Do you have a unique license plate that elicits you the occasional thumbs up or “What does the license plate mean? Oh, that’s funny, cool!”? The other day while driving on 95 south to MA and simultaneously trying to figure out the pronunciation of the various MA town names, I noticed some A-hole tailing me on the freeway. My initial response was something tame along the lines of, “Come on dude, I have an old car that doesn’t drive fast, get off my ass!”, but when I realized the iPhone in the rearview mirror, I realized this couple was simply trying to get a closer shot of my “Pickle” plate. I mean it’s hard to get made at someone for tailing you because they are trying to get a plate shot. I ended up waving at them, and slowing down enough so they could get the proper photo. I should really get a #pickleproblems bumper sticker as I’d be lying if I said this was the first time this has happened to me…
Beets! I’m at ’em again. On a somewhat regular basis people ask me what my favorite thing to pickle is. If you’ve been following Putting Up with Erin for sometime now, you know that the answer is probably beets. Sure my screen name for various social media sites has to do with dilly beans, but when it comes down to it, pickled beets are where it’s really at for me. Typically I either roast beets whole or peel and then boil them, but to cut down on preparation time, I decided to peel and slice them raw before roasting them. Success, in that the desired crunch was still present in the end pickle product, and also the sweet roasted flavor came right through. I snagged a couple pounds of these beautiful local beets from the Heron Pond Farm stand, and the fresh cilantro and red onions from Golden Harvest Produce Market in Kittery, ME. To guarantee the strong cilantro flavor, I added whole coriander to the vinegar brine before boiling. This beauties were traded at last night’s Seacoast Food Swap. Enjoy!
Hey everyone, sorry for being MIA lately. With the holidays, family in town, some pretty harsh deadlines (science), and the snow, life has been a bit hectic lately. Also, with our local farmers market series on hold during the summer to winter market transition, my selection of local ingredients was limited. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been having a hard time mustarding (my way of saying mustering) up the creativity for a second year of new fall/winter produce recipes. With the return of my long-overdue “canning hour”, I had planned on putting up yet another cranberry recipe (mainly because I still have 3lbs of berries left). But seeing that Thanksgiving has already passed, I decided that I would toss them in the freezer and use them later when one of my brown winter recipes is in dire need of some color.
Last night on the way back from a meeting at Redhook Brewery, I decided to swing by a local grocery spot to pick up some veggies for the weekend. I typically try to stay away from big-name grocery stores for my canning items, but I couldn’t pass up a 2 for $1.50 pomegranate deal!! So I bought 3 packs… but… then, when I got home 10 minutes later, I realized that I had forgotten the bag with all the pomegranates in the checkout line… damnit! I haven’t re-visited chutney making since my somewhat disappointing apple adventure last fall. I knew I wanted pears, pomegranates, and jalapeños to be the base of this recipe, but wasn’t really sure where to run with it. Luckily my flavor muse of a boyfriend was around to lend a helping hand. Ginger, red wine vinegar, dried currants? Yes, yes, and hell yes! Not only is this savory pomegranate pear chutney pretty amazing, but I learned quite a bit about chutney making during the process. For example, did you know that you can hear and see caramelization while it happens? Yes? OK, well I didn’t… Enjoy this tart and savory chutney with a holiday pork chop, or take it to a Christmas party for absolute all around enjoyment. 🙂
When someone approaches you asking if “you’d like to trade a 90 minute Thai massage for canned goods…” you say “yes, absolutely freaking YES!”. I’ve always surrounded myself with people who have trade’able skills/professions (hair dressers, yoga teachers, massage therapists, tattoo artists, etc.). Until I started canning a couple years ago, I never felt as if I had any skills of my own that I could barter with… “do need help some with spatial data analysis… No!?! “. My blissful, almost coma inducing massage not only left me in a intense state of relaxation, but may have made me a bit vulnerable and willing to give up almost… heyo… any of my canned goods. While she was super interested in some good ol’ pickles, I suggested that I could make something up. The original plan was to make a hummus-in-jar type of thing, but then I learned that tahini is not safe to can due to the oils. So with 2lbs of freshly soaked chickpeas, it was time for plan B.
I’ll go head and apologize ahead of time for the nostalgic sentiment of any upcoming blog posts… I’m pretty excited about the 1 year anniversary (heck that’s longer than most relationships…) of this here blog (blog’versary?). It’s that time of year again when “canning season” starts to slows down and putting up in season, local goods requires a bit more creativity and effort than the obvious applesauce and pumpkin butter. As you’ve probably noticed, I’m not really one to make the same thing twice (except for this salsa verde) so it’ll be interesting to see how the season goes.
I had no clue that tomatillos were a late summer/fall fruit, I always thought that like tomatoes they popped off during July and September. Yes and no depending on where you live; tomatillos are meant to be planted 75-100 days before the first frost. When my friend Elaine surprised me this past weekend with 10lbs of tomatillos that she picked from her garden I was ultra ecstatic. I had been waiting for these green husked beauties all summer, AND she said that “there will be more”! Last summer before Putting Up with Erin was even an idea, I came across some tomatillos at the Baltimore farmers market and made a rendition of this salsa verde. I had hopes of mixing it up this year, but I quickly found that most tomatillo recipes don’t pass the safe canning test (i.e. the low acidity of tomatillos- even with added citric acid- doesn’t ensure a botulism free environment). Not to be discouraged (tomatillo and pear jam will happen once I get a pH meter), I decided to put up some of this tried and true roasted salsa verde from Food in Jars. The recipe below is the same as the original recipe just quadrupled. It’s EXTREMELY important that you don’t mess with the ratios in this salsa for the acidity point noted above.
Onions!? As a kid I hated everything about onions… and peppers… and tomatoes for that matter. Spoiled and picky kid for 1, please. Thankfully as with most food things, I grew out of it and have learned to love onions. As I’ve been on a little bit of a roasted jam kick, an old flavor muse challenged me to a roasted onion jam. While it took me a while to pull this savory spread together, I am super pleased with the outcome (heck perhaps even kid version of me would have liked it), plus the sweet aroma coming from my apartment (I could smell it three flights down) after roasting the vidalia onions for an hour was amazing. This recipe is a modification on this sweet vidalia onion jam recipe. I decided to use apple cider vinegar but you could easily swap out the ACV for champagne or white wine vinegar (just make sure it’s at least 5% acidity) for a milder taste. What does one do with a sweet and savory onion jam you ask? How about pairing it with crackers/scones and goat cheese. Atop some bison sliders? Or better yet, and just in time for the holiday season, use it as a glaze on this year’s Thanksgiving turkey. I made tons of this jam, so if you’re interested in snagging a jar I’ll be swapping it at the next Seacoast Food Swap.
What’s new with you guys? Putting up any tasty Fall goods… pumpkins, apples, beets? Though a little late in the season (this depends on your summer temperatures), a friend of mine just surprised me with a flat of homegrown tomatillos. Yahtzee! Since the first time I laid eyes on the young plants earlier this summer, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the harvest of these husked green fruits. You can definitely expect some sort of salsa verde coming to a blog near you.
© 2017 Erin A. Urquhart All Rights Reserved.