We are well into August and it has been an exciting, busy month for our family. We moved! This is a recent decision, inspired by a desire for a bit of change with my older son, Sam, leaving for college. For the past two years, we’ve been coming to our little cabin in the Methow Valley for long weekends and school breaks. We love our time here and, more and more, are drawn to this stunning, rural area.
With Sam’s departure to the University of Oregon, we are in a natural period of transition and we thought this might be an ideal time to shake things up. So Bob, Isaac and I decided to reverse our Seattle-Methow Valley balance and live in our cabin full-time, with Seattle reserved for long weekends and school breaks. This lead to a flurry of activity as we rapidly shifted our lives to this magical place for the coming year and enrolled Isaac at the local high school.
We are now all tucked into our tiny house high on a hillside, surrounded by sage brush and open land. The chickens arrived last week and the move feels complete.
Our new daily life includes dirt roads, deer peeking in our windows and a chorus of coyotes and crickets at night. I’m loving every moment.
There’s a vibrant food scene here in the valley with an abundance of farms and orchards, weekly markets, a winery and a cider house. Eating and drinking local is quite delicious. At the market, plums are spilling over with their intoxicating fragrance and in various shades of red, black and even sunshine yellow. We are devouring them by the pound, enjoying their juicy goodness.
To celebrate the abundance of plums, I made chutney. Chutney is a marvelous condiment with an explosion of flavors – sweet and savory, spicy and tangy. Ginger, garlic, chili, vinegar, raisins and honey combine with the deep sweetness of plums beautifully. Quick to make, this chutney turns a rosy shade of magenta, adding a colorful splash alongside grilled fish or chicken.
I’m having fun cooking in the cabin kitchen, finding new rhythms and embracing this time. Sam and Isaac are starting their new schools soon and we are off on an adventure. As I step into this next chapter of our lives, I’m grateful for the opportunity and can’t wait to see what this year will bring.
Makes just over 2 cups
2 ½ pounds plums (any color, I used a mix of red and black), pitted and roughly chopped
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup raisins
1 teaspoon crushed red chile pepper
3 tablespoons fresh mint, slivered
Combine all of the ingredients except the mint in a large sauce pan. Stir and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, until syrupy and thickened. Stir often to prevent sticking or scorching and lower heat if necessary. When the chutney is cooked to your liking, remove from the heat, stir in the fresh mint and let cool. Store in the fridge for up to a month.