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, an aspiring photographer, a budding sewist and an all-around dabbler.
I enjoy using this space to record the things I see, make, eat, and do. My aim is to capture and share with you much of what floats my boat. Chances are you are here because it floats your boat, too!
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: Tchazo
Tchazo, our Weimaraner, was born 3 days before Paul and I had our first date. During our second date, Paul and I egged each other on about getting dogs. Eight weeks later, Tchazo became a part of our lives! At first I thought he was kind of a jerk because he kept punching me in the face (Tchazo, not Paul!) when I tried to be alpha dog. It turns he is a wonderful dog and puppies in general are cute jerks. Tchazo loves life, especially the parts that include eating, smelling, sunbathing, playing and cuddling on the bed. Also, he is smart and, if you come over, he will likely trick you into scratching his butt.
Cast of Characters: Fanny
Fanny is the most recent addition to our family, joining us in 2008. 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. The shelter named her Faneuil after Faneuil Hall, but we changed her name to Fanny. We think it makes for a lot of entertaining variations. I imagine some searchers who end up at my blog are not getting what they hoped for, given what “fanny” is slang for in a few countries. Our Fanny is a polydactyl cat with a fused or “super” claw. She has taught me that it is possible for cats to cackle, which you would be likely to hear if she spots a squirrel while you are here!
Cast of Characters: 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.