If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you know that fermented veggies are not my forte. To be honest, the whole process terrifies me. Bacteria, breaking jars, botulism, did I mention bacteria!? I ferment almost as often as I use my pressure caner, which is never? Whenever people ask if I make fermented pickles, I tend to bullshit my way out of the question. Alas, it’s time to overcome my fear. What better to experiment with than none other than my 3rd favorite thing to pickle: cauliflower. Last Wednesday, I snagged a huge head of organic cauliflower from the lovely Lydie at Maple Spring Gardens. I find it pretty amazing that for any head over 2lbs they charge a flat rate. I sat on the cauliflower head for a day until I came across a recipe that didn’t completely intimidate me: Tammy’s fermented cauliflower recipe at One tomato, two tomato.
I decided to modify Tammy’s recipe a little bit by substituting dried peppers for hot habanero peppers, and mustard and coriander seed for several teaspoons of my trusty Happy Girl Kitchen Co. pickling spice. I have absolutely no clue how these are going to turn out. They have to sit for 8 weeks before I can taste them. So fingers crossed. I’ll be back in July with an update and review. 🙂
Strawberry season is upon us! Strawberry jams, preserves, pies, muffins, shrubs, jellies, pickles!! Where are you on the “ways I preserve strawberries before the peak season ends (3 weeks)” list? So far this season I’ve scratched off a strawberry shrub, some strawberry ricotta muffins, and now pickled strawberries! Last year’s strawberry pantry was a bit more impressive as wild strawberries were a plenty around the Lil’ House. Anyways, after wading my way through the massive farmers’ market lines last weekend, people were ecstatic for clear skies, I managed to grab my share of locally grown strawberries harvested from Lyon Farms.
I realize that I feature Lyon Farms quite often probably because they happen to always have the latest super hot thing that I’m trying to put up, plus they’re my local PYO farm. Last summer I spent many of weekend day dawning a big straw hat while picking berries at their Falls Lake farm. Due to camping, Mother’s Day, and the required garden weekends, unfortunately this year I don’t think I’ll find the time for a farm visit. Alas, there’s always time for playing with a pickled strawberry recipe. For my entry for the April FIJ Mastery Challenge I played around with a menage of balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and strawberries.
Surprising news (!!), Putting Up with Erin has been selected as a finalist in the Indy Week Best of the Triangle 2017 for the best local-interest blog. If you love my recipes, my involvement in the local Durham food scene, or perhaps my pickle reviews around town, will you please take a minute to vote for me? Surprising (mostly because I’ve never really considered myself a local blog), taking photos of local farmers that I buy my fresh veggies from just always seems to make sense. Either way, the competition is stiff, but I’m optimistic and super honored to make it to the final round. 🙂
Quick pickles! Let’s talk about quick pickles and how I don’t typically make them… Due to the shear lack of fridge space, quick pickling has always posed a challenge for me. I’d say that less than 10% of everything I pickle bypasses my trusty water bath canner. That being said, there are a few things that even I deem fridge/quick pickle worthy: cucumber, okra, and the occasional asparagus pickles. You can’t really beat the fresh crispness achieved by the quick pickling method. I mentioned the word challenge, right? Enter left stage… this month’s Food in Jars Mastery Challenge: quick pickles.
If you’re lucky enough 🙂 to follow me on Instagram you may have noticed that the week before last I was frolicking around the central coast of California. Half of the trip was for work and the other for play. Killing a couple days before my science obligations, I found myself wandering around Pacific Grove just south of Monterey. Looking for lunch recommendations, the lovely hostess at Crema suggested that I check out Happy Girl Kitchen Co. for some post yoga fare. “Awesome”, I thought, “cute name”. What she failed to mention was that Happy Girl Kitchen Co. was a pickle haven… I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t a tad over excited when I realized I just walked into a pickle wonderland, “wait is this a trick, where am I? Hello, God?”. While there I couldn’t help but snap a couple photos, order a pickle plate, and grab a few souvenirs, including a jar of their pickling spice. I could have purchased a jar of each pickle product, but alas I only packed one bag. I will admit that I typically skip pre-made pickling spice mixes as I’m not a huge fan of those sweeter fall-time flavors, but the smell of this one had me as soon as I twisted off the top. “We like our blend to be very savory and so ease up on the sweeter spices such as cinnamon, cloves and fennel.” Check out their online shop for more.
Happy Sunday evening everyone. What a weekend, eh? If you joined the 3 million people who participated in women’s marches across the nation on Saturday, then rock on!! Saturday morning after yoga and the farmers’ market I found myself quite anxious and on the fence about the idea of attending our local march here in Raleigh, NC. I wained back and forth on whether to attend or not and final came to the conclusion that what I really needed was some alone time in the woods. I don’t know about you, but trail running through the trees not only helps clear my head, but also makes me feel like an outdoorsy badass! Five miles later, and one hell of a sore knee (I’ve had IT band problems for years), the fog began to lift and I felt much better.
Ever try to pass up beautifully arranged flowers AND adorable lady farmers? Impossible, right?! I decided to support local pink this weekend by picking up a couple pounds of tiny radishes from Bluebird Meadows. A Durham based farm, Bluebird Meadows’ is known for their specialty cut flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Wanting to preserve the color and crisp of these tiny root veggies, I threw together a quick pickled radish with some thai basil that I found at the new Hmart, plenty of lime, fresh garlic, and some black onion seeds. Weird combo? Yup!
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