Friday, August 7, 2015

July Bucket List: Making Pickles + 8 Summer Items!

I am very happy to say that July was a very busy month for the Bucket List mission.  I was able to cross a total of 9 things off of my lists! That has to be a record so far.  I planted a garden for the first time in my entire life this year with the help of my partner, Chris.  We planted late and I didn't expect much.  One of the things we planted were radishes.  They popped up a few at a time, but did not do very well.  So with only a few on hand I decided to make a small batch of pickled radishes.  I looked up a basic refrigerator pickle recipe, picked my spices, and tossed in a handful of banana pepper slices for good measure as well.  They turned out pretty well, and were great on tacos and sandwiches.  Here are the radishes after the brine was poured on:
Photo by Poison Megz

They turned out so pretty! Later in the month I had some blueberries near the end of their life and decided to pickle those with some rosemary.  They are still in the fridge untasted.  I will be using them on a baked brie, once I find some decent brie in this town.  Here they are:
Photo by Poison Megz

I have fairly high hopes for these, and will definitely update y'all once I find the cheese.  Early in the month I was able to cross off 5 things in one day. I was selected for a Redd's Apple Ale Shark Week House Party.  We picked a day that everyone was home, my partner was off work, and that my partner's oldest could stop by as well.  We grilled out and I was able to make several things to make a dent in the summer section of my bucket list.  Here a few photos of the food from that day: 

Photos by Poison Megz

I will start with the top left hand photo and move clockwise.  The first item checked off and the first photo is a "Grilled Cocktail".  My partner grilled lemons and peaches for me so I could make this bourbon sweet tea.  The grilled fruit gave it an awesome smokey flavor.  Though, I would recommend drinking the whole batch in the first few hours, or first day at least.  The next day the smoke was pretty overwhelming.  

Next up we have another item off my list "Host a Party with a DIY Hot Dog Bar".  This also had brats and burgers on it since we were feeding a small army.  I made sure to have a wide range of typical condiments and also some unique ones.  My radish pickles, beer caramelized onions, beer sauce, and pulled pork were all included in the offerings.  It was a big hit and nearly nothing was left by the end of the feast. 

"Prosciutto and Melon" was probably my personal favorite item to check off that day.  The fresh cantaloupe and salty prosciutto worked so well together, I also added mozzarella, because everything is better with cheese.  The next day I also drizzled a balsamic glaze over the few that were left, it was a fancy snack in my pajamas while the screaming toddler ran around.

Last but not least is a combination of "Watermelon on a Stick" and "Grill ALL the Fruit".  This was super easy, seriously. Just cut up whatever fruit you like, skewer, and toss on the grill.  You could also brush a glaze on if you wanted it even more sweet, but I think the caramelized fruit is sweet enough personally.  Just make sure if you are using a skewer other than metal that you soak it before grilling.

The last few things I was able to cross off were: "Freeze Fun Things in Ice Cubes", "Make Cold Brew Coffee", and "Cold Soup on a Hot Day".  
Photos by Poison Megz

I froze blueberries in ice cubes to use in lemonade.  I also want to try freezing mint and some muddles berries.  

The cold brew coffee was well worth the effort.  It didn't mess with my stomach like regular coffee and it was perfect for making iced coffee.  It was especially good with some sweetened condensed milk.  I used my limited edition Dark Blood by Dark Matter out of Chicago for this.  It was quite strong so I was able to use it sparingly, making it last longer as well.

The cold soup I made was a cucumber gazpacho.  It was made with green grapes as well which it gave it a nice hint of sweetness.  I also added a pinch of cayenne, as I am a major spice addict.  It's topped with some nasturtium petals from my garden for a peppery kick.  If you have not tried a chilled soup I definitely recommend giving it a go. It was very refreshing after coming in from the heat.

Thanks for bearing with me while I took you through the NINE items I was able to cross off last month! Phew, it was a lot of yummy food that's for sure.  Have you had any amazing food experiences this summer?  Summer is such a great food season and I would love to hear some of your favorite food moments.

Until next time,

xoxo
Poison Megz