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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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  • Good people, it is 73 degrees today! I've opened almost all of the windows in the house and am spotting daffodils triumphantly ready to unfurl all over the knob our house sits on. @glennbenglish served this reuben with @chopshopbutchers pork pastrami, homemade Russian dressing, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut for lunch as a strong breeze swept thru the house and shook things up. YESSSSSS!
  • Clowning around. || Huxley tried out Tiny Tots Circus Playtime at Toy Boat Art Collective today and really enjoyed it!
  • Chatting about existentialism, and contradicting ourselves, and winter over on small measure today. || Into the woods behind our house.
  • Players gonna play. Huxley and his buddy Bay, doing their little guy thing today at the perennially lovely @thencarboretum.
  • The garden got blanketed with what I'm hoping was winter's last gasp this past week. I'm ready for those snow-covered strawberry beds in the foreground to start putting out juicy fruits, for Huxley to dig in his sandbox again, for cocktails at sunset on the pergola, and for conversing with soil and seeds once more. Spring is coming. Really started to feel it this weekend.
  • Scotch eggs of supreme deliciousness can be had on the regular at @kingjamesavl. @glennbenglish and I savored these beauties today alongside dirty rice fritters, gumbo with poutine, and @sunbursttrout smoked trout dip, all wonderful. There was also a pint of Appalachian Brewery porter that I have to have more of. Oh, and old school White Stripes on rotation. Great food, great atmosphere.
  • Confession: until last night, I had never had honest to goodness snow cream. @glennbenglish whipped up a tasty batch with vanilla and nutmeg, and we enjoyed it alongside @oldworldlevain's heavenly frangipane tartlettes with fresh cranberries, orange peel, and cinnamon. Snow-pretty AND tasty.
  • Scattered, smothered, and covered. Snowy day in the cove!
  • We three Englishes do so very much love snow. Forecast to receive between 3-6 inches tonight! @glennbenglish captured Huxley and I taking in the view on his way back to the house after locking up the chickens.
  • Woke up to overnight snowfall, always a treat. Then heard from my neighbor Lynn, a licensed massage & bodywork therapist, that the snow was preventing her from getting in to her clients in town and, as a result, she had an opening in her schedule and could give me a massage. Whenever she travels, I pet-sit her cat Sophie, and in exchange she trades me a massage. Not only is she a seriously stellar masseuse, she also is an aromatherapist, a Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner (a kind of Japanese acupressure technique), and is certified in neuromuscular therapy. So when I get a massage from her, I receive this healing trifecta involving scent, body, and spirit. Plus, in all honesty, I feel like this woman is actually imbuing my body with love when she works on me. I left her house feeling light and bright, and nourished. She has offices in Asheville and Johnson City, TN (the home massages are reserved for family and neighbors!). If you're looking for a rich, wonderful, deeply healing massage, please consider Lynn. You can find her information at www.lynnbernatsky.com. || I passed our bamboo grove and its tiny creek on my walk over to Lynn and Steve's; it somehow spoke to me of good things in store.
  • Woke up to this view. Some kind of wonderful!
  • Spotted Quench in the wild today.Always a thrill to see my books out in the big world, and rubbing elbows with friends @thejoyofcooking, no less!

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canning

Good Things Come In Jars

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When you’re an out and proud canner like I am, come the holidays, most of your nearest and dearest pretty much take it for granted they’ll be getting something tasty in a jar. And for good reason. From marmalades to fruit butters, pickles to jams, the provisions I’ve put up all through the growing season were intended for both our own pantry and for at-the-ready gift-giving. While I’d love to be able to give friends and family exquisite, original, hand-crafted, artisan gifts, sometimes finances just don’t allow. I’ve found home-canned goods are just as meaningful to give and just as happily received as store-bought goods while keeping my purse in the positive.

While  the simple, humble jar, unadorned and unfestooned, certainly has its place, I like to give mine an added bit of flair, especially this time of year. Some disks cut from note cards rest atop the lid (scrapbooking paper or fabric would be nice here, as well), while a bit of twine or ribbon embellish the screw band. Simple, yet lovely. Great for last-minute gift-giving that has a personal touch.

My Cardamom Apple Cider Butter is a much-loved favorite amongst my kith and kin. Since you’re all another type of family to me (of the digital kind!), I figured sharing it with you here today seemed like just the right thing. I was just at the market today and saw a wealth of apple varieties still available, so whipping up jars of this fruit butter is a great wintertime canning option.

Here’s wishing you and yours jar-upon-jar of delicious eats, this holiday season and anytime!

 

Cardamom Apple Cider Butter
While I’m an equal-opportunity spice lover, if forced to choose my favorite, I’d probably have to say cardamom. Its aromatic sweetness is beyond compare. Partnered here with apple cider, this apple butter would be just as good slathered onto hot buttered toast as it would be spooned onto slices of warm pound cake.
Yield: 6 half-pint jars.
(Recipe reprinted with permission from Homemade Living: Canning & Preserving with Ashley English: All You Need to Know to Make Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Chutneys & More © 2010 by Ashley English, Lark Crafts, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.)

You Will Need:
-5 pounds cooking apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped (good choices include: Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Gravenstein, McIntosh, Newton, Pippin, or Winesap)
-1 ½ c. apple cider
-2 ½ c. granulated sugar
-3 tsp. ground cardamom
*Alternately, if you have access to cardamom pods, remove the seeds from 4 pods and grind until powdered in a coffee grinder or spice mill for a more intense cardamom flavor.

To Prepare:
1) Place apples and cider in a large stainless-steel pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. If additional liquid is necessary, add water in 2 Tbsp. increments. Remove from heat.
2) Next, either press the cooked apple mixture through a food mill or fine-meshed sieve, puree in a food processor once slightly cooled, or use an immersion blender and puree the mixture in the pot. If using food processor or blender, blend just until smooth, but not runny.
3) Once pureed, return to pot, add sugar and cardamom, and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 25-30 minutes until butter thickens and clings to a spoon. Stir often to prevent mixture from sticking. Remove from heat.
4) While butter cooks, sterilize 6 half-pint mason jars, lids, and screw rings. Fill a canner or large stockpot with water and set over medium-high heat. Bring just to boiling point. Place lids in a small saucepan, fill with water, bring to a boil, turn off heat, remove from stovetop, and set aside.
5) Place hot jars on top of a kitchen cloth on the counter. With the help of a canning funnel, pack butter into jars, reserving ¼ -inch headspace. Use a non-metallic spatula to remove any trapped air bubbles and wipe rims clean with a damp cloth. Place on lids and screw bands, tightening only until fingertip-tight.
6) Using a jar lifter, place jars in canner. Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath. Remember to adjust for altitude.

 

 

Let’s Put Things In Jars Together!

Come on out to my friend Natalie’s new gorgeous shop Small Terrain in East/West Asheville this Saturday. I’ll be making apple butter with locally fruit and teaching the basics of water bath canning.

It’s gonna be grand, folks! Call Natalie at the shop to reserve your spot. She can be reached at: 216-8102.

In My Kitchen

Allergy attack (head cold?) or not, the tomatoes in our garden aren’t sympathetic to my current medical condition. They’re ripening on the vine like it’s the middle of August (and it is!) and I needed to can them TODAY, so, that’s just what I did.

Huxley, for his part, was a total trooper about the whole thing. He went down around 2 p.m. for a two-hour (!!!) nap, allowing me to blanch, chop, and simmer the glorious veggi/fruits (veg-uits? fru-gies?) of summer. Thanks, little buddy.

Did I bribe him with a ready-and-waiting bowl of chocolate and vanilla ice cream when he awoke, so that I could continue my work, jarring and processing multiple pints of diced tomatoes? I happily, heartily plead guilty. I think, for his part, he was completely on board with my plan.