The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The abundance of tomatoes this summer has become a fun challenge to me.
When the days are cloudy and cooler, I make tomato onion chutney. When it is hot and dry, it is time for sun-dried tomatoes. The jars of chutney may be stored in the fridge and will keep for a month. According to what I read on the internet, sun-dried tomatoes have a significant shelf life of years! I doubt mine will last the next months because I just cannot stop myself from eating them.
If I ever get tired of the tomato soups, the sun-drying and the chutneys, I will chop up fresh raw tomatoes and freeze them in my muffin form. This way, I will have portioned tomatoes pieces in the freezer. Cooking with home grown tomatoes during the winter months is a wonderful thing.
After a ridiculously warm and restless night, I woke up yesterday morning with a regret that bothered me for half a day. Bloody hell, I caved in and did not sleep in the tent because of a storm forecast which did not even occur! Argh!
To remove myself from the rotten feeling of self-pity, I asked D if he wanted to accompany me to the library (with the bike) in the afternoon. I need to get out of my comfort zone, be a bit brave and take calculated risks. I felt much better after the bike ride, renewing my library membership for another year, borrowed a book about vegetable gardening, and did some light grocery. Of course, the companionship was most helpful.
Later in the day, we joined the neighbours for drinks and a bit of socializing while their children played in the speelstraat. I walked back home to prepare dinner, ate dinner, rejoined the group and then left to call mom to have our usual Wednesday chats while D stayed on.
And not wanting to wallow in disappointment yet again, I slept in the tent last night. Read a bit, went to sleep, and woke up all rested at 7.30am. Yeah!
The tent which D set up for me has stayed up in the backyard for two weeks now. Providing me with an option of sleeping outdoors if the bedroom becomes unbearably warm during the two heat waves. I slept in it again last night. In exchange to the hard ground and the outside noises, I get to enjoy a mosquito-less and comfortably cooling slumber.
As today’s temperature is predicted to reach a record 37°C, I am seriously considering another night in the tent. That is, if I dare to brave an early morning storm. Stormy tent or stuffy bedroom? Damn dilemma…
This morning, I ate a self-made tomato shallot chutney for breakfast. The jammy tomato concoction which I spread generously on pieces of bread is utterly yummy. I had to stop myself from finishing the whole jar at one sitting. Fortunately, I do not have any cheese at home!
As a result of yesterday’s cooling wind, today’s temperature hovered around the comfortable mid-20s. Enjoy it while it last, people. Tomorrow we are going to hit the 30s again.
My latest batch of sun-dried tomatoes are stored in jars marked as ‘heat-wave tomatoes’. Since I only have one fresh tomato in the fruit basket, I shall think of another menu-experiment-project for the following days.
Adapt or die, baby…
There is a prevalent drought that has been going on for months now. Coupled with this, daytime temperatures have sometimes hovered around and above the 30s.
Currently, most gardeners are lamenting their dying plants. But that is not the case with my in-laws. They are harvesting kilos of tomatoes everyday. As a result, D and I are at the receiving end of many ripe tomatoes. It is humanly impossible to consume so many fresh tomatoes. And damn, there is no room in the freezer because I have just stored four loaves of bread from our vacationing baker.
Being a die-hard problem solver, my solution and response to the persistent dry heat, the constant sunlight, and the ripening tomatoes is to experiment with home-made sun-dried tomatoes.
All my life, I have adapted to the conditions of different surroundings. So, bring on the heat waves. I will only end up with a pantry full of delicious sun-dried tomatoes.
Today started out as a typical Wednesday. In the morning, I checked my weight with the Wii board. When D got up from bed, I did some quick dusting and wiping around the house.
At lunch time, we cycled to D’s parents to enjoy a barbecued fish together. The few hours of eating, chatting and making the best of the warm dry weather went past swiftly. We even helped removed a well-rooted garden plant before our departure! From the parents’ home, D and I proceeded to De Gavers to see if we can buy a pot of local honey. Unfortunately, we were told that the bee-keeper has been sickly, thus this year’s honey production will be rather doubtful. Not wanting to drink at the café, we continued on biking about the cool green surroundings of the lake before heading home.
In the late afternoon, we joined some neighbours at the speelstraat (play street) pop-up bar. The time flew by, dinner time came and went and I almost forgot to call mom for our Wednesday chat. I left the gathering hastily, ate some sandwiches and then called to provide mom a listening ear. What a day this has turned out to be…
This morning, I made tomato soup according to a French bistro recipe. At first, I was a bit doubtful of a soup recipe which does not have water as one of its ingredients. But with one glass of white wine and some very succulent tomatoes, the soup turned out really good. There… my first waterless soup!
Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.
D and I have not seen a pair of friends for more than a year. So not too long ago, we invited them over to the house for a barbecue this evening. Guess what? It turned out to be the warmest July 26th ever recorded here in Belgium. Oh and we decided to serve fries along with the grilled meats. Yep, that is how D and I roll. Againts the current, baby!
Despite the heat, the evening turned out to be quite lovely. It felt good to reconnect with people we seldom see.