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. 🙂
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.
Has anyone else noticed the somewhat recent surge in salted caramel goods: ice cream, candies, Chapstick flavors, your fluffy dog’s shampoo? Or have I just been living under a culinary rock for the past few years? Nonetheless I am more than excited about the new (or not so new) salted caramel fad. I came across this sizable bounty of Asian and Bosc pears at our farmers market last Saturday, and figured I’d buy a bunch as I assume the season for winter pears is coming to an end. Knowing that I wanted to employee my newish crockpot again, I decided on pear butter. This salted caramel pear butter recipe was inspired by a few different recipes, particularly Knit & Knosh. Aside from a couple ingredient substitutions, my main modification was processing this butter in water-bath canner to extend its shelf life. The nice thing about pear butter, unlike pumpkin butter, is that it is completely safe to can, which is a big plus for me as I only consume at most a tablespoon a day.
In other news, as of a few days ago, original recipes from this blog are now featured on Punk Domestics. Check out the red “view my gallery” icon in the left side bar. Punk Domestics is not only am amazing website for finding preserved food recipes, but also a good place to learn about preservation techniques and methods.
Happy Turkey Day! During our northern excursion a couple weeks back, I managed to track down some locally produced canned goods at a small roadside farm outside of Durhamn, NH. Of the two preserves I purchased, one of them was a sweet apple chutney. I was always of the thought that chutneys were reserved for Indian appetizers and main dishes, but apparently I was wrong. Inspired by my small 1/2 pint souvenir, I decided to try my hand at my own chutney. Rather than following a specific set of instructions, I “winged” it and threw together a myriad of pears, shallots, ginger, raisins, almonds, etc.
Three years ago the beau and I took our first international trip together to Costa Rica. With the un-predictable transportation, insects, and conversation, we could rely on three very consistent things: un-spiced food (thank God for gobs of the trusty Salsa Lizano), a minimal variety of lager beer, and lastly the wonderful nectar of pear juice. Three days in we found ourselves seeking out canned pear juice in local bodegas, restaurants, and obviously upon public cross country buses. Back in the states, we found that this juice of sugared pear fairies was a bit more difficult to come by. Stumbling upon pear juice will always be a surprise, a nice treat, and a memory of our great trip to Central America. While it’s a stretch, these sweet pickled pears satisfy the craving/dream. The recipe is modification of the Joy of Pickling’s recipe. Enjoy and give them a try with some home baked chocolate chip cookies!! 🙂
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