Quick Pickled Strawberries with Black Pepper and Tarragon | Simple Bites #recipe #pickles

Quick Pickled Strawberries with Black Pepper and Tarragon

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to host a backyard wedding. You know, a quaint, yet beautiful gathering, where children run barefoot on the grass, and friends and family mingle over generous slices of homemade layer cake.

A reception at home sets the scene for a simplified wedding, where a couple can do away with much of the frills that can (and often do) overtake a event of this nature. Instead it calls for buckets of wildflowers, blush pink raspberry-rhubarb punch, twinkling string lights for when the sun goes down and heaps and heaps of love.

This summer our homestead with be the setting for the wedding reception of a couple most nearest and dearest to us. (Psst, we threw them an engagement party last year.) Danny and I, along with the bride and groom, are thrilled to host this incredibly special event – in our backyard!

So, the big day is coming up in early August and preparations are well under way. Well, pickle-making, at least.

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marinara header image

7 ways to preserve tomatoes for winter

This one will be short, friends, because let’s face it, we all should be canning this weekend. Tomatoes are still lining the aisles at local markets, heaped high in baskets and waiting to be brought home and put up for the winter.

Around here, tomatoes take front and centre in fall preserving. Rather than introduce a new recipe, I though I’d shine a light on a handful from the archives that are tested and perfected to the max.

Take your pick between a simple slow cooker ketchup or a classic Marinara sauce. Stick to whole canned tomatoes or choose to preserve them already crushed. Just get busy!

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Harvest Corn Chowder recipe on www.simplebites.net

How I freeze big batches of sweet corn

For some time now, Clara has been passionately into everything and anything that captures her big brothers’ attentions. In her opinion, they’ve hung the moon and stars and she wants to be just like them.

So she plays LEGO, learns to balance on logs and ‘fences’ with sticks. She chases the soccer ball and dances with abandon to this hit song. It’s cool – if Noah and Mateo think so.

Rewind to July and a big summer picnic we attended. There was a corn shucking contest for the kids, with some tantalizing surprises; Noah and Mateo were all in. Clara witnessed it all from the sidelines as husks flew and cobs piled up. Her brothers didn’t win anything that day, but something was firmly fixed in Clara’s brain: corn shucking was a sport to practice with abandon.

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Rhubarb Vanilla Bean Jelly | Simple Bites #recipe #canning #preserving

Rhubarb Vanilla Bean Jelly

It’s a little late in the season to be sharing rhubarb recipes, but my patch is still producing, fighting for space next to the English peas and the garlic that keeps getting taller.

Besides, I’ve been talking about making this jelly for far too long, ever since a friend brought a case to exchange at my very first ever jam swap. It was a clear favourite of both Danny’s and mine, and we hoarded our jars for as long as possible.

You’d think that after six years I’d develop my own recipe for the rhubarb vanilla jelly, but here’s the honest truth: jelly scared me. Homemade jelly is a whole ‘nother ball of wax from making jam. Jelly either sets or it doesn’t (becoming syrup). It’s cloudy or it’s clear. It either works – or it doesn’t.

Today I’m sharing a homemade jelly recipe that most definitely worked for me. It’s not actually that scary after all.

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A trio of spring pickles: rhubarb, ramps & fiddleheads | Simple Bites

A trio of spring pickles: ramps, rhubarb and fiddleheads

My spontaneous pickling session last week began with a spotless kitchen. Few things are as inspiring as the blank canvas of pristine counters, an empty dishwasher, and every tool at your disposal.

I had just boiled the kettle and made a pot of tea. The afternoon stretched out open ahead of me, a rare block of time when I didn’t have something pressing to attend to.  My mind wandered to the ramps on the forest floor that were rapidly being taken over by dense foliage. Their season had nearly passed and I had only foraged for one handful. If I wanted pickles, today would have to be the day.

Come to think of it, my rhubarb was filling in nicely; I had also wanted to put up a few jars of pickled stalks. I may as well combine the projects. And if I was really going to do this, why leave out the fiddleheads in the refrigerator? Pickled fiddleheads are a must for future salads and cocktail garnishes.

Before I had time to question my ambitions, I filled my canning pot half full of water, lowered 6 jars onto the rack and set it on my gas range. I grabbed a notepad and jotted down a flavor profile for each batch. [Read more…]