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QUENCH

 

HANDMADE GATHERINGS

 

A YEAR OF PIES!

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: HOME DAIRY

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING BEES

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: CANNING & PRESERVING

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING CHICKENS


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  • Asheville area folks: Come on over to @forvillagers at 7 pm tonight to hear @gardenbetty talk about her new book,
  • When dinner is served al fresco on the patio, at sunset, in a watermelon bowl, then my heart smiles. || Egg noodles, NC shrimp and pea shoot-arugula-basil pesto topped with nasturtium leaves, sage flowers, and chive blossoms. Nearly summertime and the living is easy.
  • When your afternoon involves chilling inside the Asheville Salt Cave with 7 of your nearest and dearest and your collective 4 kiddos, and your night involves celebrating one of their birthday's with a fajita feast and @glennbenglish's phenomenal spring sangria (with watermelon and strawberries and honeysuckle blooms that I picked), then you know that today has been an extraordinarily good day.
  • Spicy pork dumplings from @ganshanstation, I love you. While everything I've tried here has been seriously stellar, @procain's dumpling situation is worth the visit alone. So, so good!
  • Here's what I did today: hopped in the car, drove about a mile over to Hominy Valley Organic Farm, and got down to strawberry-picking business. I filled a flat for $18 (at $3/pound). If you live in the area and are looking for delicious, organic, U-pick strawberries, come see Farmer Tom Monday-Friday after 2 pm. Tell him I sent ya! Now, on to jam, and Popsicles, and pie, and galette, and pickled strawberries, and more! ??????
  • Pretty much ANY time is a good time for pickles, especially now that I've added @foodinjars delicious Quick Pickled Strawberries to the mix. Sublime!
  • You're in my heart, you're in my soul.
  • A testament to the power of social media: saw @holedoughnuts post an image of their Buttermilk Cardamom Black Pepper donut this morning, ate lunch, and then made the 20 minute drive over to enjoy some in person with @glennbenglish and Huxley!  Completely worth it. So, so good!!!
  • It's not a significant thing, nothing major. Just a walk down the driveway to gather the mail. But when I do it with Huxley, and we stop to say
  • Hominy Creek, doing its spring thang. || View from our mailbox.
  • Attended my first ever handmade/homemade swap yesterday, at a friend's sweet home in Black Mountain. SO much goodness, all thoughtfully and lovingly made. Huxley came with me and ran around with the kiddos while the swap took place. I contributed these little jars of rosemary honey, which @glennbenglish artfully topped with straw-blown watercolorings. Such a great afternoon with like-minded friends and fellow mamas! Thank you so, so much for hosting, Amanda!!!
  • Saturdays are for French toast on the porch with @glennbenglish and Huxley Wild while rain showers wash over the cove. || Used @farmandsparrow's Heritage Corn Bread and @oldworldlevain's Double Raisin & Flax Bread to make cardamom French toast, served alongside butter, maple syrup, and Hominy Valley Organic Farm strawberries, all washed down with hibiscus iced tea (our warm weather cold beverage go-to).

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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Busy Bees

On Labor Day weekend, I mentioned some friends came over and helped us with a summer honey extraction. Ian, Kristina and Jenny are all absolute troopers, always willing to lend a helping hand when it comes to all things apiary (and beyond; these are, as it’s said around these parts, “good people”).What I didn’t have in that post were photos of the extraction process itself, but now I do (courtesy of Ian himself)! To see many, many more images from that day, go here.

We busted it out, while Hubs and our friends Jen, Jon and their lovely daughter Awynn played with Huxley and cooked up a scrumptious brunch. J & J were visiting from Atlanta, where they live and work as art instructors at two private schools. These are some of my most beloved, treasured, dear friends. They are all-around wonderful people who I keep trying to entice away from the hustle and flow of the ATL and onto the land beside us!
It was amazing, humbling, captivating work. Every time I drizzle some of this precious nectar onto my morning yogurt, I look on in awe. Thank you so very much, bees, plants, humans and beyond, for this transformational experience!

A Sweet Deal (+ Giveaway!!!)

If you know me personally, then you know that I have a sweet tooth. It cannot be helped. It’s genetic, you see, with my Pop always having something sweet after dinner, his mom (Gran) always maintaining a candy drawer for her multitudinous grandkids to draw upon, my mom typically stashing atomic fire balls in her purse, and her mother (Nanny) drinking her iced tea as sweet as sweet can be (I cannot begin to tell you how many times we’re been out eating somewhere and she frustratedly states “this tea is not sweet enough”).
While I try to temper my cravings and enjoy my sugar judiciously, I will openly admit to enjoying a little sweet sumpin’ sumpin’ with regularity. You need the sweet in life to help to overcome the sour, yes? Owing to that tendency, and coupling it with a profound and abiding fondness for baking and confectionery-making, I found myself looking several weeks ago for a go-to how-to book on creating candy at home. And that’s when kismet struck.
Beth Sweet (one can only imagine the sweet tooth possessed by someone with such a last name!), editor at Lark Crafts (my publisher), knew nothing of my searching. And yet (AND YET!) she sent me an email wondering if I might be interested in reviewing and possibly giving away a copy of a new book she’d edited, Sweet Confections: Beautiful Candy to Make at Home by Nina Wanat. How terribly serendipitous! How immensely auspicious! Why, yes, indeed, Beth, I would be interested! Yes. Indeed.
And so it was that this fine book on candy-making came into my world. With glorious styling and expert photography throughout (courtesy of White On Rice Couple Diane Cu and Todd Porter), Sweet Confections will make a home confectioner out of you in no time. The recipe titles alone are enough to make your teeth ache, your dentist grin, and your mouth water: Salted Chocolate Caramel Lollipops! Honeycomb Candy! Orange Walnut Chocolate Nougat! Vanilla Marshmallows!
If you, like me, enjoy the sweeter side of life, then I invite you to leave a comment below, sharing with me your absolute favorite sweet. It’s hard for me to choose favorites when it comes to this particular category, but, if backed into a corner, if forced on my life to pick just one, I’d probably say the salted caramels at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. They are absolutely transcendent; like giggles from a baby, they’ll soothe whatever ails you. I say this from a vantage point of much, much experience.
The giveaway will run for one week, ending next Monday, October 3rd (is it really October already?!!) midnight EST. As with prior contests, it’s open only to domestic small measure readers (sorry international buddies!). And do be sure to leave me some means of reaching you in your comment, either by leaving an email address or a link back to your blog or website.
Good luck, sweet things!!!

*As a sweet treat, Beth recently posted this Candied Apple recipe from Sweet Confections, perfect for autumn!


**UPDATE: The winner of “Sweet Confections” is Booga J, lucky #18 according to the Random Widget! Thank you everyone that stopped by. Look for another fantastic giveaway soon (this one is personal-it’s for a copy of my friend Jodi ‘s brand spanking new book, Cake Ladies!!!)!

Clucking Around

Alright, friends. It’s time to chat chickens!!!!

I’m prepping for the “Backyard Chickens” class I’ll be teaching tomorrow evening at the local community college and that got me thinking that I need to post my next class chez English. So, let’s engage in a bit of “fowl language,” to borrow from the title of my very clever friend Kristina‘s column in Chickens magazine.

This is a great time of year to start talking about chickens. If you’ve got them, we’ll discuss things to survive the winter intact. If you’re thinking of getting them, we’ll discuss what’s involved in sourcing chicks and caring for them. In short, we’ll go from chick to layer-comb to toes, as it were.

So, here’s the details:
*We’ll meet out here on October 15th (leaf peeping season!!!)
*The class will run from 11-2 p.m..
*Class cost is $40 per person.
*Lunch will be provided, along with beverages, and is included in the cost, along with hand-outs.
*Size is limited to 15 people.

If you’re interested in attending, let me know in your comment. Please be sure to leave a means of contacting you there, as well, or, if you’d prefer to keep your information private, just shoot me an email at: ashleyadamsenglish(at)gmail(dot)com. Also, if you have any dietary concerns (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, hate raw onions, etc.), let me know in your comment please.

See some of you soon, hopefully! And, to really dangle a carrot in front of you, let me just tell you that it is absolutely GORGEOUS out here that time of year. Just sayin’….

Food In the Heartland





What a time we had in St. Paul! Not only was the Creative Connection Event itself inspiring, invigorating, and infectious, Huxley was a total champ, Midwesterners offered up their customary kindness, and the food scene was totally off the hook.

Since so much of my time was taken up with the conference itself, we tried to make our meals outside of the event truly memorable. Boy, were they ever. Next to the hotel itself was the stellar Senor Wong, an Asian/Latin-fusion joint. Hubs declared their sweet potato fries the best to have ever passed his lips, while I will never, ever forget their Yuzu curd with meringue (I die!).

Friday morning found us at the iconic Mickey’s Diner, where the pancakes were fluffy, the accompanying butter house-made, the coffee hot and served in those diner mugs possessed of such perfect heft, and the waitress both curt and kind all at once. We loved it.

For lunch, we stopped at Heartland Market Cafe. While we’d love to have dined at the main restaurant (whose rotating menu is built around seasonal, local foods), attempting to do so with a wiggly, wily baby seemed like no one’s idea of a good time. Instead, we enjoyed sandwiches filled with in-house cured meats and seasonal condiments, locally brewed sodas, perfect cappuccinos, an expert Russian tea cake (for me) and a spot-on berry-topped cheesecake (for Hubs).

Saturday morning, after I’d wrapped up my morning breakfast/panel discussion, we walked over to the St. Paul downtown farmer’s market. Not only was it one of the most well-patronized markets I’ve ever witnessed, the prices on display were truly jaw-dropping. Many of the booths were run by Asian farmers, offering the traditional autumnal roots and tubers alongside ethnic specialties, like bitter melon and sour herb (whatever that is-I want to know…)

We rounded the corner in search of somewhere to eat after leaving the market only to run into Potter’s Pasties & Pies. A food truck run by a married Brit and a Minnesotan (brand new parents as of the 15th!!!), Potter’s offers AMAZING meat and veggie hand pies. We sampled the following before collapsing into grunts and groans of gustatory delight: The Traditional-minced beef, carrots, potatoes, onions and gravy; The Pig-braised pulled pork, apples, onions and coriander (this one garnered the most amount of “oh my god!” exclamations-they have magical ways with pork, these Potter folk); and their Sausage Roll-sausage rolled up in pastry dough. If Asheville had such a food truck, I’d be tempted to work them into my daily routine.

While our foray in St. Paul was brief, it was nonetheless bright and blissful. If you’d like to see more images from some of the places mentioned above (as well as Huxley looking incredibly happy at the incomparable Minnesota Children’s Museum, where we went twice on Friday, so great was his love for the place), go here, here, here, and here.

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

Almost a year ago, we threw our forthcoming wee one a shindig, and dubbed it a Nugget Warming (for those of you new to this blog, “Nugget” was Huxley’s in utero nickname). We’d had two other baby showers thrown for us, but we wanted to put our personal spin on things, cook up a mess of seasonal, local food, and gather around the fire ring with a smattering of our nearest and dearest. You can read about the hijinks, shenanigans and general merriment that surrounded the event here.


Our Nugget Warming was also captured for all to see and entombed in posterity in the brand new book Where Women Cook-Celebrate!. Some of you may recall that I write for Where Women Cook magazine (the fall issue, where I chat about all things apple, is available in stores now!). Where Women Cook-Celebrations is produced by Jo Packham, the force behind the magazine, as well as Where Women Create magazine (which is also available in book form). It showcases celebrations thrown by “28 bloggers, chefs, cookbook authors and kitchen creatives”, ranging from Fourth of July bonanzas (Ree Drummond!) to finding seasonal joy in cooking up a big pot of risotto (Béa Peltre!).

I am completely honored to be included in the company of such incredible women. While the book officially publishes October 4th, it will be offered up in advance at The Creative Connection Event. We 3 Englishes are headed that way tomorrow morning, returning home on Sunday (wish us luck-Huxley will be with Hubs for a good chunk of the event and he’s used to having access to mama whenever he pleases!!!).

I adore a good celebration. I’m in the midst of planning a very special one right now, to take place in late October, celebrating the first journey around the sun for the same Nugget celebrated one year ago!!!