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.
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.
!!! LOCAL, SEASONAL, ORGANIC !!!
Now that I’ve got your attention, I need your advice/suggestions on how to proceed forward with this notion of preserving only in season, locally sourced, and organic goods. As you’ve probably noticed, the week before last I had some business cards printed up. Not completely thinking it through, I added the tag line “~local, seasonal, organic~” to the top of the card. Over the weekend, I was out looking for pickling inspiration at a veggie market in town, I started talking with one the store employees about canning, mentioned she should check out the blog, handed her a business card and was promptly called out, “you realized that nothing in your cart is local, in season, or organic right?!” RIGHT!? After stuttering my way through a half-assed response, I began thinking about my latest claim to crunchy fame. She was right, and now I sit here wishing I would have either omitted those words from the business card or added the fine print: “when possible…”. The thing is, that in order to stick to those terms the only produce that I could actually use would be from the “local” farmers’ market, and even so, to what radius around town does one consider local? In terms of timing, typically people put up in season food for the winter, and hence the “canning” season, and to that- seasonal in which locale? What I’ve quickly learned in having a year round canning blog, is that it’s absolutely impossible to fill the remaining months of the year with in season, locally produced goods.
So the question remains, do I try to only put up local, in season foods (which probably won’t be an issue come summer) and/or do I add a disclaimer to the blog or on every non-local, non-in season blog post?