Happy Sunday evening everyone. What a weekend, eh? If you joined the 3 million people who participated in women’s marches across the nation on Saturday, then rock on!! Saturday morning after yoga and the farmers’ market I found myself quite anxious and on the fence about the idea of attending our local march here in Raleigh, NC. I wained back and forth on whether to attend or not and final came to the conclusion that what I really needed was some alone time in the woods. I don’t know about you, but trail running through the trees not only helps clear my head, but also makes me feel like an outdoorsy badass! Five miles later, and one hell of a sore knee (I’ve had IT band problems for years), the fog began to lift and I felt much better.
Ever try to pass up beautifully arranged flowers AND adorable lady farmers? Impossible, right?! I decided to support local pink this weekend by picking up a couple pounds of tiny radishes from Bluebird Meadows. A Durham based farm, Bluebird Meadows’ is known for their specialty cut flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Wanting to preserve the color and crisp of these tiny root veggies, I threw together a quick pickled radish with some thai basil that I found at the new Hmart, plenty of lime, fresh garlic, and some black onion seeds. Weird combo? Yup!
“I mean if it were me, I’d add one tablespoon of bitters to EACH half pint… mmm!” If you haven’t gotten word of the Food in Jars Mastery Challenge yet then you may be wondering why I’m going marmalade crazy. Specifically booze marmalade crazy. I apologize in advance to all the food swap’ers at this month’s Bull City Food Swap. Guess what you’re getting? 🙂 Typically, I never make marmalade. But after this batch, I’m beginning to question why. It’s like eating candy out of a Ball Jar. After last week’s lemon vermouth marmalade experiment, I decided to play it safe with something a bit more attainable. Since moving to Durham, I have came to love the flavor of bitter cocktails. Perhaps it’s the creativity, or the wide range of craft bitters created right here in the Triangle, or maybe it’s just the bartenders…
Anywho, for this month’s marmalade challenge I present to you blood orange marmalade finished with Angostura bitters. Depending on your preferences, I’d suggest adding 3-5 tablespoons of bitters. Adding the bitters right before the set point ensures that the flavor of the bitters doesn’t burn off. With the expected bitter flavors exhibited by the orange rinds this marmalade delivers a perfect bitter sweet punch. Enjoy!
“I suggest a sweet vermouth”, “I’d go with a dry white vermouth… Dolin Dry?”, “I agree, what about something like Cocchi Americano Bianco?”. Apparently it’s extremely easy to get booze based marmalade advice around Durham. Who would have thought? 😉 Tis the marmalade season and ’tis the booze based preserves season… Last week Marisa from Food in Jars announced a year long Mastery Challenge. As I just missed out on the Tigress Can Jam held back in 2010, I immediately jumped on the band wagon. Up first, marmalade… both a challenge for me as I’ve only made it once, and second because I knew I wanted to make it vermouth based. You may have noticed that the title of this recipe includes the word experiment. The struggle with booze based jams/jellies/marmalades is the loss of booze flavor during cooking, plus the inundant sugar necessary for a set. As my goal was to retain the vermouth flavor, I decided to play around with two different vermouths and two different marmalade processing methods. Plus, with nearly a foot of snow fall in Durham this week, I had plenty of time on my hands.
My initial hypothesis was that the 2 cups of sugar would overwhelm the flavor of a sweeter white vermouth (Cocchi Americano Bianco) and that the dry white vermouth (Dolin Dry) would offer a more pungent flavor backed by the lemon and sugar. To initially test this hypothesis I made two sugar, lemon juice, and vermouth drinks. Surprisingly, I was wrong, the Cocchi presented a stronger lingering flavor. For the first vermouth/method I followed Marisa’s small batch marmalade method found here. This resulted in a thicker consistency with less booze flavor. I figured that cooking the lemons for 55 minutes before processing them into marmalade caused too much vermouth flavor loss.
Pickled potatoes? Ain’t ever heard of pickled potatoes? Yeah, me neither! An odd thought in my mind… “can you even pickle potatoes?” The gent was adamant about pickling potatoes, but after a couple “back and forth” discourses, and several web searches I eventually gave in. I realized the reason I’ve never heard of pickled potatoes is because people don’t typically pickle (not can) potatoes. Why? Well, there isn’t really a reason to preserve such an abundant, long-fridge life crop. That is unless you’re an Irishman in 1845… too soon? 🙂
Anyways, going for a simple german potato salad kind of thing, we paired this quick fridge potato pickle with some sliced red onion and fresh carrots. Similar to pickled eggs, the longer you let your potatoes pickle, the stronger flavor you’ll get. This batch sat for 3 weeks before I started taste testing. Fingerling potatoes courtesy of Harland’s Creek Farm, a small organic farm located 4 miles outside of Pittsboro, NC.
Happy 2017!! What better way to kick of the new year and nurse the morning after hangover than with some good ol’ pickling. With black eyed peas and collards on the range, bursts of rain outside, and aromas of wood fired stoves burning around my Durham neighborhood, I figured I’d set aside this 1st day of the year to catch up on some blogging. I hope you all enjoyed your holidays. After spending several days with the folks, we headed down to Charleston to eat, drink, and play stupid tourists. Charleston was amazing. Impressed by the old culture, houses, and history that Charleston has to offer, I also found myself up to my ears in pickled goodies. Known as the 1st foodie town of the South, I was not entirely surprised when I found pickles on most of if not all of the menus. My indulgences ranged from pickled giardiniera at Edmund’s Oast to fried pickles at Bar Mash, and a tart and sweet pickled green tomato martini at The Grocery. After three days doing little other than eating and drinking, even this girl was looking forward to a detox diet.
The weekend before last, I visited the Carrborro Farmers’ Market for the 1st time. What makes Carrborro’s market different from the rest is that the actual owner of each business or farm is present at Market each week. So it’s basically as local as it gets! While the summer market probably boasts many more vendors and goodies than the chilly winter market, I still managed to score a couple pounds of tiny turnips from Maple Spring Gardens, a farm located in Cedar Grove, NC. I consulted my girlfriend Kristen who suggested an Indian flavored pickle (not like the ones I’ve sworn off). I decided to pair these lil’ turnips with some fresh turmeric, ginger, red onion slices, and curry powder. Enjoy!
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