Not for the Faint of Spicy Heart

July 4, 2007 at 12:35 pm 6 comments

baby-squash-with-blossom-tail.jpg  

As promised a few posts back, I’m offering another recipe for using up the summer abundance of squash and zucchini.  Over the past week or so, the farm has harvested more than 300 pounds of the stuff!  It’s been hard to keep up with harvesting it…a squash the size of the one in the picture above will quickly go from “too-small-to-pick-just-yet” to “much-larger-than-we-want-to-sell” in about two short days.   It’s rather awe inspiring to see something literally grow before your eyes.  Beats watching grass grow or paint dry any day!

Away from the farm I’m a confessed food blog junkie who has been reading a lot of other bloggers’ posts about pickling.  It’s funny how “trends” start in the food blogging world – one inspires another.  Hey, wait up!  I want to jump on the band wagon too!  Especially now that I have a mandoline to slice everything so quickly and thinly. 

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When Farmer Dave handed me two gi-normous summer squash and asked me what I thought I could do with them, I immediately decided to try pickling them.  I had stumbled upon a recipe for such just the day before when browsing the web page of one of my favorite radio programs, “The Splendid Table”.  Granted, this recipe was going to push my boundaries, which seems to be happening a lot since I started blogging.  I feel a continuous tug to provide something unusual and equally colorful for you folks to mentally munch on when stopping by for a visit.   Thus, I took a leap of faith, and delved into a recipe that is both new to me in subject matter (pickled squash) and aggressive spices (i.e., HOT).

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Not one to typically included any hot peppers in my cooking, I was intrigued by the selection of adorable colorful mini peppers available in my grocery store.  In another week or two, the farm will have some hot peppers of its own which I’ll be sure to use.  Since I was eager to try this recipe, I couldn’t wait for them though.  When I got my three cutie peppers home, I soon found out they packed a powerful hot punch.  I was the careful cook and washed my hands after slicing them, but later forgot after I tossed the veggie mixture with my hands.  I realized my mistake when a spot on my forehead that I’d scratched started to immediately burn.  In other words, remember to wash your hands at ever stage of handling the peppers.  But you already knew that because you probably use hot peppers all the time.   I’ll surely remember for next time.

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                      red-onion-slices.jpg  squash-mixture-for-pickles.jpg

The final product of this particular pickling is certainly both sweet and curried – shockingly so.  Since I’m a fan of the warm spices of Indian food but not such a fan of the fiery heat of hot peppers, I believe my next batch will include only one pepper.  If you like serious heat on your taste buds, make these pickles as-is, and you’ll be in heaven.  Since they do have such an intense bright flavor and crisp firm texture, I’m sure they’d do well as a “palate cleanser” during a heavy meal.  But I’m still searching for the best way to serve them.  Do any of you have ideas for appropriate main dishes to place these spicy squash pickles along side?  I’d appreciate any suggestions as I have a lot of these pickles and can only eat one bite of them on their own.  At this rate, the two quarts will last me until Columbus Day. 


SWEET AND HOT CURRIED SQUASH PICKLES

Adapted from The Splendid Table
 

3 pounds (about 3 medium) summer squash and/or zucchini, cut into very thin rounds
2 medium red onions, peeled and cut into thin rounds
3 small colorful chili peppers, seeds removed and cut into thin rounds
1/4 c. sea saltsquash-pickels-in-container.jpg
2 3/4 c. distilled white vinegar
3/4 c. sherry cooking wine
1 1/2 c. orange juice
2 c. sugar
2 T. prepared curry powder
1 1/2 t. cayenne pepper
1 t. whole allspice berries
1 t. whole cloves
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 inch of ginger, peeled and sliced into thin rounds 

In a large plastic or ceramic mixing bowl, combine the zucchini, onions, chilies, and salt, and let stand for an hour. Stir the bowl’s contents once or twice during the hour.  Drain and rinse thoroughly to remove the salt and set aside. 

In a large nonreactive saucepan (generally any pan with a nonstick coating will work; be sure to avoid aluminum pots), bring all the remaining ingredients except the ginger to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring once or twice to be sure the sugar is dissolved. Pour the hot liquid over the squash mixture, amply covering all the vegetables. Add the ginger to the bowl and stir.

Allow to cool to room temperature, then place in air tight containers or jars.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours before serving.  Pickles will keep covered in refrigerator for up to a month.   

(makes 2 quarts)

sweet-and-hot-curried-squash-pickles.jpg

Entry filed under: Purely Vegetables, Recipes. Tags: .

More Method Than Recipe Tangy Goodness

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rachel  |  July 4, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    I just sat down after putting some squash pickles in the fridge. And you’re writing about the very same thing! My first try, too (pickling squash), and mine aren’t hot. The squash were more of an add-on to the cukes-and that use it up mentality you’ve mentioned, but at least this seems encouraging that when I pull my out later they’ll be okay.😉

    Reply
  • 2. Jennie  |  July 4, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    Great minds think alike, Rachel! Knowing how much you like hot stuff, you should give this spicy kind a try sometime. I’m sure you’ll be getting more squash out of the garden soon.

    Reply
  • 3. angie  |  July 4, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    hi, jennie.

    i check your blog frequently, but i couldn’t pass this one up. i am reading michael ruhlman’s book reach of a chef right now, and he has a section on melissa kelly of primo. of her daily cooking, 75% of her produce comes from the garden behind her restaurant. so so cool. but he talked of her recipes using squash blossoms. anyway, with an abundance of squash comes an abundance of squash flowers. i found this recipe from chez panisse. let me know if you try it. it sounds awesome!

    FRIED SQUASH BLOSSOMS WITH REDWOOD HILL CHEVRE

    This recipe is an adaptation from one used at Chez Panisse. The masa harina, available at any grocery store, makes for a more crisp, delicate batter than all-purpose flour or cornmeal.

    1/4 cup finely chopped mixed herbs, such as chives, tarragon, or chervil

    1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced shallots

    12 fresh open squash blossoms

    1 cup fresh chvre, such as Redwood Hill (you will have some left over)

    Large pinch salt

    2 eggs

    1/4 cup milk

    1 cup masa harina

    Two large pinches salt

    Pinch freshly ground white pepper

    Vegetable oil

    In a small bowl, mix together the herbs, shallot, chvre and salt.

    Open up the individual blossoms wide enough to insert a teaspoonful of cheese mixture. Do not overfill or fried blossoms will be soggy. Twist the ends of the blossom together gently.

    In a medium bowl, beat 2 eggs together with 1/4 cup milk. In a separate medium bowl, mix together masa harina, salt, and pepper. Dip each blossom into the egg mixture and then roll quickly and evenly in the masa harina mixture, gently shaking off excess. Refrigerate for a few minutes.

    Pour 1 inch of oil into a small shallow saucepan or skillet. Heat oil to 350 degrees. Deep-fry the blossoms in batches until they begin to turn light golden brown. Drain on baking rack set over paper towels, and serve immediately.

    abrazos y besos,
    angie yingst

    Reply
  • 4. Jennie  |  July 5, 2007 at 6:35 am

    Angie – I’m so glad you passed along this recipe. I had been thinking about making squash blossoms for awhile now but hadn’t found a method I was sure about. This one sounds easy enough. Plus it involves chevre – my most favorite of favorite cheese. Now to get a bunch of those golden flower jewels… To the bat cave (farm)!

    Reply
  • 5. Trace  |  July 10, 2007 at 12:05 pm

    Jennie:

    I’ll have to give this recipe a try, that is if I can still find some local squash. I haven’t tried making beet sugar yet, but I’m going to try and grow sugar beets this fall and see how it goes.

    Reply
  • 6. We Broke A Record « Straight from the Farm  |  July 10, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    […] I hadn’t been such a wimp.  I guess I’m still a little gun-shy after the eye-popping curried squash pickles, which, by the way, are still holding up nicely in my fridge.  I’ve found both the pickles […]

    Reply

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