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random musings of a crazy cat lady

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Green Tomato Chutney

I managed to salvage some green tomatoes off the plants before I pulled them out due to the blight.  Sadly, it wasn't very many since most of the fruits were also blighted.  Some went in to the freezer for salsa and I made green tomato chutney with the rest.  I got this recipe off the internet and made only slight modifications based on what I have in house.  I also added fewer onions (the recipe below reflects what I actually did).

(Makes 4 lbs)
3 lb green tomatoes (chopped)
4 oz onions (chopped)
1 lb cooking apples (peeled & chopped)
8 oz yellow raisins
8 oz brown sugar
1 pint vinegar
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard (you could use mustard seed too)
2 teaspoons ground ginger (or use fresh or crystallized)
1 cinnamon sticks (or use 2 tsp cinnamon)
1. Put all ingredients into a large pan and bring to the boil.
2. Simmer uncovered until reduced to a thick mix. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking. It should take 2 3/4 to 3 hours. Test by scraping a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan. If the pan bottom shows clear for a while before the chutney slowly fills the gap then it is ready. (In other words there should be very little thin liquid sloshing around).  Remove cinnamon stick if necessary.
3. If you're canning, put into hot sterilised jars and seal.  If you're lazy, put it in clean jars and store in the fridge, or freeze in smaller portions. (Not sure if it will freeze well but I'm going to try.)
4. Label when cool. Chutneys improve in flavour if kept for at least a couple of weeks before use.

Anyway, I've never made a chutney before and I was pleasantly surprised.  It smells delicious and the onion flavor doesn't dominate.  I think it will taste good with chicken or pork.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Requiem for my tomato plants

My tomato plants grew like gangbusters during our cool, wet summer.  They had a ton of fruit on them, but due to the weather the tomatoes were slow to ripen.  About a week ago, I noticed they were starting to look funny.  They were dying and covered with big black splotches.  It turns out they have late blight, which I didn't know about but is a big problem on the east coast.  It affects tomatoes and potatoes, and caused the Irish Potato Famine.  It is very virulent, and although it usually dies off during the winter up north, it can survive in warmer climates, which leads to its spread.
Unbeknownst to me, it was spread by some tomato plants sold at Lowes.  I bought one plant there a few weeks before.  I have no way of knowing if I got one of the infected ones or if it just got spread by the wind- it's that contagious.
So I am left with a big empty space in my garden and some green tomatoes.  Those of you who live in the Northeast, I recommend starting your own tomatoes from seed or buying them from local growers. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Dear Modesty Movement Assholes: Please STFU!

I've been hearing about conservative Christian types who appoint themselves the modesty police for young women.  This is nothing new, of course, except that now there is a venue for it on the internet, with all the advantages and disadvantages.  Anyway, someone recently posted a blog post ostensibly addressed to the girls on her sons' Facebook feeds.  I'm not going to post the link, but you can view the epic Jezebel smackdown here.   Basically, she went on and on about how the girls were being horrible temptresses corrupting her boys by posting cute selfies on FB, but at the same time she posted lots of shirtless pictures of of her sons flexing their muscles.  Uh, WTF?!?! Anyway, for some reason this really pissed me off, and judging by the amount of response it's gotten, I am not the only one.
I'm a cranky old biddy now and none of my selfies will make anyone get tempted, but there was a time about 30 years ago when I was one of those evil slutty teenage girls tempting the boys.  It was the 80's and I spent lots of time wearing nothing more than short running shorts and running singlets which were mostly mesh with a nylon panel over the breasts.  With no bra. The modesty police would hate that and certainly call me a slutty slut for that.  Fortunately, there was no internet back then, and not very many conservatives out in Northern California. My mother had spent her adolescence getting lectured by the nuns about her clothing tempting the boys (the baggy cardigan story was the funniest - it was verboten simply because it was a sweater.  Oh the horrors!!!)  To her everlasting credit, she never said one word about either my fashion sense or the amount of skin I was showing, and let me make my own decisions about what I wore.  She knew that I was wearing it because it was trendy and I liked it (and I did run a lot back then) and not because I was trying to tempt the guys.  For the record, she did warn me about creepers and didn't let me run by myself and would follow me on her bike.  But it was very clearly described as a matter of there being some bad older guys out there, not that I was luring everyone with my outfit or doing anything wrong.  As a result, I came of age with the shocking opinion that people should wear what they want, and if other people didn't approve, it wasn't my problem.  I still feel that way.  All this slut shaming and puritanism is really making me cranky.
Now that I'm older, I do have my old biddy moments.  Sometimes I catch myself disapproving of someone's outfits, but then I remember my itty bitty Dolfin shorts* and my mom not saying a word, and I STFU.

* There are pictures of me in my shorty shorts somewhere, but nothing is digital, so I will spare you the pictures of me as a dorky braless 14 year old.