Merry Thanksgiving… Earlier this month we revived the Seacoast Food Swap (the October swap was a bit of a bust and hence the reason for no recap post) in Portsmouth, NH. My wonderful yogi comrades at Empower Yoga Center were gracious and kind enough to let us use their upstairs space for our monthly event. We were glad to see the return of a few familiar faces and were excited that a couple people stopped by to just “check out” the swap event (it’s about increased exposure, right?). The bounty of items ranging from pumpkin butter, to chocolate PB espresso cookies, pumpkin bread, mustard, and raw avocado grasshopper bites was enough to distract Rob, Angie, and myself from stretching our asanas all over the studio.
You know bubble-wrap? You know the satisfaction of slowly popping bubble-wrap? Of course you do, who doesn’t!? My impatience in waiting for cranberries to pop and prematurely popping them with the back of a spatula is almost as good as popping bubble-wrap. I think someone (OK, I may have gifted it to myself) actually bought me a 6 foot roll of bubble-wrap for Christmas one year.
With 3lbs of Sugar Hill Cranberry Co. cranberries left, I’ve been getting creative with my canning ideas, cranberry jalapeño jelly, seen it, cranberry pear chutney, seen it (though I am interested in trying it), cranberry banana jam? Yum! That being said, if anyone has any suggestions… Today’s post sounds a little bit weird, right? “Banana jam? Isn’t that just going to turn into a mush of brown?” Quite the opposite actually, this jam is a mush of beautiful light cranberry colors. The tart and sweet flavors of the cranberries complement the banana flavors perfectly. With the option of adding in the pre-steeped cinnamon sticks and water, I think the taste of banana notes are amazing. Serve this jam atop a sweat biscotti, with almond butter for a AB&J sando, or with your overnight oats breakfast.
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.
© 2014 Erin A. Urquhart All Rights Reserved.