Tag Archives: summer

Apricot Jalapeno Jam

My friend Aaron and I, this year! (We've been friends for like over a decade now!)

My friend Aaron and I, this year! (We’ve been friends for, like, over a decade now!)

Everyone needs a friend like Aaron. Aaron is my friend from college that everyone liked and everyone knew. For some reason, he stayed friends with me and pretty much fulfills my happy place when it comes to food. He works in production agriculture so he hooks this girl up with wonderful things like walnuts, oils, and apricots! I try and keep him elbow deep in jam and jelly – everyone seems happy so far.

Aaron apricots! I spent a good two weeks processing these, it was dreamy!

Aaron apricots! I spent a good two weeks processing these, it was dreamy!

Aaron got me something like 40 pounds of apricots this year. I love apricots, they are sweet little golden nuggets of warm delicious goodness. They made a fabulous jam. And jam I did! I made plain apricot, ginger, vanilla, but the best was apricot jalapeno! Something about sweet and spicy brings me joy. 

Apricot-Jalapeno Jam 

  • 3  cups finely chopped apricots (about 25 medium)
  • ½ cup minced jalapeno
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 3-oz pouch liquid pectin
  • 1/2 tsp butter (optional, it keeps the foam down)
  • 5-3/4 cups sugar

 

Instead of chopping the jalapenos and apricots, I just toss them in my trusty cuisinart.

Instead of chopping the jalapenos and apricots, I just toss them in my trusty cuisinart.

Mix apricots, jalapeno, lemon juice and sugar in large saucepan. Add butter. Bring to a rolling boil, one that cannot be stirred down. Add pectin and boil hard for one minute. Remove from heat and skim any foam. Place in jars, adjust lids and bands. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

The best jam I made all summer, hands down. It tastes like summer!

The best jam I made all summer, hands down. It tastes like summer! This makes about 7 half pints.

Serve this jam on cream cheese with wheat thins, or as a marinade on chicken or pork. It’s so good!

Adapted from here.

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Cold Blue Mountain: The Strongest Will

Chico is one of those little towns with a pretty awesome art’s scene. We have music, theater, galleries, famous people – there is a thriving little culture here. Unfortunately, despite my fondest wishes and feeble tries, it is not a culture I am apart of. My talents are more agricultural based. However, I think this has worked to most of our advantages. I often supply various food items for various shows. In fact, I got to cook for this video!

Seriously, you wish you were here.

Seriously, you wish you were here.

My goals for this summer was to swim and fish – regularly. I’ve swam twice and I guess you can say I fished when I used a bucket to scoop out a fish when I was irrigating (I released it back into the creek). It was a busy summer on the Ranch.  But when I heard Cold Blue Mountain was filming a video, I demanded a day off from the cows so I could cook for this video! Plus I knew I could swim. In chlorine. Perfect.

Pay no attention to my rancher's tan. Pay attention to the BEEF!

Pay no attention to my rancher’s tan. Pay attention to the BEEF!

In addition to Brown Ranch Beef, I made potato salad and tomato, onion and cucumber salad from our garden veggies! I also got to bust out some pickles and peppers I canned, and some jam and jelly. I simply love to cook for a crowd. It’s a good challenge. It ended up being a really awesome day! I got to hang out with fun, artistic people, I got to cook and swim!

My favorite picture from the day.

My favorite picture from the day.

Cold Blue Mountain is yet another band Daniel Taylor is a member of, (as you recall he’s posted here before). This band is a whisper more, um…..heavy….than I am used to, which is funny to me because these are some of the nicest, most sensitive dudes I know! Please enjoy this video and thank you, CBM, for letting me be apart of it!

Seriously, they sent handmade thank you cards.

Seriously nicest metal band I know, they sent handmade thank you cards.

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Wordless Wednesday: Cows in the Mist

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Zucchini Pickles

http://www.fix.com/blog/national-zucchini-day/

In honor of “sneak some zucchini onto your neighbor’s porch” night, I thought this would be a good time to share with you my latest new favorite thing: zucchini pickles. I know, I know, at this point in the summer you are tired of squash. I was too, until I tried these!

Neighbor Pete told me his Mom used to make pickles out of zucchini and they were delicious. I was hesitant to say the least. But since he gave me several pounds of zucchini and a couple of onions from his garden, I decided to at least try!

Pete's garden zucchini

Pete’s garden zucchini

Guess what? They were amazing. I couldn’t even tell they were zucchini pickles, they tasted and had the texture of normal cucumber pickles! If you have a bunch of extra zucchini (who doesn’t, amirite?) I highly recommend you give these a go!

Lucas Family Bread and Butter Pickle Recipe

  • 1 gallon sliced zucchini
  • 2 big onions, sliced
  • 1/3 cup pickling salt
  • 1 quart vinegar
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 3-4 cinnamon sticks
Soaking in salt ice is an important step, don't skip it.

Soaking in salt ice is an important step, don’t skip it.

Soak the zucchini, onions, and salt in an ice water bath for two and half hours. Rinse in cold water.

Invest in a cheap mandoline, it is worth it for the beautiful, uniform slices and not stitches!

Invest in a cheap mandoline, it is worth it for the beautiful, uniform slices and not stitches!

Bring the rest of the ingredients to a boil. I let it boil about 5 minutes. Put about half of the rinsed zucchini and onions in the pickling mixture to scald. Then place in sterilized, hot jars. Do the same with the rest of the zucchini and onions, making sure to pack them tightly and to remove air bubbles.

Your pickling liquid.

Your pickling liquid.

 Adjust your lids and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Glorious, glorious bread and butter pickles!

Glorious, glorious bread and butter pickles!

Let them “pickle” for about two weeks to really get the full effect. Also if you are a fan of spice, add some peppers in there! I’ve been adding jalapenos into some jars and it makes the pickles even better!

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Wordless Wednesday: The House Eagle

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Wordless Wednesday: Sunflowers

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Balsamic Tomato Basil Jam

As you recall I made a tomato jam earlier in the summer. It was glorious, I mean, honestly, on a sandwich, it almost made me cry. I also made a port-balsamic jelly which was pretty good. Naturally this got me to thinking about more balsamic recipes and more tomato recipes.

Then my Mom found and made this recipe. It tasted amazing. But I thought it could be more vinegar-y and more basil-y. So I played around and came up with this version. It’s a whisper more savory than the other recipe I posted before. I like this one better, simply because of the vinegar taste. I love vinegar.

The summer of glorious tomatoes. My inner canner is so stoked.

The summer of glorious tomatoes. My inner canner is so stoked.

Balsamic Tomato Basil Jam

  • 3 cups peeled and chopped tomatoes (I leave the skins and seeds in, I worked hard to grow my tomatoes and I like the texture)
  • 1/2 cups good balsamic vinegar (I recommend Lucero brand)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 3 teaspoons finely minced garlic (I used fresh, but the stuff in the jar works great too)
  • 1/4 cup finely minced onion (we’ve made it with and without, both are good)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons Ball classic pectin
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
One of my favorite smells. Fresh basil.

One of my favorite smells. Fresh basil.

Put the first 9 ingredients in a large heavy bottomed saucepan, and stir well.

Place over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Mix in the sugar. When the full rolling boil takes place again, start timing and cook jam for 6 minutes.

Yum.

Yum.

Remove from heat, stir in basil and fill jars. Process jars in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

This is fabulous on sandwiches, over cream cheese, on toast, straight from the jar. I’m probably going to make a few more batches to give as gifts, it’s that good.

Probably my second favorite jam of this season (the first is jalapeno).

Probably my second favorite jam of this season (the first is jalapeno).

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Tomato Basil Jam

My little garden is kicking some serious garden butt. Now that the deer leave it alone, my green thumb finally has a chance to be green, and it feels good man. Even though I cannot stand fresh tomatoes (go here to read why), I still feel a sense of duty to plant them. I mean, come on, what kind of summer garden doesn’t have a couple tomato plants? Plus they remind me of my Papa.

Anyway, I have so many tomatoes I had to find something to do with them other than make salsa and feed them to Silly pig. Since I am in the middle of my canning obsession, it’s only natural I canned them. I found a recipe that I would actually eat – and out to the garden I went (I love having a garden)!

Fresh tomatoes and basil.  The smell of summer.

Fresh tomatoes and basil. The smell of summer.

Tomato-Basil Jam

from Better Homes and Gardens

2 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled  (I didn’t peel mine because, well, why? I wanted the texture.)

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 cups sugar

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 package powdered fruit pectin or 6 tablespoons powdered fruit pectin

Seed, core and finely chop the tomatoes. They should equal 3 1/2 cups. Place in heavy bottomed pot. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Measure 3 1/3 cups tomatoes, return to the pot. Stir in lemon juice and basil.

My seeded, chopped, tomatoes, with the skins on, oops.

My seeded, chopped, tomatoes, with the skins on. And chop your tomatoes a whisper finer than this.

In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup of the sugar and the pectin; stir into the tomato mixture. Bring to a full roiling boil, stirring constantly. Stir in the remaining 2 3/4 cups sugar. Return to a full boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim any foam off.

I wish we could share smell via the Internets, because this smelled like a big cup of summer, yum.

I wish we could share smell via the Internets, because this smelled like a big cup of summer, yum.

Ladle hot jam into hot sterilized half-pint canning jars. Leave 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust lids.

Process jars in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes.

I was trying to think ahead with this recipe. I was thinking about the winter, and the rain and how yummy this jam would be on grilled cheese with some soup. It was pretty yummy on regular toast too.

I was trying to think ahead with this recipe. I was thinking about the winter, and the rain and how yummy this jam would be on grilled cheese with some soup. It was pretty yummy on regular toast too.

A few more resources for you:

Tomato Jam (it has apple!) – http://userealbutter.com/2012/09/09/jennies-tomato-jam-recipe/

More information about breeding tomatoes – http://monsantoblog.com/2012/08/10/an-afternoon-with-meg-doug-the-tomato-dude/

An old family recipe – http://www.gratefulprayerthankfulheart.com/2013/04/grandmom-gaskills-tomato-jam.html

More about Monsanto – http://www.lenejohansen.com/?p=863

Food in Jars! – http://foodinjars.com/2010/09/tomato-jam/

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Wordless Wednesday: Selfies After Eating Beets

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Wordless Wednesday: Ranchie and Her Buck

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