Monday, July 14, 2014

garden, groceries, & volunteering at McGill

Broccoli, arugula, lettuce, spring onions, daikon, clover, several other wildflowers. 

I bought guar gum! I had always wanted to avoid the gums but I have really hit a wall of gluten-free frustration lately (one too many inedible loaves of bread where formerly you were able to take a few humble ingredients and shape a truly gorgeous loaf will do that to you). This seems a little more natural than xantham gum, so at least I'm holding on to that. I'd really love to make bread sticks with halved cherry tomatoes and oil and herbs, the tops roasted and salty, mmm. I'll keep y'all posted.

Some goodies from the Co-op. Now that school's over till the fall, I'm hoping to get to NDG to get meats and dairy and things every couple of weeks. I may try ordering from Ecollegy again, though I really like the experience of browsing and choosing in person. Ambrose has a week of vacation from preschool in early August, so I am planning on taking him to the farmer's market at least once. Modest goals.

Today I met with a member of Organic Campus, a group at McGill that presently functions primarily as a market for a McG ag graduate farmer who runs an organic, eco-friendlyish farm an hour outside Montreal, regarding the possibility of volunteering. I'm pretty excited to dive in next week! I also learned that there's a farmer's market every Thursday at McGill starting late August and running through the fall. Crazy! Back in my first wave of university studies, I don't remember noticing any of this stuff! I'm also going to look into volunteering for the Concordia greenhouse. I'm excited to be serving sustainable ag and to meet like-minded people from both universities!

I'll leave you with a tantalizing thought - I have a block of cream cheese defrosting on my counter, and three boxes of incredibly ripe, fragrant strawberries in the fridge which tomorrow will be transformed into a beautiful cheesecake. I made a rhubarb one two weekends ago - I think tomorrow I'll do two layers of each instead of one. If you're in my 'hood, come by for a slice.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Amy's Famous French Vanilla Custard Popsicles

The post you've all been waiting for!

Over medium heat, combine 1 c whole milk*, 1/2 strong coffee, 1 c sugar, 1 small pinch salt and 1 vanilla bean**. Heat gently, stirring to dissolve sugar (mixture should steam but never boil). Meanwhile, separate 4 eggs, putting the yolks in a medium bowl (whites can be frozen). Stabilize bowl with a moist towel, hold a whisk in preferred hand, and whisk eggs while slowly pouring in about 1/3 c hot milk mixture. Whisk briskly about ten seconds. Repeat with another 1/3 c. Slowly add egg mixture back to the pan, stirring, scraping the bowl clean; cook custard mixture, stirring, over medium-low heat, until thickened, 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in 1 c extra milk and 3 tbsp extra butter. Pour into a clean bowl and chill thoroughly in the fridge. Remove vanilla bean, pour into popsicle moulds or churn in an ice cream maker.

* if using lower-fat milk add slightly more butter at the end.
** if you have only vanilla extract, stir in 2-3 tsp after removing from heat.