Carrots and the back of a motorcycle

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Saturday started out as most Saturdays do, a little slow and boring. I woke up with a hangover from Friday night’s adventures in downtown Fargo. So a breakfast of oatmeal and coffee was in order. I jumped on the computer and started my routine of wasting time, Facebook and emails. Little did I know that last weeks article about canning would turn into an adventure. I received a message from a good friend Nick Goodroad (aka DJ Joyride) about how he had enjoyed the article and would like some help sometime canning some of the veggies from his garden. Well with just the slightest of coaxing I was able to convince Nick to get his motorcycle and go out to the lakes to raid the family garden for all that we needed for a canning session.

Nick decided that he would like to can some cauliflower and spicy carrots for the first session of canning. Ok, easy enough I have most of the spices and plenty of vinegar from last year. We decided that we would check the farmers markets on the way through lakes country for the cauliflower and any other produce that may be tasty in a can of spicy vegetables. I should mention that Nick doesn’t mess around when it comes to hot food he enjoys a spice like I enjoy it, this is the same guy that introduced me to some of the hottest hot sauce and venison steaks I have ever eaten. We knew that the family garden would have the carrots that we were after and probably some hot peppers. The markets would need to produce the rest of the goods.

 

1pm Saturday afternoon and off we headed me clutching onto the bake of Nicks motorcycle. Lakes country, on the back of a motorcycle, in search of fresh produce, what a great Saturday. We made it to the Pelican Lake inside of 45 minutes and I will say it was a great ride, the clouds were perfect and it wasn’t to hot outside. We quickly went to work getting as many veggies out of the garden as possible and even found a few surprise vegetables to bring back with us for dinner while we canned up the carrot cauliflower mix. We packed up the veggies into our back packs and off we went.

 

Nick says that there is no reason to go the same way home as we came when on a motorcycle. Who am I to say no? After about an hour at the lake we decided to head up to Ulen, MN for their 125-anniversary turkey BBQ. This is a fantastic idea food on a food adventure, perfect combo. 30 minutes later and a small rain delay in Zorbaz, we are seated amongst 200 or so Ulen residents eating turkey legs and talking to the people at the BBQ. The BBQwas a great stop and we even found a market with some fresh broccoli for sale, no cauliflower. After many a question about the carrot tops sticking out of my back pack we headed out, back to Fargo to get to canning.

 

The final ingredient for Nick’s pickled vegetables was acquired at Cashwise and we were back at my apartment by 6:30pm. I could have stopped right there and been pretty content with my day. We still needed to can all of these veggies to make it a complete success. The veggies got washed of all of the lovely rich black dirt and cut into bite-sized bits for canning. I made a basic pickling brine and set out a number of spices to be used in the jars. Nick, Lre (Nicks wonderful girlfriend) and I worked on the vegetables and a dinner made from all of the goods that we had found on the lakes country motorcycle adventure. Nick and Lre chopped vegtables while I made a fresh tomato, garlic sauce with spicy red bell peppers (a nice surprise from the garden) tossed with penne. This dish was simple and delicious; the garden vegetables spoke for them selves, I even sprinkled a little fresh basil on the top at the very end.

 

With a little help from the internet we found some basic pickling spice combinations and proceeded to experiment with flavors. I will give you a list of different ingredients that were used but by no means do I have specific amounts.

 

Dinner:

Olive oil

12 ripe garden fresh tomatoes

4 cloves garlic

fresh basil to taste

1 package gluten free penne

Potato Bake:

 

Olive oil

6 or so garden fresh red potatos

yellow squash ( from Heather’s garden)

3-4 cloves garlic

dill

Feta cheese

Canning goods:

 

white vinegar

sugar

salt

water

3 heads cauliflower

hot peppers such as jalapenos, Serrano, mystery spicy bell peppers

celery

whole cloves of garlic

carrots

Spices for canning:

Clove

Cinnamon stick

Fresh dill

Allspice

Cardamon pods

Cumin

Fennel

With all of these ingredients you can trust that we had a great dinner and in a couple of weeks we will find out how well the canning went. The pasta turned out great along with the potato bake. I will have a full break down of the methods and techniques up on my food blog.

 

Thanks Nick for the Saturday afternoon adventure, and thank you Lre for bringing over more fresh herbs to add to the canning.

 

Eat well; your body will appreciate it.

Pete Nielson

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