Hello everyone! It has been a super long time since I’ve posted anything to the blog…not since May in fact. It was a sad time. My friend had just experienced a couple of losses in her family and I felt her sadness keenly. But just when I was coming to the end of that tunnel, we had a scare. Brian had a stroke. Three days in the hospital, followed by prescriptions and physical therapy. It was the first of June. I shall tell the rest of my story while sprinkling in photos of our tomato canning experience over the Labor Day weekend.
He is doing quite well now. He is actually in better shape than he was before the stroke. We both took the episode as a warning sign and as a result he is making an effort to walk twice a day and ride his bicycle daily. However, about three weeks after his incident, I wound up with shingles.
The doctor figured it was brought on by the stress of dealing with Brian’s medical emergency. Perhaps…all I know is that it was a debilitating experience. After that, another issue cropped up. After a little weekend getaway trip to Northern California, I came back home with a serious ringing in my ears. A couple weeks later I began to develop dizzy spells…like the whole room spinning. It got so bad one day that I actually threw up! That’s when I decided it was time to see a doctor.
She couldn’t find anything wrong in my ear but prescribed a steroid in case there was some swelling in the inner ear and sent me home. The medications did not help and it would take a few more weeks before our insurance would finally approve my seeing a specialist.
My last dizzy spell was last Tuesday. Fingers crossed it doesn’t return. I had a hearing test on Friday, which confirmed my right ear has a slightly diminished capacity for hearing when compared to the left ear.
I have the long-awaited appointment with the specialist today. We will go over the hearing test results, go over all my symptoms again, receive an exam and God knows what else to determine whether or not I have an inner ear infection.
Given the length of time and that the dizziness seems to have subsided, I suspect that I probably did have an infection and that by now is healing up on its own. I was inclined to cancel the appointment but Brian said no!
And so what does all of this have to do with canning tomatoes?
Well, nothing really…Except, after such a long time passed without my posting to my blog, I had come to the conclusion that perhaps I’m done with blogging. After all, I had been arguing with myself over this blog thing for some time. But then
Brian wanted to to the canning that we always do over the Labor Day weekend every year.
I had never photographed our canning tradition and decided this was the year.
After the weekend was over and I was looking over my images, I had an overwhelming desire to share them. And so, this tomato canning tradition has brought us both back to the core of who we are, what we do, and what we’re passionate about. Perhaps that is the real purpose behind traditions…bringing us back to our core, helping us to remember who we are, however humble. Perhaps that is worthy of a blog post after all.
Here’s our recipe for the Roasted Tomato Sauce, which makes about 5 quarts:
15 cloves of garlic
8 lbs of ripe tomatoes, any variety
10 medium onions, quartered
1 cup fresh herbs, chopped (rosemary, Italian flat parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, and/or chives will all work)
¼ C olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
Fresh ground black pepper
3-4 T sugar, optional
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Peel and chop 5 cloves of garlic. Leave the remaining cloves whole. In a large roasting pan, gently toss together the tomatoes, whole and chopped garlic, onions, herbs, oil, salt and pepper.
- Roast for 25 min. Gently stir. Roast for another 25 minutes. Stir again. Roast another 45 min. or until tomatoes are softened and broken down in a sauce with a golden brown crust on top.
- Remove from oven and taste for seasoning. If slightly bitter, add sugar and stir. Puree in a blender. Pour sauce into clean, sterile jars or freezer bags and refrigerate, can, or freeze.
PS – Since I’ve decided to keep blogging I will be doing a bit of a makeover. I’ve started by putting up a new header. What do you think? Not sure when the ‘new’ site will be finished, but in the meantime, I shall endeavor to show up and be counted here a little more often!