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Danna Ray makes beautiful watercolor illustrations.

Prints available in her etsy shop.

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In Russian, they use the same word for both garnet and pomegranate.

It makes perfect sense.

Yesterday I set out to make and can more jam to use what I have left of apples and pears from this season’s harvest. I also had some yummy plums from the farmer’s market, and I adapted this recipe from Cafe Del Manolo to make plum preserves with vanilla and bay. It makes a magical combination: at first the bay lends an unexpected rustic, herb-y flavor that quickly gives way to the bright, vibrant fruitiness of the plum. The vanilla enhances both flavors, bringing a rich toastiness to the whole jam. Seriously, pure magic.

Serendipitously, I also spotted Spanish olive oil tortas at the market yesterday, and while I can’t eat them because they are made with wheat flour, I picked them up for Stu to enjoy. They are flavored with olive oil and anise, with large beautiful sugar crystals baked on top. They smell heavenly. Turns out, they are a wonderful match with this jam. The anise and olive oil are a perfect compliment to the bright and hearty flavor of this jam, and according to Stu, it’s out of this world.

see: things I am a sucker for.

Today was a very good day at the thrift store.

on Monday I made 3 different kinds of jam – ginger pear, concord grape, and caramel apple. I also cooked up a few quarts of brown sugar & cinnamon applesauce. I peeled a dozen pears, at least 30 apples, and skinned hundreds of grapes by hand. I got 10 pints all together, and I’ll be making another dozen or so this weekend. I wanted to take full advantage of the lovely seasonal fruits available locally this time of year. I think they will make great little gifts. Who doesn’t love something homemade and sweet?

Rosie likes knitting too.

Sad the sunny days of last week are over. Maybe more to come?

The past few days have been stunningly sunny and warm in Buffalo. Perfect autumn days, really. Yesterday we drove around Niagara County stopping at apple farms and farm stands. I got a bushel of apples for apple butter and jam, some delicious concord grapes, and a gallon of the best cider I’ve ever tried (Smith’s). They were pressing it while we were there so we got to drink it by the cup full as it poured over the side of the press. On our way home, we spotted an old stone mill in a state of beautiful disrepair.

 

Here is a lovely video about one of my urban farming idols, Novella Carpenter. If you haven’t read it, I’d highly recommend her book, Farm City.