Category Archives: Recipes

Quick Pickled Dilly Snap Peas

For those of you who don’t know, “quick pickling” is making refrigerator pickles instead of canning them. Refrigerator pickles don’t take as long to make and they’re quite tasty and extra crunchy!

Even though they aren’t canned refrigerator pickles can still last for months. Think about how long you’ve left an open jar of pickles in the fridge. The cool temperature combined with vinegar’s acidity is pretty great at keeping the bacteria at bay.

We’ve got a lot of snap peas coming in and while I freeze some I thought pickled snap peas would be a great idea. The savory dilly flavor mixed with the sweetness of the peas is actually pretty perfect. I didn’t want to can them though because I’m afraid they’d lose their crunch.

Supplies

1 1/2 cup white vinegar

1 1/2 cup cold water

1 TBS pickling or kosher salt

1 TBS white sugar

2 good sized garlic cloves

2 sprigs of fresh dill (or 2 tsp dried dill)

other seasonings *optional*

non-reactive pot

1 quart or two pint jars

canning funnel *optional*

First harvest and wash your snap peas. It’s best to use peas that are as fresh as possible and if you’re harvesting to do so in the morning or evening, not under the afternoon sun.

In a non-reactive pot heat the vinegar, salt, and sugar until dissolved. Remove from heat and add cold water. Let it sit until it’s about room temperature or cooler (I stuck mine in the freezer for a couple minutes).

While it’s cooling pack your jar(s) with the peas and your preferred seasonings. Then pour your mixture into the jar(s) to cover the peas, add a lid, give a good shake and toss in the fridge.

Let your pickles sit in the refrigerater to marinate for at least 3 days. This will ensure they soak in all that delicious brine.

A few notes:

Non-reactive cookware is made from stainless steel, glass, or enamel coated metal. It’s prefered for pickling because other types of cookware like aluminum or copper might react the acidic vinegar and give your pickles and off flavor.

The seasonings for this recipe can safely be played with. You could try adding some spice with a hot pepper or red pepper flakes or go for some bread and butter type pickles. I added some chives to mine. Feel free to play around.

If you have extra brine or just want to try something else this works with many vegetables like cucumbers, sliced radishes, or onions.

Radish Leaf Pesto (V, GF)

 

You know what vegetable is super-underated? Radishes. They’re super quick and easy to grow and extremely photogenic. They’ve someone how aquired a reputation as something you use for garnishes or pasta salad but don’t let that fool you. There’s tons of great recipes to use up a bountiful radish harvest especially since the entire plant is edible!

The tops though a bit prickly are perfect for pesto. The texture isn’t noticable once they’ve been proccessed and their kick adds a really nice flavor. Plus you’re using what for most people is garden waste! This recipe is also thrifty because it uses sunflower seeds in place of pine nuts.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1/2 cup or more of olive oil (other veg. oil will work)

1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds

2 cups packed radish leaves (any variety)

2 cloves of garlic (scapes make an excellent spring stand-in)

1 tsp lemon juice

Start by washing and roughly chopping your radish leaves. You can use the entire stem. Toss them into a food proccessor with all of the other ingredients.

While proccessing you may need to add more oil if your pesto is too thick. Slowly add more oil to reach a desired consistency.

If you’re using unsalted sunflower seeds, add salt to taste.

Then you get magic. It’s excellent when paired with pasta, crackers, or my personal favorite baked on bread or pizza.

 

Grow Eggplant this Year

With tomatoes and peppers ubiquitous in vegetable gardens, eggplants are often the nightshade left out. But even if your summers are on the cool side or the short side, you too can have homegrown eggplants. On our farm in central Virginia, shorter season varieties are often our best performing when summer is unusually cool or wet, and their faster-maturing fruits are the first to arrive at the table.

Southern Exposure sells four early-maturing eggplants: Applegreen (65 days, green-white skin), Early Black Egg (65 days, Japanese origin, deep-purple skin), Morden Midget (65 days, Canadian origin, deep-purple skin), and Ping Tung Long (62 days, Taiwanese origin, lavender skin).

I’m partial to long skinny eggplants (I like chopping them into thin half-moons), so Ping Tung Long is my favorite. I find that Asian varieties substitute well in Italian and European recipes. The lavender skins darken with cooking to a purple-tan color.

My current favorite eggplant recipe follows: a Sicilian Caponata. Caponata is vegan and gluten-free, and so full of flavor that no one will notice.

Sicilian Caponata

Adapted from David Lebovitz’s blog. Lebovitz requires deep-frying the eggplant in batches. This oven-roasted version cuts the oil somewhat, and is so much easier, and I think tastes just as good.

6 celery stalks
2 pounds eggplant (Italian or Asian types)
olive oil
salt
1 red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced (yellow or white will work but red is best)
1 cup green olives, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup capers, rinsed
1-1/2 cups tomato sauce (as a variation, make a quick, fresh sauce by simmering 3-4 diced Roma-type tomatoes in a small amount of water with salt to taste for 20-30 minutes.)
1/4 cup vinegar (red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey (or to taste)
Chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley for garnish

Roast the Eggplant:
1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Trim the stems off the eggplants, halve lengthwise, and slice into 1/2-inch pieces (half-moons work well for long-types, otherwise 1/2 inch cubes).
3. Toss the eggplant pieces with 1/2 to 1 tsp salt and 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil (it will soak up quite a lot). Spread on a baking dish and cook for 30-45 minutes, until the eggplant pieces are soft (easily pierced with a fork) and the skins have begun to darken.

Assemble the Caponata
1. Boil a medium-size pot of water. Cut the celery stalks into 1/2-inch slices. Simmer the celery until just tender, around 7 minutes. Drain and immerse in cold water to stop the cooking.
2. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the sliced onion and cook, stirring frequently until translucent, around 7 minutes. Add the drained celery, olives, capers, tomato sauce, vinegar, and honey and bring to a low boil.
3. Add the eggplant and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring gently.
4. Taste and add additional salt and vinegar as desired. Transfer to a large shallow serving bowl to cool.

Serving: Allow to cool before serving, or refrigerate and serve the next day (this gives the flavors time to meld). Garnish with the chopped parsley to serve. May also be served as bruschetta — spread on bread slices that have been spread with olive oil and oven-toasted.