Oh Hi there! Thank you all for bearing with me these past few weeks. It’s been pretty hectic with my parents in town visiting, a quick weekend jaunt to New Hampshire, and that whole defending my PhD thing… But I’m back, well for a few days at least (I’m heading to AZ later this week), and I’m itching to pickle. In no way shape or form do I claim to be any sort of expert on gardening or harvesting, but I do suspect that with all this late winter into early spring rain/snow/freaking “wintery mix” that the spring and summertime crop harvest will be somehow affected. While driving around NH/ME this past weekend, I realized that veggie and fruit harvest will be a bit different from what I’m used to down here in the Mid Atlantic. Not only do I expect a lag in the harvest season, but it has also dawned on me that things that grow in Maryland may not grow AT ALL in the northeast. With that in mind, I have 3 more weeks in the Baltimore area to tackle everything and anything local that will fit into a Ball Jar.
A couple weeks ago, a friend and I teamed up to create a baked goods/preserved goods kitchen masterpiece. These ginger spiced pear blondies were adapted from Spice Islands and the second concoction of that amazingly disastrous evening. We used a jar of my ginger spiced pickled pears and paired these oh so gooey blondies with some vanilla frozen yogurt.
French novelist Marcel Proust famously wrote that asparagus “transforms my chamber-pot into a flask of perfume.” As somewhat of a nutrition nut, I’ve always found the body’s by-products somewhat fascinating. During digestion, asparagus’s sulfurous amino acids break down into unique pungent chemical compounds in most people. When the compounds leave your body in the form of pee you may be able to detect the odorous asparagus smell. Apparently only about a quarter of the population has the special gene that allows them to detect those compounds. So whether you’re lucky (or unlucky) enough to have this ability it’s still pretty interesting right? 🙂
Typically when I dream up canning and pickling recipes I try to stick with local and in season ingredients. I have been anxiously checking the crop harvest calendars for my current and future location so I know that this recipe is pre-mature by about 3-6 weeks. When I found these hearty bunches of organic asparagus during my routine farmers market/local food co-op pickling perusal last weekend, I knew I couldn’t hold out any longer. This super small batch of pepper & garlic pickled asparagus was adapted from Sherri Brooks Vinton’s canning book Put ’em Up!
People do funny things when they know they only have a limited amount of time left to do it… Take my current situation, I am house hopping all over Baltimore, enticing my friends with strong drinks, canned goods, and kitchen adventures. Earlier this week, a beautiful friend of mine suggested that we team up and make a smattering of baked goods inspired by a select few of my sweet canned creations. As this past Monday was Saint Patrick’s Day, we saw it only fitting to start with an Irish inspired beer bread topped with a generous amount of my Chocolate Stout Jelly. Sticky, snorting, sugar filled madness ensued as we destroyed the limited countertop space of Steph’s tiny Mt. Vernon apartment kitchen. This super easy and super quick beer bread recipe was adapted from the Joy of Cooking.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, Happy Snow Day, Happy Spring Break!! The combination of those three things makes my restless self feel as if it should put on a bikini, go outside, do an Irish jig, and make a snow castle… then again maybe that’s just the coffee talking…
About a month ago citrus recipes (mainly marmalades) started popping up all over the food blogosphere. While I enjoy eating citrus fruits, I’m not the biggest fan of marmalades. Instead of making something just for the sake of pretty pictures and the blog, I held out for something that I really peaked my culinary interest… enter lemon curd! I came across this Meyer lemon curd recipe on the Food in Jars blog and couldn’t resist any longer. That’s to say until I found some Meyer lemons on the cold and snowy barren East Coast. I managed to track down some of these fruits at the local Whole Foods, but in very little way do they resemble the size, color, or grandeur of the lemons people are growing and using out West. Now that I’ve experience the taste of Meyer lemons, I will most definitely be ordering a bulk box of lemons from the Lemon Ladies Orchard next year.
This week’s Putting Up with Friends, or “Friends Putting Up with Erin” as an unnamed naysayer suggested, is brought to you from a bright, mildly disorganized, and underutilized kitchen in the Evergreen neighborhood of Baltimore. Thanks to my courteous canning host, I will be enjoying this sweet, yellow nectar of the lemon gods atop: a baguette with Brie cheese, a tiny tart with fresh raspberries, a scone or brioche, or most likely straight up out of the jar!
As it turns out, Putting Up with Erin takes on a whole other punning meaning this week. As I mentioned before, I am currently in the limbo of moving which means I’ve found myself jumping, biking, and bouncing around Baltimore. To keep the blog active amidst all my craziness, I figured I’d shlep my canning pot around and try some “Putting Up with Friends”. This week’s Putting Up with Friends post comes to you from my gracious office mate’s kitchen in northern Baltimore. The second I walked into her huge, well stocked, well lit, and wine laden kitchen, I realized that this was going to be much more fun than canning all by my lonesome.
I came across the idea for pickled pineapple chunks at one of my favorite restaurants in Baltimore, the Corner BYOB. They served this pickle with a few other varieties on their house cheese and charcuterie board. I played around with the idea and opted for a sweeter spiced pickled pineapple (say that 5 times fast…) recipe. Depending on your preference, you can start with a slightly unripe pineapple for a more tart pickle, or wait like I did for it to ripen up for a sweeter pickle. This super easy pineapple pickle would go great with BBQ, pineapple scones, or as I discovered last night some red wine or whiskey. Enjoy!
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