Tag Archives: garlic

Vampire Proof Your Life: Garlic Wine


Henry and I have been dabbling in home brewing for a year and a half now. We started with hard apple cider, which ended down the drain. Next was watermelon wine, which is still chilling out in the bottle, waiting to mature. After that was a lager, which has turned out the best of all of our recipes. Now we have moved on to garlic wine. The brew shop owner suggested it to us the very first time we went to see him, ask him questions, and buy his equipment. It sounded easy enough, and it was easy–but we didn’t think it through all the way, and neither did he give us any warnings.

So let this be your warning. Making this wine is only for the strong of will. You will smell things you wished you hadn’t. It will permeate your walls. Furniture. Everything. But you have to finish it–the damage is done. Roast, mince, boil, ferment. Do it. I’ll let you know how ours turned out next summer.


1.  2 gallon food safe bucket

2.  1 gallon carboy and airlock

3.  Racking siphon


  • 1.5 cups of orange juice
  • 1 can of apple juice concentrate
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 2 pounds of sugar
  • 1 tsp Yeast nutrient
  • 1 tsp Pectic enzyme
  • 1 Packet Lalvin EC-1118 yeast
  • 12 large heads of garlic
  • 1/4 tsp tannin


First, prepare a yeast starter.  Mix the juice, yeast nutrient, and pectic enzyme. Pitch the yeast.

Roast 6 of the heads of garlic for two hours at 350. When it cools, squeeze the cloves out.

Take the other 6 heads and peel them. Boil the raw garlic and roasted garlic together with 1/2 gallon of water for 45 minutes. Try to not die. The smell–oh, the eye burning smell! This boiling step will the longest 45 minutes of your entire life.

Strain the liquid into your food safe bucket, also known as your primary fermentation vessel. I used a combination of colander and cheese cloth. Add the apple concentrate, lemon juice, and tannin to the bucket. Stir. Add water until your volume equals one gallon.

Record the specific gravity. Or have your husband do it.  It should be at least 1.074. 

Oh, yeah. Don’t pitch the yeast into the other ingredients until it’s cooled to 90 degrees.  Don’t want to fry the yeast.

Leave it in your food safe bucket for a week.  Rack to a one gallon carboy, fitted with an airlock.

Rack it again after three weeks, and then after that, once or twice a month for six months. After you bottle it, it’ll be done a year from when you began the entire process.




Lasagna Soup OR It’s Superb Owl day and neither of us are giving a single care.


Over the past 5 weeks, our household has experienced H1N1, sinus infections, bronchitis, and strep throat. Fevers, chills, cough syrup, too many antibiotics. Here we are, beginning February–and Henry woke up with a fever. My cough is returning. I am bone deep tired of being sick. With that said, it’s been a great winter. Wonderful holiday trips to Alderdale and Bellingham. Work at my high school has been going exceptionally well, considering the change in our grading system. Things are plugging along. I am feeling rather optimistic…so much so that I just got done painting my fingernails. And now I am actually doing a blog post. Henry is on hour four or five of homework and I am considering starting dinner.

I chose this recipe based solely on the pictures. Drool.  I mostly followed it. I can’t wait to eat it!

It’s simple. I tweaked it a bit–I thought the addition of spinach at the end would lighten it up a bit and make it more healthy. Now I only wish I had bought some french bread to go with it! ImageImageImageImageImageImage

My go-to meal


I think it’s important to have a fall-back meal. The meal that you always have the ingredients for on-hand. Inexpensive, filling, and versatile. For me, that meal is pasta with red sauce. I always have pasta–several different styles.  The same goes with canned tomatoes. I prefer to use crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and no-salt-added tomato sauce. What else do you need? Well, the mood and level of commitment you are feeling has a direct correlation to the outcome of your sauce. It can be good, solid sauce–or with a couple extra ingredients and a couple hours, you can take it to exceptional.

Henry and I have been putting off Christmas all week. We got our shopping done, put left the presents in piles on the floor. We got a tree, but didn’t decorate it. There’s a lot of pressure surrounding the holidays, especially for me, and putting off preparing and watching Food Network seemed like the better choice. Until the Food Network started airing Christmas specials. Then I couldn’t avoid Christmas any longer.

These were the circumstances from whence this pasta sauce was born. I don’t think I’ve ever typed the word “whence” before. Anyway, after trimming the tree, wrapping presents, and cleaning, I just didn’t feel like cooking.  But a pasta sauce, once you do the prep work, simmers and cooks itself. It’s basically a hands off endeavor if you do the prep. So here’s what I came up with:


  • 1 20 (I think it was 20) ounce can of crushed tomatoes. I always make sure to get the least salty. Especially when you’re putting several cans of salted food into your sauce, there is no way you can control the flavor or salinity. So it’s super important to read the labels and get no-salt-added if you can.
  • 1 small can of tomato paste and 1 small can of no-salt-added tomato sauce.
  • 1 can of fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 cups of red wine
  • 1.5 pounds of browned hamburger
  • salt and pepper
  • oregano, basil, crushed red chili peppers
  • 1 cup or so of water
  • 1 tablespoon or so of sugar

Method: Brown the meat and drain it. Add the onions and garlic and spices and saute until the onions are soft and the garlic is fragrant.Add the tomato paste and cook for a few minutes.  This caramelizes the paste and gives a big depth of flavor. Add the tomato sauce and simmer briefly. Then add the wine and let that boil off.  Then add the rest of the tomato product, water, sugar, simmer for another five minutes and then adjust for salt.  I simmered this for two hours and let it deepen in color and reduce.

To go with the sauce, I boiled some whole wheat shells and made some garlic bread.  It was the perfect meal for a couple of Christmas procrastinators to eat while watching Scrubs.


Sick Day Turned into Sriracha-versary


I woke up this morning and promptly threw up. I lined up a sub, quickly typed of a plan for him/her, and went back to sleep with Henry. It took awhile to fall back asleep because my stomach was hurting so badly. I was startled awake at 10 by the maintenance people mowing outside my window. But I felt a little better.

(By the way, Henry thinks I am pregnant. I have no idea why I threw up this morning.) Around noon, we went to Lone Pine Farms and bought some Fresno chiles.

One of our first dates, over a year ago, was making sriracha at Henry’s house. We thought today would be a great day to create a tradition and make some rooster sauce.


  • 2 pounds bright red fresno chilis
  • 4 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 cups white vinegar
  • 4 T + 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 16 cloves of garlic


Chop peppers roughly and smash garlic. Add all ingredients into a large pot and boil vigorously for five minutes.

Blend the hell out of the pepper mixture.

At this point, you can strain it, bottle it, fridge it, or can it. We opted to not strain it and can it. Three jars is our yield. It’s beautiful stuff.


Rosemary Mustard Beef Kabobs and Vegetable Tian


School starts tomorrow. PowerPuff Girls is on. Meat is in the fridge, marinating, and the oven is preheating. I still have homework to do for my Master’s before the night is over. But laundry is done, the five year old starts kindergarten tomorrow, and it’s so muggy in this apartment. Ugh. I’m all over the place. But dinner will be good.

This recipe is adapted from a grilled chicken recipe. I just slathered the marinade on some beef and I’ll grill that instead. 


  • some sort of protein
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice from one large lemon
  • two cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced, fresh rosemary

Grill the marinated meat. The end





  • Some combination of veggies. I chose sweet potatoes, red potatoes, onion, summer squash, and zucchini.
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 T rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Method: I caramelized the onion first. Then I sliced all of my veggies about a 1/4 inch thick. Then I layered them in a casserole dish. Then I dotted them with butter, salted and peppered them. Then layered the onions on top, with the rosemary and garlic sprinkled on top of that. Then, cover tightly with foil and bake in the oven for 35 minutes. Take the foil off, add some Parmesan cheese to the top, and bake another 30 minutes, uncovered.

 tian1 tian2



Pork Carnitas and a Spewing Toddler


What. A. Day. Henry and I got up this morning with the kids and got us all ready to take a day trip to Silver Falls State Park. We packed a lunch, water, jackets, and the video camera and set out. During the drive, the toddler whined and fussed. We figured he just didn’t get enough sleep and that once he took a nap, he’d wake up and be his usual, sunny self. Wrong. 15 minutes away from Silver Falls and the toddler starts throwing up. Our executive decision is to turn around and drive home. The four year old was crestfallen.

What a disappointing day. More throw up, trying to explain to a four year old “patience” and “sacrifice,” laundering towels dripping with toddler barf…

So, I think to myself: Gee, Jenn…why don’t you make some pork carnitas? Yeah, normal thought progression, huh? Carnitas in the midst of tears and ruined carpets.

Here it is:

sage, cumin, salt, pepper, Mexican Oregano, New Mexico Chili Powder, several cloves of garlic, one onion, one pork shoulder (bone in, fat cap on), juice of a tangelo, 12 ounces or so of an amber ale. 350 degrees until it’s done.


Summer Tagliatelle



  • 5 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 zucchini, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 large handfuls mushrooms, your choice, sliced
  • 1 handful of marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
  • some dried oregano
  • some fresh basil
  • two handfuls of Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil and butter
  1. Drop a knob of butter and some olive oil in a frying pan, which should be heating up at a medium high temperature. When the butter and oil are a bit foamy, saute onion, garlic, zucchini, mushrooms, artichokes, etc., one at a time, building the flavors of each as they meld together to form the sauce.
  2. Season the vegetables with salt, pepper, and oregano. Add the tomatoes last and simmer the sauce until the pasta is done.  Add basil and cheese last minute.
  3. Boil pasta in salted water until al dente. 
  4. Mix the pasta and sauce.
  5. Try not to be discouraged because you are still without a camera and cannot provide any pictures.
  6. Eat away your sorrows.