Blog Archives

#15: supporting my local bookstore

yesterday, i publicly challenged myself to 30 “days” of change. today i began that journey with a trip to my local bookstore.

img_20160921_203016 it’s been AGES since i’ve purposefully made a trip to a bookstore- sure, i’ve walked through corporate chain stores, but the last time i remember actually going into a store for the purpose of browsing-to-buy… before my nephew was born, and that was january 2015!

i had forgotten how charming and welcoming bookstores can be- the labyrinthine aisles of new and used tomes, the silly last minute cards & presents, the smell of paper and binding glue. i’m fortunate to live in an area that supports MULTIPLE local bookstores- some with more than one location! i stopped at this particular branch because it was on the way home from work and spent about an hour roaming. i will DEFINITIVELY be returning in the near future to scope out YA titles to borrow from the library.

one of the things i love most about independent stores  is the humanity that pervades them. based on the hand-written employee recommendation cards, i left with 3 new books: 2 colour/activity { for future challenges ;) } and the next in a graphic novel series i’m reading. yes, this was an easier challenge, but i’m going to ease myself in- AND CELEBRATE THAT I DID IT!!!! this is all about growth and change…

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further adventures in culinary exploits! { soup stock & moroccan lemons }

awhile back, we had an epic day of food preservation. on that glorious day, we tackled 3 projects, two of which i’ll attempt to recall below { with pictures! }. the first, and by far the looooongest was making a giant—6 quart— batch of soup stock. at any given meal time, the spousal unit and i will save any vegetable scraps, peels, stems, etc. and put them in our freezer bag for future stock exploits, usually ending up with a good old fashioned vegetable stock. but this THIS was a special batch: we were making *duck* stock! we had picked up approx. a pound of duck bones from our awesome, ethical, locally-sourced butcher and got the ball rolling by roasting them in the oven.

IMAG0282 <— there they are, all laid out on a cookie sheet. roasting the bones helps brings out the flavor and begins the softening process on the marrow inside, making the marrow easier to extract during the broth-ing { now a word } process. bone marrow stocks are super rich in flavour, and full of excellent nutrients!  after about 20 minutes, they were good to go into the giant stock pot of doom, and were joined by the aforementioned veggie scraps { onion, carrot peel, broccoli stems, asparagus “butts”, and mushroom stems }, as well as fresh chunks of carrot & parsnips, a couple of cheese rinds for creaminess, a combo of fresh and dried herbs { thyme from our mini-herb garden, rosemary from the same, bay leaf, white peppercorns, szechuan peppercorns, applewood smoked salt and fresh sage }. here is what the simmering pot looked like —–>IMAG0283 (1)

after a LITERAL two days of simmering over a supper low heat, we strained out the desecrated duck carcass and all the remaining veggies and spices, let it all cool, and portioned it into both 3 cup and 2 cup amounts. those freezer baggies are now living happily in our freezer, awaiting future use!!!

 

the second project tackled were moroccan lemons { aka salt-preserved lemons }. these are super easy to make, are shelf-stable and make an excellent condiment to chicken dishes, or can be used in salted lemonade { which is waaaaay yummier than it sounds }. at its most basic, all that is needed are lemons and salt. we opted to use{ organic } meyer lemons because they are a little bit sweeter and more flavourful . first, parboil the lemons for a minute or two to help bring out the juiciness. then, we cut them into 8 wedges and started to jam them into a pre-sterilized jar { see previous post on how easy that is/ the importance of doing so }, layering the lemons with salt and the spices of our choice. to keep a more “moroccan” profile, we used a whole cinnamon stick, cloves, coriander, a bayleaf and a few green peppercorns, making sure to really squish out the juices of the lemons. the spousal unit is looking forward to trying them thinly sliced on pizza!

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