I haven’t posted much, mainly because I’ve been busy…kids, work, life, yada, yada, yada. Here’s a recap of all my recent food projects that keep me up at midnight, poring over a vat of boiling water, because late at night is my only available time to geek out on food preservation…
But nothing compares to the supreme fermented funkiness of sauerkraut. I made two different batches- one with red cabbage and one with Napa. I enjoyed them both, but found the Napa cabbage so alluring, I want to take it a step further and make Kimchi. Kraut is serious stuff. I gorged on it and unwittingly went into detox mode (in the form of a rash)…I consulted my good friend who is wise in the ways of fermentation and she told me that is was very normal. She advised me to start with a little bit at a time and work my way up to more…I’ll write more later about my new found love for fermentation- it’s honestly fascinating and ridiculously good for you. Horrrrrayyy Microbes!!!
The kids attended a summer school program and they helped plant and nurture a bountiful garden. They brought home pounds of zucchini and with their zucchini-phobia, I knew I had to can it. So I canned a zesty zucchini relish- red bell peppers, onions, garlic, fresh nutmeg and fresh horseradish, vinegar and a dash of cayenne. How good would it be on a hot dog? Yum.
Our friend who runs a small farm in our town, generously dropped by with a TON of apples, pears and plums. So thankful for good friends who share their bounty and give me canning projects to obsess over…
This is my Tart Plum Jam with Cardamom and Vanilla. I’m not confident about it. It sounds damn good, but I think it may be too tart and I added too much cardamom….And I think I put the vanilla in too late, thus not burning off the alcohol in the extract…So perhaps I should call it Drunken Tart Plum Jam with Too Much Cardamom. Live and learn, live and learn.
Then the pears…I could have poured myself a tall glass of the liquid that the pears were in…
Apples! How I love me some apples. I made a standard apple butter that seriously tastes like apple pie in a jar. Then I made a variation on the apple butter…Brown Butter and Sage Apple Butter….Two sticks of butter and snipped fresh sage….Now I’ve always believed two things: 1. Bacon makes everything better. 2. Butter makes everything even better. Now I’ll add in: Sage makes apple butter better. (try saying that three times).
I got a second pear delivery from my friend and made vanilla honey pear butter (the big jar in the middle).
I’m a sucker for chutneys. Spicy, sweet, sour. I add extra garlic because like bacon and butter, garlic makes everything better too. Here’s my Pear Cranberry Chutney. I’m going to bust this one out on Thanksgiving with the turkey, that’s for damn sure.
Jam making can be hit or miss. My friend dropped by green plums and I figured I would just make a jam with the mountain of whole vanilla beans I have on hand. With canning, you do have to consider appearances, just as you would consider plating when you present a dish. Obtusely, I assumed the jam would be the hue of a green jewel- like a lovely tourmaline…Needless to say it looks like a fuzzy green sweater I purchased at thrift store when I was 15 during my punk-rock/grunge phase. And that’s not a good thing when describing jam. So, in the spirit of humility, I present my Puce Plum Jam:
I have some more plums from my neighbor. But I’m done with these vexing plum jams. I think I’m going to make a Chinese Plum Sauce and call it a day.
Next foodie project I shall embark on:
I’ll start with some basic mozzarella and see where that takes me.
And that reminds me…Number 5: everything is better with cheese.