Canning, Uncategorized

Cool as a Cuke

It’s Summer.  It’s hot and some of my favorite vegetables are in season: okra, shishito peppers, and tomatoes.  Watermelon (yes, I realize this is a fruit) and cucumbers are runners up and with cucumbers means PICKLES!

I’ve been waiting since January, when I finished my last jar of bread and butter pickles, for cucumbers to make their come back.  I made sure to get some at the HOPE Farmer’s Market from Johnson’s Backyard Garden this weekend.

I spent Sunday afternoon slicing, packing, and brining these crisp cucumbers.  I still use the recipe Grandmother, Nettie, gave me.  It’s still on the same piece of paper she typed it up on her typewriter eight years ago.  My Grandmother passed away a few years ago and my family is delighted that her recipe was passed on.

That being said…

Austinites! I will be selling these pints of pickles at the HOPE Farmer’s Market this Sunday.  Swing by and get you some!  They’re just like Nettie used to make!

 

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12 Day of Crafting, Canning, Uncategorized

12 Days of Crafting: Day 3

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Day 3: Drop a Beet, Yo

It is no secret that I love beets.  I love them pickled, roasted, fried, and tattooed on my leg, boiled, you name it. Beyond the delightful taste, the brilliant colors have always been something that has gotten me too.  I don’t even mind my hands being pink for days.  So now that beets are in season, it should be no surprise that I am picking them up at the farmers market like they are going out of style. This past Sunday, I stopped by the Johnson’s Backyard Garden booth and loaded up on about 5 pounds of beets in order to whip up a batch of my Lemon and Clove Pickled Beets!

I find that beets are always on the sweeter side when they are pickled, because of the amount of sugar that is in them naturally.  I like to play off of the sweetness with a little bit of tartness from the lemon and the slightest spice from cloves.  Cloves and lemon can both be tricky because a little bit can go a long way, not to mention, paired with the wrong beet, it can turn into a bitter situation.  I find that this early in the winter season, the beets are perfect: small and sweet.

These pints will be available at the Bluebonnet Bazaar on December 13th!  They are great in salads and sandwiches (think peppery arugula and goat cheese) or just right out of the jar!

For more information on the Bluebonnet Bazaar: Click here!

Cocktails, Recipes, Uncategorized

Last of the Season: Melons & Margaritas

IMG_0258Summer is slowly coming to an end, which in Texas, means cooler weather is rapidly approaching. In fact, we actually got some this weekend, but I’m not holding my breath as this weeks forecast is back up in the nineties.  While we are all itching to bust out our sweaters and scarves, This particular seasonal crossover allows for glorious finds at the farmers market. The last cucumbers, melons, and peppers are still making an appearance, but the fall favorites are starting to show themselves too. Although, I am eagerto be able to walk outside without my make up sliding off my face, I am not quite ready to let summer slip through my fingers. Reflecting on these last few months, I definitely got in my vacation time, hiking, swimming at the springs, but the one thing I did not get my fill of are summer fruit and margaritas. Now, in most cases, they don’t have to be combined. In this instance, I went for the most bang for my buck. Inspired by Rio Rita’s Honeydew Thyme infused tequila, I grabbed a cantaloupe and jalapeños from the farmers market. I’ve dipped my fingers into infusing many a time (yes, the rumors of bacon infused vodka are true), but for the sake of quenching my thirst, the juicer came out!

I’m looking forward to drinking this Jalapeño Cantaloupe Margarita next year, all summer long.

Jalapeño Cantaloupe Margarita

  • 1/2 cantaloupe, cubed
  • 1 jalapeño (seeds removed)
  • 1 lime- tequila of choice-triple sec (or Cointreau)
  • ice
  • agave (optional)

Put cantaloupe, jalapeño, and half of the lime through the juicer. In a glass, pour 2 parts tequila and 1 part triple sec over ice, top off with melon pepper mix. Garnish with lime wedge.

Note: I find margaritas are very personal, just like coffee in the morning. Some like them stronger, sweeter, or more sour. I dissolved a little agave and shook it in with the mix and tequila. However, you like your margarita, this one is delicious! Enjoy!

Uncategorized

Feeling Like Popeye, Soon Enough

20140401-074411.jpgWe all remember Popeye, right? And his trusty can of spinach? Well, after a weekend of celebrating one of my best friends getting married by way of bachelorette party, I think it is fair to say I have been feeling the furthest away from having any super hero qualities. Butter, fried food, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and admittedly, more alcohol, my body has been in dire need of me to press the reset button. So… Out comes the juicer!

When working at Johnson’s Backyard Garden, customers always wanted any knowledge you could give on what to to juice. There was always one juice recipe that I just had to share with everyone. I told them it was like my very own Popeye Drink. I would have people come back time and time again exclaiming, “My goodness! You weren’t kidding!” Yes, it has spinach, but the other power ingredient: dandelion greens. I’m sure some scoff at the idea of drinking a weed, although not recommended to pluck the ones from your backyard, but this little guy is so great for your liver! (Perfect after this past weekend of debauchery.) I’m not the type of person that can brave eating dandelion greens in a salad or sautéed, but juiced with the right ingredients to cut out the bitterness, I find it quite delightful. Check it out:

Laura Lee’s Popeye Drink

1 bunch dandelion greens
1 bunch spinach
1/2 a pineapple
1 to 2 oranges
Ginger (to taste)

Juice. Drink.  Enjoy.

Note: I love ginger. Some peoples digestive tracks don’t handle it to well. I typically put 1-2 inch cube in mine, but you’re welcome to adjust accordingly.

Uncategorized

2 Doors

They say when one door closes another opens.  We all know it to be true.  That being said I would like to dedicate this post to Johnson’s Backyard Garden as a farewell.  I was with JBG for three years and have closed the door so to speak.  It saddens me quite a bit to move on, but the phrase, “My back hurts,” or “I’m getting too old for this,” seems to be flying out of my mouth on a a much more regular basis.  No worries, you will still find me in their booth at the farmers market every week filling my bag with delicious organic vegetables!  What can I say?  I’m hooked!  Wouldn’t you be with produce like this?

Below is a collection of photos that I have taken over the last year from various farmer’s markets I have worked!  Enjoy!

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