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been challenging lately and the forest brings medicine on so many levels. we found the first chanterelles, wee pigs ears, and logs covered in oyster trees. the last gasp on the way home, looking over my shoulder was a perfect white chanterelle clump. blessings arrive in different forms.
then we cracked a bottle of wine to early for saturday.
A few days ago my dear friend Isabel brought me a basket of her beautiful pears. They were at peak ripeness and truly the most creamy and fragrant pear I've ever eaten. I did not have any time to just sit and look at how gorgeous they were so this morning broke down and made this pear chutney. The pears were so fragrant and the flavor of them so delicate and distinctive that I kept the spices very light as not to over power the pears delicacy, but enough to coax some exotic nuances to the palette. I used about 3 lbs of pears, which made this yield of 7.5 pints. In a large saucepan, I sauteed in about 1/4 organic safflower oil a finely chopped red onion, a nice hunk of finely chopped ginger root. Four serrano chilis, cut with the seeds, in thin rounds. The pears I diced into medium chunks. When the onions and peppers become clear add 1 tlb of Garam Masala, the pears, 1.5 cups of organic sugar ,1 generous cup of dried currents. 1 tlb of mustard seed, several saffron threads, 1 cinnamon stick and about a half cup of white balsamic vinegar, a bit of salt. Let simmer until the flavors have blended and the pears are well cooked. Put in your jars and process for 15 minutes.
This year I planted a single lemon cucumber. It must love being an only child as it has produced and is still producing oodles of cucumbers. This recipe is for the refrigerator and so simple to do. I recommend you just leave them be, if you can for at least a week before you dive in as they do get better with age. I used about 5lbs of cucumbers and this gave me about 5 and a half pints. Other varieties such as Armenian and Persian work as well. If you have several kinds it's nice to mix them together for texture and color. Cut the cucumbers fairly thin , about 1/8th inch and place in a large bowl. I used two medium sized yellow onions and about 10 cloves of garlic, which I sliced thin as well. Add to the cucumbers and salt with about 1 tablespoon of good sea salt. You'll then bring about 6 cups of vinegar ( i used a mix of Bragg's organic apple cider and unseasoned rice vinegars) salted with 2 tlb of good quality sea salt to near boiling point In the bowl add a few whole cloves, a few tablespoons of coriander seed and multi colored peppercorns. Toss well with about 1 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and put in your clean jars, don't pack too tight. Add a couple of bay leaves and Arbol chilis to the jars. Pour in the warmed brine and fill to brim of jars. You can add a bit of water if you don't have enough vinegar to fill. Close them up and then let them cool before refrigerating. Variations adding fresh Dill or fresh wild Fennel Enjoy!