What I’ve been up to…

Hey everyone!  So, as promised, I’m back to blogging, hopefully regularly.  Here’s what food things I’ve been up to recently:

1. I got water kefir grains from a lovely woman I met through Boston Ferments back in September, and I’ve been making water kefir regularly even since.

2. At the Fermentation Festival, I got a kombucha SCOBY and have also been brewing booch continuously ever since.  There’s a lot of fermented drinks going on in Casa de Kelly.

3. I made fermented hot sauce for Christmas gifts this year from the recipe at Killer Pickles and it came out sooo yummy!  I also fermented two kinds of mustard, which also came out very tasty.

4. I made kimchi for the first time back in… October?  Maybe?  It didn’t last very long because I couldn’t stop putting it on and in EVERYTHING.  Seriously.  Tacos, sandwiches, pasta, rice, whatever.  I really wish I had made more.  One quart was *not* sufficient.

5. I wrote a paper about wild fermentation for one of my courses, whoo!

I’m missing many things, but you get the jist.  Fermentation has consumed my existence, basically.  Although I did some canning too (applesauce and roasted onion and sage jam from Putting Up With Erin, to name just two).

This year, my resolution is to build up my pantry.  We moved to a wonderful apartment in Boston with a large kitchen (well, larger than my old one anyway) with a pantry.  Like a real pantry with shelves and cabinets and the whole thing.  My dream is to have the shelves lined with things I preserved myself.  I want to put up a serious portion of our canned goods this year.  This might be a bit over zealous–I am in grad school and working full time–but I like to hold myself to pretty high expectations, even if I can’t always meet them.  I just got a new catalog from Annie’s Heirloom Seeds (which is a wonderful company if you’re not already familiar–go check them out!), and I’m really hoping to grow more things than I’ve been able to grow in the past.  My garden last year basically fell victim to some absurd wind, both in NJ where it’s usually not that windy and in Boston where it is always obscenely windy, so I didn’t get to consume much of what I grew.  I’m very determined to change that this year.  Maybe if I can enlist Michael for some assistance…

I also got some awesome kitchen things as gifts this year.  Michael gave me a pasta machine and drying rack, which I’m so excited to try out, and a kitchen scale (finally!!).  His parents got me a much-needed immersion blender, and my family members bought me some amazing looking cookbooks.  I’m starting to think about what I want to preserve come canning season, and I know some of these books will come in handy for that.

I think that’s all for now.  I just found out that a winter market is starting up in my neighborhood, and the first day is tomorrow, so I’ll be heading there to grab whatever wonderful things I can find.  I’ll be sure to update with whatever project I’m inspired to try.

I’m still alive, I swear!

Hey there, internet!  Long time no see!  That’s a lie, actually, I’m online pretty much constantly, but I haven’t been blogging, obviously.  I applied to, and was accepted into, and began taking classes in, the Gastronomy MLA program at Boston University, so life has been a little hectic.  Yes, I relocated to Boston, and I now spend my days studying everything related to food.  It’s been amazing and wild and fun and hectic and occasionally frustrating, but mostly wonderful.  The first semester is almost over and I’ve already learned so much.  It’s been an amazing experience.

I’ve also been canning!  And fermenting!  Especially fermenting, actually.  I’m now brewing kombucha and water kefir continuously.  I’ve made pickles, krauts, the aforementioned fermented beverages, kimchi, and even soy yogurt.  I’m quite possibly obsessed with fermentation.  In fact, I hardly did any canning this summer!  I made vanilla rhubarb jam, (not so dilly) beans, apple sauce, cranberry sauce, roasted onion and sage jam, two batches of beans, and that’s about it.  Oops.  It was a little much, moving during canning season.  This summer should be much more productive in that department.  I’m making it a goal to attempt to preserve a more significant portion of our food supply this coming year.  We have a wonderful farmer’s market in my neighborhood, so I’ll make sure I get there every week (or something close to it) to stock up on things and do large batches.  And I really need to make sure I can some tomatoes this summer.  Fortunately, Michael’s bosses are super cool Italian guys who grow and can their own tomatoes, so I’ve ended up with six quarts of those (two were just gifted to us, and four were bartered for cranberry sauce–it’s a pretty great life).

Anywho, now that I’m having food adventures regularly, I want to get back to writing about them.  I have two weeks of classes left for this semester, which means that I still have term papers to write, so I may be a bit quiet over the next couple of weeks, but then I’ll be on break and probably baking/canning/fermenting up a storm for Christmas gifts, so I should have a fair amount to say then.  I swear I’ll be back, though.  I’m alive.  I’m just buried under a stack of (virtual) textbooks.

New favorite snack:

Sauerkraut with pickled cranberries.  Seriously, this is amazing.

I declared the sauerkraut done about a week or so ago and have picked at it sporadically ever since.  It’s very tasty, but also very salty, so it’s been a “in small doses” kind of thing so far.  Today I wanted some, but knew I wanted to cut it with something sweet, and we’re all out of apples!  The solution?  That jar of pickled cranberries that’s been languishing in the fridge for a month.  Another tasty snack, but only in small doses.

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Look how beautiful! The pickled cranberries came from a recipe at Serious Eats by Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars.

10 Things To Do With Stale Bread

kellythecanner:

Tips on preserving bread, and what to do with it when it’s stale! So useful!

Originally posted on LOVE INFOGRAPHICS:

Stale bread — we’ve all been there. You know you’ve munched on a doughy, delicious new loaf, but somehow in the excitement you accidentally left the bread out, unsealed and on the counter overnight. The next morning it’s as hard as a rock. It’s warm doughy goodness may now be a distant memory, but don’t throw it out yet! Today’s infographic informs us that you can re-purpose and even rejuvenate your stale bread.

Read more @ http://dailyinfographic.com/10-things-to-do-with-stale-bread-infographic

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Not to count the chickens prematurely, but…

I just successfully pressure canned four pints of garbanzo beans!  Woooohoooo!

Last week, my mother sent me a new pressure canner as an early birthday present.  It’s a 23 quart Presto model, which is enormous but wonderful.  I just moments ago turned the heat off of the stove after a successful 75 minutes at 12 pounds of pressure (it was a little high the whole time–I was really aiming for 11–but better too high than too low).  Now I’m just going to let the canner depressurize over night and hope that they seal properly.  No explosions.  No scary safety vent action.  I’M SO EXCITED!

Also, my sauerkraut came out quite well.  I promise to post pictures later.  Now it’s time to go to bed!

Another list of thoughts

Sorry, I don’t have a proper post in me right now, but I do have some thoughts.  Here they are:

1.  I’m working on sauerkraut for the first time.  It’s on day five of fermentation right now.  Theoretically it’ll be ready on the 18th, but I’ll probably let it go longer for maximum tastiness.  This is my first experiment in fermentation.

2.  Speaking of fermentation, I think I want to try making kombucha.  I need to get my hands on a SCOBY, though.  Maybe I’ll ask Amanda at Phickle for one, since she’s local to me.

3.  I opened that last jar of herbed pickled asparagus tonight, and it’s soooo goooood!  I forgot how much I loved these.  I’m totally making multiple batches of this as soon as the asparagus starts popping up.

4.  My mother ordered me a new canner as a super early birthday present!  Yay!  I’ll have to give it a test run in the coming weeks.

5.  I baked some bread today and it was lovely.

6.  I’m obsessed with the idea of making tea jelly, but I’m out of half pint jars right now.  I officially gave away too many of them at Christmas.  =P  I’ll have to go buy some so I can do this.

That’s all for now!