|Nasturtium seed pods|
My friend Beth from the Victory Garden Initiative called last week to tell me the nasturtiums at her Bay View Hide House plots were producing seed pods. She knew I was looking for these pods to make "local capers." Vera and I biked over to the garden, which was our first visit there. What a beautiful block of the neighborhood. I wish I'd had my camera! Vera poked around among the raised beds and played with a toy wheel barrow, while I picked form Beth's bed. I will make a brine for these pods this week then store them in the fridge in a small jar to use this winter in tuna salad, on pizza, and with pasta and other dishes calling for capers. Here's the basic recipe I use.
Nasturtium or Milkweed Seed Pods "Capers"
Makes 1 pint
Adapted from Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz. The milkweed seed pods can be harvested earlier in the season so if you're interested, make a note for next year. Nasturtiums will start to form seed pods anytime now.
1 1/2 c. small, tender nasturtium or milkweed seed pods
1 to 2 heads garlic, optional
Dissolve salt in water, about 3/4 T. salt in a about 1 c. water, to create a brine solution. Fill a pint jar with seed pods and garlic, if desired. Pour the brine over the pods and garlic to cover them. If you don't have enough brine, add a little more water and salt. Be sure the pods and garlic and submerged in the brine. Keep in the refrigerator and use as needed. The "capers" should be ready after a week or so; the flavor will get better with time.
Also in the queue last week was drying and freezing peppers. We harvested lots of hot peppers from our garden this season so I chose to oven dry them. The bell peppers from our yard and our CSA I sliced and froze. I will use these in soups, stir-frys, casseroles, etc. this winter--they work well in any dish that will be cooked since their texture will be more flimsy once they thaw.
While I'm discussing preserving, I borrowed a new book from the library last week--Canning for a New Generation: Bold Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry by Liana Krissoff. One of the blogs I try to follow, Food in Jars, had a recent post about some new cookbooks she was checking out so I decided to check them out as well. This is one of the selections I love. It has all kinds of great modern preserving recipes, other recipes in which you can use your canned or frozen goods, and gorgeous photos to boot. Even Vera loved it, though it makes me nervous when she looks at my library books because the first word out of her mouth is "color," meaning she'd love for you to put a pen or crayon in her hand so she can add her own embellishments to the pages. She would turn to a photo in the book, point, and squeal "Oooh!" as if to say "Mommy, we should really try this!"
|Portioned squash puree|
|Roasted "Fairy" squash|
Pumpkin/Winter Squash Crepe Batter
Makes 6-8 crepes
I made these into pinwheels for Vera thinking she'd like the eye appeal. She had more fun unrolling them and eating the strips of crepe.
1 whole large egg
3 egg whites
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. whole milk at room temperature
1 T. honey
1/2 t. salt
3 T. mashed roasted pumpkin or winter squash
1 t. pumpkin pie spices or a combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and allspice
1 T. flaxseed oil
Additional honey for garnish
Mix all ingredients in a food processor or blender. The result is usable immediately. Cook in a hot non-stick skillet or crepe pan until the top is dry, then flip. Cook other side a minute or so. Spread filling (see recipe below) on crepe and roll-up or fold over. Drizzle with a little honey before serving.
Pumpkin/Winter Squash and Cream Cheese Filling
Makes about 1 1/4 cup
8 oz. full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 c. mashed pumpkin/winter squash
1 t. honey
Mix all ingredients in a food processor or by hand.
|Vera, Carsten, and Naana|
Layered Pickled Herring Salad with Tart Apples and Red Onion
Adapted from a recipe originally printed in Bon Appetit, December 1996.
3/4 c. apple cider vinegar
3/4 c. water
1/3 c. sugar (I use xylitol)
2 t. pickling spices
1 t. salt
1 large cucumber (the last of our cukes on the homestead), cut into 1/8-inch thick rounds
|Herring Salad, Quick Pickled Cucumbers|
1 1/2 c. chopped red onion
1 c. sour cream
1/4 c. chopped fresh dill
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/4 c. sliced trimmed radishes
6 oz. jar cut pickled herring, drained each piece halved
Fresh dill sprigs (optional)
Mix vinegar, water, sugar (xylitol), pickling spices, and salt in heavy medium saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring until sweetener and salt dissolve. Cool to room temp. Place cucumbers in a large glass bowl. Pour marinade over, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
Mix apples, red onion, sour cream, and chopped dill in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Using slotted spoon, remove cucumbers from marinade. Arrange half of cucumbers in bottom of 8x8x2-inch glass dish. Arrange half of radishes atop cucumbers. Spoon half of apple mixture over radishes. Arrange herring evenly atop apple mixture. Spoon remaining apple mixture over herring. Cover with remaining cucumbers, then radishes. Cover and chill salad 3 hours. Arrange lettuce leaves on platter. Spoon salad onto leaves. Garnish with dill sprigs, if desired, and serve.