Monday, August 13, 2007

Pickled Eggplant and Okra

I cooked up a storm this weekend! I got a nasty cough/cold last week and even though I probably should have been taking it easy, I got bored and decided to mix up watching The Sopranos and hacking my lungs out with cooking. Also, I picked up the farm share on Saturday and had a ton of raw materials to work with.

First, I made Lebanese Pickled Eggplant Stuffed with Garlic, from The Joy of Pickling. These little guys were just so cute at the farm that I took home a huge bag of them, knowing I'd find a way to use them. These ones are white with purple streaks and are smaller and more tender and mild than the ones we're used to. Also, the fresh garlic I've been getting from the farm is killer. It's a pretty simple recipe (makes one quart):

Fresh and steamed eggplants

1) Wash and trim 1.25 pounds small (4-5") eggplants (about one quart)
2) Crush the cloves of one bulb of garlic into a dish, add 1 tsp. cayenne pepper and one Tbsp. of pickling salt.
3) Steam the eggplants for 5-7 min., until tender but not mushy. Allow to cool.
4) Bring to a boil: 1.5 c. red wine vinegar + 3/4 c. water + 1 tsp. pickling salt, then allow to cool.
5) Slit the eggplants lengthwise most of the way through and spread with the garlic mixture.
6) Pack the eggplants into a sterile quart jar, add the cooled liquid, and cover with a plastic cap.
7) Let jar stand in a cool place for 1-2 weeks. Store in fridge.

I haven't tried them yet, and I don't even know if I like pickled eggplants, but I need to use the veggies somehow. I'll let you know how they are in a couple weeks.

The next recipe I made was for pickled okra (also from TJoP). For some reason the farm planted 3 rows of okra, but only 1/2 row of peas, so people were fighting over peas and now no one knows what to do with the okra. Oh well...I only wish Alex were here because he would love this stuff. The okra is so amazingly fresh compared to the sad brownish specimens in the store. I halved the recipe to make two pints:

1) Was the okra and slice the stems off, taking care not to cut the pod itself.
2) Slice 2 cloves of garlic an place one clove in each jar (I upped this to 4 total)
3) Add one tsp. dill seed to each jar (I also added hot pepper flakes and whole coriander to one as an experiment in flavor).
4) Boil: 2 c. cider vinegar + 2 c. water + 1 Tbsp. pickling salt.
5) Pack the okra in to the jars tightly. Ladle the hot vinegar mixture over the okra, leaving a 1/2" headspace.
6) Cap with hot lids and rims and process in a boiling water bath for 15 min. Keep in a cool dark place for 3 weeks before eating.

Again, I'm not sure how I'll like it, but it's a fun experiment and not too hard. I know none of you are inclined to try pickling, but I figured I'd post this stuff anyway. Next I'll included some more instantly-edible recipes.

1 comment:

Lillian said...

:-( Although the pickling was a fun diversion, it wasn't too successful. I had to toss the okra because it didn't can properly. The lids sealed, but there was too much headspace at the top, so the okra weren't submerged. I think I packed them in too tight or something. The eggplant was OK but mostly just tasted of vinegar and garlic--nothing worth repeating.