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Last weekend I picked the final harvest of banana peppers from our summer garden. I know Fall is a lovely time of year, but I am not quite ready to say goodbye to warm weather and sun ripened tomatoes.
My husband and I were excited to try growing banana peppers for the first time this year, and when we found a simple pickling recipe that could be used across multiple kinds of produce, we realized we had to try our hand at making simple refrigerator pickles. Unlike traditional pickling, refrigerator pickles are fast and safe, requiring no special equipment or intricate sanitizing or sealing processes.
I love creating my own unique combinations of pickling spices - a mélange of whatever strikes your fancy when you open your spice cupboard. What makes these particular peppers so special is the use of both Black and White Wynad Peppercorns. If you have not yet tried Wynad Pepper, you must. Plain old black pepper will never be the same once you taste the depth and warmth that Wynad offers. Simply put, it is delicious. What makes these peppercorns so unique is their harvesting - they are left on the vine to ripen, then lovingly harvested by hand when each berry has reached perfection. The result is a pepper worthy to be paired with home-grown produce that has been grown with equally attentive care.
The basic recipe for refrigerator pickles is below - try on produce of your choice, such as radishes, small onions or of course banana peppers!
Bring 1 cup water to a boil, adding 1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt (I used Grey Sea Salt - Fine), 1 tablespoon of sugar, and your choice of spices (try a mix of cardamom pods, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, whole cloves, cinnamon stick, Turkish bay leaves, dill weed, and both Black and White whole Wynad Peppercorns.) Boil for a minute or two, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup of white vinegar.
Place sliced or whole vegetables in mason jars (approximately 2 cups of produce), and pour liquid over produce, covering vegetables. Seal jar and place in refrigerator. Let sit for 1-3 days before opening. Keep in refrigerator for up to one month.
On weekdays, breakfast is not a top priority in my home. It has always been dinner that is the main event - a time to catch up on the events of the day and connect.
Breakfast, on the other hand, is always on-the-go. A quick bowl of granola or yogurt and fruit. Avocado on buttered toast could not be more simple, making it the perfect easy breakfast that is wonderfully satisfying.
Toast bread of your choosing, spread generously with butter. Top with thick, ripe avocado slices sprinkled with any flake salt (I like our new Alaska Pure Alder Smoked Sea Salt) and a generous turn of freshly-ground Parameswaran's special Wynad Black Pepper. It's that easy, and you won't be dissapointed!
Tags: alaska pure smoked sea salt, avocado, black pepper, breakfast, flake salt, gourmet sea salt, healthy, nutrition, Parameswaran, pepper, peppercorns, recipe, salt, smoked, toast, Wynad
I don't think I could ever grow tired of good blueberry muffins. Simple in concept and creation, the blueberry muffin best captures the happy mélange of tart and sweet - fresh fruit bursts in between bites of moist, satisfyingly dense cake. Pair with a cup of rich French press coffee and the flavor balance could not be more complete.
This weekend I was in downtown Philadelphia at a local market and found a pound of berries for an irresistible bargain. These were ideal - small in size, sweet in the middle with crisp skins that added the perfect amount of tang. Blueberries are in their peak this time of year. Seek firm berries that are not too large.
It had been a while since I had whipped up a batch of muffins - I forgot how simple they really are. Ideal for a quick breakfast or afternoon coffee break, these muffins also freeze well, but you'll most likely have no problem polishing off the whole batch!
The recipe below features didi davis food Lemon Sugar. I love the way this sugar gently melts atop the muffin as baking occurs; the result is a gratifying muffin with a crisp, sweet top, followed by the subtle yet complex tartness of hand zested lemon.
Makes 12 muffins
2 cups flour
¾ cup sugar
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
¾ cup milk or half and half
1-2 tsp vanilla
1 stick butter, melted
2 cups fresh blueberries
didi davis food Lemon Sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix flour, sugar, salt and baking powder together in a bowl, making a well in the center. In a second bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla. Add melted butter to this mixture, stirring quickly. Pour into the well of dry ingredients and stir together with a spoon, adding the blueberries.
Pour batter into greased muffin pan. Sprinkle muffin tops liberally with didi davis food Lemon Sugar. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
This blog post was a big hit last summer and its simply too good not to share again. Enjoy these pleasing herb and citrus pairings on their own, or used as a mixer in your favorite summertime cocktail.
View the full post here:
Tags: chicken, comfort food, cooking, didi davis food, fall, herb, herbs, ideas, pepper, poultry, recipes, roast, roast chicken, roast chicken, salt, salt traders, sea salt, soup, spice
I hope you are enjoying your summer as much as I am. It's been beautiful here, a mix of cool days as well as your occasional scorchers. While work and life continue in their busy fashion, there is still this sense of unwinding and relaxation that comes with the warm weather. Leisurely dinners outdoors that stretch on into dusk, picnics on the weekends, and time spent in the garden picking fresh vegetables and herbs.
The past few weekends have been filled with family visits, which has been such a pleasure. We love entertaining, and sharing the joys and tastes of summer with those we love most has been fabulous. Last weekend we made one of our all time favorites, introduced to me by a dear college friend - Fish Tacos. I've never met anyone who does not like a fish taco. They are simply delicious. Yet the key is to fry them, not grill (this is not the time to try and be healthy - save that for another day.) Unfortunately, if you've ever fried indoors, you know the smell of oil that seems to cling to every article of clothing, making you feel as though you've just left McDonalds, not your own kitchen. Add summer heat and humidity on top of that, and cooking indoors is the last thing you want to do.
But this is where brilliance struck - we had the great idea to try frying on the grill, and it worked out perfectly. All you need is a cast iron skillet. The result is flaky fish with a crispy, golden batter. Served with a spicy, smoky Chipotle Sauce (we like to refer to it as "THE SAUCE"), they are sure to be an instant summer favorite.
The recipe is effortless to prepare, and can easily be doubled for a large crowd (recipe is a variation from one found on allrecipes.com):
1 lb fresh white fish (cod, tilapia, haddock etc)
1-2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup flour
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup beer
Pour vegetable oil into cast iron skillet and place on grill, closing the top. Preheat grill until oil is hot.
To make the batter, combine all dry ingredients. Add egg and beer, and whisk until smooth.
Cut fish into pieces and coat well with beer batter. Add fish pieces to hot oil, being careful not to burn yourself. Fry fish in batches until golden, turning each piece after a few minutes. Place fish on a paper towel after cooked to absorb any extra oil.
Serve immediately with warm tortillas topped with shredded cheddar cheese, fresh tomatoes, lettuce, and plenty of Chipotle Sauce (recipe below).
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayo
1-2 canned Goya Chipotle Peppers
1 or 2 garlic cloves
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
Fresh chopped parsley or cilantro, to taste (optional)
Blend all ingredients in food processor or blender. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
The tacos paired perfectly with our most recent homebrew batch - a Rye IPA. Cheers to summer!
We've paired the fresh flavors of citrus with herbs found in most gardens - the results are bright, refreshing syrups that will remind you why you love summer! The herbs add an unexpected twist and balance out the sweetness of the syrup perfectly. With flavors including Lemon-Dill, Orange-Lime-Basil, and Mojto, we've got just the thing to keep you cool.
While it may be simply served with chilled water or club soda as a refreshing beverage, there are many other uses for these syrups. Try pairing with gin, vodka or rum for a summer cocktail, rimmed with one of our handcrafted sugar blends. Choose a sea salt and unique peppercorn, and drizzle syrup over grilled poultry or seafood for an effortless glaze, or over roasted vegetables such as carrots, beets or onions. For a healthy and refreshing dessert, drizzle over seasonal fresh fruit, or brush on cakes (such as pound cake or shortbread). With syrups this delicious, you'll keep finding new uses for them.
LEMON with DILL
3/4 c water
2 1/2 cups sugar (Maui white or gold)
10 or more dill stems
2 cups lemon juice
3/4 c water
2 1/2 cups sugar, (Maui white or gold)
3/4 bunch mint
2 cups lime juice
ORANGE-LIME with BASIL:
3/4 cup water
2 cups sugar, (Maui white or gold)
10 or more basil stems
1 cup orange juice
1 cup lime juice
Bring water and sugar to a boil over medium heat. Add herbs, lower heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Before you cut the citrus to juice it, roll each one first. This will make the juicing easier.
Add the citrus juice to the sugar-herb mixture and chill. I usually leave the herbs in, but you can also remove before you refrigerate. Strain the syrup if you would like it clear, but I love the pieces of citrus. Syrup keeps for several weeks refrigerated. Can also store in the freezer, but keep in mind it won't freeze solid due to it's sugar content.
My mother came for an impromptu visit last weekend - it was a wonderful time spent with her - a great combination of cooking together, eating well, relaxing, and most importantly catching up. I have a truly wonderful mother, and I feel quite blessed.
One of our happy discoveries was finding a massive mulberry tree, simply bursting with ripe fruit. Within minutes, our hands were stained dark purple, and our bowls were quickly filling with berries.
There's something great about harvesting your own fruit - I realize this revelation is nothing new or unique, in fact, our nation seems to be buzzing with the push towards local, home grown food. Yet I, like so many others, enjoyed the process. (For me, I know this romance comes from reading Little House on the Prairie as a young girl. I'm sure it would quickly pass if I had to harvest my food on a daily basis!)
The berries were perfectly ripe - a smooth, full sweetness. If you've not had a mulberry - they are delicious. One might compare them to a blackberry, yet they are much sweeter and don't have the same tangy quality. They are firmer than blackberries in texture. Very tasty.
I decided to make a mulberry pie (pies and tarts are my most favorite desserts). The most troublesome part, however, is what to do with those stubborn stems. They are tightly connected to the mulberry, and require snipping them off individually with scissors, as my attempt to pull them by hand resulted in a prompt squashing of the berry. After some research as to whether or not to leave the stems on or snip them off, opinions seemed to be equally divided. I felt my time could be spent on more enjoyable tasks, so I took the lazy route and decided to bake with abandon and leave the stems on.
The pie was delicious - a rich, berry flavor just perfectly sweetened - my crust crisp and flaky. Yet the stems were unfortunately a bit noticable, in texture and appearance. They made a beautiful pie a bit too wild and rustic. Thus, I think my vote is to take the time to snip them off, especially if you were serving the pie to guests.