First, of all any recipe that not only includes beer, but includes it prominently in the title definitely has my attention.
Second, this incredibly simple bread is easy to make and tastes like Thanksgiving.
Five years ago, in a fit of either homesteading fever or uncontrollable Amazon Prime clicking, I bought a Ball home canning kit. It promptly sat in its box. First in the office and then down in the basement. I did flip through the Ball preserving book, but it suddenly seemed like a lot of effort and a lot of bother.
We moved to a new house. Conveniently, the canning kit was still packed and moved right along with us. It went on a shelf in the basement in a new house. It didn’t even get to stop in the office this time around.
Nothing changed except we joined the Tangerini’s CSA and occasionally I’d see the Ball book on my cookbook shelf. I’d quickly avert my eyes. Then, one day this summer while picking up our CSA, I saw an advertisement for a Canning and Pickling class at the farm. I signed up before I could talk myself out of it.
I might have to put up with mediocre pizza (at best) and a lot of homogenous chain restaurants out in the suburbs, but one thing I’ll never complain about is the amount of farms and preserved land. The fact that we have 200 acres of trails and woodlands at the end of our street is almost priceless.
There are also numerous working farms nearby. We have been happy customers and CSA members of nearby Tangerini’s for years and have happily watched it grow and prosper. Jane and Paul’s Farm is actually the closest farm to us and just about within walking distance, but it can often get overlooked in the shadow of some of the larger neighboring farms. It shouldn’t be. At least not for it’s blueberries.
I had a plan. What I thought was a pretty good plan. As I worked my way through my marathon plan for Chicago in the fall, I’d also work my way through Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky’s Run Fast. Eat Slow. cookbook for athletes. I would see how their philosophy and recipes held up for the everyday marathoner, not just the elites.
I went to Whole Foods. Stocked up. Made the first recipe. And promptly got injured. I don’t blame the cook book.
Mid-summer, a time of abundance, even in the scant growing season of New England. The CSA is in full swing. The home garden is producing. And my father-in-law can’t resist picking more fruit than he can possibly consume.
He’s an engineer, turned doctor, who should have been a farmer. He loves picking. Last week, when I drove down to Philly to drop off Cecilia, he sent me back with a 20 lb box of blueberries, a (slightly) smaller box of peaches, a bag of beets and some mangoes. Challenge accepted!