Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Au currant.

Hey there.
I'm back from shopping.

I got all of the stuff you asked for- but unfortunately for y'all I either ate it, wore it, drank it or did unseemly things with it already.

Sorry. You know I can't be trusted with "to-do" lists. C'mon! Have we met?

What I bought:
This tank top for $5:I can't decide if it's ugly, but hey- it was $5!
I also bought curtains for the entryway (you'll get a pic when the whole thing is finished and my fancypants light is installed), weird soaps and candles on sale at Pier 1, Three giant bags of groceries from Trader Joe's, and a buttload of cheap wine, also from TJ's.

When I got home I got started on my project for the day: Making currant jelly.

For those of you unfamiliar with red currants, they are teeny-tiny little berries that grow in clusters on a big bush (tee hee. Big bush.)
We had two such bushes when I was growing up, and currant picking day always seemed to fall on the same day that the temperature was so high that it made your face melt the moment you stepped outside. And man oh man, those tiny little fuckers sure are a pain to pick. My mom would do spot-checks on us during the 15 hours it took to pick them, bringing us tupperware glasses of Kool-aid and allowing us a 15-minute lunch break for bologna & cheese sandwiches with potato chips on the side. We were not to miss ONE SINGLE CURRANT. They all had to be picked. Each and every one.

Currant jelly was a sacred and holy thing in our house. I believe some sort of ritual happened on the eve of the harvest. I vaguely remember a naked midget, a bonfire, chanting and bobbing for apples...
but I could be wrong.

So, as an adult you would think that I would have put those days behind me- that I would push those memories deep into my psyche only to be extricated in future years by a highly-paid professional.
I went and planted one of those beasts in my own yard, and wouldn't you know it- I can't kill the thing. It's coated with currants. Beautiful, translucent red orbs so tart they make your cheeks pucker.

I missed currant jelly, my sisters miss currant jelly. If you've had homemade you get it.

I have to make currant jelly- it is my destiny. Kind of like Highlander with fruit- there can only be one lady of the jelly.

So, here's the first stage:

Pretty currants in a bowl. I picked out all of the leaves and about 1/2 of the stems then gave them a rinse.

Aren't they pretty?:

Cue tangent...
Oh, and this is what I made for dinner last night. Isn't it pretty too? Mixed greens, bean sprouts, chicken, rice noodles, radish and fresh basil with a spicy peanut dressing. I also cooked up some potstickers (came frozen in a bag).

So, back to the currants. I put a bit of water in, mashed them a little with a potato masher, then brought them to a boil. I cooked them for 5 minutes or so.

Then the whole mess got strained and this ruby red liquid was the result:

I added a ton o'sugar and some lemon juice, then let it simmer for a looooong time.

To kill some time, I made the cats a maze out if IKEA boxes:

I think Trouble won, but Pooter seemed to enjoy it more. I just ended up getting lost in the dang thing.

Tick-tock, tick-tock...
Finally! It's ready!

The end result of my labours:

Only 7 (!) jars of the liquid gold. If I am feeling ambitious, the rest of the currants will be ripe in a few days.
We'll see.

Anyone have some toast?

Happy Wednesday, my ruby-red, sugar-drenched orbs of tarty tartiliciousness.



Gwen said...

A work of art! Bravo!

Stacy said...

It's hotter than the surface of the goddamn sun out and you're a) being productive and b)boiling things in your kitchen.

You are a stronger woman than I.

I retreated to the breezy Liffey patio for beer therapy today.

wafelenbak said...

I've been on some heavy-duty cooking projects lately too. What's up with that? Are we nesting?
I think the tank is adorable. I bought three fabulous ribbed tanks from Sears today for $3.99 a piece. I paid twice that for the first two I bought of the same style, and loved them so much I had to get more (on sale!!)!

-R- said...

I think the tank top looks good on you! And I never knew what a currant was, so thanks for the education.

Christa said...

what does a currant taste like?

Renaissance Woman said...

You have skills Whiskey! Love the tank top, love the dinner and love the jelly! I'll check the mail for my jar.

Whiskeymarie said...

C- Currants are tart like rhubarb is tart, just with a different flavor. A little more subtle, a lot more delicious. If I make another batch, you're totally getting a jar.

nancypearlwannabe said...

Those currants look so pretty, but I don't think I've ever had currant jelly. Sounds great though!

gorillabuns said...

You spent your $5.00 well, my lady.

Dr Zibbs said...

I was just skimming your post because I'm in a hurry but that's a nice dress you made out of curtains.

CDP said...

Top is totally cute, and the jars of currant jelly look beautiful.

diatribes and dish said...

I'm not a jelly person, but kudos on the effort.

Oh, and your dinner looks deelish. Do you have any leftovers? If so, will you send them to me?

L Sass said...

Delicious! My grandma didn't do currants--she specialized in raspberry and strawberry jam. But once you go homemade jam/jelly, storebought just won't do!

Shannon Erin said...

Did you make the spicy peanut dressing yourself? If so, can you share the recipe. I've been looking for a good one.

I love the tank. Very cute.

Stephanie said...

Mmm, you're reminding me of the crab apple jelly I made back in the day - gorgeous red juice, tart flavor.

Bill Hipps said...

We used to do crab apple when we were growing we stick to strawberry-rhubarb as it's the best Jerry, the best!

Amaya said...

Not to discount your hard work on the jelly, but that maze looks like so much fun! You're such a cool kitty-mama!

surviving myself said...

You know how you made "teeny-tiny" really small type?

THAT - that right there - is the reason I read your blog.

You don't see those kind of Skillz when reading the NY Times, now do you?

John said...

Tank top: worth every penny. You look all hotty hot.

Lollie said...

I have to tell you, the currant jelly did grab me, but hey, hook me up with a bologna and cheese sandwich with potato chips on the side anytime.

Crappity, now I have to go to the store and get some chips.

Grant Miller said...

Nothing for me?

Red said...

In my family it was strawberry freezer jam, but I've managed to make it okay in adulthood without it. Yours looks great!

My purty dinner the other night was salmon with fresh homemade mango salsa, sweet potato fries, and steamed broccoli. EG called me a domestic goddess :-)

Congratulations, lady of the currants.

Anonymous said...

Oops....below from: Patti

Anonymous said...

The tank is cute. I've never had currants. The jelly looks good. What's a potsticker?

I had bologna nad cheese for luch today! To spell it just now my brain was singing the Oscar Meyer song!

kirby said...

The currants are so pretty, you should invent a drink using them.

Freida Bee, MD said...

Whiskey- Can I be blunt? Thanks. I knew it. This may say more for its favor than against.... Not a fan o' the tank there. You make it pretty enough ('cause you're beautiful), but I'm not crazy about the pattern. That's just me bein' contrary, as usual.

Now, that dinner made me drool and that jelly made me cum. Oh, and I like the maze.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Damn that jelly looks almost as good as what you ahd for dinner last night which doesn't look as good as you do in that kind of ugly tank top. Trust me sister, you are the best thing about that tank top.

Stacey said...

Oooo Whiskey, I think John wants to be your new Mr. WM. *snort* , *snicker

I'm glad I'm not the only one who buys things and can't decide if they are ugly or not...

Can you pack that dinner up and bring it with you to Seatown. It looks positively yummy.

Iheartfashion said...

Please, please come to my house and make me dinner...and some currant jelly. Looks delicious!

Moe Wanchuk said...

I think I'm calling out "Challenge" on all this cooking you do. It's pretty obvious that you're extremely wealthy. (you bought a new light AND a new bike in the same month). My guess is that you have a little gay house boy (or husband) that does all of this for you and you take all the credit! Ain't right.

TwistedNoodle said...

I love the tank. It's different and that's what I love about it. Also, it looks great on you.

About the currant jelly... I know bup-kis about jelly making and was wondering what made it thicken. Did you put something else besides sugar and lemon in it? It sure does look yummy.

Whiskeymarie said...

Dr. Monkey- "Trust me sister, you are the best thing about that tank top."
This is why I love you so, Monkeyman.

Moe- yes, I am an heiress to the Preparation H fortune. Itchy, swollen buttholes = big money, baby.
Seriously, though- I work. Just not very much and I get paid pretty well. Also, my husband forgot how to cook once I went to cooking school. AND? My manservant Renaldo takes offense at being called a "boy".
I take your challenge and raise you a boo-ya!

twisted- just sugar & lots of boiling. That's all you need- it just takes longer than when you add Sure-jel or other thickeners.

Miss Awesome said...

I can't decide if it's ugly, but hey- it was $5!

Haha, I was in Walmart today trying to decide if I should buy sweatpant capris for only $7, in the end I decided no because really they looked more like leggings and no price tag is worth going back to the early 80s to me.

MommasWorld said...

I made jam ONCE. Blueberry. I bought a poop load of gadgets and gizmos to do it. Apparently Blueberries were scarse that year. BUT I ONLY had a receipe for blueberry jam and a ton of canning equipment that cost about half of what my car cost. I think I had about a dozen jars when I finished. I even entered my jam in the state fair. I got 2nd place. Hey, not bad for a first time and across a whole state.

I need to use all that equipment again some time. Need to get some of my money's worth out of it. Until I get brave again it sits in its original box (for 7 years) in the basement.

I have toast!!

Beverly said...

I have currant bushes, but I've never made anything with them because we just eat them plain like grazing deer. That would be a nice flavor to have in the middle of winter, though.

Mommy Lisa said...

I have not had current jelly - homemade anyway - since I was 12 and they sold great grannies house on the two lot plot in Albert Lea.

I used to get so excited to pick the damn things and get me some JELLY!

I am jelly-ous.

Dr Zibbs said...

You my lady are going to be featured on a very important TBY item. See my blog for details.