Friday, December 12, 2014

Turkey Trot, quince, Buddha's hand and tomatoes

November/December 2014

Last of the tomatoes and first of the citrus!  The Buddha's hand on the left is kind of out of control.  I will turn it into candied citron for the holidays.  The tiny lemons on the right are some of the first off my tree.  I planted it probably 5 years ago and it never did anything.  I figured I would rip it out this fall, so of course there were flowers this summer-no problem!  And the last of the tomatoes-not really fantastic tasting off the vine, but I don't want to waste them.

So I oiled and flavored them up and slow roasted for 6 hours!  This pic is from about halfway

Put them through the food mill and voila-great sauce.

Oh the annual Turkey Trot! 
 We wore our traditional food hats-the hamburger, the hot dog and the lobster.

The Palmer chiropractors have been a staple of this race since the beginning and the inspiration for the costume contest.

See all the vertebrae?

Tots adorbs


that we were there!

And I'm still working on the quince
Clean off the fuzz

Boil for a few hours, let the juice drain for jelly 

Love that it turns from yellow to pink.

and mash the pulp in the food mill
I mixed some with cranberries, spread it thin and baked low and slow

to make fruit leather!

Cut into neat strips, roll in parchment and you get fruit roll-ups!  This has been my best yet, I've made plain quince, added blueberries, cranberries and figs, both with and without added sugar.  This is definitely a new favorite!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Crangrapemon my answer to the Cherpumple

Thanksgiving 2014

If you have been on the internet recently, you have seen the Cherpumple, special for Thanksgiving.  Clearly Charles Phoenix is a genius-we saw one of his holiday shows and it was hilarious.  Clearly the world needs a turducken of desserts.  But I am not about all that crust and I don't want to frost that, or try to serve it.  Instead I found a way to make it our own-lemon bars and grape pie/tart baked inside cranberry cornmeal poundcake.

Big success!

First a bottom crust straight out of Betty Crocker

and lemon bars.  A classic!  My twist is that it is not lemon, but rangpur limes.  Unfortunately in the final product we couldn't really tell-so much sugar!

mmmmm, lime bars.

Grape pie filling-made from Concord grapes, a little extra work, but worth it.  This time I used cornstarch as a thickener, but I want to try to find ClearJel.

I put the grape filling on the same crust as the lime bars.

Ready to go!

Then I cut the bars into long strips

L prepared her special cranberry cornmeal poundcake recipe, which is never exactly the same, but always works out.  For the bottom cake layer we left out the cranberries, the started adding the bars

The lime bars were perfectly sturdy, but the grape was a little messy.

But it worked out okay!  We dropped in cranberries between the layers

And then added the rest of the pound cake mix.

Woo hoo!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Bike trip down the California coast, Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara

Sept 2014,  Bike trip down the California coast
Day 5, Pismo Beach to Lompoc

Hey look at our awesome socks!  Thanks L! 
This is before we used them :)

Ummm, I don't have any actual photos from that day.  All inland, so not the most scenic.  We went past a lot of farmland...with a lot of folks picking lettuce and strawberries in the hot sun....the only town is Santa Maria which has a cemetery at one end and the only public bathroom in town at the gas station on the other end.  
It does end on a highlight though-we were staying in an area of Lompoc called the Wine Ghetto-seriously, it was advertised on the city signs and had the best dinner!  Floriano's Mexican Food-carne asada fries and the manwich burrito. 

Here are some photos from our ride into Pismo Beach.
up up up we go

yeah-the top!

Me and my bike!
Despite this day being less than inspiring, I would do it again for the sake of the whole trip-which was awesome!

Day 6, Lompoc to Carpentia
Leaving Lompc (wait, is this Lompoc...hmmm, close enough).  Okay, at this point I admit that I am feeling a bit tired.  The quads are tired and complainy when off the bike.  The funny thing is they stop hurting on day 7....the day we stop riding!!

The morning ride is super nice though, not much with the traffic, the cloud cover keeps me from being too warm.  There is a fellow cyclists with full paniers.  I pass him, he passes me, I pass him, he passes me.
We are not at the ocean though, so it looks a lot like this.

And then highway 1 and 101 join
here is what it looks like from the closed rest stop.  Bonus-on a bike, you can get off at the rest stop anyway and there is usually a port a potty!  I do this for a mile and then call my support car because I don't like biking with semis passing me every minute.  Luckily only 15 miles down the road the very friendly and well signed trail begins again.

If there was a sign saying Pacific Coast Trail, we took it!
It is a great ride through Santa Barbara and to the outskirts of Carpenteria where we had our best meal of the trip at Zookers.  We all had lovely drinks and seafood dinners

OMG we made it, me, Rickshaw and DancinTurtle.  If you want more awesome photos of our trip and way better writing, check out DancinTurtles blog.  Really, she is way funnier than I am!
Big thanks to Rickshaw for carrying my food and stuff in her panniers!

Couldn't have done it without our trusty support car-also the puzzle master who got 3 bikes on the rack so that we didn't have to make the return trip by bike too :)

Shout out to Ben who is WALKING across the USA.  This is why I love this-you think you are kind of nuts and then you meet someone who is more nuts AND more awesome.  We met him just before he was getting to Bixby Bridge-check out his post on that experience!

I was very good with sunscreen on the face and shoulders....but not with the knuckles-here is my biking gloves tan :0

And finally, banana man
We know he eats at least 10 bananas a day at regularly spaced intervals.  And then he drops the peel IN THE BIKE LANE.  Seriously, what kind of cyclist does that to the other cyclists.  Sigh!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween and harvest, 2014

Halloween, 2014

Our famous yearly pumpkins-a bunch of great people died but we highlighted...

Robin Williams-thanks to TRoz and DancinTurtle!!

And then I did Scooby Doo because we dressed up as

Shaggy, Thelma, Fred, Daphne and Scooby
Mystery Inc!  Not perfect, but not bad for almost no money or time.  Shaggy owned everything, Thelma looked for orange socks but couldn't find them, Fred did buy a white sweater and I bleached an old pair of brown tights until they were pink!

Harvest wise this year was a banner year for quince.
The quince is the most unknown fruit I've worked with, usually mistaken for a pear.  Don't be fooled-they are basically inedible raw.

I have a coworker with a bunch of trees-he gave me 50 lbs.  Luckily, they ripen slowly and smell AMAZING.  I walk past the cupboard and open it like 3 times a day just for the scent.

To use them, I cook, drain the cooking liquid to use for jelly, then put the paste through my old fashioned food mill.

Further cook down the paste
 into membrillo.  It is supposed to have the consistency of a gummy candy.  I am not quite there yet, but I have a lot more fruit to practice on.  The versions that are too soft are basically jam-delicious on toast etc.  It is often served with a nice hard cheese-a great combination!

I also got a lot of persimmons.  These are a little tricky because they go from too astringent to too squishy in 24 hours.  Basically I was looking at them twice a day, picking the ripe ones, scooping out the insides and freezing them on the spot.  So far the best use I have found is James Beards Amazing Persimmon Bread.

And of course there are too many peppers again this year.  But we have found that folks like the spicy pickled vegetables.

Not bad, not bad!