With the last of the season's plums (on sale $2/lb), I made a half batch of FoodInJars' Pickled Plums. Pickled fruit is interesting, a nice mix of sweet and sour. I haven't tasted these yet, so the verdict is still out.
It's getting to be autumn, so a couple weeks ago we headed to Triple B Farms in Monongahela for some apple picking. Despite the laments of some of our party that we could just pay someone to pick our apples for us (i.e., go to the grocery store), we headed 45 minutes out of town to interact with some goats, buy some cider donuts, and eat our fill of U-pick apples. Jonagold and Honeycrisp were both in season at the time, so we picked some of both.
...and ended up with too many pounds of apples, as is always the case with apple picking. I see some apple butter in my future. 4 lbs of apples should make about 2 cups!
While not as mobbed as the strawberry festival [probably because Triple B's Autumn festival runs every weekend through November], Triple B's autumn festival wasn't terribly crowded but still filled with the usual gimmicky "farm" activities. A rope maze, bouncy castle, fried foods, pony rides, and hay rides. Apple picking is a quick activity, if ripe apples are aplenty, which adds an extra incentive to the 45 minute drive.
APPLE CIDER DONUTS, FOOLS. I've been looking for these for ages!
Above you see almost 10 lbs of canned peaches. The photo is just the peaches in vanilla syrup, but the pickled and buttered peaches are down below. Canning peaches. Another one of those fruits where I'm not sure it's worth the effort of removing the skins. We shall see.
I tried making these spinach turkey meatballs from Allison Nichols. They're alright, especially if you like cumin. You can also wing 'em without a food processor (just chop the spinach with a knife) and you'll end up with slightly less green meatballs. Jim liked these, but I don't see myself making them again.
My sister had a rather lengthy list of things to do in Austin. Considering we didn't get in to town until around noon (spent too much time buying cowboy boots in the outlets), that was quite the challenge. However, my brother and I didn't have any other plans so we just followed her around like two lost ducklings. We started with Franklin BBQ (famous for its lengthy lines), but it was closed due to the Texas BBQ festival, so we ended up at Moonshine where I sipped peach moonshine from a shot glass at two in the afternoon. We grabbed a taxi to Barton Springs ans swam in the pool which is better described as a river with two dams cutting it off. We then grabbed a bus to the South Congress shops which were also peppered with plenty of cute food trucks. And a candy store. Where we ate our weight in chocolates and gummies. From South Congress it was a simple walk to see the Congress Bridge Bats, although rather than seeing a stream of tiny vampires leaving their nests, they pretty much just circled around underneath the bridge. Not every day is meant to be a perfect bat viewing. To top off the evening, we ate BBQ at Lambert's and then experienced a very empty string of bars along 6th Street. Apparently Monday is not a happenin' time to go bar-hopping.
I really liked Austin. It seemed like it would be a super pleasant place to live. The public transportation seemed decent (provided you didn't mind connecting through Congress Ave all the time), there were good restaurants, and lovely parks.
It's a shame that I had another terrible US Airways experience to bookend my flight. It took approximately 5 hours for me to fly from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, a flight that usually takes 40 minutes. 3 minor mechanical issues, followed by an engine problem, waiting for a gate, de-planing, waiting for another plane to be cleaned and catered, and then starting all over again. I'm guessing US Airways has started cost-cutting by reducing its aircraft maintenance and replacement, because this trip was just a disaster from an airplane perspective.