far along the building of the cabin had progressed (if at all) because while our builder is great at building, he is terrible at communicating. So terrible that he had our building permit in hand for a whole week before he dropped us a line to let us know. Fortunately we hit the road early enough to get to our property before nightfall and were ecstatic to see that construction has started and the foundation, cabin platform and deck are done already.

We pitched our tent on the deck (which sits 8 feet off the ground owing to land slope) and used the cabin side to set up the camp stove. It was our first night sleeping on the land together – our first night in our almost-cabin.

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Post #1960: Every day learn something new

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis doesn’t look great yet because it’s mid-process but once finished and blocked it will be a gift worth giving. I started this yesterday morning on my way to work, but not before watching a youtube tutorial on something called “foundation double crochet” which is a better way of starting crochet projects that I’ve been putting off learning. For some reason it seemed too complicated, but once I watched the video and practiced for five minutes I got it together – and did 168 foundation double crochet stitches on the bus ride to work. It’s a rare day that I don’t learn a new thing, and some days the new thing I learn is really exciting to me. This was one of those things.