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Pickled Peaches

 

We are currently under the thumb of Hurricane Joaquin and a rain system that has decided to just sit on top of us and dump rain. It’s been raining for what seems like two weeks and the flash flooding brought by the hurricane tipped the scales and flooded the reservoirs, lakes, and tidal areas. Thankfully we have power and our house is raised so even though the yard looks like a swamp, we’re nice and dry inside.

 

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In fact, this hurricane has provided the perfect environment for us to hunker down and get some work done around the house. Top of my list for this weekend was a gutting of our pantry and bar area and a big overhaul on how things are organized (and, more importantly, displayed). I’m pretty thrilled with the results and the work has paid off in a big way. In fact, all that new space in the pantry (and all the new jars I ordered to help keep me honest), inspired two days of canning, freezing, and putting stuff up.

 

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A few weeks ago I raided the market’s late summer peaches just before the stands became overwhelmed by gourds. Some of those peaches went straight down the gullet, but most of them were paired with cinnamon and cloves, pickled, canned, put in the pantry, and saved for a rainy day. For one of those jars that day came yesterday, when I served them with homemade cultured creme fraiche and a drizzle of honey. I expect the rest of the jars will make their way onto the table throughout the holidays, on top of biscuits, in tarts, and on their own in all of their tart and spiced glory.

 

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Pickled Peaches
makes 4 pint jars

4 large peaches, ripe

4 cinnamon sticks

2 dozen whole cloves

2 cups white vinegar

2 cups filtered water

1 cup brown sugar

4 sanitized pint jars

 

Slice your peaches and pack each jar with 1 peach, 1 cinnamon stick, and 6 whole cloves.

 

In a non-reactive pan combine water, vinegar, and sugar. Bring to a boil. Fill each jar with vinegar mixture so that peaches are completely covered. Lid and seal each jar tightly.

 

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Place the jars in the water bath, ensuring that they are completely submerged. Boil for 10 minutes, and remove from water. When the jars have cooled slightly tighten the lids. Once the jars have sealed (the lid will stay locked in one position and won’t pop up or down) place in a cool, dark place (like my newly organized pantry!) and let sit for at least 2 weeks.

 

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Lovely Internet 10.2.15

1. Please explain to me how this isn’t voter suppression?

2. We have become numb to mass shootings. How have we allowed that to happen? We need reform. We’re going to have to change our laws.

3. Do you hate the new Google logo? This might be why.

4. Did you know the highest population of Scottish people outside Scotland was once the Cape Fear region of North Carolina? The Carolina Scots even have a tartan of their own.

5. This is amazing! Exactly why we work with heirloom seeds and practice seed saving at school.

6. Are antibiotics responsible for the increase in allergies?

7. The repercussions of public shaming as a parenting technique.

8. Hah!

9. I am way too familiar with this brand of guys.

10. On Failure and Not-Failure.

 

For more tidbits from Elena the person, follow me on twitter (@elenabrent or @biscuitsandsuch), instagrampinterest or facebook. Subscribe to my bloglovin’ feed to make sure you never miss a post. Follow along with MissElenaeous for thoughts on everything other than Southern food.

 

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Apple Cider Donuts

this recipe & story originally appeared in Our State Magazine

 

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Fall is, indisputably, the most lovely season. Don’t get me wrong; I love summer. I’m deep into a 30-year love affair with summer. But there’s just something so wonderful about a crisp, beautiful autumn, especially after those dog days that feel like a sweaty hug that lasts about two months too long. Autumn, in all of its glory, is so much sweeter because we’ve suffered for it, which means we savor every magical day.

 

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Not only does it provide well- deserved relief from the summer heat, but autumn also brings us the harvest, a bounty of fruits and vegetables that bring on a culinary frenzy. Everything is immediately pumpkin-flavored, and you can’t swing a cat without hitting a crate full of apples. It’s a magical time, and nothing is quite as lovely as putting on a cozy sweater and sipping hot apple cider on a cold** fall evening.

 

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One of my favorite fall treats is cider, in all its forms. Apple cider, hot or cold; hard cider; and of course, apple cider doughnuts. Cider doughnuts, a delicacy, are exactly the type of treat you deserve after a hard day of apple picking — or looking at pictures of apple picking on Instagram — and easier than you’d think to make at home. Made with cider or hard cider (I used Bull City Ciderworks’s Sweet Carolina), the apple flavor is underscored by subtle fall spices and a light glaze. My friend summed it up perfectly when he bit into it and said, “Mmm, this tastes like fall.”

** Fall cold = 54º. You’ll laugh at the idea that 55º could be considered cold come mid-January, but for right now it’s freezing and you’ve earned that extra hot doughnut.

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Apple Cider Donuts

donuts:

1 cup apple cider
1/2 stick salted butter
2 teaspoon yeast
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of salt
Additional flour for rolling
Oil for high-temperature frying, such as safflower or peanut

glaze:

1/4 cup apple cider
2 cups powdered sugar

Over medium-low heat, simmer apple cider until it reduces by half, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter. When cooled to lukewarm, stir in yeast, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla extract. Cover and let sit 10 minutes.

Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, spices, and salt. Using a wooden spoon, combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients to make a loose dough. Add dough to a greased glass or metal bowl, and turn dough so that all sides are oiled. Cover loosely with a towel and allow to rise for two hours.

Flour a surface and turn your dough out, coating with flour until it is no longer sticky. Pat flat and fold in half. Repeat, patting out and folding, 8-10 times. Roll the dough flat, to ¼-inch thick. Use a doughnut cutter (or two cookie cutters to make a 4-inch and a 1-inch hole) to cut your doughnuts. Transfer the doughnuts and holes to a waxed cookie sheet. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

Heat fryer to 375º. (Or, alternatively, heat 1.5-inch oil in a pan at least 3-inches-deep.) Fry each doughnut for 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown.

While your first few doughnuts are frying, mix together cider and powdered sugar. Add the sugar a little at a time, until the glaze is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon but is still easy to pour. As the doughnuts come out of the fryer, let the oil drip off and then dunk them in the glaze, turning twice to coat well. Transfer to a drying rack and let cool slightly for 5 minutes before serving very warm, preferably with a glass of cold hard cider to accompany.

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