Saturday, January 9, 2010

Maple Syrup in the City and other projects to beat the winter blahs

It's minus 15 C without the windchill today but the sun is shining and it makes me antsy to be doing stuff. Indoors of course. I am not one of those crazy Canadians that likes the cold. I'm a big fan of winter sports as long as I'm inside watching them on tv. ( Can't wait for the Vancouver Olympics!) So to keep myself from going completely stir crazy I need projects- lots of them!

So far I have kept myself pretty busy. This past week I had lunch with my aunt to update her on my genealogy research. She gave me a ton of photos to scan (with my new scanner!) and lent me a pile of books- a new series that I am devouring in quiet moments. I also met with Brenda Dougall Merriman who was kind enough to share her research on our mutual family name ( but sadly not mutual ancestors) She also introduced me to a fantastic book -History of the Counties of Argenteuil, Quebec & Prescott, Ontario., written in 1896! ( Okay maybe it's only fantastic if your family is from there or you are some kind of Canadian history nut).

Colette came over for an evening of CanJam planning. We decided in the interest of fairness we would each pick one recipe, make them both and have a taste off before making our final decision. We perused an number of recipes, some old and some new and narrrowed it down to two, with a back-up if we can't obtain the ingredients we need for one of our first two choices. Then because we were all fired up and I had lemons in the fridge, we made preserved lemons just for the heck of it. We did two different versions- one based on Joel from Well Preserved's lemon confit which uses a lot of salt and another version that suggests you crush the lemons slightly in the salt to release the juice and tops it up with more lemon juice. Both jars are currently doing their thing on my window sill and it will be a few weeks before we can test the results. We'll be making one of our chosen CanJam recipes tomorrow!

The most exciting project- Maple syrup! The gang at Not Far From the Tree have a new project- tapping maple trees and making syrup right here in downtown Toronto. Crazy? Ambitious? Brilliant? We'll see! Right now we are just in the planning stages so there's not much to tell. I'll post more when we have an actual plan!

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