Sunday, May 28, 2017


After making all that apricot jam, I left the canner out for a few days, hoping it would inspire me to work on those fiddleheads I'd bought. It did; today I pickled them and got three 8-ounce jars of garlic fiddlehead pickles. I followed this recipe but changed one thing, mainly that I used champagne vinegar rather than white wine vinegar. The champagne vinegar is from the batch I made a while back. Also, I'm not sure why it says not to submerge the jars when canning; I did submerge and can them the usual way and they sealed up perfectly.

A little blurry but you get the idea...
The other things I managed to get done today were to get the "yurt" ready for summer and wrap up the soaps I made last month with my friend. Several years ago I bought one of those backyard tent things that you can put a table and chairs in and then enjoy your dinner without all the mosquitos. Ours happens to be hexagonal so looks more like a yurt than anything, although I think it's officially a gazebo. Every year we have to hang up the curtains; I made the mistake one year of hanging them up too soon and the stormy spring weather tore off all the velcro straps so I wait now until the weather finally calms down and the pollen surges have passed.

My honey-beeswax-lavender-rosemary soaps finally finished curing and I wrapped them in parchment paper with little labels so we can either use them here or give as gifts. Two were already gifted so I only have six left. However, each bar lasts a fairly long time; and I still have other bars of soap from my friend to use here if I decide to give them all away.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Just Too Much

Have you ever had so much to do you didn't know where to begin?

Yes, of course you have. Well, it's been happening to me lately, which is part of why I haven't done a whole lot of cooking or canning projects. Sometimes, being busy is a good thing. It gets you going in the morning, out the door, and then it's easier to run your errands and get things done because you're already past that inertia. Sometimes, you either have more than that or just slightly less, at which point the path of least resistance is to sit on the couch and play video games and justify that you'll do that thing tomorrow. Over and over again.

So much so that I let an entire bag of Meyer lemons go bad because I kept putting off making curd. That I haven't even planned our summer vacation. That I have to be reminded to do the things I said I do. This is not like me.

Therefore, when I saw that apricots were on sale today I took that as an opportunity and bought a whole bunch. Enough to make a batch of apricot jam and a batch of apricot ginger jam. (I had fresh ginger in the house because I planned to make something with it and, you guessed it, never got around to it.) I'm hoping the apricot ginger jam is fair-worthy and I'll set two jars aside.

Maybe this is the kick I need to get moving. I certainly hope so.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Latest Projects, Frozen and Fresh

Yesterday, partly because it was Saturday and partly because my husband had just returned on a red-eye flight, no one really felt motivated to do anything. Sure, we went for a walk in the park, and did some chores, and I mowed the lawn, but no one had the energy for the grocery store. So I raided the freezer for dinner...

I took some garlic scape pesto and bittercress pesto and mixed them together with a little heavy cream, to make a sauce. There were portobello ravioli and butternut squash ravioli; I thought the pesto would go better with the portobellos. The youngerchild, not being a fan of mushrooms (or squash, for that matter) got steamed pork buns instead. It was a successful meal, and I even used the pesto sauce to dress up the plate for the buns. Just because it came from the freezer doesn't mean it can't look pretty!
Part of the reason I was tired yesterday was I spent a fair amount of time making brioche dough and pastry cream in anticipation of making cinnamon rolls this morning. The brioche dough, after it's fermentation, is refrigerated overnight to develop flavor. This morning I rolled it out, spread the pastry cream on it, added cinnamon, rolled them up and voilá:

Friday, May 5, 2017

Out of Practice

Preparing the Violet Infusion
Today I made the first batch of jelly for the season - violets. I'm really out of practice. I don't think I've canned anything for quite a while. The violets came from my yard, they finally bounced back from the landscaping work we did in the front of the house. It still took 4 separate gatherings to get enough violet infusion to make jelly.

Four cups of infusion, 1/2 cup of strained lemon juice, a box of powdered pectin and five cups of sugar. Yield: 12 4-oz jars of violet jelly plus some in the fridge for now. The youngerchild will be pleased.