Pickled Garlic Scapes

I made pickles. Here’s the finished product:   image

These ones are pickled garlic scapes. It was brought to my attention that some people don’t know what garlic scapes are. They’re green shoots that sprout out from the garlic bulb in early spring. They take energy away from the bulb which, when you’re growing garlic to eat the bulb, is undesirable. They used to be scraped and fed to pigs  (or turned into compost). But they’re really quite yummy.

Some of these jars will be traded for things. I traded for the scapes in the first place and I promised the man who gave them to me a jar of pickles. I’ll also give a jar to my brother-in-law, as he seemed interested. The rest will either become gifts or an incentive for me to make more salads. And caesars. I bet that they’ll be delicious in caesars.

Pickles!

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A co-worker if mine told me about this a few weeks ago and I’ve been longing to try it ever since. So I found a recipe! Marinated soft cheese is originally a Czech bar food that doesn’t seem to really exist outside of that region. So of course that meant that I had to try it. I figure that it’s a great use for those cheap supermarket camembert wheels. One wheel fit perfectly in this jar so I’d say so.
I’m not yet sure how it tastes. It needs to marinate for four days. I’ll be sure to provide an update when I find out!

I also made pickled eggs. I’d never made them before but I do love a good pickled egg. I can picture them being a great thing to bring on picnics this summer.

UPDATE: Four days later. Pickled cheese is AMAZING. Because I’m classy I put it on Triscuits because I’m classy like that. It is definitely something that I’d love to have around all summer, which means that I’ll just have to keep making more. I can see why this is a bar food, but I believe that it would also be delicious on those warm summer evenings outside with friends – those evenings when the days are so long that after dinner it’s still dusk and you’re all hungry again. It’ll be perfect for such an occasion.

Preserved Lemons

So I tried my hand at making preserved lemons today. This is ostensibly because I found lemons for 50% off, and of course I only bought half as many as I needed. I had to run out and get more today as a result. Now I have extras so I suspect that lemon-cranberry muffins will be happening in the near future.

There were other reasons too. One of them being that I’ve been stressed lately and being in the kitchen is a nice way for me to take my brain off of that and focus it on something productive. Deliciousness plus an hour of stress-free living is a pretty good deal! The other was that I’ve been looking for a way to spice up my quinoa. I don’t like quinoa nearly as much as I feel like I should.

Preserved lemons seem like they would be easy (salt! lemons! and a sterile jar) but in actuality I couldn’t figure out how to pack them in there, nor get juice out of them. So I ended up needing about as many lemons as I kept just to juice. It felt like making lemonade.

On the upshot I can open them in a month (given that February is shorter I’ll peg the date at March 1st)  and then I’ll know whether this is worth trying again or not. I hope it is. I’ll be sick of winter food by then anyway, and likely need to wait another couple of months before anything fresh has grown.

Food in Jars! (part 4)

A mason jar on a white counter against a white background.  It is full of thick pale tan liquid with pieces of corn and green flecks suspended in it.

This is my first attempt at potato-corn chowder. Given that I don’t really like potatoes, how did this come to be? Here’s how:

My friend has been telling me all about the wonders of fridge preservation so I thought that I’d give it a try. Having a two-day snowstorm (the edge of what hit Buffalo, NY) made me really want wintry food. So I decided to go with soup. Partly because she spent about 40 minutes singing its praises, and partly because it’s an easy and wonderful winter food. Also because I’d bought corn on sale from the grocery store a few days prior and it really needed to be used up. I had some aging potatoes in my fridge, and some sad jalapeños kicking around. So potato-corn chowder it was to be!

Here’s how I made it:

  • sauté onion, garlic, celery in some olive oil. I could have added a carrot as well, but I didn’t.
  • throw it in the slow cooker along with chunks of potato, the corn, some red pepper, and the jalapeños. Those were all the veggies that I had in my fridge.
  • added the broth that I’d made a few days before (and used as practice preserves). I also added some smoked paprika because it smelled good.
  • before going to work in the morning I turned it on, leaving strict instructions to Fuzzy that he was to turn it off at a pre-arranged time. I also texted him a reminder.
  • it sat in my fridge for a few days
  • you’ll notice that I didn’t add any salt. Later on (upon tasting) I threw in some Bragg’s, some soy sauce for good measure, and some worcestershire sauce just for added assistance. They barely made a dent, but at least it’s not impossibly bland.

Today I canned this (resulting in two jars) and turned them into fridge preserved soup. Given that I have a couple of very hectic weeks coming up and am seemingly incubating a cold, it’s nice to have something to look forward to. I’m also already planning some other soups that I’d like to make, including tomato-bean soup, and carrot-couscous. At this rate I’ll have to make more broth base first!

Gracious!

So, that’s what happens when you don’t turn things off and on again: they break down. Now I know. At least my computer is back up to its usual limping along state, rather than still out of commission entirely!

However, the unexpected time off has allowed me to start new projects and investigate old ones more completely. Here’s what’s on the go right now:

  • finishing my pink arm warmers
  • started a blue sweater
  • I figured out how to make fridge preserves!
  • Now I have a lot of soup broth to use up!
  • Time to preserve the corn/potato chowder that I made the other day
  • Must fix my blue winter bicycle!

So those are all the posts to look forward to in the near future as I catch up. There may also be a post about my turtle, Pythagoras. I recently had to fix his filter and I’m still leery about it.