Palisade Peaches in Vanilla Bean Syrup

August is here and Palisade Peaches are in their prime. Last year Chef Sean made some vanilla bean syrup for his canned peaches, and they were some of our FAVORITE jars to open in the winter. Looks like we’ve now started a yearly tradition.

Peaches in Vanilla Syrup

These peaches are pretty easy to make. This post here isn’t the place to learn the basics of canning, so be sure to familiarize yourself with sterilizing jars, water baths, etc. if you’ve never canned before. I also don’t have ratios and proper measurements… it’s more of an idea for you home canners to try.

First, Sean made a vanilla bean syrup by boiling equal parts sugar and water with a couple vanilla beans that he sliced in half long-ways and scraped out the beautiful caviar-like black beads. He let this reduce and cool completely.

Next, the peaches were blanched, which means boiled for a few minutes and then plunged into an ice bath. This allows the skins to be easily removed.

When cool to the touch, he sliced them in half and removed the pits, stacked them in jars, covered them in syrup, and processed them in a water bath for 15-20 minutes. After removing the jars from the boiling water, set them somewhere and allow them to cool. You’ll hear the pop of the lids after a little while, letting you know they’re properly sealed. Store in a cool place until winter.

Enjoy!

Hillside Farmacy, Austin

After a hot, sunny, Texas-summer-time bike ride on b-cycles, we gave up our quest for the BBQ joint we planned on visiting and ducked into the nearest restaurant we saw: Hillside Farmacy.

Hillside Farmacy

The Hillside Farmacy is a New American restaurant and specialty grocer housed in the old Hillside Drugstore building, and has been beautifully restored using the original pharmacy cabinetry. Walking inside feels like taking a step back in time, and can taste like that, too. The beverage menu features homemade fountain sodas, such as a traditional Brooklyn Egg Cream as well as punch, which you can order by the glass (1 cup) or bowl (20 cups). We opted for a couple glasses of this refreshing concoction of gin, bubbles, hibiscus syrup, and grapefruit juice.

Hillside Farmacy Punch

A salad and sandwich sounded perfect to me, so I went for “the beets” with fennel, chévre vinaigrette, red onion, arugula, and radish.

the beets

Familiar flavors I’ve had many times, yet always one of my favorites. For my sandwich, I tries something a little more unique- the “Thank You.”

Thank You Sandwich

Roasted chicken, mozzarella, strawberry jam, sprouts, and aioli. I have one word: YUM.

Hillside Farmacy works with a number of local Austin farms, and sells a nice selection of hand crafted food items such as hot sauces, jams, and Texas rice. This sophisticated yet unpretentious eatery was a pleasant surprise.

Passporting in Boulder with The Passport Program

We’ve been passporting all summer enjoying two for one beverages at 42 of Boulder’s best restaurants, bars, distilleries, breweries, and wineries. Well, we haven’t made it to all 42 yet, but we’ve collected a number of stamps so far. A $20 booklet is Boulder’s field guide to fun.

Cheers! If you haven’t picked up your Passport yet, head to Cured or to The Passport Program to order one online.

Maple Masala Pecan and Szechwan Peppercorn Crusted Tofu

The first thing Sean said upon tasting the Cosmic Maple Masala Pecans by Olomomo Nut Company was that they’d make a great crust to something. Indeed they did with the addition of Szechwan Peppercorns from Savory Spice Shop.

Cosmic Maple Masala Pecans and Szechwan Peppercorn Crust

He ground them in our mortar and pestle, and then crusted some extra firm tofu that had been (of course) frozen, thawed, and pressed. The tofu pieces were crusted and pan fried in peanut oil until oh-so-gorgeously golden brown.

Crusted Tofu

These were a perfect accompaniment to sautéed greens and brown rice. Nothing fancy, but a somewhat effortless great meal thanks to the maple masala crust.

Mango Chipotle Zinger Guacamole

Guacamole has so many variations, almost all of which are fantastic. One combo I’d not yet tried is adding nuts. As I had a drawer full of Olomomo nuts, one of which was their Mango Chipotle Zinger Almonds, a bowl full of ripe mangos, and a few avocados, it seemed like the planets had aligned for my next recipe featuring Olomomo nuts.

Mango Chipotle Zinger

Olomomo’s Mango Chipotle Zinger Almonds not only add just the right amount of crunch, the flavor profile is perfect for this guacamole.

Mango Chipotle Zinger Almonds

It’s just some ripe avocado, cubes of champagne mango, garlic, salt, lemon juice, aleppo pepper, and coarsely chopped almonds. I’d say add as much or little as you like. You know how to make a good guac… You don’t need me to tell you.

Mango Chipotle Zinger Guacamole

 

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