My Easter Basket Overfloweth

On Saturday, I picked leeks, carrots, onions, chard, mustard greens and spinach for Easter dinner on Sunday. My Easter basket was full.


For Easter Sunday, Nancy made a Daffodil punch and I made Sangria.


Sunday’s dinner was beef brisket cooked with leeks, carrots and a jar of canned tomatoes. The full dish was very colorful heading into the oven. The brisket was slow cooked about four hours, (and could have used more time). Then I pureed the vegetables and combined with the liquid from the pan to create a rich, red sauce (like a ragout) that was served with polenta.


I made a spinach salad mixed with red merlot lettuce, grapefruit and strawberries tossed with a citrus dressing. I had two loaves of homemade bread — the boule recipe from “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.”


Nancy’s excellent Bundt Cake was served for dessert. A fine dinner and a great day, with lots of sun and poppies out in bloom.


More pictures on Flickr.

Canning Tomatoes

I was canning on Saturday, my second batch. I’ve made 3 gallons of tomato sauce so far. The first batch I canned in pint jars, using a water bath. The second batch I canned in quart jars using a pressure canner. The pressure canner seems like its going to be more work but it’s really not.


Last year, I bought an OMRA food mill to process the tomatoes. This mill replaces a cheaper plastic one that you hand-cranked and it leaked a lot. The mill removes the skin and seeds and leaves you with the pulp. The Roma tomatoes are much meatier and I had mostly that kind in the first batch. Even so, the raw product is still a bit runny so I have to cook it down for about 3-4 hours, reducing the liquid by about one-fourth. Here I’m using the food mill to process grapes.


I have a lot of table grapes, some white but mostly red. I wanted to extract the juice and see how it tasted on its own. The white grape juice wasn’t distinctive but the red grape juice was very sweet, even after heating it up for ten minutes. I used some of juice and the pulp to create a compote syrup, with a touch of brandy, as an ice cream topping for dessert.