A Week of Firsts

August 1st, 2011

First big tomato. German Pink. 12 oz. It made a great BLT. I didn’t take a picture, but I’m hoping for many more.

First attempt at fermented pickles.

Refrigerator Pickles

Refrigerator Pickles

This is another pickle recipe that doesn’t involve canning – Dan Koshansky’s Refrigerator Pickles via Margaret Roach at A Way to Garden. When the fermentation is well underway, the jars are put in the fridge where they will keep several months. I tasted the brine today – it’s sour (and fabulously garlicky), but I think I’m going to leave the jars on the counter for another day or two.

First Pimientos de Padrón.

Pimientos de Padron

Pimientos de Padrón

I probably picked them a little too soon, but they were still delicious. Cooking is easy. Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Add peppers. Turn them over and over until all sides are blistered and starting to brown. Sprinkle with salt. Serve. Pick them up by the stem and eat. You can eat the seeds or gnaw around them. Just be ready in case you’re the lucky person who gets a very picante one. Yesterday’s batch was all mild, except the largest one had a trace of chile heat.

Revisiting some issues from last week, the Lime-Mint Freezer Pickles were great (at least before freezing), but the purple color in the peppers started to fade around the cut edges. You’d really have to use quite a lot of hot peppers to detect much heat through all the sugar (1½ cups), but the lime-mint flavoring was intriguing. Sort of reminded me of the cucumbers served with Satay in Thai restaurants, but with the flavor volume turned up. I made a similar batch (another recipe on the facing page of The Joy of Pickling) last night, but this time the seasonings were dill, garlic and hot peppers. I haven’t yet thawed any of the containers I put in the freezer and that will be the real test of this technique.

The cucumber harvest has slowed and the vines are dying down, so I don’t think there will be many more batches of cucumber pickles, if any.

I’m working on codifying some of my mother-in-law’s recipes. I’ve made her fried okra twice recently, but I’m still fiddling with the proportions of the spices. If you like Indian food and think you don’t like okra, this recipe might change your mind – there is absolutely no slimy texture at all.

Okra is doing well this year (so far hasn’t been eaten by deer), so there should be plenty to experiment with. I’m growing six different varieties this year to see if I can find one that we like and that the deer don’t like.

Okra varieties

Top row: Jing Orange, Beck's Big Buck Horn. Bottom row: Emerald, Cherokee Long Pod, Silver Queen, White Velvet

In the last two previous years, I grew ‘Emerald’ which tastes good and remains tender even when the pods are rather long, but just as soon as we would begin to harvest, the deer started to chow down on it. Last year I even wrapped the plants in plastic mesh and the deer still ate the parts they could get at.

That’s all from here for this week’s Garden to Table Challenge, hosted by Wendy at Greenish Thumb. Please visit and taste what others are cooking from their gardens. And if you’re cooking from your garden…join the fun!

5 Responses to “A Week of Firsts”

  1. tasty travels says:

    Congrats on your first tomato! Jealous! Mine are still green. I just picked 3 Shishito peppers (like patrons). I’m hoping to pick more later in the week to cook just how you described. Yum!

  2. mangocheeks says:

    Thank you for your lovely comment as it led me to your blog. Lovely to make your acquaintance. Homegrown tomatoes – oh how I miss them.

  3. shaheen says:

    whoops, just in case your wondering (previous comment) ‘mangocheeks’ was my previous blogger name. Sorry

  4. Wendy says:

    I thought the pickles were a decorative display – for real- it looks lovely!

RSS feed for comments on this post.