Monday, August 19, 2013

Plum Chutney and Moving to the Methow


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.


Plum Chutney
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.

32 comments:

  1. Your new surrondings sound really wonderful:) And what a lovely chutney:)

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    1. Thank you so much, Jael! I'm very happy to be here and am looking forward to this next year. :)

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  2. Hannah, how wonderful. Congratulations on the move it sounds so nice there. Love the chickens!!! I so envy that sort of life style change. I would love to live in a peaceful and quiet less hectic environment Good for you!! Now that plum chutney, I have a love affair with plums and am never without from the moment I see them at the market. I love your chutney, plums and spice are perfect together, going to the market Saturday where I will get another huge load of various plums and I will be making this for sure.

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    1. Thank you, Suzanne! It's an exciting time. I'm really appreciating all the valley has to offer, and a quiet place is a big part of that. I share your love of plums - plum jam is my absolute favorite. I hope you enjoy the chutney!

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  3. Wow! Congratulations, Hannah! What a cool change. You will always keep things interesting over there. How beautiful. What a beautiful chutney too! I can't wait to see how your landscape inspires your cooking.

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    1. Thank you, Amanda! I'm very happy to be here and will definitely find new inspiration in the beauty of the valley. I hope you're doing well and enjoying your summer!

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  4. Your chutney sounds wonderful...I love plums! It sounds like you are going to have a wonderful adventure and it will be fun following along.

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    1. Thank you, Karen! We are off on a lovely adventure and happy to be here. I've thought of you and your move to New Hampshire! I really enjoy all you share about your life there. :)

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  5. Congratulations! I was wondering if I had missed something when I saw the pics on facebook but this supplies the backstory. Looks beautiful. Looking forward to some frittata and omelet ideas from you soon!

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    1. Thanks, Sara! Some big changes this summer and it's all good. The chickens are laying again (they took a week off after their move!) so egg dishes are on the menu again. I still need to get to West Seattle on one of my visits back to try some of your recommendations from your recent posts.

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  6. Many congratulations on your move, Hannah! What a wonderful transition in life you're immersed in. Enjoy it, and enjoy what life brings. Love the chickens :-) And really love the chutney. Plums have a special place in my heart (and tummy), and love the spices you've chosen. Pinning!

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    1. Thank you so much, Susan! It really is a marvelous new chapter and I'm enjoying it immensely. The plums are just scrumptious right now and I need to make some jam - definitely my favorite flavor. I hope you enjoy the chutney and that you're having a wonderful summer!

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  7. How exciting Hannah your country living looks idyllic! All those beautiful plums....I ma very envious!

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    1. Thanks, Mairi! Idyllic is a good way to describe this area - I'm very happy here. The wonderful farms and orchards nearby are such a treat!

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  8. wow, congrats on the move Hannah! That place looks absolutely amazing! The chutney looks really delicious and refreshing too...what a beautiful color!

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    1. Thank you so much, Brandi! I'm really happy we could make this move. I love the pretty color of the chutney, too! This is such a gorgeous season with all the local produce. I hope you're enjoying a wonderful summer!

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  9. Wow! That's a big move! Congratulations on moving and I'm so happy for you! I look forward to your posts about your new life (and the chicken!). :) Plum chutney looks so good. I'm so jealous of great produce!!

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    1. Thank you, Nami! It's an exciting new chapter and I'm really happy. We are fortunate to have marvelous farms and orchards nearby and I'm loving all the beautiful fruit and veggies. Such a treat! I hope you're doing well and settling back in well after your visit to Japan. Love reading about it!

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  10. I can't wait to follow this journey - your pictures continue to be beautiful. Especially love the one with all the different ingredients above. Hope to see you on your next visit to Seattle.

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    1. Thank you so much, Margot! I'm very happy and look forward to sharing about this new chapter. I can't wait to hear more about your recent journey! :)

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  11. I'm so excited for you Hannah! Your new adventure sounds delicious and I can't wait to read future posts. What a lovely place in the world to hang your hat. Hugs to you my friend!!

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    1. Thank you, Karista! It really is a gorgeous area to call home. I'm happy! You're embarking on a new chapter, too, and I hope you're settling in well. I look forward to hearing more and hopefully visiting. I'm thinking of you!

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  12. Such an amazing adventure Hannah!!! I love it :) btw, we are going to drive the 100 mile road (i think route 20?) around the North Cascades the 1st week in Sept. I think it passes through the Methow Valley - I need your recs for where to stop! Will you guys be there then?

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    1. Hi Alyssa! I can't wait to show you the valley - I know you'll love it. Keep me posted on your plans! xx

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  13. This sounds so much fun! What a gorgeous place to live. I'll bet you'll have the time of your life. And the plum chutney looks so good too - thanks for that.

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    1. Thanks so much, John! You've described this area well - fun and gorgeous. I'm happy and I think it will indeed be a wonderful time in our lives. I appreciate your kind words.

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  14. I would do the same Hannah...in some ways I am. My new home is in a subdivision so I personally have a small plot of land and close neighbors...for me it's a bit closer to others than where I just moved from but the surrounding area looks much like your photo; it's more wide open and a bit further from civilization. Some friends think I'm nuts but I simply can not wait.

    So happy for you...oh and the chutney? Just gorgeous!

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    1. It sounds like you're moving to a marvelous area, Barb! I'm sure you'll appreciate the beautiful, wide open space very much. I can't wait to hear about your new home! I'm thinking about you. xx

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  15. What a creative recipe! It looks and sounds beautiful. As does your new home! What a host of changes you've undergone! I love the beautiful scenery photos. Enjoy every minute of your new surroundings!

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    1. Thank you, Brianne! It has indeed been a summer of changes. It's all good and I'm very happy. I hope you're settling in well to your new place on the coast!

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  16. This looks delicious Hannah! Welcome to the valley!

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    1. Thank you, Rosalee! I appreciate your welcome and hope to meet you. :)

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