“Wait, you have a canning blog?” David and I have become regular friends at the Durham Farmers’ market. “We’ve been chatting for over a year, how did I not know you have a food blog!?” David is usually my source of homegrown shitake mushrooms, so when I spotted this beautiful bounty of garlic scapes at last week’s market, I was delighted to finally feature Heeks Farm. As I wasn’t too keen on the texture of plain pickled garlic scapes that I made a couple years past, and having heard about garlic scape pesto, I knew I was looking to make something I could spoon onto meat or bread. Garlic scape relish, Yahtzee! A quick modification of the garlic relish recipe I found over at Fresh from the Farm, I spiced things up by adding fresh minced jalapeño and some cilantro leaves. Mustardy, sweet, and with a great crunch, I suggest letting this relish sit for sometime to let the whole mustard seeds mellow out. Producing 8 quarter pints of lustful green relish, what perfect item to trade at tomorrow’s Bull City Food Swap. 🙂
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.
I’m not exactly sure why, probably the strawberries…, but it seems only appropriate that I drink a glass of home-brew strawberry mango kombucha while I write this strawberry mustard blog post. Sensing a theme here? STRAWBERRIES!!! I am up to my ears in strawberries. A little over a week ago the wild strawberries on my property started to ripen. My initial thoughts were “this is amazing, I am going to have fresh strawberries everyday.” A week later… “god damnit, I have to get home so I can pick them before the nasty roly polys beat me to it!” Honestly, I feel like I’m at war with the little strawberry buggers. Don’t get me wrong, and I’m definitely not complaining, I’m having tons of fun with it. Everyday is like Easter for fruits: I get to hunt for the ripest, juiciest, reddest berries amongst the bugs and weeds. Oh man, now I can’t wait till cherry tomato season.
Thinking of ways to mix it up and get creative, I decided for this initial bloom (boom?) that I’d play with some savory ideas. Initially planning on doing a strawberry relish (not sure if that’ll actually work), I came up with this whole grain strawberry mustard instead. A super easy mustard recipe and depending on your desired taste you can modify by adding more or less strawberries. Enjoy this sweet and tangy mustard with cheese, crackers, and perhaps another savory jam or jelly. The strawberries featured in this recipe were picked locally at Lyon Farms.
“Bartender… What is the most offensive pumpkin beer you carry? Like so offensive that you’d never drink a full pint of it?” Yep, ’tis the season for booze based canned goods… My favorite season. First up this year: a whole grain pumpkin ale mustard. Last week my boss and I played hosts for 20 plus agency scientists from around the U.S. After 3 days chock full of debating/brainstorming I suggested we take the crew to The Glass Jug in Durham, NC for some tasty brews. After some discussion amongst the bartenders they decided that Pumpking Imperial Ale from Southern Tier was my best bet. Why offensive you may ask? Basically for flavor- to taste the underlying pumpkin notes over the strong mustard tang. Mixed with some maple agave syrup and brown sugar this fall time mustard is sure to prepare your palate for the seasonal flavors to come.
After an exhausting and downright emotional couple of days, breaking out the canner, drinking my 8.6% left over ingredients, watching a stupid comedy, and playing with a mix of fall flavors last night was exactly what I needed. Interested in other booze based mustards? Check out my other recipes here.
For the past several years, February has been a pretty year changing month for me. I like to think of February as the beginning of my pre-Spring cleaning, and I don’t mean laundry, clutter, dust. I mean happiness, healthy changes, increased motivation, seeing things in a new light, and a hell of lot of good riddance. I’m not really one for the whole notion of Valentines day, if anything I’ve typically found that hanging with myself or with good friends rather than a romantic partner, on this particular day more my style. I don’t know about you, and I apologize if any of you feel offended, but Valentines day to me feels a bit forced. A day that people are expected (shutter) to go out of their way to do something special for others. Don’t get me wrong, I like to feel like I deserve to be treated like a princess just as much as anyone else today, but no more than any other day! Last year, I had great plans of romancing myself… I bought some way too strong beer, some fresh veggies for dinner, and had que’d up a great “dance in my undies alone” play list for the evening. Turns out a really good friend was in need of some company. The evening turned out in a way that was totally unexpected… I mean we expectedly got buzzed and danced to Kesha, MJ, and every other horrific pop artist that night… but what wasn’t expected was the message that the night instilled in me, “Wake up, there’s more for you in life than you can ever know!” So to that friend (you know who you are), and to all of you reading this, I give that message to you. Happy Valentines day.
Mustard, right… stop ranting Erin! But first, mustard seeds are the goddamn glitter of the canning world. It is utterly impossible to do anything with loose seeds without them going EVERYWHERE…. OK, this brown maple mustard is my first 100% brown seed mustard I’ve made. Brown mustard seeds exhibit a stronger more intense flavor of mustard than your typical yellow mustard seeds. As I was out of the yellow variety I figured I’d play around a bit: I first soaked the seeds in APV and apple cider, then threw in copious amounts of organic grade A pure maple syrup. The color and smell of this maple mustard is amazing. Enjoy!
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