Pepper RelishPepper Relish- Putting Up with ErinPepper Relish- Putting Up with Erin

For the past 2 years I’ve found myself partially admiring and partially envying the canned goodies at the Bonlee Grown Farm stand at the Durham Farmers’ Market. Every Saturday, I swing by for a taste of their latest flavor, but secretly I’m looking for inspiration… Their set-up is always super inviting with their grandmother’esque tablecloths and smiling staff. This past Saturday, pepper relish on my mind, I couldn’t pass up a conversation with the farmers’ daughter Ramy, and grabbed some of these beautiful yellow and orange bell peppers. While I was at it, I picked up a couple different varieties of peppers, including some Lombardo peppers Puerto Rico peppers, from Four Leaf Farm.

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Cookbook Feature: Savory SweetBook Review: Savory Sweet Book Review: Savory Sweet

When I first received my copy of Savory Sweet: Simple Preserves from a Northern Kitchen I was up to my ankles in fresh peaches and looking for some simple stone fruit recipe inspiration. As I scanned the index I was surprised (though later, VERY much appreciated) by its lack of peach recipes. As I dug further I corrected myself and realized, “duh Erin, why would a cookbook with the word “Northern” in its title feature recipes of non-local fruits!?” Published earlier this year, Savory Sweet written by Minnesota based Beth Dooley and Denmark born Mette Nielsen, is a preservation cookbook that showcases “old-world Danish traditions… with the freshest ideas and latest techniques… with the best of the season, all year long.”

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Peach & Nectarine Ginger Pie FillingPeach & Nectarine Ginger Pie Filling- Putting Up with ErinPeach & Nectarine Ginger Pie Filling- Putting Up with Erin

You know when you read a somewhat complicated recipe and think to yourself, “Hmmm.. right… YA, I’ve got this!”? My sentiment exactly when I came across the Local Kitchen Blog‘s Nectarine Ginger Pie Filling recipe. I even made the effort and for the FIRST time in 5 year bought Clear Jel. I figured with 6 plus pounds of fresh stone fruit courtesy of Washington State Stone Fruit Growers, a bottle of white wine, and a whole LOT of patience I’d be fine. Four YouTube videos later, and I still couldn’t figure out a pretty way to peel, slice, and de-pit my fruit. The result: 3 nectarines in my belly, frustration, and aside from a bunch of mush, a bowl full of “perfectly” sliced stone fruit. 🙂

Being August, things are super busy in my personal life right now, so it was great that I was able to let my nectarine/peach mixture macerate for an extra night. The flavor of this pie filling is phenomenal: tangy, bright, and ginger spicy. A great way to preserve the fresh taste of summer. Next year I’ll be doubling the recipe as I doubt this will even make it atop an actual pie crust.

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Homemade Peach Liqueur
Homemade Peach Liqueur- Putting Up with ErinHomemade Peach Liqueur- Putting Up with Erin

Peach liqueur… you mean peach schnapps, right? Wrong! I too always thought that the two were one in the same. In fact, the difference is schnapps are fermented and distilled, where liqueurs are simply fruits steeped in an alcohol which has already been fermented and distilled. You mean creme de peche? Correct! I’m VERY proud to say that personally don’t have a high school/college story of an ill-advised peach-schnapps-meets-fuzzy-navel night gone wrong. Last week my bountiful box of peach and nectarines arrived on my doorstep (thanks to Washington State Stone Fruit Growers). As expected, when the box arrived a few of the fruits were bumped and bruised from shipping. Resisting the temptation to immediately devour (think kid with fruit juice all over their face in Georgia) them all, instead I started this beautiful peach liqueur.

Steeped with citrus zest and thyme leaves from my backyard garden, this slightly sweet peach liqueur perfectly highlights the fresh flavors of summer. Plus, no preservatives or artificial colors! …cocktail ideas? How ’bout a Peach Old Fashion!? Boozy and slightly sweet, plus a great way to use some of the homemade cocktail cherries that I made last month. Stay tuned for a couple more stone fruit features coming next week. 🙂

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Cherry Salsa
Cherry Salsa- Putting Up with ErinCherry Salsa- Putting Up with Erin

There’s no hiding how much I like spicy, salty, saucy things. When it comes to everyday hot sauce, I’m a 80% Sriracha kinda girl; 20% chunky fresh salsa kinda girl. A lot of people are tempted by sweet treats. My absolute biggest weakness is chips and salsa. They’ve ruined many a diet and stained many a white shirts… Alas, the first step is admitting my salsa addiction, right? Finishing up the last of my bounty from the Northwest Cherry Growers, I pulled out my good ol’ handy copy of Marisa McClellan’s Food In Jars for a little bit of inspiration. Not needing any more jams, jellies, or pickled cherries, I thumbed my way to the salsa and relish section. !!Bam!! peach salsa. Knowing I couldn’t hold out for my shipment of peaches later this summer, I decided to modify the recipe and substitute in 4 pounds of fresh cherries.

The result? A mildly tart and sweet cherry salsa, and a creative way to use up the rest of my stone fruit. I swore the beau off of buying any MORE jars of classic tomato salsa until we go through these 4 pints, which in reality will be next week… I’d be shocked if I actually get much of my share of salsa as it appears that afternoon chips and salsa has become quite the norm around here. I’m going to try dousing some of my grilled chicken nachos with a jar of this ASAP! For those of you that don’t own a copy of Food in Jars (gasp!), I have summarized up the recipe modification below. Salud!

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