Holy crap people, Christmas is NEXT weekend! I personally am making a valiant attempt to not panic: over presents I haven’t yet purchased, holiday travel, holiday family plans… and/or things I haven’t done or said yet this year.. oh god. My strategy thus far has included eggnog… lots of eggnog… holiday shopping for myself, and keeping up with the usual farmers market-pickling routine. Year after year, especially this year, I’ve heard a few friends and family members mention, “Erin, I don’t know what to get you from Christmas this year.” My first thought is, “duh, shoes!?” followed by my second thought, “duh, have you tried typing pickle in to an Etsy search!?” I assume that because you’re reading a pickle blog that you’re the one in your group of friends that always receives silly, novelty pickle items during the holidays. I admittedly have three.. cough four… Christmas pickles currently hanging from my table-top tree (thank you ex.’s mom).
It is pretty amazing the things you can find if you Etsy search pickle gifts. A simple search returned: pickle pen (cute?), pickle pipe (yes, please), pickle necklace (kinda odd), pickle bottle opener (scored one of these this year!), pickle hand towels, pickle flavored chap stick (eww). Anyways, you get my drift.
Happy June! Welcome to the latest version of “Friends Putting up with Erin”. This past Friday, a fellow yogini graciously suggested that we pickle at her house. Little did I know, her house meant a little, old farmhouse! Clearly a sucker for old, tiny, somewhat impractical things, Morgan’s abode presented a magical pickling experience for me. Working with bellies full of wine, pouring rain, lots of laughter, and limited surface space, we crafted these sweet and spicy zucchini pickles. Morgan was not only prepared for a vinegar filled night of fun, but also for habanero slicing. Unlike myself… idiot, Morgan didn’t even think to NOT wear gloves while slicing hot peppers. Her medical grade bright blue gloves really added a cute touch.
“Erin, can you teach me how to pickle?!” Music to my freaking ears! Last weekend, my very first best friend paid me and the Lil’ house a 6 day visit. Albeit not much privacy (“it’s not like I haven’t seen your butt before”), the visit was awesome. A lot of yoga, a lot of booze, and a whole lot of rain. Perfectly timed with her visit, we tried not to let hurricane Joaquin ruin our weekend fun. As we were stuck inside for most of the time, we figured Sunday was fit for an impromptu pickling session. Using a couple pounds of red onions acquired from Hurtgen Meadows Farm in Hillsborough, NC, fresh tarragon from Maple Spring Gardens, and a habanero peppers from Four Leaf Farm we put up these beautifully colored red hot onion pickles.
What a whirlwind of a weekend, Mom was in town! Now that I live super close to my parents (~2hrs, the closest I’ve lived to them since I was 18), my mom is finding every reason possible to visit… Reasons thus far (1 month) have included: delivering a rug, buying wine at TJs, seeing a baseball game (I think she goes solely for the food- don’t you?), and lastly to help me decorate the Lil’ House. After countless hours of driving around to every midcentury modern store in the Triangle last Saturday, we landed at Alley Twenty Six in downtown Durham, NC. A dirty martini later and I noticed the pickle plate on their menu. No matter what the cuisine, if there is one thing I can’t pass up it’s a pickle plate. With a quick mention of the blog and pickle ‘pinon, food zealot Jonathan Werz hooked us up with an unforgettable pickle platter. Pickled items ranged from bread and butter pickles, to miso peaches, beet eggs, pickled peppers, pickled dark cherries, balsamic watermelon rind, and pickled green beans. I’ll definitely be making Alley Twenty Six a regular occurrence. Oh man, the cocktails, the the live music, the pickles… meet me there?! 🙂
Through inspiration from the pickled green tomatoes made by Greg at Get’n Pickled, I knew I was going for something spicy– the idea of using ginger sounded weirdly good. Depending on your preferences, you can easily modify the amount of habanero and ginger in each jar. While shopping for ingredients at the market last week, I managed to meet a new friend and score a few pounds of green tomatoes from Maple Spring Gardens located in Cedar Grove, NC.
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.
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