Waking up locked in a cranberry bog was something I never expected to scratch off my “done it” list, but thanks to hectic & rainy trip out to the Cape last month, I can say it’s been done. While it makes for a pretty awesome story (obviously), our intentions (honestly) were not to sleep in a bog. As with most of our sporadic trips, we started driving south with no resting place in mind. Navigator Erin to the rescue! Or so we thought… I thought I had found a cheap’ish, no minimum night stay campground to pitch a tent at, but alas by the time we arrived, the gates were already closed and our next best option was sneaking down a dark dirt road with the hopes of no one kicking us out during our slumber. The best part about arriving somewhere after the sun goes down is waking up the next morning and thinking “WOW, look where we landed… a freaking cranberry bog!!” Had it not been for our little oops moment, I wouldn’t have known that cranberries 1) were grown in bogs, and 2) grown on Cape Cod.
Last November I successfully made my first really GOOD cranberry sauce. Much like this recipe, it was booze infuzed (ruby red port) which led to a fun evening… “the recipe only calls for a cup and a half of booze… what to do with the rest of it…”. I’ve already talked about my opinions of girls drinking whiskey (badass) so I won’t get into it here, but I had half a bottle of bourbon let over after the honey bourbon mustard I made earlier this week. With 5lbs of local Maine cranberries from Sugar Hill Cranberry Co, I figured it was time to get going on this year’s cranberry creations.
It’s that time of year again when warm boozey concoctions featuring bourbon return! For several reasons, mainly just because I think seeing a girl drinking whiskey at a bar is badass, around this time last year I discovered my newfound glory of whiskey tasting. At the time, a friend of mine was also super interested in learning more about whiskey, so we took it upon ourselves to learn through “experience”, which if you can imagine went REAL well… We started off by buying a different 5th every week beginning with the big name, mid-shelf whiskeys. I really wish I would have made a list of what I liked and what I really didn’t, but after the end of our binge season I found myself really enjoying Knob Creek, Makers Mark, and Woodfood Reserve. I’m excited to start this years’ sampling (slowly!!) and hopefully will further expand my badass’ery and whiskey palate.
For the sake of mustard exploration, I figured because I’ve made several mustards containing beer and cider, that I should up the ante and use the hard stuff: bourbon. Last Thursday at the Portland Food Swap, I traded some jam for a container of Maine produced clover honey. This honey tastes unlike any store bought honey that I’ve ever tried… sooooo good.
For about three seconds this morning when I was getting dressed for work (my non-science job at the women’s vintage shop), I wished I had a fashion blog. Hurrying through the small alleys of Portsmouth, NH, I realized that not only was I double fisting a large cup of coffee and a green smoothie, but that I was donning a total vintage Indiana Jones meets chic Montana outfit today. Trend setter, perhaps? Imagine me riding a buffalo while eating pickles, too much… too soon? On another note, I finally resurrected my kombucha hobby last night. At the Portland Food Swap this past week, I swapped a jar of my onion & sage jam for a SCOBY and some ‘bucha starter liquid! I plan on focusing my energy on secondary fermentation creations this time around… think ginger and turmeric flavor.
Plain and simple, sunchokes, previously referred to as “Jerusalem artichokes”, make you fart. That being said, I believe that this really only pertains to consumption of raw sunchokes. The culprit? Inulin- a complex fructose-based carbohydrate that is not digestible by humans. According to the widely trusted Wikipedia (rolls eyes), most hydrolases (enzymes) can be inactivated at 200°F. As water-bath canning raises internal jar temperatures to 212°F, paired with the added acidity from vinegar, perhaps pickling can help alleviate some of the “wind producing” symptoms of sunchokes. Then again, perhaps not…
The week before last I met Jordan the quirky head farmer at Two Toad Farm (his business card is a pack of tobacco seeds- how cool is that!?). While attempting to recruit him as a speaker for the next Seacoast Food Swap, I was overly distracted by his small display of sunchokes… cough… “that’s what she said”. A couple months ago Keith experimented with some baked sunchoke chips; they turned out really good, especially the slightly burnt and crispy ones. I figured sweet, spicy, and nutty pickled sunchoke chips would be equally as tasty. I found and slightly modified this recipe from the Hunter Angler Gardener Cook blog. Enjoy these sweet & spicy pickled sunchokes straight out of the jar, with a mix of other pickles, or as a side to any Middle Eastern dish/stew.
Happy Halloween! I may or may not be dressing up as a pickle tonight (check FB or Instagram for photos). Don’t worry I’m all dill pickle guys (sweet pickle? scoff…). I’m actually in Freeport, ME at a science meeting today sans gherkin costume… the chick with the ears and tale apparently didn’t get the memo. Even though I typically wait till the night before or the day of to pull together a planned out costume, Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I’ve never really been one for risque costumes but more huge and obnoxious or costumes that I can incorporate in with my bicycle… or both. The plan for this evening is to attend the Portsmouth Halloween Parade and then to scoot over to the Polish Club in Newmarket, NH for a night of blues and mandatory dancing. What are you all up to on this witchy day?
Set to the Alice in Wonderland tune- “Happy blog’versary to you. To me?” Today Putting Up with Erin turns one! When I started the blog a year ago, I was in the midst of writing my dissertation and was in dire need of a creative outlet. I’m not going to lie, I’m kind of surprised it lasted this long… Putting Up with Erin not only allowed me to explore my creative side through “cooking” but also, and maybe more enjoyable, through photo, web, and graphic design. Many people have asked, “do you do it for the food, the blog, the comments, or the stats?” I continue to blog because it gives me the opportunity to learn more about seasonal foods, as well as the experience of going to the farmers market, meeting farmers, and getting creative with flavor pairings. In the past year the blog has survived a major life move, several flavor muses, and a handful of kitchens (thanks to all my friends who participated in Friends Putting Up with Erin). The fresh start that came out of relocating to the NE was probably the best thing I could have done for myself and the blog.
I’ve decided to summarize a few year one milestones for ya (it’s statistics… I couldn’t help myself). Through various avenues of online exposure, the 6 recipes highlighted below received the most attention in the first year. Total monthly site views have gone from ~1,500 to roughly ~19,000. Personally, I’ve been interviewed for a couple news articles, featured as a writer in the upcoming winter issue of Darling Magazine, and will be co-authoring a textbook chapter on fermentation next spring.
© 2014 Erin A. Urquhart All Rights Reserved.