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BBQ Spice Rub

September 7th, 2017

When we were back in Ohio for my mom’s memorial service, my dad gifted us with a small charcoal grill. We purchased some Wicked Good charcoal at the local co-op and grilles some country ribs given to us by Cari at Ridge Pond Herbals. I mixed up a BBQ rub and we grilled up these lovelies. Mr Chiots said it was the kind of meal you think about long after it’s gone. We tried the rub again a few weeks later on a venison backstrap and it was once again AMAZING. After giving some of the venison to a few friends, they all asked for the recipe. Since adding it to the blog is the best way to keep track of these things, here it is. Use it, change it, love it.


1 Tablespoon of fresh garlic paste* (or sub 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
1 Tablespoon of fresh onion paste* (or sub 1/2 teaspoon onion powder)
2 tablespoons coarsely ground salt (like kosher)
2 teaspoons ground ancho chile
1 canned chipotle pepper smashed with a knife (or 2 teaspoons ground chipotle chile)
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar (I use Sucanat instead)
3 pounds of meat (chicken, venison, beef, pork, turkey)

Stout (optional)

*I use my microplane citrus zester to grate garlic/onions very finely. You could also dice and smash on the cutting board with the salt. You want it to be a paste.

Mix all ingredients minus stout or beer in a small bowl. Rub on whatever meat you are going to be grilling. Let sit in fridge 4-6 hours or overnight. If you are using beer/stout, pour over meat after rubbing in spices but before putting in fridge. Remove from fridge an hour before grilling. Grill over good hardwood charcoal. If you’ve never taken the step to buy real hardwood charcoal, do it NOW! It makes such a huge difference in taste. We have tried a few and Wicked Good is our favorite, though it can be difficult to find. Generally small, local butcher shops carry good hardwood charcoal.

We enjoyed the venison sliced thinly like lunchmeat. It was great warm the first night and phenomenal cold (we were both glad to have enough to eat for lunches every day this week). I’m already planning what kind of meat we will be using this mix on and grilling in a week or two.

Do you use a gas or charcoal grill? What’s your favorite item to grill? 

Pickled Nasturtium Pods

August 14th, 2017

I’ve heard of pickled nasturtium pods (which are the seeds) before, but I’ve never had them. Since I have quite a large crop of nasturtiums this year, I decided it was the perfect time to make a batch to see if I like them.

(from The Joy of Pickling)
4 1/2 Tablespoons pickling salt
3 cups water
1 pint fresh, green, plump nasturtium pods
4 whole cloves
1 inch blade of mace (unground)
1/4 nutmeg kernel
1 slice horseradish (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter x 3/16th inch), cut into strips
1 shallot
about 1 cup white wine vinegar

Dissolve 1 1/2 Tablespoons of salt in 1 cup of water, and pour this bring over the nasturtium pods. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours.

Drain the nasturtium pods, make fresh brine the same way as before, and pour over pods again. Again, let them stand overnight and do the same on the third day.

On the fourth day, drain the pods, put them into a jar with the cloves, mace, nutmeg, horseradish, and shallot, and cover all well with vinegar. Cover jar tightly and let it stand at room temperature for at least 1 week. After opening the jar, store it in the refrigerator.

I hear they are like capers, we shall see. I’ll let you know in a few weeks when they are ready.

What interesting things are you making this week?

Clearing out the Freezer

March 21st, 2017

One of the things I’m always working on in February, March, and April, is clearing out the freezer of all the vegetables frozen last summer and clearing out the pantry of all canned and preserved foods. Every summer, we participate in a corn bee with the neighbors. That means we end up with 30 or so pints of sweet corn in the freezer. I grow mountains of onions each year, which we enjoy all winter long. Corn isn’t really one of those things we eat as a side dish, so I developed a recipe for corn salsa that we enjoy on fajitas, tacos, burrito bowls, and salads.

Generally I have cilantro growing in a windowsill, so the only thing I need to buy for this recipe is a lime. When making anything with limes or lemons, I always include the zest. It adds a much more concentrated citrus flavor along with a hint of bitterness, which really helps round out pretty much any dish.

After zesting and juicing the lime, I mix in chopped red onion and some salt. These are allowed to sit on the counter for an hour or so. I find that this step really helps mellow out the strong onion flavor, especially when it comes to onions that have been stored for a few months.

After letting the onion mellow, I add sweet corn, a chopped pickled jalapeño (which I can in the fall), and fresh cilantro. It’s a quick and easy way to use up loads of the preserved garden goodness. This salsa is great on top of salads, carnitas, fajitas, burritos, and equally good in omelets or frittatas for breakfast!

What’s one of your favorite recipes that uses up lots of preserved garden bounty?

Friday Favorite: Spring Rolls

April 1st, 2016

Spring rolls are a favorite around here. I love that you can stuff them with a wide variety of herbs and vegetables and you end up with a healthy and delicious meal. Last week, I found a watermelon radish at the farmers market, with the lettuce & carrots in the fridge, nori sheets, herbs in the windowsill, and carrots in the avocado in the pantry, we ended up with a wonderful dinner. I also love to add Maine shrimp or smoked salmon if I have it.
spring rolls 2
Since we love these so much, I got Vietnamese cilantro and Thai basil from Renee’s Garden to plant this year. I’m thinking of having a corner of the potager dedicated to spring roll ingredients. In the summer I love using zucchini noodles in them.
spring rolls 1
Of course what makes the spring rolls is the sauce, I love to mix up ginger, garlic, hot pepper, cashew butter, tamari, fish sauce, and toasted sesame oil.

Are you a fan of spring rolls?

Friday Favorite: Vegetable Soup

August 28th, 2015

Since the garden is bursting with fresh vegetables, I’ve been making pots of vegetable soup. The soup gets ladled into wide mouth pint mason jars and tucked away in the freezer, ready for quick meals come cold weather. We eat some in the summer too, last night I made a pot of minestrone and we will be enjoying that this weekend. It was filled with: potatoes, cabbage, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, garlic, celery, green beans, and herbs from the garden.
curried broccoli soup
I make soup with whatever vegetables are ready to harvest, curried broccoli, tomato, vegetable, etc. It’s nice to know that there are instant meals ready for fall days when I’d rather spend every drop of sunlight working in the garden. I also love using up all those bits of vegetable peels to make vegetable stock for all these soups. I feel like I’m making the most of the bounty of summer.

What’s your favorite kind of soup?


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.