Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Your local farm stand beckons...make haste!

Even though I still have a few quarts of last year's pickles, it's getting to that point in the season where I can't be trusted at the farm stand. If it looks good, I'll buy it and pickle it! This is especially true when they have smaller cukes suitable for making cornichons, those little French mustard pickles. (Well, they weren't really that small, but I have them the cornichon treatment nonetheless!) These turned out delicious--the only recipe that might rival my favorite garlic dills!

(Source: adapted from Epicurious via All Four Burners)
Makes 12 pints

120 to 144 very small pickling cucumbers (more or less, depending on size)
6 cups white vinegar
6 cups water
6 tablespoons canning salt (do not substitute other types of salt)
12 teaspoons (4T) dried mustard seeds
6 teaspoons (2T) dried dill seeds
6 teaspoons (2T) dried tarragon leaves (though fresh sprigs would have been better!)
3 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
72 black peppercorns
12 cloves of peeled garlic

Scrub each cucumber clean. Cut the blossom end from each cucumber. Soak them overnight in the fridge.

The next day, combine vinegar, water, and salt in a large pot and bring to a boil. Place one teaspoon mustard seeds, 1/2 teaspoon dill seeds, 1/2 teaspoon tarragon leaves, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, about six peppercorns, and a clove of garlic into each jar. Pack in cucumbers. Pour boiling vinegar mixture over cucumbers to within 1/2 inch of rim. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Store in a dark, cool place undisturbed for at least one week (preferably, a month).

While you're at the farmer's market or farm stand, I have a few more things to add to your shopping list. I'm not sure what's happening in your area, but we're coming to the tail end of the garlic scapes (or ramps, if you prefer). If they are still available in your neck o' the woods, snap some up, and along with fresh herbs and other good things, you can make an OUTSTANDING green goddess dressing! For dinner tonight, we had wonderful entree salads made with lovely local and organic butter lettuces, local spring onions, radishes (yet another treat from dear friend Jaymie's CSA basket!), yellow cherry tomatoes, grilled sirloin, garlic and butter croutons, and the homemade garlicky green goddess dressing. YUM YUM YUM!

Garlic Scape Green Goddess Dressing
(Source: This is my own recipe creation, but idea credit goes to my fabulous friend, Carl!)

Combine the following in a food processor, thin with a little water if necessary, drizzle and serve.

1/2 bunch parsley
6 sprigs of dill
1 cup chives
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 anchovies
1 cup mayonnaise
1 avocado
8 garlic scapes
4 large spring onions
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar

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