Texas Hill Country peach season is here! I got giddy with excitement at my first stop at my trusted peach guy’s roadside stand, and ended up with about 60 peaches. I just can’t resist peak season local fruit. I thought it would be a challenge to use them all, but it wasn’t. I used them all and I’m ready for more. Many of them went towards this peach vanilla jam. It is incredibly flavorful and not too sweet, so you really taste the peaches. It’s easy to make too.
I have a confession to make. My lard didn’t come out pure white. “Oh no!” you’re thinking, “I expected so much more from you!” Well, maybe you weren’t thinking that, but I was thinking it about myself. I know what went wrong, so I hope you will still trust my tips on rendering your own lard. I blame it on my 11-year-old slow cooker. It has been cooking too hot lately and I vowed to replace it soon. But we ran out of lard and I decided it was time to make it again, overheating slow cooker be darned! The result was lard with a yellow tint and porky flavor. Fat that has been cooked more gently renders into white lard with little flavor, which is perfect for baking. The more flavorful and colorful lard will still be excellent for savory applications, but will lend a pork flavor to everything.
At the end of the growing season I am always left with a ton of basil. A great way to preserve the leaves is to keep them in the fridge, covered in olive oil and salt. They will keep for many months this way. I use them in any cooked dish that won’t mind a little extra oil. They are great in a stir fry, mixed with roasted meat and veggies, or in one my favorite dishes, Ezekiel’s chicken.
Did you know you can save up food scraps and make a killer broth out of them? We’ve made a habit out of keeping a freezer bag for scraps we would otherwise throw out: bones, shells, carrot peels, celery butts, onion skins and pieces, and herb stems. These are all the ingredients needed to make a delicious stock. Obviously, stock tastes like what you put in it. You can mix it up as much as you want or try to stick with a theme, such as seafood stock with shrimp shells, fish bones, and complimentary herb stems. Or you could take a traditional chicken, carrot, celery, onion, and herbs approach. The finished stock is tasty enough to drink hot and seasoned with salt and pepper. You can also use it as a base for miso soup or other kinds of soup, or use in any recipe that calls for stock.
Preserved radishes are so simple to make and can elevate a dish from ordinary to gourmet with very little effort. They soak in soy sauce and become crunchy, salty, and umami with a ginger kick. Ordinary cheese and crackers transforms into an appetizer that will impress your guests and delight your taste buds. I also like them in salads, on sandwiches, and in miso soup. The soy sauce ends up nicely flavored too, and can still be used in other dishes.
Fermented carrots are super yummy, like carrot pickles. They make a great healthy snack, side dish, or addition to salad. They are packed with vitamins and gut-friendly bacteria. Different herbs and spices can be added to flavor them however you like. I often use dill, which gives them a familiar and approachable dill pickle-like flavor. This time, I used spicier ingredients with a Tex-Mex flair: hot peppers, garlic, onion powder, mustard seeds, and oregano.
My name is Hillary. This blog is about the everyday food I prepare in my kitchen, with tips and recipes for easy, wholesome, and diet friendly meals. I have been chanting "cheese please!" since I was a toddler, although lately I've cut back on dairy.