Hello from a really really hard floor at Chicago Midway airport. The hard floor next to an electrical outlet… oh the pains I endure to bring you pickle goodness. What better time than a three hour layover to write about pickles and catch up on blogging? What’s new with all of you? Falling into autumn? I’d love to hear what everyone is putting up these days. The Durham Farmers’ Market is phasing out its peppers and beans and moving on to squash, squash, and more squash. I get that I live in the southern growing belt now and that produce is bound to show up earlier than I was accustomed to in New England… but butternut squash in August!? It’s like seeing Halloween candy in September, which consequently means that the beautiful days of summer are coming to an end.
Speaking of squash, can we talk about the curious green markings of these locally sourced squash… from Meadow Lane Farm, these Zephyr squash appear to be a hybrid of summer and zucchini squash. “Delicious nutty taste and firm texture. Straight-neck fruit is as attractive as it is delicious… High yields and plenty of blossoms so you can enjoy both fresh fruit & fried squash blossoms!” This time last year I put up a batch of pattypan and pepper squash pickles. Here I decided to mix these squash coins, a couple hot citrus peppers (Four Leaf Farm), some fresh cilantro, coriander seeds, and garlic slivers. OK. We are boarding… Till next time.
Also known as “lady fingers”, okra has always been a bit of a mystery to me. The texture, the sliminess, the odd shape? The first time I actually enjoyed eating okra was at an Indian restaurant in Ithaca, NY. Bhindi Masala. Yum! A few things I and maybe you didn’t know about okra: (1) it may/or may not (depending on your peer reviewed sources) provide some benefits for those with diabetes. “Okra has been used in some traditional cultures for generations to help stabilize blood sugar levels.” Curious… That being said, all the modern studies where the theory was tested on rodents used okra powder/seeds or soaked okra in water. Okra water? Eww. Ok, for another fun okra fact, (2) “in Louisiana, the Créoles learned from slaves the use of okra (gumbo) to thicken soups and it is now an essential in Créole Gumbo.” 🙂
Walking around the Durham Farmers’ Market it is evident that the peak season for okra in central North Carolina is right now. Every farmer and their neighbor is peddling lady fingers as of late. Last Saturday morning I gave in to the beautiful mixed display of green and red okra harvested from Ever Laughter Farm located nearby in Hillsborough, NC. The best thing about a mixture is the pretty purple brine the okra produces.
Have I mentioned how excited I am that the Seacoast Eat Local farmers’ market is back in full summer swing?! Another year… another summer! Which means that my Saturday morning routine has finally returned to early morning yoga followed by strong black coffee and “market rounds”. While acquiring fresh pickling ingredients is really my main objective, I can’t deny how much I look forward to the social aspect of seeing farmers and catching up with friends… not to mention the decadent breakfast pastries and sandwiches. Yum!
With only 2 months left until my southward expansion, I’ve had to enforce a new rule: 2 jars max for pickling. Why? Because moving 800 miles with 75+ pint jars full of food is not only ridiculous but stupid heavy. What that means is that whatever I put up for the next two months has to be worth the tiny punch in quality, creativity, and flavor. Enter Jeremiah from Vernon Family Farm in Newfields, NH. This bearded chicken farmer, sausage maker, and mushroom grower just happened to have the perfect thing to fit my tiny bill: an colorful assortment of bite sized radishes. Paired with some larger radishes from Wake Robin Farm, I decided to go for a classic quick dill pickled radish. The flavor catch? A cinnamon stick and a 1/8th tsp of black onion seeds (kalonji) found at the local Indian market.
“Ahhh.. look at the cute chicken feathers lining the outside of these egg shells!” If you know me at all, then this isn’t too much of a surprise… before moving to NH last Spring this California-turned Baltimore City girl was quite a stranger to the whole backyard egg thing. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t make my debut egg retrieval into somewhat of an “adventure”… cough… but I can say (in a Southern farm girl accent) that these local eggs from Feathered Pigs Farm in Brentwood, NH have spoiled me real good. Not only have I found that the flavor and texture of the final pickled egg product is far superior to store bought eggs, but there isn’t a whole lot better than knowing exactly what coop your eggs came from.
With my experiments in making Sriracha pickled eggs, and in turn p’eviled eggs, I figured out that incorporating recipe ingredients that have a strong palate punch is key to achieving a flavored packed pickled egg. For this oh’so local pickled egg recipe, I paired two dozen backyard eggs with some dehydrated garlic that I scored at the Seacoast Food Swap last week, and a pint of locally-made BBQ sauce from my friends over at MrSippy’s BBQ. While I haven’t had the chance to taste any of their hickory smoked meat, I can assure you that this BBQ sauce is pretty damn amazing. Check out their website and Facebook page for more information on their products and how to get your hands on some of their goods. Now if only I can just convince them to attend one of the monthly food swaps! 🙂
The thing I didn’t know when choosing the ingredients for this recipe (I just liked the sound of it) was that both the parsnip and the parsley root are winter vegetables whose edible part develops underground. While similar in look, yet quite different in taste and smell (I kind of detest the smell of parsnips), the parsnip and parsley root are both members of the Umbelliferae family. The Umbelliferae family also includes carrots, celery, parsley, chervil, fennel, and celeriac. The melange of these two ingredients came from the idea that the fresh bitter flavor of parsley would “balance” the sweetish and nutty tastes of parsnips. Furthermore, I figured adding whole black peppercorns would only intensify the slightly peppery flavor or parsley leafs. With the hopes of cutting the chewy center of the parsnips, I decided to coin the parsnips instead of pickling sticks. Try these parsley pickled parsnips with any European or Mediterranean dish. Enjoy!
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