Maybe you’ve seen the posts or received an invitation to the Canning Collective and wondered, “what’s that?” To answer, it’s a bunch of folks getting together and putting up or trying new ideas, saving the season, having fun. At this particular session, we processed clingstone nectarines that my friend Judy picked at Matsumoto’s Orchard, from the adopt a tree program. She had boxes and boxes of nectarines!
We peeled and peeled, and then took the peels and pits and made some nectarine lemonade concentrate. (That’s Emily enjoying some almond feta while working)
We had a couple of casulaties, including these sublime brandied nectarines that were distilled with my homemade vanilla, orange brandy (made from Judy’s tree!) and honey. Sad day. Maybe we picked around the glass and had a little taste before we sacrificed the loss.
Rick was amazing, he pretty much stood in the corner for 2 hours and had three pots working with 20 minute baths so all our product was rendered shelf stable.
Every jar was labeled with these adorable hipster square labels. Over 120 jars were made for all of us to share. The jam is amazing. The batch was so huge, I strained off a good deal of the runny jelly and used it again for more lemonade. Had we left it in, the jam would have been thin and not nearly as delectable. I worried all night that I overcooked it.
The next day, my Johnny and I ate an entire jar with a fork. It was perfect.
What we made: brandied nectarines, pickled nectarines, nectarine and tomato salsa, nectarine chutney, nectarine lemonade – and a batch of whole tomatoes from the Fetcho Barclay garden.
It was a great day.
In my cookbook, I talk about an amazing party my parents threw every July 4th. It was the “best ever” every year. We celebrated exactly on the day, and it was a consistently well orchestrated potluck for over one hundred and fifty guests. I reminisce about that party every summer and when the opportunity arises to share a meal outside, I am all over it.
In this beautiful al fresco wedding, the bride, also a gardener, used handmade seed packets as escort cards. Cute! And outdoorsy! This event was held exclusively outside until it was time for dancing.
Just last week, we made an amazing plant based celebration for Muir Ranch. About one hundred and forty guests enjoyed a six course meal in the farm field behind Muir High School in Pasadena.
It was a glorious event.
Kids were running around, food was shared, elixir was mixed and everyone had a personal best night of the summer. There was a delightful musician, Eric Kufs, and it all came together to make a magical experience. Right here in our city, outside.
The menu was prepared with offerings from the ranch. I was thrilled to feature several recipes from “Who Wants Seconds?” including my recipe for ratatouille which is truly a best ever, and my Classic Catalan Gazpacho, also ridiculously delicious. They loved them both! My crazy great zucchini butter featured years ago on food 52 was a huge rave, and my friend Davey made a delicious whole wheat batard. F A N T A S T I C.
Want more recipes?? Try these beauties all from the “Who Wants Seconds?” - (plus another 70 or so from the book which are time-bank tested and super easy) Like these corn fritters!
We ended with some peach crunch (also in the book!!) with peaches from Top Notch Farm. It was the kind of party that had little bits of perfect in every moment, in so many ways. Mostly though, I think being outside was the best part, enlivening our spirits with an unseasonal cool breeze and feeling the earth give way with every step.
Good times were had by all and everyone ate well! That is a spectacular night in my world!
Read the reviews on Amazon. Buy the book on Indie bound.