It’s the time of year to pickle everything – saving this season’s abundance for future seasons. We have a ton of hot peppers right now – jalapenos, fish peppers, habaneros, and a couple others. Pickling is the least dangerous way to deal with them without having to get your hands spicy. Just pack a jar full of peppers, adding a few cloves of garlic, and top off with a vinegar watered down to your liking, plus salt. Since the overall quantity of jars of peppers is still low compared to other harvests for salsa, sauce, etc, I don’t bother to can them – just keep them in the fridge. My favorite pickles retain most of the crispness of the raw vegetable, are sour, salty, garlicky, and spicy. Green beans are perfect for this. I don’t usually care for sweet pickles, but I did include some fruit in one of the pickled pepper jars. Apple slices, grapes, beets, ginger, and carrots accompany the hot peppers. I love the fruity-spicy-gingery combination, plus the color. The peppers are starting to soften up, but the apples are still very crisp.
I must repeat a flavorful hot sauce that I made this week, which is already eaten up! It’s half roasted garlic, a quarter roasted tomatoes, and a quarter roasted jalapenos & fish peppers, blended in a food processor with rice wine vinegar, salt, and oregano.
I’m enjoying picking the occasional pear to snack on, but the tree looms heavy with fruit to be processed soon. More pear tarts, sauce, cider, salads, dried chips, & perhaps wine.
Sunday, another brunch day – today I’m enjoying an assortment of our homemade pickled veggies: okra, beets, garlic scapes, turnips, and jalapenos (which can be a bit of a Russian roulette). We pickle cukes and almost anything extra – but the garlic scapes & okra are my favorites! I like pickles with zing and tons of garlic (not with sugar).
I also veganized an awesome recipe from King Arthur Flour, which I ran across on WordPress adapted here by Cooking is my Sport: Curry Ginger scones! Oh, they were so good, this is now one of my favorite scones! I was impressed with the sweet & savory combination and the way the small amount of curry brings out another side of ginger, which I do love to use copiously. I’m not sure why but there are lovely red speckles throughout. I did a few things different from the recipe – used water and palm oil instead of dairy, non-crystallized shredded ginger root, added some oats & cinnamon (so they had a hint of gingerbread), and forgot to add the pumpkin puree somehow. They still turned out quite moist, spicier and sweeter than I’d expected. As you can see, I couldn’t stop eating them while photographing them.
Garlic scape season is here! Here is one more colorful spring salad, with finely chopped scapes, purple radishes, shredded raw beet, spinach, olive oil, lemon, salt & pepper.
We have lots of lovely rainbow chard brightening our plates this week. Kale and spinach too, which all seems to go down with a bit more enthusiasm when combined with various forms of garlic. Fresh green garlic chives and scallions are in great shape this spring, a flavorful garnish for pretty much anything. Lately I’ve been favoring this cold white navy bean salad with chives, chard, fresh lemony sorrel, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice (a bit of zest would add oomph), salt & white pepper. I chop up the rainbow chard stems like celery, a colorful crunch, then slice the greens up finely. This is a refreshing way to use up some of the abundant greens this spring.