When Erie is Like Florida

Weather and distance have been a recurring theme in the past week.

I left Erie to visit Florida for the President’s Day weekend … and then the temperature was warmer in Erie on Saturday than it was in Clearwater, Florida. Today, Erie will only be about 5 degrees cooler than where the some of the Erie snowbirds are flocking.

Erie has its own micro-climates as well. I knew this growing up, just didn’t know what to call it. In the summer we’d head to the beach from our house in Millcreek. When we’d leave the house, not far from the Millcreek Mall, where it would be sunny and warm. By the time we got to the lake, it could be 10 degrees cooler and cloudy.

Taking the kayak out onto Lake Erie in late February 2017.

This morning, I left my house by I-90 in Fairview and it was 57 degrees. I drove 5 miles down to the lake and it was 42 degrees, courtesy of the easterly wind coming off the 35-degree Lake Erie. As it shift to the south today, the temperatures will come closer. And I’ll be paddling on Lake Erie for the second time during the month of February.

It’s crazy.

I’m worried about the fruit trees being fooled into budding. As much as I love a 70-degree day in February, I love peaches throughout the month of August even more. And cherries. And plums. And apples.

I don’t dare dream of actually having spring in March in Erie. That’s just out of the question. Then we would really know the world was out of whack.

Before leaving for Florida, I had the honor of hosting a group of women called the Black Diamond Divas, a mastermind group of women who are part of the Coffee Club Divas. They are a fantastic group who are taking me to the next level of developing a business. More will come on that at a later date.

The challenge for making them lunch is the diversity of diets – namely gluten intolerant and vegan. Neither of these comprise my typical meal – but I do love a challenge. This Thai Quinoa Salad, adapted from FoodieCrush.com was perfect. Indeed, my daughter loved it the night before (I made early before so it could marinate in the dressing). I didn’t mention gluten free of vegan. She just declared it delish.

Hope you do too.

XOXOXO

marnie

marniemead@gmail.com

 

 

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Thai Quinoa Salad
For me the secret to the salad is two-fold: make your quinoa in a rice or pressure cooker and marinate the whole salad the night before serving. You can add protein, such as roasted chicken or shrimp if you feel the need for a more substantial dish.
Course lunch, Salad
Cuisine American, Asian
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course lunch, Salad
Cuisine American, Asian
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Rinse quinoa under cold water. Cook according to package directions. Remove from pan and allow to cool.
  2. Add vegetables, quinoa, cilantro, and basil to a large bowl. Toss.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk soy sauce, Braggs, limes, sugar, vegetable oil, sesame oil and red pepper flakes until the sugar has dissolved. Taste and adjust to your liking (mainly checking for more heat or sweet).
  4. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir to combine. Can serve immediately or refrigerate overnight.
  5. Sprinkle peanuts over the salad before serving.
Recipe Notes

I like to use the multi-colored quinoa, just for color.

Adapted from FoodieCrush.com

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Peppers add Heat to end of Summer

img_4532
Lake Erie shortly after sunrise on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016.

On this last official day of summer, I’m trying to pack as much in as possible. Fortunately, the weather has cooperated, meaning I was out in my kayak taking the last paddle of summer. It won’t be my last paddle, but summer is officially closing and with it my windows of weather opportunity.

The wind was shifting around a lot, first from the south and then moving toward the east, making kayaking in Lake Erie similar to padding around in a bathtub with infants splashing around in it. No whitecaps, but wind and current were working against one another to give me a small chop. I tell myself it’s better for my arms.

img_4526What was spectacular was that I was able to spot my first eagle of the season. Some years, I see them every day. Others, I’m lucky with just a couple of sightings. This year, I have been without seeing any of these beautiful birds soaring over the bluffs until today. This was a small eagle. At first, I thought it was one of the many hawks that patrol the bluffs of western Erie County, Pennsylvania, until I saw the tell-tale white plumage on the tail. The bird perched in a tree, allowing me to paddle nearly underneath. My iPhone did an OK job capturing him (look in the center of the photo).

Aside from getting in a 2-mile paddle in open water, I’ve been trying to keep up with the tomatoes that are continuing to ripen in my garden, along with those delivered by my CSA last week. I’m not canning this year, but I am roasting batches of tomatoes and then pureeing them in the blender to create crushed tomatoes to freeze. The flavor is too intense from the roasting to use in highly spiced recipes such as chili, but are perfect for sauces and soups where tomato is the star.

One of my favorite recipes of summer is to pickle peppers. This way I can capture the heat of the season for those frigid February days.

I wasn’t always so positive about peppers. For several years, Post Apples CSA delivered more hot peppers than I could ever use. I think Gordon Post has a passion for peppers, which I have come to appreciate. In the beginning, I would freeze them. This works if you need to add a puree of hot pepper to a recipe, such as for a soup (gives a great boost to potato soup).

Then a friend shared a recipe from a co-worker, who gave away a much-coveted jar to friends each year. But one jar of these special peppers didn’t last long. I scoffed. I had jars of pickled jalapenos that were at least a year old in my fridge.

Once I made the recipe, I understood why. These are the bomb of pickled pepper recipes. They go into eggs, on top of pizzas, and into my Utica greens. I love these peppers. And it solves my plethora of peppers from Post problem. Which is now not a problem, but something I look forward to each Thursday when my  Post Apples, North East, Pennsylvania, delivers my CSA basket.

The recipe calls for a peck of peppers. You can easily cut it down. But if you have pepper lovers in your family, make the full batch and share.

Happy pickling.

XOXOXO

Marnie

marnie@marniemeadmedia.com

Print Recipe
Pickled Peppers
These peppers are great on eggs, pizza, sandwiches, or sauces. You will need a 5-gallon bucket that is food grade plastic - no metal - gloves and possibly a face mask if you are sensitive.
Course condiment
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Course condiment
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat water to boiling in a large pot. Remove from heat. Stir in salt until dissolved. Allow to cool.
  2. With gloves on, core, seed and cut peppers into rings. You may want to wear a face mask. Sometimes I start coughing as the peppers release some of their capsaicin. I find a grapefruit spoon is helpful.
  3. Combine salt water with garlic, oregano, cider and oil in a 5-gallon food-grade plastic bucket. Stir in peppers. Allow to marinate overnight.
  4. Pack peppers into 12 sterile 1 pint jars. Cover with solution. Add lids and store in refrigerator.
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