Wednesday, August 10

Sweet and Zesty Pickles



Some of you may not know, my mom own's a small canning company that offers gourmet mustards, pie filling, jam, jelly, and other various delicious items. You can find her products sold at stores across  New Hampshire, and even online!



Growing up my Mom and my Nana canned everything. Our summers were spent foraging for wild berries for batches of jams and jelly, and watching my mom as she canned the veggies from our gardens.


As I got older, the idea of canning things never appealed to me. Why learn, when my Mom and Nana did it so well?



Then, about 5 years ago, right around the time I started this blog. My mom came over and taught me how to make candied jalapeƱos using a recipe she found on the internet.... fast forward a couple of years, and I realized that that recipe was from my sweet friend Rebecca's blog, Foodie with Family.

Small world this internet can be!



Rebecca recently published her first book, all about canning and it also teaches us how to use the canned goods in everyday cooking.  When I got my advanced copy for review, I was bitten by the canning bug. I instantly wanted to can EVERYTHING. So I have spent the last month or so, doing just that. It really is  an amazing book, and I'll talk more about that at another time.... When I do a formal review for my blog.



One of the first things I plopped into the canner this summer was a batch of these Sweet and Zesty Pickles. When I started this recipe, I was really hoping for a sweet and spicy pickle, with heat from horseradish. My batch came out sweet and zesty.... but not really spicy. Which turned out to be a blessing, since my 9 year old son loves them as is! He and I have polished off many jars of these pickles.



Sweet and Zesty Pickles
Recipe inspired by Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:
40 small pickling cucumbers
10 1/4 inch thick slices of fresh, peeled horseradish root
20 cloves of garlic
1 purple onion, sliced into 10 slices
Handfull of fresh dill
5 tbs pickling salt
2 tbs pickling spice
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups white vinegar
5 cups water
(optional: 1/8 tsp of Ball Pickle Crisp granules, per canning jar)

Equipment:
10 sterilized pint jars, with lids (I use wide mouth jars)
1 water bath canner
Large pot for boiling brine
Canning rack for your canner
Jar grabber (optional)

Directions:

Fill canner with water, and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in each canning jar, place 1/2 tbs pickling salt, 1 horseradish slice,  2 cloves of garlic, slice of onion, some dill, sprinkle 1/8 tsp  pickle crisp granules, and pack cucumbers into jars, leaving at least 1/2 inch of headroom. I sliced the cucumbers into chips and spears, you can leave them whole or slice as desired.


 In a large pot, bring water, vinegar, sugar, and pickling spices to a boil. Pour liquid over packed cucumbers and seal with lids.

Once the canner has come to a full boil, place jars in small batches into the canner. Be sure to leave room between jars so they are evenly heated. Leave jars in the canner for 10 minutes.

Carefully remove jars from the water bath, and process the remaining jars.

Allow pickles to ferment for about 2 weeks before opening jars.

Can be stored at room temperature in unopened jars, for up to a year.



Monday, August 1

Brown Butter and Chive Lobster Rolls


In these parts of the country, there is much debate over what a lobster roll consists of. Once, about 3 years ago, I blogged a recipe for "New England Lobster Roll" and people claiming to be true New Englanders, commented with fury that I must not  be a true New Englander, because I used god awful mayo in my "New England Lobster Roll" and served it cold.

It was at that time I realized two things, one.... there are two ways of making a lobster roll, and two... my New England friends, family, neighbors, even strangers are a tad crazy when it comes to their beloved lobster roll.

The purists will most defiantly have issue with this recipe as well because, even though it is served hot, and doused with melted butter, the way they all claim it must be made... I made it with browned butter,  fresh chives, and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Oh the horror.


Brown Butter and Chive Lobster Roll 
Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 steamed lobster
1 stick of salted butter, browned
2 lemon wedges
1 tbs diced chives
2 buttered hot dog buns

Directions:

Remove steamed lobster from the shell, and roughly chop it into bite sized pieces.

Toss with browned butter, fresh squeezed lemon, and chives.

Toast hot dog buns in a skillet over medium/high heat until golden on each side.

Fill each bun with buttered lobster, and then serve.


Wednesday, July 20

Cucumber Noodle Salad with Fried Sesame Crusted Feta Cheese




I am not usually one to get caught up in food trends (well maybe sometimes). One of the newest trends over the last couple of years has been the spiralizer. I will admit at first I laughed. "If I want pasta... I'm going to eat pasta. F*** zoodles!"

But then I did Whole30, and the spiralizer changed my life. It really did. I found myself making noodles out of every vegetable I could get my hands on. My favorite being sweet potato for any hot dish, they hold up better than the ever so popular zucchini noodles, and cucumber noodles for cold dishes.



This summer I can not get enough cold cucumber salads. I eat at least one big cucumber out of the garden each day.  You can't ask for a more refreshing on a hot summer day!  This salad takes only minutes to whip up, it's the perfect light lunch, or it works great as a side dish. The cucumbers, onions and berries are tossed in a homemade honey champagne vinaigrette, and to give it a little richness, I added some sesame crusted fried feta cheese and topped with a drizzle of  raw honey.


Cucumber Noodle Salad with Fried Sesame Crusted Feta Cheese 
Recipe yields 1 serving

Ingredients:

1 pickling cucumber, scrubbed clean
A few thin red onion slices
Handful of fresh berries ( I use blueberries, but you can use whatever you have on hand)

For the dressing:

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs champagne vinegar
1 tsp honey
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp minced garlic

For the cheese:
3-4 1 inches cubes of whole milk feta cheese
2 tbs bread crumbs (use gluten free bread crumbs if you are GF)
2 tbs sesame seeds
1 egg
1/2 cup of olive oil for frying

Extra honey for drizzling over the finished salad

Directions:

Using a spiralizer, spiralize the cucumber. If you do not have a spiralizer, you can julienne the cucumbers as well. Set aside in a salad bowl.

To prepare dressing, whisk the dressing ingredients together.

Toss the cucumber noodles, onion slices and blueberries with the dressing.

To make the  fried cheese, in a small bowl mix the bread crumbs and sesame seeds together.

Add a beaten egg to another small bowl.

Heat olive oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat.

Coat each feta cube in your beaten egg, and then dredge it through the breadcrumbs and sesame seeds.

Quickly fry the cheese in the olive oil on each side, until each feta cube is golden brown.

Place hot cheese on top of salads, drizzle with extra honey and enjoy!


Have you follow me on Instagram yet?  Check out what I've been up to, and watch me turn into a muddy mess July 30th at Mudderella New England, in Epping, NH




Friday, July 15

Life Lately

It's been awhile since I have written a "Life Lately" post... like years? With summer in full swing, I have found it very hard to carve time out to bake, take pictures, or write! So here are some snaps from our vacation life so far!














Basically, life is a vacation here in the summer. I've come to realize how incredibly lucky my kids and I are to have the freedom to spend our days enjoying everything our gorgeous state of NH has to offer. We've had our share of boat days, trips to the ocean, visiting state parks all over the state, and eating our share of fried food and hamburgers.  I hope someday when my kids look back on their childhood summers. They remember how much fun we had!

Though with all these days filled with fried food, lounging by the water, and nights filled with friends and adult beverages. I am feeling little sluggish.  Luckily, some folks working for Mudderella contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in attending their event here in NH, with 5 of my closest friends. Honestly, this obstacle course could not come at a better time. I need to get my butt moving, and need to get myself in shape.

For those of you who are not familiar with Mudderella... It's a unique, 5-mile obstacle mud run where women are able to come together and celebrate strength, teamwork and everything that makes them feel like an empowered woman. The course, designed by women for women, promotes working together, having fun and owning your strong. 

Mudderella is a partner with Futures Without Violence. All proceeds raised by participants support their mission to protect women against domestic and sexual violence. Learn more about their  partnership here.



My friends and I are super pumped to participate this year. To follow along with my muddy adventures, check back next week, where I have some healthy pre event recipes to share. Also follow me on Instagram, check out what I've been up to, and watch me turn into a muddy mess July 30th at Mudderella New England, in Epping, NH

For more info on a Mudderella near you, click HERE. Also be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram

(Disclaimer: I received 6 free registrations to Mudderella in return for social media coverage of the event. I did  not receive monetary compensation, and as always all opinions are 100% my own!) 

Friday, July 8

Prince Edward Island With Wyman's Blueberries




Back in June, I was invited to attended Wyman's Blueberries, Honey Bee Summit located in beautiful Prince Edward Island. The three day event hosted at celebrity Chef Michael Smith's The Inn at Fortune Bay, was filled with delicious food, wine, all you can eat oysters, and of course, everything you can imagine made with wild blueberries.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Farley from Savory Simple
We started the summit started off with a farm tour of the Inn, lead by the adorable and incredibly smart daughter of the Inn's gardener. Followed up with blueberry cocktails in the green house, oysters, and the most delicious feast cooked over open fire. The Inn's Chef did an amazing job incorporating Wyman's Blueberries in to every dish, without over doing it. The dishes were creative, and there was not a single thing served I did not gobble up.









The following morning after the Inn served us breakfast, and then we all packed up for a day filled with learning about Wyman's Blueberries and honey bees.

Photo Credit: Pam Bernard
First up was the tour of the Wyman's Blueberry packaging facility. This was the first time I had ever toured such a place, and I was fascinated with the production it takes all for just one little wild blueberry to end up in our freezer. Wyman's is very thorough and ensures that each bag of frozen berries you buy, is of the highest quality.  They only use  herbicides or pesticides if absolutely needed, for pest management,  so when it is needed they only use non-synthetic chemicals.   If pesticides are something you worry about on your produce, don't fret, our friends at Wymans are very conscientious  about what they use on their berries.  

Because wild blueberries have such a short growing season, they have to be picked, sorted and frozen immediately. The berries really are picked and frozen fresh. They are then packaged for retail sale. Wyman's blueberries can be found frozen or canned in your local grocery stores, they also distribute to many companies all over the nation that use wild blueberries in their fillings and mixes. You never know... your favorite blueberry muffin mix, or blueberry yogurt could be made with Wyman's Blueberries! 


Photo Credit: Jennifer Farley from Savory Simple




After the tour of their facilities we headed over to their blueberry fields, where their Bee Keeper and blueberry experts educated us on bees, and how they help pollinate the blueberry plants. Who knew that honey bees played such an important roll in world of wild berries!



Did you know that bee's are responsible for cultivating about 1/3 of American produce? That includes wild blueberries! So to help pollination, of course Wyman's has it's own honey bees. You can learn about how they are committed to saving the honey bees here. Because NO BEES, NO BERRIES!

In the fields we toured, there were huge hives, home to millions of honey bees. For safety we all had to wear our beekeeper suits... and I had to pack my trusty epi-pen....Yes, I have a bee allergy, and I went to visit 16 million honey bees... Even sticking my bare finger into to part of the hive for some fresh honey. It was incredible, and like no other honey I have ever tasted.



Our tour guides for the day were knowledgeable and taught us so much about cultivation and the importance bees have to a successful blueberry harvest. As if cultivating a bountiful wild blueberry harvest  isn't hard enough, Wymans worries about bees too!



After our tour of the fields and bee hives. We headed back to the Inn for another amazing night of campfire burgers, blueberry s'mores, and of course... more wine!

Thanks you so much Wymans for such an amazing, and informative trip! For more wild blueberry love stay tuned for my Old Fashioned Blueberry Crumble Pie (baked in a skillet!) coming to the blog on Monday.

(Disclaimer: Wyman's Blueberries sent me on an all expense paid trip to Prince Edward Island. I did not receive monetary compensation to write this post. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.)

Thursday, June 30

Sweet Chili-Ponzu Catfish





Subscription boxes are all the rage these days. You can have just about anything sent to your doorstep, and I think it is wonderful. I have tried just about every subscription box I have seen on the internet, and so far I have to say, Blue Apron is my favorite.


As much as I love beauty boxes, clothing fixes, and subscriptions just for my dogs. I love a subscription that will send me everything I need to fix a delicious meal for my family. They have really taken all the hard work out of family dinners!



Monday, June 20

Sweet & Spicy BBQ Pineapple Sausage Tacos with Grilled Corn Relish




Today marks to first day of summer, what better way to celebrate than to invite our friends, and family up to the lake to celebrate with delicious food, mojitos, and of course water games and fun.
As awesome as it is to host a BBQ at home in the comfort of our back yard, it is 100x more awesome to host everyone at our favorite sandbar on Lake Winnisquam. This sandbar is a hot spot for boat goers to anchor in a 1-3 foot deep area in the middle of the lake, set up tables, games, kick back and enjoy the cool water and hot sun.  On summer holidays like Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor day, 100's of boats can be spotted on this one small spot on the lake, it is the biggest party in the Lakes Region every summer.



Al fresco sausage recently contacted me and asked me to develop a recipe using their Sweet & Spicy BBQ Chicken Sausage, and share it with my friends and family at a BBQ. So I did just that, we went and picked everyone up at the docks of our marina, and then trucked them over to the sandbar to enjoy some of my favorite foods, mojitos, cold beer, and of course, Sweet & Spicy BBQ Pineapple Sausage Tacos with Grilled Corn Relish.

My whole family loves al fresco chicken so much, I have used many of the varieties and can honestly say, I have yet to try one that I did not like. But this Sweet & Spicy BBQ Chicken Sausage, is probably my favorite. It's the perfect amount of sweet to offset the spicy, it pairs well in so many dishes, and is even great enjoyed on it's own.  It has 70% less fat than traditional pork sausage, made with all natural ingredients, gluten free, AND fully cooked, so no worries of getting sick from raw chicken!




Since sandbar and boat cooking can be rather tricky, I have to do quite a bit of packing and planning to execute a recipe while standing in 2 feet of water surrounded by boats, frisbees, and Beirut tables. Not to mention the constant sway of the waves. Because I was going to be feeding so many people at the sandbar, I knew we had to plan smart. I can't count how many times we have lost something in the lake, or a wave has come and knocked over my tables, and grill. This time, we brought my kettle bells! I figured, I never exercise  so why not use them to weigh down my tables and grill to ensure they do not get knocked over in the water.  We also, brought with us a  picnic table that is normally used for camping, and had a big umbrella on top, this was excellent for those looking to escape a bit of sun, and for my kids to eat at, away from my boat. Which of course prevents soggy crumbs, and easier clean up at the end of the day. I also prepped all of our food ahead of time, so it was easy to set up and get things grilling with little prep to do on the boat. 



All and all it was a BBQ to remember, my friends and family loved the tacos, we had enough food for us, and to share with the rest of the boating community out on the sandbar. Plus as a bonus, we got to see a bald eagle (not pictured) and a rainbow at the end of the night. That has to be a sign to eat more al fresco sausage right?!




al fresco happens to be  hosting a Grilling Sweepstakes over on their website, not only can you snag some other great recipes developed by some of my blogging buddies, you can also enter to win a new BBQ Grill AND $500! All you have to do is vote for your favorite recipe! (Pssst.... you all are going to vote for my tacos right??) Click here to vote now!


These tacos are so easy to prepare and packed with so much flavor thanks to the al fresco sausage. Top each one with some grilled pineapple, and my favorite grilled corn relish, and then if you are like me... load them with pickled onions. Because pickled onions are awesome! 



Sweet & Spicy BBQ Pineapple Sausage Tacos w/ Corn Relish
Ingredients:
8 flour tortillas
2 packages of al fresco Sweet & Smokey BBQ Chicken Sausage
Half of a small pineapple, cut into spears
3 ears of corn, husks still on
3 limes, juiced
1 red chili pepper, seeds removed and diced
1 tbs pickling spice
1 shallot, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tbs honey
Pinch of salt

Optional Toppings:
Pickled onions
Shredded lettuce
Black beans
Mashed avocado

Directions:

Preheat grill to 400 degrees.

Cut sausages, lengthwise into wedges. Each sausage should be cut into 4 wedges.  
Place sausage, pineapple, and corn cobs on the grill and cook until they are just a bit charred on the outside. Flipping occasionally if needed.

Husk the corn cobs (careful they are hot!) and cut the corn kernels off each cob into a mixing bowl. Toss with the juice of 3 limes, chili pepper, pickle seasoning, shallot, garlic, honey, and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

Chop the grilled pineapple into smaller pieces, place in a bowl for serving.

To serve, place 2-4 sausages wedges in each tortilla, top with pineapple, corn relish, and optional taco toppings.


(Disclaimer: I received monetary compensation from al fresco to develop this recipe and host a BBQ. However as always all opinions expressed are 100% my own!)