Santa Cruz Good Times

Apr 25th
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Putting Up: Part 2

dining hotplateThey say if it can be grown, it can be canned, or "put up.” In a cabinet under my mother's stove, there was a covered pan that contained solid paraffin. Each year, she would reheat it, add some more, and use it to seal the jars of jellies made from the fruit of our trees. I later learned the simpler and more reliable hot canning method.

We don't eat much jam any more, but it's like Laura Ingalls calls to me to prepare for the winter ahead. Sometimes I can grow little cucumbers and tarragon to make cornichons. But this year, I tackled tomatoes.

Three San Marzano seedlings (Love Apple Farms) yielded seven and a half pounds of torpedo-shaped fruits. I wanted a lightly seasoned crushed tomato sauce so that I could use it in different kinds of recipes.

I washed and cored the tomatoes and cut them into two-inch pieces, and then chopped them in batches in a standard food processor; some processed fine, and others coarse. To one batch I added half a dozen wonderfully sharp, large cloves of garlic (Shopper's Corner) and the leaves from a stalk of fresh oregano (grows like weeds in my yard). Then I just simmered them in a stainless steel pot (don't use aluminum) for about 45 minutes.

I packaged the 10 cups of sauce, two cups at a time, in quart-sized zipper plastic bags. They stack efficiently flat in the freezer, and I wash and either re-use or recycle them later.

I'm hoping for a pizza stone for the grill on my birthday. The dough is so easy to make (I cheat and use a bread machine), but we will enjoy Neapolitan-style pizzas baked at 500 degrees, topped with preservative- and sodium-free, garden-fresh tomato sauce. I might try a homemade pesto version too. | KP

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Best of Santa Cruz County 2014

The 2014 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll Come on in, and have a look around. There’s a lot to see—hundreds of winners selected by thousands of GT readers across Santa Cruz County. So if some of this looks familiar, it’s probably because you helped make it happen. But there are always new things to discover, too—you could go to a different winner or runner-up every day in the Food and Drink category alone, and you’d be booked just about until next year’s Best of Santa Cruz County issue comes out.


Something Essential Disappears

Lunar and solar eclipses follow one another. Lunar eclipses occur at full moons, and solar eclipses at new moons. Two weeks ago at the full moon we had the blood red moon—a total lunar eclipse (the next one is Oct. 8). On Monday night, April 28 (new moon), as the Sun, Moon and Earth align, a solar eclipse (Sun obscured) occurs. Eclipses signify something irrevocably is changed in our world. The Sun is our essential life force. Monday’s new moon, 9 degrees Taurus, is also an annular solar eclipse when the Moon moves centrally in front of the Sun, yet does not cover the Sun completely. The Sun's outer edges, still visible, form a “ring of fire” around the Moon.


Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.


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