After doing some reading as well as talking to some of my chef friends, I made an adjustment to my pickled peaches recipe in that I cut the processing time by half to 10 minutes for a pint. Most pickle recipes have a 10 minute processing time, some as short as 5 minutes. In reading every pickled peach recipe I have been able to track down, I’ve seen a wide range of processing times. In comparing them all, I looked at the amount of vinegar used. I found recipes similar to mine had a shorter processing time, so I tried it out. The resulting pickles have been much firmer, as you can see in the pie I made with them. Continue reading
In my quest to make the perfect dill cucumber pickle, I’ve tried my hand at fermenting them this season. Amanda made it look easy, so I followed her directions, gathering cherry & oak leaves from trees around our yard, as well as a basket full of dill heads from the garden. I got two pounds of the most beautifully adorable cucs from Whisper Hill Farm and went at it.
It’s not all fun & games, lazy pool days & popsicles for breakfast while slowly overhauling the dining room here. This morning, I got up, put a second coat on the walls (ain’t nothing left to do but the trim!!), packed some lunches, made a decent breakfast (and got it into her!) before dropping Edie off at her ‘mother’s helper’ gig at The Boar’s Head and then headed out to pick blueberries.
I scored a kombucha scoby (otherwise known as a mother, starter, what have you) at the last Cville Swaps. Edie has been interested in brewing it, which translates to I should be interested in brewing it for her, which is how I came to acquire this. The first batch I brewed, the mother never floated to the top – I thought for sure I’d killed it or done something wrong. A few worried emails were sent to my friend Stephanie, who talked me off the ledge and told me what to look for – if there was scum on the top or any tentacle like thing floating, I was in good shape. Sure enough, there appeared to be a small jellyfish floating and so spurred on by my success, I went for batch number two. Continue reading
Remember how last year it was freakishly warm super early last spring? Strawberry season came & went in the blink of an eye with that heat. This year, the opposite has happened – it’s just not warm enough for strawberries to ripen at many area berry patches, including the one in my own yard. Some of the berry patches have yet to open for the season – including my favorite, Middle River Farms, outside of Grottos. Considering it’s over in the Shenandoah Valley, which is always just a little bit behind us in the harvest, it’s not that much of a surprise. I’ve been chomping at the bit to pick some strawberries this year though. Maybe it’s the result of last week’s canning class, with it’s successful jam that Edie said was “almost as good as Daniel’s“. High Praise indeed. Or maybe it’s that we finished up the last of the freezer strawberries last week. Or maybe, it’s that it’s mid-May and I want fresh strawberries every day, because this is the time of year for them.
Whatever the reason, I decided to check out a new berry patch I’d heard about south of town, Seaman’s Orchard, outside of Roseland. Which is more than a little south of town – it’s south of Lovingston and closer to Lynchburg than it is Charlottesville. Price wise, their pick your own is more expensive than Middle River Farms, but still cheaper than Chile’s. And the view?
Now that the canning season is winding down, I’ve been able to move out of the kitchen somewhat and onto other projects. First up, a check on the progress of Pat’s sweater.
From that angle, it doesn’t appear as if much progress has been made, but really, it has.
See? That’s a few inches there. There’s 360 stitches per row. The first few rows took me about an hour each, but I’ve managed to pick up some speed and can now do a row in 30-45 minutes. I’ve completed the armpits and am now starting to shape it, heading up to the shoulders. I had Edie help me with the math and I think I have about 60 rows or so until I can start the collar. If I sat and did nothing else for an entire work week, I might get it done by Christmas. I think I’ll shoot for his birthday towards the end of January. That seems do-able as well as gives me a project for those lazy days after Christmas when I like to sit around, watch tv and eat cake.
I also went ahead and bought another cone of yarn, ensuring that the last of the two cones I had on hand for this will be enough. Whenever I get nervous and go out and buy more yarn to finish a project, I ensure myself leftovers. I haven’t decided what I’m doing with the leftovers yet. Thoughts?
I’m also whipping up a pair of fingerless gloves for the lucky coworker that my husband drew in his office holiday gift exchange. She had fingerless gloves on her list of suggested gifts. I’m using some merino from the stash that I inherited when the university students moved out last spring. Someone left two large boxes of yarn out by the curb that my friend Eddie found and dropped off here. There was a mix of acrylic and really nice stuff (like this merino), but most of the nice stuff was in some weird colorways. I kept some for myself and shared some, just for projects like this. This yarn is from a local farm and is dreamy to work with. The pattern is a slightly altered one from Knitty called Fetching– they are quick and easy. I knit the left handed one seen there in a night’s worth of television watching.