The last few months in a nutshell (or a blog post…)

So I realized I have been making a TON of stuff, but have not been here for a while. October and November are absolutely insane for me at work, and now that I have these free evenings (Brandon is doing some part-time evening work for now), I have a free computer and a free mind. So I’m going to post a slew of photos and maybe a short description of each so that my last few months of creation can be documented. Here goes!

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Brandon being very serious about this beer making

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The creation of our first fresh hopped ale, we called it the Estate Hopped Ale, and it even won 3rd in its category in the National Organic Homebrew Challenge! This was a big deal for us. We grew these hops and created this recipe just to showcase them. We really didn’t get many hops, only about 4.5 ounces fresh, which equals to about 1 ounce of the typical dried hop pellets. Here’s some pictures of the hops on the vines:

Above they were all harvested on my coffee table, being plucked and de-bugged, bu below there they are sitting pretty on the vine outside on my hill. That’s my roof in the background.

In addition to all the beer making we did, there were some other interesting cooking projects as well:

Seductive fig jam and chevre eating,

Pulling out the old family crockpot (seriously, 80′s crockpots are the best),

And what do we have here… pickled carrots, dill pickles, whole peeled tomatoes and oh my, rhubarb chutney!

I got some super cheap tomatoes from the farmer’s market, sliced them, put them on a pan with some drizzled olive oil and salt, and baked them on looooooow heat overnight, and voila, the most amazing slow roasted tomatoes in the entire world.

So, also, I’ve been making yogurt. It’s a shockingly simple process, involving a thermometer, milk, yogurt starter and a cooler filled with hot water which I will probably describe in detail in a later post. On my wish list is a much smaller cooler so I don’t have to use SO MUCH water for a simple warm environment for this stuff to sit over night. I do water my plants with the leftover water, but still…

And oh lordy… pickles. Fresh fermented pickles. Have you ever had these? They are fracking amazing (I have also been watching Battlestar Galactica this summer…). There is nothing quite like a crisp, crunchy pickle to satisfy your salty, dilly, snacking craving. I am quite sad that cucumbers are out of season, and even sadder that I did not discover this until late summer. Get ready 2013, you are about to be pickled.

And on the note of fermenting: fermented hot sauce. I got more than a quart of hot sauce for probably no more than $7 worth of ingredients. Fresh hot peppers from the market, an onion, half a head of garlic and some vinegar. Holy moly, was this stuff SPICY and DELICIOUS. And easy! I have turned into a fermentation believer. This does NOT mean that I will ever make kombucha. Ever… ew.

The last bit of tomatoes from my garden in addition to a few that I got at the Underground Trading Network October swap turned itself into tomato jam. Delicious, gooey, spreadable tomato goodness. In a jar.

But not to forget jam. It is pear season and I got my hands on some seckel pears and made another Food in Jars recipe for Seckel Pear Jam with Brown Sugar and Cardamom. It is quite delicious!

So there you have it… A photo summary of my September and October, the beginning of fall in our house. Some things that I also made but did not think to photograph are apple cider caramels from over at Smitten Kitchen (drooling over her new cookbook, I want it so bad!), apple cranberry jam from Food in Jars and a variety of other things that I cannot think about right now.  We will be brewing tomorrow a revision of the Scotch Ale with Rye that we made a few months ago, but with slightly (every so slightly) different ingredients. For all 2 of you who actually read this, I will try to get better about blogging more frequently and as a behavior analyst, I ask that you help me out by commenting and turning this into a sort of social thing, it makes it more reinforcing for me. I do, after all, like to share my goods with people, as well as my life and my (hopefully) talents. I am going to go sign off and try to clean the kitchen. I just made some delecata squash raviolis with a browned butter and sage sauce, and I need to go put it away (hah, didn’t take pictures of it though… I just ate it). Goodnight and happy Thanksgiving to you all! (if you’re lucky, I might even take pictures of my treats that I’m making!)

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2 thoughts on “The last few months in a nutshell (or a blog post…)

  1. Reading this for the first time, Stephanie, although I’ve read with interest all of your Facebook entries. Since we do a minor amount of pickling and otherwise preserving our garden’s produce, I’ve enjoyed reading your experiences.

  2. I would love to see a blog about how all your delicacies fared at the “Thanksgiving in Napa” you are attending. Certainly many foodies will be in attendence?

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