Irene Day

Oh man, this is going to be a lot of information very quickly…

So, Hurricane Irene came. We got heavy rain that raised rivers, but nothing near what Vermont is having to deal with. All that it meant for us was releasing a bunch of craftiness while taking breaks to look at all the waterfalls in town.

Allison and Ariel kicked it off with a sewing project.

Luckily, Ariel had inherited a bunch of pretty sweet sewing gear from her mother. I only heard part of the story, but apparently her mother was ecstatic to find out that her daughter had a sewing project and could finally carry the torch.

The torch, as it turned out, was quite a thing.

A gorgeous singer sewing machine with an eternal motor. For the age and model, the thing ran beautifully. In about forty-five minutes, they’d finished a set of curtains to add color to their place.

Then, Kevin and I got mechanical.

This is the bottle capper that Kevin inherited. It was our job to figure out what was wrong with it. The screwdriver jammed in it was our first indication that there was something wrong. It turned out that the arm wouldn’t lock into place and couldn’t give enough leverage to actually cap a bottle. We took it apart, admired it, put it back together, and agreed that we had fixed it. In our defense, it stopped messing up as much. For our insurance, I bought an awesome looking antique capper for eight dollars that will fill in nicely if this thing needs to tap out.

The we got into bottling prep.

The siphon works, the bottle filler works, and the bottling bucket now has a neat little spigot on it.

We sorted the bottles to adjust to our non-adjustable capper.

We were now faced with a choice; do we go straight into bottling or do we make dinner?

We went for the second one in a big way.

I had gotten a bunch of apples for free at a recent market and was excited to add some serious value to that product. I had never made a pie from scratch and was excited to check that off the list. We made a simple crust and let it chill while we went to check out the river.

When we got back, we peeled, cored, and diced about five pounds of apples and boiled them in some lemon juice, butter, and brown sugar while Allison prepped some carrots. We set them aside to cool and started on the most exciting project of the evening.

You see, I’m scared of eggplant. I’ve only had one personal experience with it prior to this night and it ended with a sandwich of oil-soaked, almost raw eggplant covered in marinara and cheese. I really haven’t approached one since. Stronger than my fear of eggplant, though,  is my determination to never waste free food.

Some quick research, and we made up our minds to fry it. We just peeled it, sliced it into 1/4″ disks, salted it, let it sit for an hour under a weight, patted it dry, dredged in flour, soaked in egg (yes, in that order), and fried in a shallow pan. Simple enough.

Halfway through, we had decided not to bake it with sauce and cheese since that would take away any crispiness we’d worked so hard for. In hindsight, I wish I’d added some salt, pepper, and maybe garlic to the flour. I mean, it was just eggs, flour and eggplant. They were awesome, but some salt and pepper would’ve lit ’em up.

All the while, Allison was stealthily making this little piece of heaven! Maple glazed carrots! Boil carrots until tender enough to skewer, remove all but a cup of water, add a half stick of butter and a bunch of maple syrup and boil until the sauce is thick. It’s so awesome!

Then we ate dinner!

Fried eggplant, angel hair pasta with Homemade Sauce, fresh mesculun mix with Homemade Croutons, the maple glazed carrots, and a few beers.

Then we made pie!

Then we ate pie!

Contented, we went to bed with full bellies.

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