Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Have Pickled Tomatoes: Will Travel and Week 10 2013

I've been traveling for a week. The food ranged from Sodexo college catering to bowling alley onion strips, from a plethora of veggie pizza to pina coladas from a bat mitzvah Tiki bar, a brief pause at the Olive Garden, and then it all culminated with pickled green tomatoes and grilled sausage.

In the meanwhile, I sang my album on stage for the first time, met with my editor over at URJ Press, made a duct tape tallit, presented on Intermarriage and on Israel and the need to openly talk about both, put over 500 miles on the car back and forth between Massachusetts, Home, and Western New York, had an aliyah at a beautiful bat mitzvah, visited with family, danced the hora with my girls, and spent an afternoon outside watching the sky go by while while the kiddos played and the grill heated up.

So, now I'm back. And the house is empty of groceries. But we brought home some pickled green tomatoes and they're holding us steady until the next box of the CSA arrives. They are tart and sour, grown in our friends' backyard. I have eaten a half quart in the last 24 hrs. Here is the recipe to try later in the season:

Pickled Green Tomatoes
Adapted from the Joy of Pickling - For best flavor, use tomatoes that are barely beginning to ripen

1 to 2 dill sprigs
1 galic clove, slices
One 1/2 inch cube of horseradish, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp whole yellow mustard seed
1/2 tsp Mixed Pickling Spices1. Put the aromatics into a steriilized pint jar. Fill the jar with the tomatoes
1 small dried hot pepper
1 pint green tomatoes
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp pickling salt (i.e. iodine free)

1. Put the aromatics into a steriized pint jar.. Fill the jar with the tomatoes. Combine the vinegar and water, and stir in the salt until it disolves. Pour the liquid over the tomatoes, right to the brim of the jar. Close the jar tightly with a nonreactive cap (you can use a two piece mason jar cap if you line it with two layers of plastic wrap).

2. Store the jar in the refrigerator. The tomatoes will be ready to eat in about 1 week and will keep, refrigerated, for 2 months or longer.

Week 10 at Denison Farm CSA

This week in your share you will find:

Bunch Radish
Green Beans or Potatoes
Cucumbers or Summer Squash

Maybe Fennel or Melon
Hopefully Corn

Step 1: Triage
Short Life: Lettuce, Tomatoes, Melon, Radish Greens
Medium Life: Carrots, Eggplant, Pepper, Green Beans, Cucumbers, Summer Squash, Fennel, Corn
Long Life: Potatoes, Radishes

The bounty is in full swing. Much of the veg is common place to our table, if not the quantities. Let your menu planning tendencies go into full swing - where will the veg fit with your family's schedule, when will they be cooked, where will a protein help the turn a remaining veg into a hearty side dish?

Step 2: Divide and Conquer

It's official: cucumbers taste better when peeled. They also make a better cucumber salad, especially when combined with the fresh tomatoes with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and Italian spices. Soak up the juices with fresh Italian bread and you have a sure winner for your table.

In case melon makes it to your basket, chop and slice immediately. Mix with lemon juice and zest and allow to marinate in your refrigerator until ready to serve.

As always, you corn can be peeled now or can be cooked whole in its leaves, to be stripped right before eating. Remove your carrots from their greens and they will store indefinitely. Finally, green beans can be prepped when you have time and stored for several days until their ready to be used.

Step 3: Everything in its Place

Of all the possible veg this week, Fennel seems to be the only one that's a little off the typical American palate. Here's a fennel chicken recipe that's been a hit in our house this summer:

Fennel Apricot Chicken

1 chicken of choice, 6 or 8 pieces
1 head fennel
1 sweet onion
1 cup apricot jam
1 pkg onion soup mix
1 beer of choice - best with a light IPA-esque or citrus sweet
vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 425. Place rack on top middle rung. Remove and reserve fronds from fennel. Core and slice. Slice onion into similar crescents. Coat a roasting pan with vegetable oil. Lay down fronds. Scatter fennel slice and onions over the top. Note: Sliced Potatoes and carrots roasted with the fronds are a lovely, lovely thing.

2. Mix together apricot jam and onion mix. Salt and pepper chicken pieces. Place chicken on fennel fronds. Coat with jam mixture, getting under skin whenever possible.

3. Pour beer into corners, allowing to spread under fronds. Place roasting pan in oven until chicken is cooked through - about 50 minutes for chicken breasts on the bone. Remove and allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.

Step 4: Storage

The following vegetables can be blanched, frozen and stored indefinitely: tomatoes, green beans, summer squash, corn. Your root veg - potatoes, carrots and radishes - will store on their own for the long term once separated from their green, kept cool, dry and dark.

When in doubt, it is time to start making large pots of minestrone soup and freezing the batches for the future.

Here's your pickle for the week:

Pickled Radish Pods
From the Joy of Pickling

1 pint fully formed radish pods, stems trimmed to 1/4 inch
1 small fresh hot pepper, cut into rings
1 tarragon sprig
1 large garlic clove, sliced
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp pickling salt
1 T olive oil

1. Pack a pint jar with the radish pods, hot pepper, tarragon and garlic. Stir together the vinegar, water, and salt, and pour the liquid over the pods, covering them well and leaving only about 1/8 inch headspace. Add the olive oil and cap the jar tightly with a nonreactive lid (you can use a two piece mason jar cap if you line it with two layers of plastic wrap).

2. Store the jar in a cool, dry, dark place for at least 3 weeks before eating the pods. Tightly covered and refrigerated, or not, they should keep well for a year. After opening the jar, store it in the refrigerator.

While waiting for you pickles to turn delicious, share the bounty and enjoy. See you next week!
Leah the Nosher

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