You know those times when you go to your local farmers market, are minding your own business, and then all of a sudden you’re blindsided by a cute farmer/farmer’ess who convinces you to buy an abnormal shaped sugar pumpkin? I wasn’t planning to start pumpkin goods until after Halloween this year. Last Fall I played around with this sweet butternut squash pickle, actually I just ate up the last pint a few weeks ago. Without a particular recipe in mind, I decided to experiment with my Touching Earth Farm pumpkin in a spicy rather than sweet pickle fashion for this first run. Garlic, cinnamon, curry powder, and habanero peppers… if anything this spicy pickled pumpkin will be weird.
In other news, if you’re in or around Seacoast New Hampshire be sure to check out the upcoming permaculture workshop. “This two part workshop will focus on the fundamentals of the permaculture design process, observing and mapping a site. We will take you through creating a base map and the process of assessing and analyzing a properties many conditions.” For more information on the workshop be sure to head over to their Meetup site.
Apples!! Guys.. it’s apple season. I remember as a kid visiting the apple cidery in See Canyon south of San Luis Obispo, CA. Specifically, I remember how cold the apple press room was. Pretty much every summer from that first school field trip till I moved away from the Central Coast my dad and I would frequent the various orchards searching and hoping for the tartest green apples. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I’m kind of a nut about pick your own (PYO) farms. Last summer was the first time since college that I went apple picking… not surprisingly I went a teensy lot overboard (apple sauce, apple pie filling, port apple cranberry sauce, apple pie turnovers, apple chutney). Knowing that I had pretty damn big shoes to fill after last year, and because I was milking the last bit of tomato season, I was pretty OK with holding off on apples as long as I could this year… 2 weeks.
Last weekend the beau and I randomly decided to head north into western Maine towards Rangeley Lake. Albeit mildly comfortable and somewhat romantic, we decided that car camping wasn’t an option (again) and opted for tent camping instead. Unprepared, hungry, and a tad bit bored we hit the local minimart for food, firewood, and… whiskey. One would think that after several flavored alcohol fueled hangovers that I would have learned to steer clear of such evil evil elixirs… “I’ll take a bottle of that Canadian Club Dock no. 57 blackberry whiskey, please!” To say the least, only about half the bottle was consumed and I won at our rendition of whiskey cribbage.
Back in town Monday morning I found myself thinking, “What the hell am I going to do with the rest of this fire syrup?” Later that morning, while getting my muffler looked at in Barrington, NH (apparently logging an average of 300 miles/weekend on a 40yr old car is problematic), I happened to pass a “peaches” sign which led me to Union Lake Peach Orchard. I drove 5 miles off the beaten path to realize that I had no cash in my wallet and that country orchard stands don’t typically take plastic (surprise). The quick trip back to the ATM was well worth it as the 6lbs of yellow peaches that I I brought home were some of the best I’ve tasted in years. Word is that the orchard is debuting their white peaches next week!! Not only were these pickled peaches the answer to my left over whiskey woes, but I’m looking forward to cracking open a jar during the duldrums of winter hoping the blast of summer flavor will revitalize my palate and remind me of why… oh why… I moved to the frigid Northeast. Enjoy!
Ever eat a can of beans just because… or maybe just because a can of beans is an easy, filling, and tasty meal? As a somewhat new vegetarian, I’ve had to adjust to new ways of consuming ample amounts of protein. Beans have quickly moved up my plant-based high protein list of staple foods. If you’re from the east coast you’ve most likely never heard of Ranch beans. Growing up in California we frequently ate “Ranch Style” Beans, specifically those made by Congra Foods. Before 4 days ago, it had been years since I’d tasted the heavenly Texas inspired flavors of Ranch beans. Luckily with my new found passion for pressure canning, I’m able to experiment with bean varieties such as these. These ranch style beans are even tastier and more versatile than my first canned bean batch: Taco Spiced Chickpeas. Adding cinnamon to the savory mixture of onions, tomatoes, and jalapeños really pushes these beans to the next level. So far I’ve tried them in bean and cheese burritos, as well as an ingredient in acorn squash stuffed with wild rice. I’m looking forward to trying canned black eyed peas, chile beans, baked beans, etc. Enjoy!
Do you remember those individually wrapped fireball candies? They were always conveniently priced and placed at the local pool, theater, arcade, or some other fun concession stand when I was growing up. I can recall the countless memories and horrible enjoyment of slobbering and sucking the hot saliva away which always resulted in very red and very sticky lips, checks, and fingers.
Fast forward 20 years to me discovering Fireball Whiskey. While it’s hard to deny the sugary goodness of Fireball whiskey, there is definitely a time and a place for it. I had been playing around with the notion of making a Fireball jelly for some time, and decided that rather than overpowering the jelly with the crap sugar and unknown ingredients, I would instead make my own cinnamon whiskey jelly using good old bourbon and cinnamon sticks. I ended up pairing apple cider with the whiskey as I wasn’t trying to make straight up whiskey jello shots… though come to think of it, that may have made the process much more exciting. Nonetheless, with a fifth of added whiskey, I’m not sure if I would choose this jelly for your kids’ next PB&J.
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