garlic

Pickles: Easy and Easier

by Anne Maxfield on June 17, 2019

Easiest PicklesPickles are so easy, and these two recipes will have you making them again and again. I always have a jar of the sliced pickles in my fridge and the fermented ones are like the ones I miss from Gus’ in the city.

The first one is so simple, you’ll think it’s a joke, but it makes great pickles fast. You’ll find a jar of them hanging out in my fridge all the time.

  • 3-4 small pickling cucumbers, sliced about 1/8” thick
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 1 scant tablespoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh dill
  • 1-2 cloves garlic (optional), lightly smashed
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Put all the ingredients in a quart Ball jar, cover it and give it a good shake. Put the jar in the front of the refrigerator. Every time you open the fridge, give the jar a shake. Pickles should be good after 2 hours, but I usually let mine sit overnight. They last for a while and are great on burgers and sandwiches.

The other was a recipe for half-sours that I found on Fine Cooking. It was pretty simple, just requiring a little patience (something not normally on my top-ten list of attributes) to let them sit and become pickles.

Now that I have my kits from Kraut Source, this recipe is almost as foolproof as the other. I’ll usually let them sit for about 2 weeks in a cool dark place (for some reason, under my guest bathroom sink seems to work well), taste them and then cover and refrigerate.

This makes pickles closer to those classic sour pickles and you can control how “sour” you want them to be.

My verdict: These are very different but both really good and easy pickles to make, so give them a try and let me know in the comments what you thought.

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Roasted Potato Leek and Garlic Soup

by Anne Maxfield on October 8, 2018

Accidental Locavore Roasted Leek and Potato SoupPotato leek soup is good any time of year.

When Frank kept bringing home potatoes and leeks from our CSA, I knew he was serious about me making a batch.

Since it’s fall, I like this version, where the leeks and potatoes are roasted with some garlic, making it heartier than traditional vichyssoise. Serves about 6:

Roasted Potato Leek and Garlic Soup

  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 3 leeks, white and light green parts, cleaned, cut in half lengthwise and then in ½” slices
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, plus extra for serving
  • 6 to 7 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces crème fraîche
  • 1-2 heads roasted garlic (see below)

Accidental Locavore Potatoes and LeeksPreheat the oven to 400°.

Combine the potatoes and leeks on a sheet pan in a single layer. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, turning them with a spatula a few times, until very tender and lightly golden.

Remove the pan from the oven and place over 2 burners. Stir in the wine and 1 cup of chicken stock and cook over low heat, scraping up any roasted bits sticking to the pan.

In batches, transfer the roasted vegetables and garlic to a food processor or blender, adding the pan liquid and about 5 cups of the chicken stock in batches and purée. As you finish a batch, pour it into a large pot or Dutch oven. When it’s all in the pot, add the remaining 1- 2 cups of stock to make a thick soup. Add the cream, crème fraîche, and salt and pepper as needed. Heat over medium-low heat until heated through. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Potatoes and Leeks RoastedMy verdict: I’ve never made vichyssoise with crème fraîche before and if there wasn’t some in the fridge, I probably wouldn’t have used it this time either – which would have been a big mistake! It gave this very rich soup a nice depth of flavor that’s sometimes missing. Roasting the potatoes and leeks was a great idea and the next time I do it, I’d just toss some garlic cloves in the mix. If you were doing this in the summer and didn’t want to heat up your oven, grilling them would most likely be great! If you like a finer purée, use a blender, for a chunkier version the food processor is fine.

Accidental Locavore Garlic for Roasted Leek and Potato SoupIn preparation for this I roasted 4 heads of garlic separately (cut 1/2″ off the tops, put in an oven-proof dish, sprinkle a little olive oil, cover with foil and roast at 400 degrees for an hour), not knowing how many I’d need (about 1 1/2 heads) to flavor but not overwhelm the leeks. Frank was wondering about adding bacon which would be fine, but not necessary – maybe as a garnish? This is great hot or cold, so depending on the season…

 

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The Best Gazpacho Ever!

by Anne Maxfield on July 30, 2018

Accidental Locavore Drinking GazpachoNow that it’s time for great tomatoes, do yourself a favor and give this amazing gazpacho recipe a try. Thank me in the comments.

It’s become our go-to gazpacho, it’s so good!

After I read the description of this gazpacho in the NY Times and remembered how good it was when Chef Jose Garces made it at his house a couple of years ago,  I needed to give it a try. Use the best tomatoes and olive oil you can.Accidental Locavore Gazpacho IngredientsBest Gazpacho recipe:

  • 2 pounds of red tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks
  • 1 Italian or Anaheim pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 small onion, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • Part of a Serrano chile, seeded and thinly sliced (optional, if you like a little heat)
  • 2 teaspoons Sherry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt, more to taste
  • ¼ cup good olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Accidental Locavore Straining GazpachoCombine the tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, onion and garlic in a blender.

Blend at high speed until very smooth, about 2 minutes.

With the motor running, add the vinegar and 2 teaspoons of salt, taste and add the Serrano chile if you’re using.

The next part you might want to do in batches unless you have a big blender.

Very slowly pour in the olive oil, so the gazpacho can emulsify. It will thicken and change color, becoming more orange.

If it seems thin, keep slowly pouring in the olive oil and it will thicken up. Taste and adjust the vinegar, salt and oil as needed.

Strain and discard the solids.

Pour into a pitcher and chill for at least 6 hours or overnight. Serve in glasses with a drizzle of olive oil on the top and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Gazpacho Close UpMy verdict: Fabulous! It took a few minutes, but the color did change and the texture and taste was perfect. You really need a blender for this – sadly, a food processor won’t give you a fine enough puree.

I didn’t have the right kind of peppers, so I seeded and chopped a couple of pepperoncini, and they worked fine.

Since you really taste the oil, be sure to use something delicious. If you wanted, a shot of vodka might be interesting.

The original recipe suggests pouring the gazpacho over ice, which I think is a good idea; even though ours had chilled all afternoon, it never tasted really cold.

And forget Christmas in July, I’m thinking about making a batch and freezing it, so it can be August in the middle of January!Accidental Locavore Gazpacho Gone

 

 

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DIY Hoisin Sauce

by Anne Maxfield on July 2, 2018

Accidental Locavore DIY Hoisin SauceAre you a huge fan of hoisin sauce? If you’ve ever eaten Peking Duck or Moo Shu Pork, it’s that delicious dark sauce that gets painted onto the pancakes.

I’ve always been a big fan–Frank and I often make pork roasts smothered in some mix of hoisin and whatever looks Asian in the fridge. So when bon appétit ran this recipe for pork chops with hoisin sauce that you make yourself, I was skeptical at first—why make it when the stuff in the jar is just delicious? But then I saw how easy it was and became interested.

Accidental Locavore Ingredients for Hoisin SauceDIY Hoisin Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha
  • Salt to taste

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring often, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add soy sauce, honey, vinegar, tahini, and Sriracha and whisk until smooth. Cook, whisking occasionally, until mixture is thick and smooth, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper and let it cool. The sauce will keep about 4 days, covered, in the refrigerator (if you don’t eat it all first).

I used half the hoisin to marinate the pork chops overnight, but if you’re impatient, you can do them for as little as an hour. The way I’ve been cooking pork chops recently is really simple, it just requires “standing over a hot stove” but you can catch up on email etc… Click here for the recipe.

Accidental Locavore Hoisin Marnated Pork Chops (2)My verdict: We were both really surprised at the addition of tahini which I’ve never thought of as Chinese, but hey, they travelled.

This was really good and the hardest part was coaxing the honey from the container. They just don’t make those bears like they used to!

I’m about to make another batch to coat a pork loin that will get roasted (unless the weather warms up and we can grill). I forgot to do a taste test with our old standby, but there will be other chances. What do you think the results will be?

 

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