Category Archives: Pickles

Carrots All Day

Munching carrots all day longcarrots
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Sunny colored, tasty sweet
That veggie is a winner

The hazard of selling your wares at a farmers market is that you are often too busy serving customers to shop and when you are not selling, a visit to a market is not always the first choice of activity. I miss the days of strolling through the market and laying carefully selected fresh produce into my big red shopping basket.  Now my shopping trips are more of a grab and run affair. At a market recently, I saw my friend from Winter Moon Farm and his rainbow array of root vegetables.  With only a few minutes to spare, I said a quick hello and filled a bag about to the bursting point with yellow, pale orange, bright orange, and red carrots and one ridiculously large daikon radish and rushed back to my booth.  My hubby saw the bag and reminded me that I had just bought several pounds of carrots at the supermarket. Not to worry I assured him; I had a plan that would use a lot of carrots. Now all I had to do was figure out what that plan was…
With a bit of creative thinking, I made a new recipe for low-fat carrot bread, a carrot and daikon salad, and I used the carrots for a “nest” under a roasted chicken. We also ate carrots with homemade white bean dip, carrots in chicken salad, and a few carrots found their way into meatloaf. Suddenly, the worry about what to do with all those carrots was replaced with counting the days until the next market when I can get more!

Low-Fat Carrot and Cranberry Bread carrot bread
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 egg whites
1/3 cup orange juice
zest of one medium orange
1/2 cup dried cranberries
(Loaf pan and cooking spray for pan)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flours, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in egg whites, orange juice and zest and mix until combined. Add carrots and cranberries and stir until blended together. Spray the loaf pan with cooking spray. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes until well browned and cooked in the center.

Carrot and Daikon Salad with Dried Cranberriescarrot salad
3 1/2 cups of shredded carrots
1/2 cup shredded daikon
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Combine carrots, daikon, and cranberries in a bowl. Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over the carrot mixture. Chill in refrigerator in a covered bowl or jar for at least two hours (overnight is better).

 

Quick & Sweet Pickled Beets

Patti from On the Edge Knife sharpening asked me for a recipe for pickled beets.  There are many for beets and onions but this one draws out the sweet nature of this root vegetable and has converted several non-beet eaters.

Quick and Sweet Pickled Beets
Scrubbed beets (any variety) with tops cut off
4 cups water
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Kosher Salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon allspice berries
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Boil the beets until just tender and set aside to cool
Boil the water, vinegar and all the spices and zest for at least 5 minutes and set aside to cool
Slip the jackets off the boiled beets and slice
Place beets in a bowl or jar and cover with the cooled brine.
Keep in the refrigerator
Let pickle at least overnight for best flavor.

Double Goat Burgers

goat burgerFor the last several years on the opening day of the farmers market in my town (Arlington MA) I celebrate by making a dinner from whatever I find at the market.  This year Chestnut Farms brought ground goat and Smith Country Cheese  brought fresh goat cheese from Westfield farm and I thought that these would be delicious paired together.  I served my double goat burgers with  baby tomatoes which I quick pickled and steamed asparagus both from Kimball Fruit Farm.  Young goat provides a mild-flavored, rather lean meat and the addition of goat cheese along with some fresh chopped herbs from my garden gave it a richness and brought out a hint of sweetness. It was a perfect pair!

Double Goat Burgergoat burger raw
1 pound ground goat meat
3 ounces soft goat cheese
1 tablespoon chopped herbs (I used a mix of rosemary, sage, basil)
2 tablespoons sherry wine

Combine all ingredients and make into 1/3 or 1/4 pound patties
Sear both sides of the burgers in a hot pan
Cook for a few minutes and then pour sherry over the top of the burger and cook until done to your taste.

Asparagus Pickles

asparagus picklesOn a drizzly, chilly day last week I stopped into Wilson Farms in Lexington.  The farm stand was filled with bright and cheery flowers and early season vegetables. Filling my basket with bright green asparagus and little swirls of fiddleheads brought me a touch of spring despite the nasty weather.

When I was a child I loved the elegant glass jars of asparagus from France on shelves of gourmet shops.  When I saw those gorgeous crisp spears at the farm stand I knew right away that I wanted to pickle them and capture the short season to enjoy later.  I imagine how good these tall slim pickles will taste draped onto a summer cool salad or standing in for celery in a Bloody Mary.

Asparagus Pickles
6 pounds asparagus
5 cups cider vinegar
4 cups water
1/4 cup Kosher salt
1  cup sugar
2 tablespoons brown mustard seed
2 tablespoons coriander seed
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Wash and heat 4 wide mouth quart jars with two part lids
Fill water bath canner with water and bring to a simmer
Mix all ingredients except asparagus and heat until boiling to make the brine
Fill another large pot with water and bring to a simmer
Fill a large bowl with ice water
Cut stems of asparagus to fit into jars with about 1/2 inch of space at the top.
Dip the asparagus into simmering water for two minutes and then drop them into the ice water bath.
Fill the jars one at a time with cooled asparagus and then pour in the hot brine up to 1/2 inch from the top of the jar
Screw on the lid and place in the canner
Repeat with remaining jars
Process in canner for 15 minutes
Allow jars to cool completely before storing

Pickled Raisins By Request

I have no idea why but my friend Jane had a hankering for pickled raisins.  As we often share recipes and food ideas in our Twitter community and knowing my love for pickling any fruit or vegetable that comes my way, she asked if I had made pickled raisins.  I have made conserves with raisins and chutney with raisins but plain pickled raisins had never found their way in a jar in my kitchen. 

Not one to let a friend down, I got out a box of golden raisins and started to play.  The resulting pickled raisin recipe was so great that we served them at our Thanksgiving dinner and several people pushed aside homemade cranberry relish in favor of raisin pickles to eat with their turkey.

Sweet Pickled Raisins
2/3 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup apple cider
2 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon brown mustard seed
1/4 teaspoon caraway seed

In a small pot mix all ingredients except vinegar
Cook on low heat until raisins are plump and soft and liquid is reduced by half (about 15 minutes)
Add cider vinegar and place in a jar and chill for at least one day

An Evening of American Food and Song

On Wednesday night we threw a party that combined my love of food and food history with my husband’s love of music and singing.  We invited a group of my fellow food blogger friends and the members of the Sounds of Concord Barbershop Chorus (where Mark sings Bass) to an Evening of American Food and Song.  

The foodies selected and prepared dishes that reflected their vision of the  American spirit and the Barbershop guys sang their hearts out for us including a rousing version of the Star Spangled Banner .  Despite the showers we gathered in the house for cocktails and dinner but when the rain let up the boys filed out to the patio to fill the summer night with their harmonies. 

It was a magical evening of friendship, fun, and fantastic food.  I will try to give you a flavor of some of the festivities and dishes but honestly I was having too good a time schmoozing and listening to the music to snap a ton of pictures.  I think we may just have to make this an annual event!

 Some of the dishes we made and our clever and talented friends brought included:

Ham Fancies, Homemade Pimento Cheese,  Daisy Sandwiches, Picnic Pickles
I adapted these appetizers from the 1917 American cookbook, “1000 Ways to Please A Husband”  Mark was not convinced that cutting pimento sandwiches into cute little shapes is the way to a man’s heart but he did enjoy the homemade picnic pickles


Red, White, & Blue Grass-Fed Beef Sliders
Jon Ross-Wiley from www.localinseason.com grilled up baby burgers topped with blue cheese and tomatoes that were delicious and fit the theme perfectly.  He shared with me that our friends at CityFeed in JP donated ingredients when they heard about our party.  Thanks guys!!


Summer Succatash

Anita Freed made as American a dish as you can get featuring foods that reminded her of pre-Colonial Thanksgiving feasts.  In more modern times, ingredients arrive in a CSA box. You can get the recipe for this tasty dish and other local food recipes from her blog, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Swiss Chard

Wild Rice Salad
Lara Zelman, a.k.a Good Cook Doris also brought us a dish filled with native foods and Colonial transplants from the earliest days of our nation.  Wild rice and cranberries already grew here and parsley and celery (often Lovage or cutting celery)  were frequently grown in Colonial gardens.  This dish was delightfully cool and light; perfect for a hot summer night.

Sue McCrory who brings us many delicious stories and events in the Public Radio Kitchen brought her family’s favorite baked beans.  “Pat Riley’s (Vegetarian) Baked Beans”  were so rich and full of baked in sweetness that I just wanted to heap them on a plate with a chunk of cornbread and eat huddled in a corner, growling like a hound if anyone came near.  Luckily, she made a huge pot so there was plenty to share.

Another hearty dish was brought by Mike and Laura Angotti.  I am not typically a huge chili fan, but this cowboy style recipe full of meat and beans in a thick flavorful sauce won me over.  They also supplied blue corn chips and shredded cheese to finish it off right.

 Corn and blueberries, as native American foods, played a big part in the menu and were featured in a corn casserole from Brian (a Barbershopper), a blueberry/strawberry cornbread, and some petite blueberry muffins bursting with berries made by Margie Gordon Hurwitz.  The muffins came nestled in linens in a vintage  basket with a little tag that read “House of Hurwitz”.

Blueberries were also used in a drink we called a Yankee Doodle, which contained gin, homemade blueberry syrup, tonic water, and a squeeze of lime. There were homemade maraschino cherries and blueberries to add that packed a punch!  The other drink pictured was a moscato based sangria with summer fruits.   Of course we also enjoyed a selection of good old American beers.

Alan Bone, another of the Barbershop singers, brought a Southern Macaroni Pie and brought home an empty dish-yum! 

AND THEN CAME THE DESSERTS

Mark insisted that an Americana party had to have a watermelon basket and so he carved up this number just shortly before the party began.  It was filled with melon and berries and went well with the fresh cherries one of the guests brought.

There was also more fruit for dessert in the luscious blueberry cobbler made by Laura and Rob Ciampa who mostly blog about great restaurants and travel in New England but clearly some terrific things come out their own kitchen!  There was a blueberry pie from the charming Noj and Lily Zachariah as well of some fine singing from Noj. 

And I made some fruit tarts if only to justify owning 19 tart pans. Blueberry with cornmeal crust, sour cherry with almond crust, and peach spice with shortbread crust.

And throughout the evening lots of singing and chatting and smiles:

Click here  for more pictures!

Sounds of Concord is always looking for men who like to sing to join them.  Check the website for details and rehersal times.

In a Pickle Again

As so often happens when I make the acquaintance of a new  and interesting vegetable the first thing I think is what it make a good pickle?  I picked up some tindora at Russos in Watertown, MA which are a small cucumber like vegetables that look a bit like tiny elongated watermelons.  They are often prepared stir fried in Indian cuisine but they are tasty and crisp served raw.  

I prepared a simple brine of water, salt, sugar, and vinegar and then decided to add some coriander, cumin, mustard, peppercorns, and chili powder to give it some Indian flavor.  As the brine cooked, I spotted the watermelon radishes that I purchased at the last winter farmers market in Wayland.  I sliced a few and they looked so beautiful with the tindora that I threw them in a bowl together.  When the brine had cooled, I poured it over the tindora and radishes and left them overnight to pickle in the refrigerator.

The pickles were bright and crunchy and looked charming presented in an antique green depression glass bowl.       I am not sure how these will hold up to canning but I will give it a try soon perhaps.  Perhaps they will even make it into my canning and preserving classes coming up this spring.

Prize Winning Pickles

prizepicklesMy Peculiar Pickles won first prize at the Topsfield Fair this past weekend!  They were a combination of home grown cucumbers and those purchased at the Arlington Farmers Market and Heirloom tomatoes.  The big hit (and curiosity) of these pickles every time I serve them is the spiny little Maxixe which I purchase from the Hmong Farms stall at the farmers’ market.  Oddly enough, I had a visit schedule to tour the farm today and take some photos  for my book.  I guess I owe the farmers a big thank you when I get there for growing these glorious vegetables!  And thanks too for my wonderful friends at Kimball Fruit Farms for their outstanding tomatoes even in a tough tomato year.

threepickles-thumbPrize Winning Pickles
2 pints Lemon Cucumbers pickled in brine
2 pints Heirloom Tomatoes pickled in brine
2 pints Maxixe pickled in brine

Brine Recipe
1 quart apple cider vinegar
1 quart water
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup salt
1 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp each brown and yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
5 dill fronds*

Wash cucumbers and slice in large chunks
Wash tomatoes and slice in large chunks
Combine vinegar, water, salt, and sugar in a large saucepan
Place spices in cheesecloth and add to vinegar mixture
Simmer for 15 minutes
Clean and heat 6 pint jars and lids
One at a time:
Pack cucumbers or tomatoes into hot jar leaving ¼ inch headspace
Ladle hot vinegar mixture over cucumbers or tomatoes
Remove air bubbles
Seal jar with two piece cap
When all jars are filled, process for 15 minutes in a boiling water canner
Rest jars for 24 hours and then check seals
Store in a cool dry place