Punk Domestics's blog

Seven Ways to Preserve Zucchini

It's summer, and everyone's gardens are overflowing with zucchini. Don't be daunted! Here's a bunch of ways to put up your zukes so can enjoy them well into the colder months.

Pickled Zucchini, found on PunkDomestics.com
Pickled Zucchini
Got zukes? When the garden throws you more summer squash than you can consume, put 'em up in a pickle. Here's a bunch of options. (Image via fish in the water)

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Use Those Herbs!

Having an herb garden is great, when you need a pinch of this or that. But when the herbs go rangy and begin to bolt, it's time to hack them back and put them by. Here's a few applications for when you need to use your homegrown herbs by the hank.

Pesto found on PunkDomestics.com
Pesto
Basil is the traditional herb here, but use your imagination and make pesto from a wide variety of herbs, like sage, oregano and more. (Image via Hitchhiking to Heaven)
Chimichurri found on PunkDomestics.com
Chimichurri
Parsley, cilantro and garlic make the backbone of this Argentinean sauce, perfect over grilled beef but delicious with almost anything. (Image via Delectable Musings)
Cilantro Chutney found on PunkDomestics.com
Cilantro Chutney
Traditionally used alongside appetizers in Indian food, this refreshing chutney wakes up all kinds of foods. (Image via Cooking in Weschester)
Zhoug found on PunkDomestics.com
Zhoug
A spicy, fiery Israeli condiment made with fresh cilantro, parsley, green chiles and garlic. Sure to become a pantry staple! (Image via Blue Kale Road)

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Giveaway! Win Custom Jar Labels from Felix Doolittle

When it comes to labeling jars, I am often a minimalist. As in, I neglect to label them. At best, I'll print out some labels (like these bitchin' Punk Domestics labels, for example), but that's dependent on me remembering to buy ink for my seldom-used printer. Read More >

What Are You Smoking?

Fire up the grill and bust out the wood chips. Summer is smokin' hot, and we've got a variety of hot smoking projects for your Smokey Joe. What are you smoking?

DIY Hot Smoker, found on punkdomestics.com
DIY Hot Smoker
You can turn that charcoal grill you probably already have into an effective hot smoker. Here's a few tips. (Image via Well Hung Food)
Bacon, found on punkdomestics.com
Bacon!
Everything is better with bacon, and making your own is surprisingly easy. Go with the traditional, or branch out with variations like French ventreche, Sichuan spiced, or made with wild boar or lamb belly. (Image via Eat Live Travel Write)
Smoked Ham, found on punkdomestics.com
Smoked Ham
Brine up a leg and then smoke it low and slow for a tender, flavorful ham. (Image via And Here We Are...)
Canadian Bacon, found on punkdomestics.com
Canadian Bacon
Or go for the loin to make the classic Canadian bacon, more like ham than its American counterpart.  (Image via Smoke Cure Pickle Brew)

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We Can Pickle That: Cucumbers!

Summer is on -- time to cue the cukes! Pickling is the way to go for most of us, but we have a few other tricks up our sleeves for cucumbers.

Sour Pickles
Sour Pickles
Our friend lactofermentation gives cucumbers their characteristic tang. This is the deli pickle of your dreams -- but there are a few tricks to perfecting crispy spears. (Image via Tim Vidra)
Half Sours
Half Sours
A slightly less salty brine produces a pickle with a slightly less sour tang. (Image via From Scratch Club)
East Coast New Pickles
East Coast New Pickles
A tradition in the Northeast, these pickles are brined but unfermented, making for a crisp, salty cuke. (Image via Linda Ziedrich)
Dill Pickles
Dill Pickles
Whether fermented or vinegar-brined, dill pickles are dill-icious, and endlessly variable. (Image via Talk of Tomatoes)

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Keen on Peaches

Peaches -- can there be a more perfect fruit? When these fuzzy friends are in season, you gotta get all over them. How many ways will you put up peaches this year?

Canned Peaches
Canned Peaches
Can up those fruits in syrup and be ready to make a pie that tastes like a summer's day in the dead of winter. Better yet -- make them brandied (oh, yes!) (Image via Little Miss Cruciferous)
Peach Jam
Peach Jam
The sweetness of peaches shines in a sunny orange jam. (Image via Turntable Kitchen)
Peach Preserves
Peach Preserves
Left chunkier, preserves can be used like a jam on morning toast, or becomes a dessert with the simple addition of ice cream. (Image via My Man's Belly)
Peach Jelly
Peach Jelly
Extract the essence of peachness and set it in a jewel-like jelly. (Image via A Box of Stolen Socks)

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Going Ape for Apricots

Like sunshine trapped in a soft, fuzzy fruit, apricots are the ultimate harbinger of summer. Here's a bushelful of ways to make the most of them.

Canned Apricots
Canned Apricots
Can up those fruits in syrup either light or heavy to have on hand for desserts to come. (Image via Wildcraft Vita)
Apricot Jam
Apricot Jam
Apricot is arguably the easiest jam, as the fruit melts down and creates a set without any added pectin. (Image via Food Fanatic)
Apricot Preserves
Apricot Preserves
Stewed down and chunky, apricot preserves are delicious on desserts, or just eaten by the spoonful. (Image via Girl's Guide to Butter and Guns)
Apricot Jelly
Apricot Jelly
Think beyond the peanut butter on this stuff -- apricot jelly makes an amazing glaze on pies and tarts, as well as savory roast meats like pork or turkey.  (Image via Nest)

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Dandelions Are Dandy

Dandelions are more than mere weeds -- they're one of the more useful wild plants, and they're readily available in your backyard. Check out this list of projects to see why dandelions are just dandy.

Dandelion Wine
Dandelion Wine
Round up the troops to pick your pesky dandelions and turn those babies into out-and-out wine (with a little help from Father Fermentation). (Image via The Old School)

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Review and Giveaway: Hip Girl's Guide to the Kitchen

I've spent more than my share of time in the kitchen, particularly over the past few years. Along the way, I've learned a thing or ten, tips and techniques that I've uncovered either by trial and error or by working with others with greater savvy than I. Being at ease in the kitchen is a skill that comes with time; none of us is born with the knowledge. 

But you can shortcut your way to being a kitchen ninja, thanks to Kate Payne. Kate first came to our collective rescue with The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking, where she taught us all how to keep a happy, healthy home, with bonus sanity-saving tips on things like how to fold a fitted sheet. (My previous method involved rolling it up in a wad and cramming it in the closet.) 

I first met Kate when she and her wife, the talented photog JoAnn Santangelo, came to the Bay Area to promote that book. At Blue Chair Fruit, we had a not-your-grandmother's tea party with finger sandwiches, scones ... and homemade tea liqueur courtesy of yours truly. 

Since then, Kate and I have maintained a friendship, and last year she and I did a panel at BlogHer Food 13 with Sarah Tetreault on how to maximize yield of your food through a variety of preservation techniques

This is the sort of thing Kate does best -- frugality through common sense methods. And with her new book, The Hip Girl's Guide to the Kitchen,  she applies the same clarity to the most important room in the house.

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Stuff It! DIY Sausage

Summertime is upon us, and it's time to bust out the grill and sear up some sausage. Making your own is easier than you think, and the rewards are worth the effort.

Hot Dogs
Hot Dogs
Store-bought franks are snouts and ... other parts. Make your own with top-quality meat for the best flavor. (Image via Eat Live Travel Write)
Italian Sausages
Italian Sausages
Hot or sweet, Italian sausages bring big flavor to the party. (Image via NPR)
Chorizo
Chorizo
A pinch of pimientón makes these Mexican and Spanish sausages muy caliente(Image via The Cultivated Life)

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