I love Marisa McClellan’s blog Food In Jars (and was so lucky to take her pear-vanilla jam class last fall – especially since we have pears on our tree for the first time this spring!!)… but I’m still waiting for the first round of spring and summer things to preserve. I’m definitely doubling my jam production from last year – Pearl and her love for PB+Js cleaned me out of my 2011 supply about two weeks ago – and I am so excited to make homemade tomato sauce again.
But both those summery things seem pretty far away on a rainy May afternoon – I’ve been cooking and freezing plenty of things when I have time, but I’m getting impatient to try making something new that feels like spring. So I was super excited to find Marisa’s post on chive blossom vinegar this week! I just dug all my herbs into the ground on Sunday and getting acquainted with them again and cooking with them has been fun. And luckily I had a bottle of white vinegar sitting around, so I could try my hand at a half-half-pint of her recipe!
I also had lots of sage blossoms so I thought I’d go renegade and try a version with those, too. I rinsed them in two small separate bowls, dried them off,
and added the chive blossoms to a half-pint and the sage blossoms to a pint jar and covered them with vinegar. This is what they looked like right after I closed the lids.
And here they are just 24 hours later – the sage especially is a brilliant infused violet color already, very cool!
The chive blossom one has turned a more subtle, softer lavender.
Thirteen days to go and I’ll see how they turn out fully finished… and this weekend I’m heading to the farmer’s market for the first time this year, so I hope this is just the first of lots of chances to can good things in jars, and add new things to my family cookbook!
Speaking of… Marisa has a brand-new FIJ cookbook out I just can’t wait to get, and in addition to a lot of East Coast events, she’ll be teaching a strawberry-lemon jam class at KitchenCru (super recommended) and doing a signing at Powell’s/Pastaworks next month. I have it on my calendar and I’m looking forward to reviewing her book here in the next couple of weeks, too!
This spring has kind of brought a bit of everything at once – rainy, then sunny, then rainy again… crazy busy, then blissed out on vacation, then back to the laptop… sewing, cooking, gardening, a long-awaited new fence, birthdays, and bagels! I have a lot of catching up to do, so I wanted to share some of my May favorites (so far).
The first Friday of the month, I took an amazing class from my friend Heather and learned how to make homemade bagels – such a great morning. I wasn’t sure I could duplicate her magic and skill at home, but sure enough, my first two dozen bagels (half sesame, half plain) following her recipe and tips turned out pretty perfect. I’m in love. Thank you, Heather!!
Then, my sweet Pearl turned four (!) so I just had to drop everything else and make her a birthday skirt. I fell in love with an apron at a vintage store in Silverton last month, and cut it up to make the cutest little skirt for her. She’s a big girl now who won’t wear anything except exactly what she wants to, so I kind of held my breath while she opened the new tote bag I sewed her to see what was inside…
but she loved it and put it right on for her birthday party and beyond. Happiness! I also got to make my favorite cupcakes (with purple frosting, by request) and a “triple berry cake” (aka blueberry boy bait + raspberries + marionberries). The girl loves her sweets, and you only turn four once.
I forgot to get a first-day shot of planting my garden this spring, but this is about three or four weeks in (I started later than usual, after an epically rainy March). Everything is loving it so far – from left to right, it’s spinach, mustard greens, dinosaur kale, white russian kale, and chard. I have beets and leeks in a smaller bed and I’m hoping to put in my tomatoes soon too, then summer squash a little later on. Tucked behind all the greens, which you can’t really see, I finally took my herbs out of all their random-sized containers and dug them into a real garden bed. I also rescued my little blueberry bushes and pomegranate from the relentless grass invasion all that rain brought, and we have about two dozen tiny Bartlett pears nestled in on our tree! I’m pretty excited… almost five years into living in our house, I feel like my yard is finally becoming what I hoped for, after a lot of baby steps forward (most recently, a birthday sandbox and a new fence!). We have flowers, native plants, and succulents planted on one side of the house, and herbs, berries, and the vegetable garden on the other.
We went away with the kids for a very needed long weekend to Mt. Hood on Wednesday and stayed at the sweetest cabin. Such a beautiful place, right on a creek, with a hammock and a hot tub and green everywhere you looked.
Along with lots of easy 18-month-old-friendly hikes, splashing in the Columbia River, skipping stones in the creek, and getting an ice cream cone in Hood River, we headed up to Timberline Lodge for a grilled cheese (Pearl and Everett) and a glass of wine (me and Andrew) and spent half an hour gazing out the window at this view. The photo above is just a regular old iPhone snapshot, no editing or anything.
This second one is a Hipstamatic from the same spot. (I find it totally impossible to stop taking photos of Mt. Hood.) Bonus – I just learned from Merritt that those amazing cloud formations we were admiring, gracefully skirting the summit, are called lenticular!
I bought this dreamy little succulent dish garden with two teeny cairns and a few seashells mixed in at the Saturday Market in Hood River. So beautiful! I wish the vendor (Rose) had a card so I could credit her, but she said she was just getting started and this was her first event ever…
Midway through our idyllic getaway was a really awesome May PMQG meeting I drove back for. I am so excited that Nancy finished quilting my Oceanside quilt and I got to share it at show and tell! She did a really cool all-over quilting pattern of waves with three whales here and there – a small, medium, and big one. I love whales so much and this was just perfect.
If anyone is interested in the process, I’m hoping to write up a longer post about how I made Oceanside… and it will be at Sisters so I’m very excited about that!
Hopefully I’ll have a side-by-side photo of the quilt with the Oceanside sign that inspired it to share soon too…