Did you know that in early European cultures eggplants were thought to exhibit a bitter disposition? “… eggplant held the undeserved and inauspicious reputation of being able to cause insanity, leprosy and cancer.” Come on, give the poor aubergines a break. Two memories come to mind when thinking eggplant: 1) the first time I ever tasted eggplant parmesan prepared by a friend at a hostel in Monteverde, Costa Rica, and 2) the first time I ever tried to cook eggplant. Both memories are on completely different sides of the good/bad spectrum. The gooey cheesy amazingness of a home-cooked meal after months of traveling versus not knowing that salting eggplant was a thing. “Erin, I’m sorry, but this eggplant tastes really bad, let’s go get pizza?” Oops…
If you’ve noticed the absence of blog posts since last week it’s because of these damn eggplants. You could say I’ve been experiencing a bit of “pickler’s block”. For the year and half before moving to Durham I had what one may call a “pickle muse”- I’d bounce flavor ideas off of them, which typically led to the utmost encouragement to keep things weird. Speaking of weird: this recipe. I had complete intentions of going for a similar recipe to the one I posted last September, but then I spotted the keywords Sriracha & eggplant over at the Local Kitchen Blog. Bam! Can’t pass up a Sriracha inspired recipe. This brine is so good that I reserved the extras to use in savory cocktails. Last but not least, the beautiful fairy tail eggplants featured in this recipe were acquired from Fickle Creek Farm located in Effland, NC.
When I accepted the job at the University of New Hampshire last November I amped myself up for a few things that I had never experienced before: snowshoeing (maybe today is the day), hiking ALOT more (check), boys with beards (check), and iceskating! Yesterday I finally went iceskating for the first time! I nearly bailed out on the invite as the idea of ice, knifes on my feet, combined with my not so amazing balance was a real bad life choice. After the minor anxiety attack passed, I thought, “what the hell, what’s the worst thing that could happen, plus I need to try everything 3x, right?” Albeit I held on to the rail the majority of the time and nearly took out 4 children, I didn’t fall, didn’t break any bones… or faces, and I am still in high spirits and may even want to try it again. You can see photos from yesterday’s adventure on my instragram account.
In thinking up a name for these pickled deviled eggs, two ideas came to mind: dickles and p’evils. I liked dickles… but figured p’eviled eggs might be a bit more appropriate for the mass media. When I scheduled my pickle party last Monday, I made a huge batch (2 dozen backyard eggs) of my sriracha pickled eggs. The thought was to offset the spicy flavor of sriracha with a sweet curry, coconut deviled egg twist, but, when push came to shove and people where on their way over, we ended up keeping it easy and instead simply garnished the eggs with fresh cherry tomatoes and (surprise) more sriracha sauce! Happy snow day! 🙂
Do you remember the first time you had a tomato off the vine? I do, it tasted nothing like the store bought tomatoes I always avoided (yuck). Aside from the color resemblance (kind of), the contrast in flavor, moisture, and texture between the fresh picked and store bought tomatoes was huge! You’re probably thinking, “why is Erin talking tomatoes if today’s post is clearly about eggs?” Well… I recently experienced my first backyard egg, collected from Feathered Pig Farms in Brentwood, NH, and let me tell you… I’m going to stop myself from rambling on as most of you have probably had backyard eggs before… but, oh my moon I can’t get over the sunshine yellow yolk color or how the moisture content was almost creamy. I know that there is a lot of discrepancy out there over whether there is really a distinguishable difference between supermarket vs. coop eggs and if “people’s perception of egg flavor is mostly psychological”. So until I can perform my own double blind experiment, I am going to assume that backyard eggs are by far more superior.
The inspiration behind these Sriracha pickled eggs comes from a few sources, the foremost being The Press Room, a dark and somewhat depressing, yet charming music venue/bar in downtown Portsmouth, NH. Typically a murky two gallon glass jug containing a mystery specimen that has been sitting on the bar-top for an unknown duration of time would cause me public health anxiety… But, for some reason, probably the 3 martinis and the company, I figured it would be a good life choice to sample one of their notorious pickled eggs. WOW! The vinegar plus spice was absolutely delectable. For my small batch of pickled eggs I loosely followed the direction of a forum post that I came across on spicy pickled eggs. My quart sized batch is currently siting in the refrigerator soaking up all the spicy vinegar’y goodness of Sriracha brine. If I can manage to hold off on devouring them and can sacrifice the fridge space (it’s getting a little ridiculous in there), I’ll probably let these eggs sit for another couple weeks before consuming.