Starting Campfires

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Campfire

If you're going camping, there pretty much has to be a fire (and if there's a fire, you should pretty much have a gallon of water on hand to put it out). This has been our approach to getting a fire going. Step 1 in acquiring a stomach full of s'mores.



Make sure your fire ring has proper air flow (i.e., air needs access to the fire). Sometimes, we do this by propping the fire ring up on rocks. Sometimes, that is not necessary.
Airflow under the firering

Gather your flammable things. Paper, egg cartons, dryer lint, vaseline-coated cotton balls, etc. etc. Also, collect some moderately-flammable things, like dry twigs.
Flammables

Pile up your flammable things. Go big or go home!
Firestarters of Choice: Vaseline-doused Cotton Balls

Light the fire starter.
Kindling Fire

As the twigs catch, add logs in a log-cabin style (or, if you get desperate, throw a duraflame log on the twigs)
Fire Beginnings

Keep piling up logs, as necessary. Be sure to blow onto the flames to make sure they get enough oxygen.
Fire Build Up



I am not responsible for any harm you may do to yourself or others by following the actions in this post.

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

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