I visited Armenia almost 10 years ago and became fascinated with this fruit while there. Armenians believe the fruit symbolizes fertility. They make a wonderful wine of pomegranate and depict the fruit in their art and dishware.
While in Armenia, one gentleman told me a tall tale of a lost Armenian surviving for an entire year with only one pomegranate by eating one seed a day, he was adamant that every pomegranate has 365 seeds! A quick google search suggests many more seeds than that but to be fair I have never counted the seeds in a pomegranate!
I couldn’t help myself when Costco was selling 6 packs of these huge red orbs last week. I have successfully eaten three but I’m starting to wonder if I can really eat the other three before they start to dry up. As I pondered how I could turn pomegranates into a homemade gift, the lightbulb went off. Who wouldn’t love their own little bottle of pomegranate molasses? As I searched on my favorite site, Food52, for recipes I could give with the cute little bottles of pomegranate molasses, the possibilities were endless! Add the molasses to dark chocolate truffles or drizzle over your favorite roasted vegetable!
The first time I had Nutella, I was 19 years old and living in Israel for the year. The whole “desserts that pretend to be breakfast foods” thing that food companies push was a non-starter for my parents, so growing up, my breakfasts mainly consisted of grape nuts or puffed rice cereal with raisins for “sweetness.” I wasn’t thrilled about this at the time (on my first solo grocery store trip as a college freshman, I remember binge buying peanut butter Cap’n Crunch), but I get it now… I’d prefer to learn to start my days off with healthy food so when I do decide on a sweet breakfast, it’s a special treat.
So, enter Nutella. I still have no idea why it’s considered a breakfast food, but Bless America, somehow it’s accepted. Since I’m not a big fan of processed foods, making my own seems an even more acceptable way to allow it in my mornings. It turns out it’s a snap to make, and *perfect* for packaging in small jars to keep one on hand for myself and give a few others away to friends and family.
In the spirit of homemade gifts I discovered yet another wonderful use for my pressure cooker…
Making simple syrup!
Pressure cookers make life easy, you might remember when I made homegrown roma tomato sauce with my pressure cooker. You might also remember when I had tons of crabapples in September. With all of the crabapples that I didn’t feel like coring, I dumped them in my 6 quart pressure cooker (about a pound of them), covered them with water and experimented with cooking them. It was a successful experiment! So successful I repeated the experiment with apples from my friend Heather’s apple tree as well as Palisade Peaches!
Happy Daylight Saving time! And a very happy November to you, as well. Here in Seattle, we’ve far-too-easily stepped into fall; we didn’t get much of a summer, so fall actually feels a little more palatable – now, my expectations are that it won’t be too warm or sunny – this way, when it is actually nice outside, it feels like a bonus (unlike our summer, which was lackluster, and I kept feeling cheated).
With the holidays coming up next month(!), Streus and I figured we’d get ahead of the situation and start posting some of our favorite homemade gifts. You know, the sorts of things you can make in batches and give to people you really like – it’s thoughtful and less expensive, two qualities I hold dear in my gift-giving planning.
As I’ve blathered on about before, I have extremely prolific apple trees that I perpetually feel challenged by/guilty about utilizing to it’s fullest potential. I was *thrilled* to discover another recipe that allows me to use a bunch of apples in a way that both honors the apples, and uses them up!
I didn’t want this month of salt and pepper to go by without telling you about these awesome peanuts I just discovered! I was at the Museum of Nature and Science in Denver last weekend and desperately needed a snack. I went into their Grab ‘n’ Go snack area and saw Black Pepper and Sea Salt Peanuts!
Admittedly I grabbed them more out of desperation than anything else but when I tasted them I was impressed. Then when I noticed where they were from I was SUPER impressed. They are made in my favorite town in Colorado – Durango!
If you’ve never been to Durango, please go someday!
If you’ve been to Durango, then you know exactly what I’m talking about!
My dad was visiting a few weeks back, and when he learned that I didn’t have a pastry ring, he was horrified – just horrified – that I was missing such an essential cooking tool. I pretended like I didn’t care, but obviously within a week I was ordering my own and plotting how I can use my new baking toy during salt and pepper month here at S&S.
Happily, it was easy to come up with a recipe – I took a few of my favorite things (dough, mushrooms, and cheese) and used an ingredient I’ve owned forever and always forget about: truffle salt. I actually bought the salt awhile back at Pike’s Place Market, and was re-reminded of it (and how much I like it) during a recent food tour we did of said market. The truffle salt adds a great final, earthy touch to this savory tart and makes it feel just a little extra-special fancy.
Not only do I love this pepper but I love the Hawaii Kai’s Palm Island Black Lava Sea Salt that I get at Savory Spice. This salt was perfect for topping these brownies. They are topped with a caramel that I thinned a bit with water and when I poured it on while the brownies were still hot the caramel soaked into the brownies a bit. Since I was really only using this caramel to make the salt stick to the brownies I wasn’t too sad about the sinking it caused. I actually really liked the end result.
Hands down, salt is one of my favorite condiments. When I was a kid, my dad used to get annoyed with me at dinner for salting my food before I tasted it, “Morgan!” he’d say, sternly, “How can you know if the food needs salt if you don’t taste it first?!” My father – a master chef, as we’ve discussed before – found this habit of mine irritating. But always I think that most foods need just a bit more salt.
The introduction of salt into desserts – on top of chocolate chip cookies and brownies, in particular – has been an absolute revelation for me. And indeed, Salted Caramel Ice Cream is a go-to for me when I go out for ice cream. Naturally, I wanted to recreate the experience in my own home, and behold Jeni’s homemade ice cream amazing deliciousness. Her basic recipe consistently makes an incredibly creamy, rich base with pronounced flavor. The salty caramel ice cream almost tastes like butterscotch – I added in some nuts and chocolate because – you know – why not?!
How many of you have a collection of various salts and peppers in your pantry just waiting to be used? With all of the tempting varieties of both out there, I’m guessing, there’s at least a few in everyone’s pantry. I fell in love with salts two years ago when a co-worker gave me this collection as a gift from Savory Spice.
Strudel and I thought October would be a perfect month to showcase some of these wonderful flavorful ingredients that are quite frequently overlooked.
I couldn’t help myself when Savory Spice sent me an email that their Bourbon Barrel Smoked Black Pepper was out. I had fresh roasted pumpkin in my refrigerator and I pondered how I could put the two together. What better than a biscuit!
When we bought our house, we inherited two apple trees, an Asian pear tree, and a (sickly) Bartlett pear tree. These trees create enormous amounts of fruit (with the exception of the ill pear tree) that we watch – every year – with a mixture of guilt and sadness, because we just don’t know what to do with all the fruit. At the start of the season, we’re so excited, and by the end, when we’re picking up buggy, moldy fruit off the front lawn, we feel guilty for not trying harder, and doing more, with our fruit. It’s a little ridiculous, but then again, so are we – and so it goes.
So I’m working on having a restorative experience this summer. Before all the fruit is eaten by the worms and other bugs, I’m planning on canning and doing what I can with the apples. First up, apple butter. We love jams for toast and cheeses, and a thick, apple-y spread seems a great way to use the apples AND to make in big batches AND to eventually give as house gifts or little holiday giveaways.
I’m pleased to say that the lovely apples from my lovely tree created a thick, spiced spread that tastes like fall – it will be great to use for sandwiches, on eggs, stirred in overnight oats and definitely to be served with creamy cheeses. With a bit of chopping and some mostly hands-off time, this is recipe is a keeper for the fall season.