Friday, December 30, 2011

Your Smile Is Contagious: Goodbye Christina Choi

Rest In Peace, sweet lovely Christina.

Christina sparked my love of wild foods, made the best poached tuna sandwich you could ever dream of, fed me nettles and ramps for the first time, launched me up a six foot ladder the second time I'd ever met her, and was an absolute treat to have known.

The last time I saw her was on the last day that Nettletown was open. She was smiling, at ease, and excited for her new adventure. Just as I will always remember her.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Link Love! Gifts In Jars

My 300-ish square foot apartment is currently overflowing with jars of things. Three types of jam, tomato sauce, two types of liqueur, pickles, pears, and on and on. My general motivation here is not only to have beautiful summer produce throughout the year, but also to have a perfect stash of last minute gifts and treats to share with friends and loved ones during the holiday season. It isn't too late for handmade gifts by any means- and the perks of gifting something that can be both stored, and later eaten once the house is cleared of other holiday sweet things is truly hard to argue. I've also tried to include primarily recipes that don't require any special canning equipment.

- Despite the fact that Washington doesn't actually have a citrus season- it still is citrus season. I'm enamored with the idea of this Chili Mandarin Marmalade with a Spritz of Ginger from Mandolin the Mirthful. She notes its intensity and that it would pair beautifully with crackers and chevre. My kind of lady.

- On that note- this idea of gifting Marinated Goat Cheese is unarguably simple, and absolutely gorgeous. This would make a phenomenal host/ess gift, even when rushed for time.

- Homemade Coffee Liqueur from Food In Jars makes for another well received gift that uses a few straight-forward ingredients. The original recipe notes that it's best when allowed to sit anywhere from three to six weeks- but I've given gifts like this in the past that included a note one when it's best to open. No one has complained.

- Okay, I'm totally cheating on this one. It doesn't come in a jar, it's merely just being served in one. But I cannot get over how obscenely delicious this sounds. I cannot. Jen Altman's Black Spiced Rum Eggnog will be my first attempt at eggnog ever. I will drink it out of a jar, and I will probably not share. You should go ahead and make your own.

Bacon Jam. I know. Bacon is played out, and this recipe takes hours to make, and if you want to store it out of the fridge you need a pressure cooker. But I don't care about any of those things. It's bacon, and onions, and maple syrup. And I just don't care.

- I accidentally made myself a big beautiful jar of ginger syrup last year- it was the byproduct of candied ginger, and it was probably one of the best accidents I've had in some time. It makes for some of the best ginger ale I've ever had, and has stored perfectly in my pantry without any issues. Joy the Baker shares her recipe for Homemade Ginger Syrup for Ginger Ale and includes a perfectly simple recipe for ginger ale to tack on as part of a gift.

Are you making any of your gifts this year? What are your favorite homemade treats to give and receive?

Monday, December 5, 2011

That Week I Spent Eating Popsicles and Swimming with Whale Sharks

Oh, hi! Did I mention that I went to Mexico? Maybe? I flew down to La Paz, Baja California Sur the day before Thanksgiving with my brother and his lady. My mom and her partner are currently in the midst of a big crazy amazing adventure and we headed down to spend the week with them. We spent a tremendous amount of time talking to birds/stray cats/dogs, sitting in the sun, and eating the best popsicles of my life. We snorkeled with whale sharks(!!!), found a lagoon with wild horses, lived off of fresh avocados, and generally had a really miserable time.

Truly, it was dreadful.

Photos 6, 7, 15, 16, 17 were taken by my mom. Check my Flickr in the very near future for the rest of my photos!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Know You

I don’t suppose I really know you very well - but I know you smell like the delicious damp grass that grows near old walls and that your hands are beautiful opening out of your sleeves and that the back of your head is a mossy sheltered cave when there is trouble in the wind and that my cheek just fits the depression in your shoulder.
Zelda Fitzgerald, in a letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Simple, Small Batch Canning: Pears in Sweet Tea Syrup

I fell in love with this recipe from Coconut & Lime around this time last year. Despite the fact that it's incredibly, almost laughably simple- I just never took the time to pull it all together.

My CSA from Tiny's Organic wrapped up this past week, and my refrigerator is still somehow full of locally grown fruit. I'm heading to La Paz for a week this Wednesday and wanted a quick way to put up the last of my pears before they turned on me.

I made a few modifications to suit what I had on hand, including a lesser quantity. I used a small sized variety of heirloom pears, but feel free to do as the original recipe calls for and use Bartlett if it's what you have available. I also used a black tea from Choice Organic that I love, rather than rooibos. Feel free to try it with any tea that you have on hand and love.

Small Batch Pears in Sweet Tea Syrup:

- 5 small to medium sized pears
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 bags black tea, or tea of choice

Sterilize two pint jars and lids- I generally do this by boiling them covered in hot water for ten minutes.

Peel and cut pears in half. Remove stem and seeds- I did this using a melon-baller and it worked beautifully. Pack pears into jars- I did five halves in each.

Bring water and sugar to a rolling boil, and remove from heat. Add tea bags and allow to steep for up to five minutes. Pour hot syrup into jars, leaving about 1/2" of head space. Process for 15 minutes in a hot water bath. Allow pears to sit for at least two weeks before opening your jars.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Weekend in Photos

A ridiculous and gorgeous birthday party for my bff and love of my life, Amy; a perfect day outside planting trees at Reecer Creek in Ellensburg with some of my favorite people; and thawing my stash of summer tomatoes for a big beautiful pot of tomato basil simmer sauce. Yes, I thawed them on the floor next to my radiator. Classy!

How was your weekend?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

On My Boot

Well, this happened.

I did something weird to my foot while running, and then I kept running on it. And did something else weird. So now I can't run for three weeks. Or really walk very well. My two new nicknames are "Hobbles" and "Skippy". Very endearing.

I'm trying to decide if I want to spend the next three weeks of semi-hibernation baking, reading, or contemplating adopting every single cat on the Paws website. If you have any suggestions for amazing recipes, books, or fuzzy things please share! I can handle about two days of sitting still before I start getting crazy. Watch out!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mushrooms & Manure

This is what my Sunday looked like: chanterelle hunting, shoveling horse manure, and American Gothic redux. My co-worker Evan offered to take me out mushroom hunting if I'd help him load up the bed of his parents truck with manure for his garden beds. I'm no fool, so of course I said yes. When Evan's mom handed me a cloth grocery bag for collecting I never could have imagined that I'd be filling it nearly full. And for the record- I really did help shovel horse shit, not just hop around taking pictures all afternoon. Really. I have filthy boots and gloves to prove it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Link Love!

I'm almost certain that once upon a time I used to post links to things that weren't just related to food and eating. I'm glad that I've moved on from that place. My heart has only one real love. (That's a lie.)

-  I actually made an audible squealing noise when I came across this recipe. That's normal, yeah? Apple Fennel Sauerkraut with Caraway from The Bitten Word is just so... glorious. I still haven't experimented with sauerkraut or kimchee, and I'm finding myself a little antsy. My CSA this week came with a big beautiful head of fennel. It's a sign, clearly.

- My biggest struggle with cutting back on gluten hasn't had anything to do with pasta or toast. It's shortbread. Shortbread relies so much on the simplicity of its ingredients, that when one thing is slightly off they verge on inedible. I experimented with a GF shortbread recipe this past spring- and while my co-workers humored me and ate the tiny heart shaped gritty lumps, I haven't gone back to trying to recreate them. Serious Eats hosts Gluten Free Tuesday every week, and amongst their recipes they have a simple and beautiful recipe for Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies. They also have a recipe for Allergen Free Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cake, which does admittedly sound a bit clinical, but looks (and reads) to be delicious. I can usually get pretty excited about anything combining chocolate and pumpkin.

- Absolutely not gluten free, but when Molly from Orangette refers to something as "some of the best cookies I will ever eat" - I'm probably going to pop some acidophilus and make a batch. Plus- these are actually Autumn Martin's infamous peanut butter cookies. Yes. These Salted Peanut Butter Cookies. Yes, again. Yes. There is Theo Chocolate in there.

- I've been eating so much winter squash lately. And while Zucchini Stuffed with Sausage, Mushrooms, and Sage from The Kitchn  uses a zucchini (obviously)- I'm likely going to re-utilize the stuffing recipe and cook it with a lovely little butternut or spaghetti squash. Forever.

- Maple Buttermilk Pie from 101 Cookbooks is so perfectly timed for fall. She uses rye flour in her crust, and nearly a cup of maple syrup in the filling. Perfection.
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