Habanero & Ginger Pickled Green Tomatoes

Habanero & Ginger Pickled Green Tomatoes- Putting Up with ErinHabanero & Ginger Pickled Green Tomatoes- Putting Up with Erin

What a whirlwind of a weekend, Mom was in town! Now that I live super close to my parents (~2hrs, the closest I’ve lived to them since I was 18), my mom is finding every reason possible to visit… Reasons thus far (1 month) have included: delivering a rug, buying wine at TJs, seeing a baseball game (I think she goes solely for the food- don’t you?), and lastly to help me decorate the Lil’ House. After countless hours of driving around to every midcentury modern store in the Triangle last Saturday, we landed at Alley Twenty Six in downtown Durham, NC. A dirty martini later and I noticed the pickle plate on their menu. No matter what the cuisine, if there is one thing I can’t pass up it’s a pickle plate. With a quick mention of the blog and pickle ‘pinon, food zealot Jonathan Werz hooked us up with an unforgettable pickle platter. Pickled items ranged from bread and butter pickles, to miso peaches, beet eggs, pickled peppers, pickled dark cherries, balsamic watermelon rind, and pickled green beans. I’ll definitely be making Alley Twenty Six a regular occurrence. Oh man, the cocktails, the the live music, the pickles… meet me there?! 🙂

Through inspiration from the pickled green tomatoes made by Greg at Get’n Pickled, I knew I was going for something spicy– the idea of using ginger sounded weirdly good. Depending on your preferences, you can easily modify the amount of habanero and ginger in each jar. While shopping for ingredients at the market last week, I managed to meet a new friend and score a few pounds of green tomatoes from Maple Spring Gardens located in Cedar Grove, NC.

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Canned Chana Masala- Putting Up with ErinCanned Chana Masala- Putting Up with Erin

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.

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Peach Tomato Preserves- Putting Up with ErinPeach Tomato Preserves- Putting Up with Erin

Didn’t I promise more peach and tomato recipes? Well here you have it. Since moving to New Hampshire earlier this year (buying a car helps) I’ve been on a bit of a PYO fruit kick. First blueberries, then raspberries, herbs, peaches, and now apples…  A couple weeks ago I put up some pickled yellow peaches that I acquired from Union Lake Peach Orchard in Barrington, NH. Not only did I promise the two sisters at the Orchard that I’d be back for more, but with news of their Belle of Georgia White Peach harvest I honestly couldn’t stay away. Bouncing around the Seacoast region (i.e., let’s pick a green spot on Google maps and go there) the weekend before last, we decided to pay the Orchard a visit, and boy am I glad we did. When we arrived at the peach stand they only had a couple dozen of pre-bagged lots left. As usual, I bought a bunch of something without a specific recipe in mind. With another 15 pounds of small tomatoes from the beau’s garden in haul I started exploring peach and tomato concoctions. This recipe is a slight modification on a recipe I found in Southern Living, the big difference is that I decided to can my preserves as I don’t have nearly enough fridge space for this tripled recipe.

After jarring up 7 half pints of this fruity, herby preserve, I had tons of leftover syrup/liquid. Instead of tossing it, I figured with all the added pectin I could easily make a jelly. To do so I simply poured the liquid through a fine mesh strainer then canned it per usual. Easy peasy and I had 7 quarter pints of jelly to take to the Seacoast Food Swap last Sunday! Don’t you just love byproducts?!

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Smokey Tomato Jam- Putting Up with ErinSmokey Tomato Jam- Putting Up with Erin

A little over a week ago you may recall me bitching about how behind I was on canning tomatoes this season. Well here ya have it folks… behold… tomato jam! Oh, this isn’t just any tomato jam, this is an extra smokey char broiled tomato jam. While I realize that the season is coming to an end and it may be too late for a few of you to find good tomatoes, better late than never, right? I started this season off by first making pickled cherry tomatoes and have a few more recipes that I have yet to share (hint: preserves, sauce, etc.). This past Sunday we spent some time in the garden, and despite the overwhelming weeds there were still plenty of tomatoes to be harvested (thanks permaculture). 15lbs of juliet tomatoes to be exact. With over half of them being deemed as ‘seconds’, and the fruit flies centering in on their smelly good target, I needed to use them up fast. I plan on using this smokey jam in place of BBQ sauce and ketchup… smokey tomato jam and sweet potato fries, oh man, on man!

We are heading up to the Common Ground County Fair put on by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) in Unity, Maine this weekend. The fair is focused on celebrating rural and sustainable living in New England. I’m looking forward to the various workshops and events, in particular the “Making & canning low-sugar jams” as well as the “wine-making made easy” sessions. I’ll report back on Monday. Have a nice weekend and as always, thanks for putting up with Erin. 🙂

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Pickled Cherry Tomatoes- Putting Up with ErinPickled Cherry Tomatoes- Putting Up with Erin

I’m kind of dragging my feet here, it’s well into tomato season and I haven’t yet pulled out my pressure canner. I don’t know about you, but my tomato consumption (due to the large amount of stews/soups/chilies I make) skyrockets during the winter months. My over enthusiastic plan for this winter was to put up enough tomato concoctions (sauces, pastes, stewed, diced, etc) to last me through the winter without buying a single canned tomato product… but then… I remembered the last time…

… Last summer, before the birth of this here blog, without a care in the world and absolutely no plans for the day, l I was frequenting the Baltimore Saturday morning farmers’ market, when I came across a vendor selling tomato seconds (i.e., tomatoes that aren’t as pretty as the rest). I quickly scanned my mental rolodex of canning ideas, and over-zealously and sooo naively decided that I wanted to put up 25 of generic marinara sauce. Super! This lead to the not so successful bike trip across town, to return home and realize that not only was this going to be an all day affair, but also that in order to avoid using a crap ton of citric acid additive that a pressure canner was needed… which I didn’t have at the time (my enthusiasm was waning). Hours (like 7 of ’em) later not only was every vessel in the kitchen that somewhat resembled a pot in use, but every inch of me and my kitchen was splattered in red sauce (remember your childhood art project where you blew paint through a straw? Ya like that…).

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