Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sun Tea and Peach Vinegar

But not together. That would just be gross!

I'd like to share with you the science experiments I've got brewing in our home. 

Experiment number one: Sun Tea

On our way back from berry and apple picking in Oak Glen, Jonathan and I stopped by the home of our good friends from college, Andrew and Amanda. They were generous enough to give us some of their time rather last minute, and to share the secret of Sun Tea with us! Oh it was so good.

It's simple, really. Place four tea bags in a pitcher of water, stick in sun, forget about it all day, pop some ice cubes in a glass when you get home from work and drink your delicious, sun-brewed tea. Why not harness the power of sunshine, especially when you live in a place like Southern California?? Oh, and you can also do this with coffee in a french press!

Ok, number two: peach vinegar.

Really, I should say fruit scrap vinegar because you can use any fruit, as far as I know. So far I've done it with strawberry tops and now peach peels.

Isn't that just so pretty? The floating mass on top is all of the peach peels, the liquid below is the sugar water that's turning into vinegar. Heeeere's how you do it:

Step 1: Get the idea to make some sort of fruity delight. In this instance, I wanted to make peach butter.
Step 2: Wash and peel your fruit.
Step 3: Set aside the fruit peels instead of throwing them on the compost/trash.
Step 4: Finish your fruit recipe
Step 5: Remember your fruit peels! Say "aha! I will make vinegar with these peels!"
Step 6: Place your fruit peels in a VERY clean jar.
Step 7: Pour water into jar, covering fruit.
Step 8: Mix in 1/4 cup sugar into jar, stir to combine. (I used a 24 oz jar. adjust ammt of sugar for a smaller or larger jar)
Step 9: Secure a piece of cloth over the jar so it can breathe but the flies can't get in. Keep on your kitchen counter.
Step 10: Stir every day.
Step 11: In 1 week, strain the solids out of the jar and keep the liquid. Keep the liquid out with the lid covered with cloth, as before. Oh, and you can put your spent peels in the compost now.
Step 12: Freak out a little bit when a glob forms on top of your vinegar in a few days. Research it and realize it's the "vinegar mother," and then celebrate when you understand that means you've successfully made vinegar!
Step 13: Once your vinegar has reach the flavor you desire, scoop off the mother (don't throw her away, you can use her to jump-start future vinegars!), and refrigerate.
Step 14: If you want your vinegar to last longer than a couple of weeks, you can heat process it as you would for canning. Don't ask me the recipe for this: I've never done it and have no clue how. Research this elsewhere :)

My plan is to make a peach vinaigrette! Doesn't that sound yummy?

What kitchen science have you tried lately?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Let this day go down in history... the day I harvested the most beautiful basil leaves.

Seriously, aren't those gorgeous?

So as many of you have probably figured out, I was in over my head with the blog the honeymoon journal posts. I couldn't meet my deadlines, adding the pictures took for ever, blah blah blah. So then I just said phoey, blog. I've got better things to do, and I went on living my life.

Of course, in the last 2 months there have been moments when I've happened to have my camera and I've happened to think "Oh! This will be great for the blog!" *Photo Snapped and Saved* Not to mention a few of you have asked "When will you be blogging again?", which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and happy that someone wants to read about my life, in cyberspace, lol.

With any major life change, there's an adjustment period, and that's precisely what's been going on around here since June 18. Actually, the beginning of July. Honeymoon doesn't count - that's just living on cloud nine. It's been a lot of fun, figuring out how to live with each other, and finally our lives are beginning to slip into some sort of routine. It involves lots of watching a lot of "The Office" together, frozen yogurt runs, evening walks, cooking for two, and getting over the fact that I'll always be the first one to go to bed.

I suppose that little reflective paragraph is another stab at explaining my absence from the blog :)

But alas, I miss the blogging world and so I am back in action. Since July, we've really done a lot in the way of homemaking and general adventuring:

Project: Put veggie garden into backyard. This is a before pic
Here's an in-process pic. Will show what it looks like when it's all done!

Jonathan made this awesome sifter out of an old shipping pallet and some hardware cloth. Now we can sift our compost.

Friday night is farmer's market pizza night! Gotta love making new traditions.

That table was $10 at a yard sale. Jonathan sanded and refinished it. Doesn't it look great??

We went apple picking in Oak Glen...which made great applesauce!

Picked some raspberries, too. Made raspberry-mint sorbet with our new ice-cream maker. Yum!
So, there you have it. We're still alive and kicking and learning new skills along the way. I just realized - each of these photos represents something we just learned how to do: put in a garden, build a sifter, make pizza from scratch, sand and refinish a table, make applesauce and, that's a lot! No wonder I'm tuckered out!

Until next time, folks!


P.S. I'll post the honeymoon pics on facebook soonish, so FB friends have no fear you'll be able to see the rest at some point in time :)