Just as soon as Thanksgiving past, I got a huge craving for everything cranberry! I satisfied the urge by making 2 batches of jam and using the leftover cranberries in salads and oatmeal bakes.
The 2 batches of jam were: Cranberry Pear Jam to which I added minced crystallized ginger right before jarring it. Cranberry Marmalade for which I substituted sugar for the honey. This batch taught me that I much prefer unsulfured apricots. I don't think I used to be so sensitive to the sulfur flavor, but I definitely notice it now.
Nearly all of these batches were given away during the holidays. I have a bag of cranberries tucked away in the freezer, which I am intending to use in a batch of Cranberry Gingerbread.
Way back in October, Jame and I spent an evening together celebrating her birthday. We cooked a meal and ended it with this honeyed figs and mascarpone dessert from the Splendid Table. We added a few fresh figs to it, too! This dessert is seriously sweet and can only be consumed in small quantities before it becomes too cloying. We balanced it off with a bottle of Surly Darkness, which was a great pairing (this was Paul's contribution).
I made a lentil soup and tried to freeze some of the leftovers. This was the first time I have had a mason jar crack in the freezer! A note to remember about the soup recipe...it is way more delicious with a scoop of sauerkraut cooked into it and probably could also use a jar of tomato chunks to give the flavor more depth.
I also discovered a recipe for the best chai I have ever tasted. I altered the recipe by using a vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract, added twice the amount of cinnamon and reduced the brown sugar. I think the orange zest is what elevates this chai to swoon worthy status. I mix this concentrate with nearly equal parts whole milk.
Long-distance swapping has commenced! Beth and I arranged a little cross-country food swap last month. We offered up some recently canned items, made our selection from each other's options and shipped them (carefully wrapped, of course!). I added in a little bit of dehydrated food samples as Beth is on the fence about getting a dehydrator. I received a jar of corn salsa and a jar of peach jam in exchange for my plums in vanilla syrup and tomato jam. Yum!
I'd call myself a maker. More specifically: a knitter, an urban gardener, a food preserver, a cook, a baker, a reader, a photo taker, a budding sewist and an all-around dabbler. I enjoy using this space to record the things I see, make, eat, and do.
My husband and co-conspirator on the much linked to Mega Man hat. He is the house expert when it comes to all things with electrical cords/chargers and/or anything that requires configuring. When I first met Paul he was a smoker and a vegetarian. Now he is a non-smoker who enjoys making smoked meat in his BBQ. Paul recently dove headfirst into brewing beer and is quickly acquiring mad brewing skills. If you are really lucky, he will invite you to one of his Meat Meet Supper Club dinners or Beer Release parties.
Cast of Characters: Fanny
Fanny joined our family in 2008 and has been keeping our laps warm ever since then. When we met Fanny at a shelter in Boston, we thought she was a small, adult cat. We were wrong. She must have been less than a year old, because when we brought her home and fed her, she kept getting bigger and bigger and fluffier and fluffier. In addition to her stellar cuddling skills, Fanny’s claim to fame is that she is a polydactyl cat with a fused or “super” claw. We think she is super in every way.
Cast of Characters: Camilla Cordon Bleu
Camilla is our chicken with charm. She is usually the first one to come running to see if you have a treat for her. She is also the chicken most likely to be found perched somewhere she shouldn’t be or wandering off by herself to explore a new area first. Camilla is a Barred Rock, expected to lay brown eggs and is the smallest bird in our flock.
Cast of Characters: Nellie Noodle Soup
Nellie is our bridge bird as she seems to hold the flock together. She usually roosts between Camilla and Petunia and can be found happily foraging alongside either one of them. The only thing that ruffles her feathers is finding herself alone. She is a Rhode Island Red and our biggest hen. Nellie is our first layer and lays brown eggs.
Cast of Characters: Petunia Pot Pie
Petunia is our crafty dodger. She is the hardest to catch and the last to be won over with treats. Her feathers are beautifully ornate which helps make up for her slightly bullyish attitude towards Camilla. She is an Ameraucana, which means she might lay green/blue eggs for us.
In Memoriam: Tchazo
Tchazo, our Weimaraner, was born 3 days before Paul and I had our first date. During our first date, Paul and I egged each other on about getting dogs. Eight weeks later, Tchazo became a part of our lives. After almost 12 amazing years and countless adventures together, we said goodbye to Tchazo in 2014. Tchazo loved life, especially the parts that include eating, smelling, sunbathing, playing and cuddling on the bed. We will forever remember him and the lessons he taught us about joy.
In Memoriam: Jack
I adopted Jack at about the same time Paul bought Tchazo (see previous note about egging each other on), but since Tchazo was young and needed to stay with his mom for a few more weeks, Jack came into our house first. For a while, he HATED Tchazo but they eventually became 24-7 buddies. After nearly 11 years together, we had to put Jack down in March of 2013. Jack was a little crazy in the head, but we learned how to live with it. His favorite things included licking the floor, lying under the couch and gazing at me longingly. Jack was physically incapable of wagging his tail whilst being petted. I like to think it is because he was soaking up the love so intensely that it required his full concentration.