In Our Kitchen

So powerful and mysterious

So powerful and mysterious

The pickling season is full steam ahead. I am hoping for a large batch of pickled okra, hot pepper jam and pickled peppers. Right now I am experimenting with brine ratios for the okra. So far sweet red onion and a little cider vinegar are leading the pack. Time will tell.

Stuffed again

Stuffed again

The cooler summer has given us a longer lasting batch of fresh zucchini and we are starting to run out of creative ways to serve them. I hate to admit it, but I may be a little tired of fresh-from-the-garden(or in our case the farmers market) zucchini right now.

I know, blasphemy.

I spy with my little eye something that begins with the letter Rocky

I spy with my little eye something that begins with the letter Rocky

Yes we still have tomatoes on the vine and it is September. Crazy summer this year. I feel like we may pay for it in spades next year. To get a peek inside other bloggers’ kitchens hop on over to Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for her monthly roundup.

Posted in Garden, Rants, Things in Jars | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Happy Labor Day

We can’t think of a more American holiday than Labor Day. (OK, except the Fourth and St. Patty’s Day!) So we picked our favorite all-American ingredient — bourbon to celebrate. (We know the fries don’t include bourbon, but if you really want just pour a shot for dipping.)

Happy Labor Day to you all state siders and happy Monday to the rest of you.

Lynchburg Lemonades

Nothing like mixing drinking with lawn games to annoy the neighbors

Nothing like mixing drinking with lawn games to annoy the neighbors

Bourbon Burgers

That looks like a nice thickburger

That looks like a nice thick burger

Sweet Potato Fries

They looked fried, but looks are deceiving

They looked fried, but looks are deceiving

Bourbon Balls

Serve extra bourbon on the side

Posted in Beef, Dinner, Food, Sides, Spirits | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Sunday Suppers: So Long Summer

Labor Day weekend might be the symbolic end of summer, but we expect to be sweating for the next few weeks. Still we can pretend that the pool and grill will soon be covered, that leaves are ready to fall and the kids are about to break in new jeans. (Of course our house lacks kids and a pool — both seem like a lot of work!) Instead we’ll just scrounge for more tomatoes in the garden and wait for the next giant AC bill. Here’s a great end-of-summer meal for the rest of you. Write and let us know what fall feels like.

Bacon and Feta Bruschetta

That bread is from the day old bakery section don't tell anyone

That bread is from the day old bakery section don’t tell anyone

And/or (we won’t judge if you do both!)

Burgers with sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese and fresh herbs

It needs some fries

It needs some fries

Grilled Zucchini

Works well for eggplant also.

Works well for eggplant also.

Fresh Peach Tart

I must say that pie always takes a good photo

I must say that pie always takes a good photo

Posted in Appetizers, Dessert, Dinner, Food, Sides | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Candied Figs

So sweet and chewy

So sweet and chewy

We know figs are expensive and some of you will balk at the proportions below. But those of you with a tree in your yard or who may be lucky enough to know someone with a fig tree in their yard (like we do) should appreciate this recipe. When fig trees start producing, just like any fruit tree we suppose, staying on top of the harvest can be quite a challenge. This makes use of firm, but ripe or even slightly under ripe fruit. Picking figs when the heat index is still up in the 90s as sunset approaches is akin to torture (especially if you forget your gloves to protect from the sticky juice, but trust us they only help so much.) But figs are wonderful, tasty little things and are well worth the effort. Candying these little jewels is time-consuming but well worth the effort too.

Candied Figs

  • 2 1/2 pounds fresh figs, washed
  • 4 cups sugar, plus sugar for dusting
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 lemon sliced thin and seeded
  • 1/2 inch knob of ginger peeled

Day One: In a large stock pot over medium heat, bring sugar, lemon, water and ginger to a boil stirring often. Add figs and return to a boil. Let boil for five minutes. Turn off heat and cover. Let set for 24 hours.

Days Two to Five: Uncover figs after each 24-hour interval. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat. Cover and let set.

Day 6: Drain figs. We saved the syrup for cocktails, big surprise. Whether you’re supposed to do this or not is anyone’s guess. Place figs on one or two bakers rack, along with lemon slices. Discard ginger. Place bakers racks over cookie sheets. The figs will drip. Turn oven onto lowest setting. Once the oven reaches temperature, turn it off. Once the oven is off, place the figs inside the oven, close the door and leave it alone for 24 hours.

Day 7 to 12ish: Remove figs from oven after each 24-hour period. Turn oven on to lowest setting. Once it hits temperature turn it off and stick the figs in. The figs will get drier each day. Test them periodically for tackiness. They should be like a dried fig or date you buy at the market. This process took five days for us, but can take up to seven. Once the figs are done, roll them in sugar and place in a cool, dry place. We refrigerate ours because of the humidity where we live even with the AC on.

 

Posted in Dessert, Food, How to, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Blackberry and Peach Cobbler

It is not cobbler unless some runs over the side

It is not cobbler unless some runs over the side

We think few things are better than a fruit cobbler in the summer. Blackberries are long gone by the time peaches arrive here, so we dug into the freezer. The filling takes awhile to cook down, but anyone who’s ever had a soupy pie or runny cobbler won’t mind making the effort.

Blackberry and Peach Cobbler

  • 5 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 lbs firm but ripe peaches, skinned (about 4 medium)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tsp cornstarch, mixed with equal amount water until smooth
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • cinnamon sugar for dusting

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring fruit, cinnamon stick, sugar and cornstarch mix to a boil. Lower to a simmer. Let cook until the mix is thick, about 30 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and pour into a two-quart casserole dish. In a large bowl, mix flour and baking powder. Cut butter into flour mix, until crumbly. Add sugar and buttermilk. Stir to incorporate. The mix will be wet, more of a drop biscuit consistency. Preheat oven to 400. Use a spoon to spread batter evenly over the top of the berry mix. Leave a little gap along the edges. (It doesn’t have to be perfect.) Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar if desired. Place baking dish on a cookie sheet lined with foil to catch any leaks. Bake until top is golden minutes, about 20 minutes.

Posted in Dessert, Food, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Party Drinks

We figure a lot of you will be entertaining this weekend. Here are some drinks (alcoholic and nonalcoholic) that are perfect for a crowd, or at least a few boisterous friends.

Blackberry Spritzers

Is that a cone filter on a strobe or just the sunlight through the trees

Is that a cone filter on a strobe or just the sunlight through the trees

Cucumber Shooters (technically not a drink, but still great for a party)

Who says jello shots can't be classy

Who says jello shots can’t be classy

Strawberry Lemonade

A little rum never hurt either

A little rum never hurt either

White Sangria

spirits106

Watermelon Mimosas

The bubbles help mix the fruit juice as well

The bubbles help mix the fruit juice as well

Mint Limeade

I like to use rum to help dilute the limeade

I like to use rum to help dilute the limeade

Sangritas

Taco night is alright with me

Taco night is alright with me

Lemonade with Mint and Honey

Add liquor instead of water to the base for an adult sized glass of fun

Add liquor instead of water to the base for an adult sized glass of fun

Watermelon and Wine Spritzers

We remembered to take the picture first this time

We remembered to take the picture first this time

Strawberry Punch

Strawberry season should be a holiday

Strawberry season should be a holiday

Rosemary-infused Lemonade

Rosemary, who would have thunk it

Rosemary, who would have thunk it

Posted in Food, Spirits | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Farro Risotto

Like a bowl of really good puffy rice

Like a bowl of really good puffy rice

This turned out a lot better than I anticipated and is a great recipe. I prefer risotto with real arborio rice and farro is so much better as a dessert. But this is really, really excellent as well.

I went with a standard wild mushroom risotto recipe for the most part with only a few changes.

 Mushroom Farro Risotto

  • 1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms soaked in 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups farro soaked in cold water overnight
  • 1 cup mixed thinly sliced wild mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped basil leaves
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano

Squeeze liquid from dried mushrooms and reserve. Finely chop dried mushrooms. Bring stock to a low simmer. Drain farro and rinse well. In a large saute pan melt 2 tbsp butter over medium low heat. Saute garlic and dried mushrooms until edges begin to brown. Add fresh mushrooms and cook until softened. Add farro, half the fresh basil and bring heat to medium. Dry farro grains for 3 minutes stirring constantly. Add mushrooms liquid and cook down. Add stock one cup at a time like a normal risotto until farro is plump and creamy. Add cheese, remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Posted in Dinner, Food, Italian, Rice/Risotto, vegetarian | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments