Raspberry Picking Paskorz Berry Farm

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Berry Picking at Paskorz Berry Farm

I'm just making the rounds, berry-picking my way around Pittsburgh. This time it was raspberries, black raspberries, and blueberries at Paskorz Berry Farm 45 minutes northeast of Pittsburgh. There were plenty of black raspberries, but considerably fewer red raspberry bushes/options. Let's not even talk about blueberries. We had to buy a pre-picked pint to meet our 3 cup requirement for small batch blueberry jam with lavender.

Berry Picking at Paskorz Berry Farm
Berry Picking at Paskorz Berry Farm
Berry Picking at Paskorz Berry Farm
Berry Picking at Paskorz Berry Farm
Berry Picking at Paskorz Berry Farm

Success? Corn Salsa

Friday, July 25, 2014

Roasted Corn Salsa

Lately, I put corn salsa on everything. Veggies. Salads. Sandwiches. Omelettes. Burritos. The Roasted Corn Salsa from Food in Jars is a jack-of-all-trades.

My beginning canning efforts failed to understand that you should probably have enough brine to cover all the vegetables, and if you don't you should add more apple cider vinegar. You should probably also tap the jars on the counter before topping to expel some of the air bubbles and twirl a chopstick in there for the same effect. But this is life, and we stored the salsa in the fridge and consumed it in 2 weeks. No harm, no foul.

[Edit: It has come to my attention that so long as the airtight seal is good, the food inside is probably alright. When vegetables float above the brine, they're alright, just prone to discoloration.]

I put corn salsa on everything. Veggies. Salads. Sandwiches. Omelettes. Burritos.
Roasted Corn Salsa

Exploits in Shrub-making

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Shrub-making: Pears, Mangoes, and Cantelopes

I've been experimenting with macerating more fruit, syphoning, and adding vinegar to make shrubs. In this batch we have some amount of random mangoes, cantelopes, and pears. The cantelopes acquired some sort of weird cheese smell after sitting with the vinegar for a couple weeks, so I tossed it. Pretty gross. However, the mango and pear shrubs were a success!

In these photos you can see how much fruit juice turns into shrub. A little can go a long way.

Shrub-making: Pears, Mangoes, and Cantelopes
Shrub-making: Pears, Mangoes, and Cantelopes

Canada for July 4th

Sunday, July 20, 2014

July 4 Fireworks Over Niagara Falls

We decided it was wise to escape to Canada and eat at a Japanese restaurant for America's Independence Day. And this is how we ended up watching fireworks over Niagara Falls on a one night stopover. The display was only about 15 minutes, which is nothing compared to Pittsburgh standard fireworks. But Pittsburgh doesn't have giant waterfalls and an atmosphere that feels as tacky as the Jersey shore boardwalk. Pros and cons.

On our way back to the city, we stopped by Lockport, NY for a boat tour of the underground caves/mines. I have now seen 5-6 canal locks in my lifetime.

July 4 Fireworks Over Niagara Falls
Horseshoe Falls
Flowers at Horseshoe Falls
Katsu Dan, Edamame, and Sushi Pizza at Taki Japanese Restaurant Niagara, ON at night
Lockport Canal Locks
Lockport Underground Caves + Boat Ride
Lockport Underground Caves + Boat Ride

Success? Pickled Garlic Scapes

Friday, July 18, 2014

Pickled Garlic Scapes

In mid-June when garlic scapes hit the Farmer's Market, I purchased 1.5 pounds worth and set out to make Pickled Garlic Scapes from 'Food in Jars'. It turns out that I bought approximately one pint more than I needed, but I've got the jars, so whatever.

2 pounds of Garlic Scapes
Pickled Garlic Scapes

Review: LL Bean King Pine 4 Tent

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

LL Bean King Pine 4 Person Tent

In order to truly dedicate myself to more mini vacations (aka, weekend camping), I had to invest in a comfortable car camping tent. We've got a trusty lightweight backpacking tent, but this LL Bean King Pine 4-person dome tent is big enough that us giant people can even stand up in it! Also, it weighs fourteen million pounds.

We chose the LL Bean King Pine 4 over REI's Kingdom 4 tent, because (1) it can fit our queen-sized air mattress (a total necessity for glamping) and (2) the screened-in area is floor-less, so it can serve as an extended vestibule. You can stick your chairs under the tent when it rains, and not worry about tearing the floor!

As with all LL Bean / REI products, it's best to wait for a sale. Just before Memorial Day there's always a nice 20% tents sale, which went a long way toward making this high quality beast somewhat affordable. With those standard 100% satisfaction policies that you get from such over-priced establishments, it's a decently safe investment. Seams leak? Zippers are defective? You can just return it. However, nothing has gone awry yet in our trips since. Even in pouring rain, we've stayed nice and dry, watching the fire from the screened-in area.

Set-up is fairly intuitive, although I imagine if it was only one person setting up, it might be challenging. Possible, but a struggle. It's large enough to stand in, but not so large as to get comments from the peanut gallery. Without an air mattress, you could certainly fit four people side-by-side in the sleeping area and maybe some more if you put a tarp down in the screened room, but why would you want to?!

So far, we're really pleased with this tent!

A View through the King Pine 4 Tent
Sleeping Quarters in LL Bean King Pine 4 Tent
View Upwards of the King Pine 4 Tent
Back View of the LL Bean King Pine 4 Tent

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