AJ and I are back from our shortened three-week road trip (which hopefully some of you followed along on our Instagram feeds). I say shortened which is totally relative because most people don’t have the luxury of taking three weeks off to gallivanting across the country. Thankfully AJ’s a professor so that means he gets the summer off and I freelance. But for us, three weeks is short compared to our epic seven-week trip last summer. But I have a cookbook to write as well as many other work obligations so three week will have to do. We camped half the time in national parks all over Utah (where we nearly passed out from heat) and Colorado (where we nearly were eaten alive by mosquitos), stayed in hotels, motels as well as a glorious couple of days with my friend Jen & Jeremy in Crested Butte, Colorado. We arrived back to San Francisco a few days ago and I’m still adjusting to being back, plowing through three weeks of old emails, a stack of physical mail and getting used to showering every day. So no recipe this week, but I’ll be back soon with recipes, photos from our trip and (hopefully) some more awesome stuff for you all. Yay for being home (I think)!
Learning how to make plum jam is easy with this plum jam recipe that uses lavender to give the preserve a gorgeous floral depth.
I’ll be honest. I’m not a canning expert. In fact, other than the one experience I had using the oven method (which totally seems safe but apparently a lot of people told me isn’t), I’ve never really done it. But I do make tons of jam when the season hits and usually then frantically eat tons of toast to use it up because I’m too lazy (and slightly scared) to can. Of course this year, for various reasons, I decide to bite the bullet and can my fruit jam so I can enjoy it for the rest of the year. The main reason being my backyard plum tree decided to become insanely prolific this year, like Joyce Carol Oates prolific. This meant I had to learn how to make plum jam, something I’ve done before but never gotten around to canning. Turns out the effort was worth it because now I can enjoy my lavender plum jam for the rest of the year. (Jump directly to the recipe.)
Plums, by the way, happen to make a wonderful jam, something that I never had growing up. Cherry, strawberry, grape and raspberry jams and jellies all appeared in my childhood pantry (well, most my friend’s pantry, we weren’t really a jam sort of family) but plum wasn’t there. If we’re confessing truths, our family was a grocery store jam sort of kind, the ones that always had some forgotten dried out strawberry jam, the cloyingly sweet and neon red type one with the red gingham lid. It was used as often as the dried up brick of brown sugar in the pantry, which means it never really was used at all.
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This zucchini pasta recipe, a summer vegetable recipe of zucchini, corn and tomatoes makes for a great side dish or vegan friendly main course!
“Why would anyone pick summer squash like zucchini over other vegetables?” exclaimed my friend as the four of us sat in the oversized booth meant for six people. It was getting late and we had waited an extra half hour for our reservations. Though the restaurant had been kind enough to offer us free drinks for our inconvenience that just seemed to exacerbate everyone’s hangry attitude. Booze on an empty stomach seemed like a recipe for disaster. I tried to protest that I actually really like zucchini but he just waved his hand and said we should ordering the asparagus instead and the other three in the party nodded their heads in agreement. Sad ubiquitous zucchini was NOT a popular summer vegetable in this group. (Jump directly to the recipe.)
“And let’s not get started on that ridiculous zucchini pasta thing that I keep seeing all over. That is just wrong.” he said, and then firmly grasped his double old fashioned glass and took a hefty swig of whatever trendy cocktail the bar had given him. The large clear square of ice clinked against the side of the glass as he drained the last of the brown fluid in one gulp. I could see the brown kicking in.
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