Breakfast cheesecake and sunflowers to start my day! Today is a new day (obviously) and I’m feeling a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. If you haven’t noticed (all my mother’s friends have), I’ve been a little MIA lately. Hesitant to share too much of my personal story here, but a friend suggested I try it, so here it goes. I recently got out of perhaps one of the best relationships I’ve ever had. It’s hard to explain, but the insecure feeling of moving forward is more than daunting as I no longer have that friend around to “have my back”. I’m learning how to avoid situations and adapt to growing in such a small area where everyone knows everyone’s business. Receiving condolences while in downward facing dog is not really what I had in mind when I decided to zen out that morning… On the upside, my lightened and brightened shoulders are starting to defrost (multiple meanings here) and I’m determined to get myself and this here blog back in routine. News of local farms starting their seeds, and writing for the local Edible edition is preparing me for the bounty of spring and summer harvest to come.
Last Saturday I walked the farmers’ market for over an hour searching for pickle inspiration. Nothing, nothing, and nothing. But then these brightly colored watermelon radishes caught my eye. No stranger to watermelon radishes, this lot from Heron Pond Farm in South Hampton, NH was more than beautiful. These sichuan style pickles boast tons of flavor and color. I recommend serving them atop your favorite asian salad or cold noodle dish. Enjoy!
After many months of wanting and trying to find a Newmarket location, the best place possible opened its doors for the February Seacoast Food Swap. Not only are the walls of the Joinery Restaurant littered with mason jars chalk full of locally preserved gems (!!), but the wonderful bar and kitchen staff seemed to wholly support and understand the idea behind the event. We hope to return sometime during late Summer or Fall. Nine (cough… eight) swappers in total participated in the event, with five new very eager faces. Swap items ranged from spicy nuts, to homemade pickles, cinnamon rolls, kombucha SCOBYs, glazed breads, fresh shiitake mushrooms, and locally-sourced chicken sausage from our friends over at Vernon Family Farm.
For the past several years, February has been a pretty year changing month for me. I like to think of February as the beginning of my pre-Spring cleaning, and I don’t mean laundry, clutter, dust. I mean happiness, healthy changes, increased motivation, seeing things in a new light, and a hell of lot of good riddance. I’m not really one for the whole notion of Valentines day, if anything I’ve typically found that hanging with myself or with good friends rather than a romantic partner, on this particular day more my style. I don’t know about you, and I apologize if any of you feel offended, but Valentines day to me feels a bit forced. A day that people are expected (shutter) to go out of their way to do something special for others. Don’t get me wrong, I like to feel like I deserve to be treated like a princess just as much as anyone else today, but no more than any other day! Last year, I had great plans of romancing myself… I bought some way too strong beer, some fresh veggies for dinner, and had que’d up a great “dance in my undies alone” play list for the evening. Turns out a really good friend was in need of some company. The evening turned out in a way that was totally unexpected… I mean we expectedly got buzzed and danced to Kesha, MJ, and every other horrific pop artist that night… but what wasn’t expected was the message that the night instilled in me, “Wake up, there’s more for you in life than you can ever know!” So to that friend (you know who you are), and to all of you reading this, I give that message to you. Happy Valentines day.
Mustard, right… stop ranting Erin! But first, mustard seeds are the goddamn glitter of the canning world. It is utterly impossible to do anything with loose seeds without them going EVERYWHERE…. OK, this brown maple mustard is my first 100% brown seed mustard I’ve made. Brown mustard seeds exhibit a stronger more intense flavor of mustard than your typical yellow mustard seeds. As I was out of the yellow variety I figured I’d play around a bit: I first soaked the seeds in APV and apple cider, then threw in copious amounts of organic grade A pure maple syrup. The color and smell of this maple mustard is amazing. Enjoy!
I’m going to be honest, my apartment smells like a night of bad life choices… Think what you will, and maybe you should… but, a solid night out for me typically includes a couple whiskey and gingers (commonly referred to as a bourbon highball). Last January during the doldrums of winter and thus the lack of fresh fruits for tasty jelly and jam making, I started experimenting with alcohol based canned goods. To my surprise, not only was everything I made pretty damn good, but also a huge hit on the blogosphere. The main risk of canning with alcohol is spending 20 plus dollars on the booze to have it fail or not set up correctly. Plus, following the typical jelly set tests is a crap shoot because the lack of “water” causes different boiling temperatures and consistencies. The inspiration for this whiskey ginger jelly came from my cinnamon whiskey jelly that I put up last winter. I suggest using a mid-range whiskey or bourbon here as you don’t want to spend the money and have it fail, but also you don’t want the flavor of cheap booze lingering in your sugary jelly goodness.
The flavor of this whiskey ginger jelly is perfect. Smooth, not overwhelmingly boozey, yet strong in ginger flavor which would work nicely as a pork glaze or simply on a biscuit. Yum, think about it, a hot homemade buttermilk biscuit topped with jelly and some local free-range bacon strips!! While cooking this jelly down does burn off most of the whiskey, only so much can be lost from 750ml. To that end, I may advice against using this jelly for little Johnny or Sally’s lunch time PB&J.
When I accepted the job at the University of New Hampshire last November I amped myself up for a few things that I had never experienced before: snowshoeing (maybe today is the day), hiking ALOT more (check), boys with beards (check), and iceskating! Yesterday I finally went iceskating for the first time! I nearly bailed out on the invite as the idea of ice, knifes on my feet, combined with my not so amazing balance was a real bad life choice. After the minor anxiety attack passed, I thought, “what the hell, what’s the worst thing that could happen, plus I need to try everything 3x, right?” Albeit I held on to the rail the majority of the time and nearly took out 4 children, I didn’t fall, didn’t break any bones… or faces, and I am still in high spirits and may even want to try it again. You can see photos from yesterday’s adventure on my instragram account.
In thinking up a name for these pickled deviled eggs, two ideas came to mind: dickles and p’evils. I liked dickles… but figured p’eviled eggs might be a bit more appropriate for the mass media. When I scheduled my pickle party last Monday, I made a huge batch (2 dozen backyard eggs) of my sriracha pickled eggs. The thought was to offset the spicy flavor of sriracha with a sweet curry, coconut deviled egg twist, but, when push came to shove and people where on their way over, we ended up keeping it easy and instead simply garnished the eggs with fresh cherry tomatoes and (surprise) more sriracha sauce! Happy snow day!
© 2015 Erin A. Urquhart All Rights Reserved.