Archive for ‘Gifts’

August 17, 2012

Why Haven’t I Done This Before? | Watermelon Rind Pickles

I picked up a beautiful, heavy and sweet local watermelon at my neighborhood Giant Eagle Market District.  I still can’t believe that this is my normal, everyday, hey-we’re-out-of-milk grocery store – it’s humongous.  But I have to give them props: for being as huge as they are, they do try for a couple of months to really bring in a bunch of locally grown and raised produce.  I really like that.

So back home, I was cutting it up and then slicing up all the leftover rinds so that they would break down faster in the compost pile and it hit me.  People make pickles out of this stuff.   And thankfully it’s less for the compost pile to try to digest, which is a good thing this time of year, just ask my husband, who often gets stuck with the job of carting out all the scraps.  He’s a good man.

Is that a cucumber in the foreground? No! Just a well trimmed watermelon rind.

So a quick browse around and it’s a simpler method than I even thought.  For half of a medium watermelon the brine is

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December 10, 2011

Homemade Hostess Gift | 20-Minute Cranberry Clementine Chutney

I love pressing a small gift into the hands of a host when I visit.  And you know me, I like it even more if it’s a quick little homemade something.

This cranberry clementine chutney takes just a few minutes of care and stirring and is quintessentially wintery.   It is fantastic with cheese, delicious with pork, lovely smoothed on buttery toast.  The ingredients aren’t at all exotic, but combined transcend into something special.  And this is one of the easiest recipes ever: combine and stir.  You can do it!

Spiced Cranberry Clementine Chutney, makes one small jar, with a bit leftover for you to enjoy

12 oz fresh cranberries

2 clementines, zest and juice

1/4 c dried currants

3/4 c sugar

1 whole star anise

1 cinnamon stick

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July 9, 2011

After the Preserves | Fruit and Herb Vinegars

I’ve got three different bottles of fruit and herbs steeping in vinegar in the dark recesses of my basement spice shelves.  Birthed out of a craving for something savory out of all the pounds and pounds of fruit Cherub and I have been picking with friends lately.  I’ve made cobblers, pies, and grunts.  I’ve made syrups, jams and jellies (albeit almost accidentally, but that’s another post).  What to do with the dregs from the blueberry syrup?  The excess from 20 pounds of cherries?  Toss them in vinegar along with some herbs.  Let it steep for a few weeks in a dark spot, shaking the jars every once in a while when you walk by.  It’s as easy as that, and the flavors are only limited by your imagination.  And honestly, can you think of a nicer hostess gift?  Just strain into a vintage bottle, and cork.  Present with a handwritten tag noting the contents or perhaps a recipe for a simple vinaigrette.  You’re most certain to be invited back.

From left to right: Blueberry Tarragon, Cherry Shiso, and Cherry Balsamic

A few guidelines: for deepest flavor use

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