Archive for the ‘Pickles’ Category

Field to Fire – Whitefish


Field to Fire - WhitefishYes, episode 1. Don’t get it? Don’t blame you.

This series [Field to Fire] is going to strictly be about exploring regional ingredients, and preparing them a couple ways outdoors. Same format. Every time. I liked the idea, but a major problem with it is that it excluded other fun content that I’d normally shoot and get involved with. So rather than kevinTV being one ‘thing’, it now is multiple ‘things’. Multiple ‘shows’. This will be one of them. More about this switch-up here.

Instagram feed watchers have been witness to my posts about ice fishing. Action went from absolutely dead in Dec/Jan to limiting out in an hour in late Feb, so I had some whitefish to work with for this episode. They’re a strange species – one that I had no experience with until lately. I hardly feel bad about it though, as while showing off some instagram photos recently to chefs, I got some questions about what species they were. They just aren’t solidly part of our food culture beyond certain niche pockets. Hence my interest in featuring them. Many more ‘Field to Fire’ episodes on deck. Enjoy.

Episode 25: Cellar Food


Strange. It’s mid-December, the soil’s frozen, plants toast – but counterintuitively, this time of year is one of the best times of year food-wise. The freezers are full of a variety of meats, fruits, stocks, lard, and more. The wine cellar’s full of apple wines, ciders, and dry cured pork and game, while the root cellar is an exciting world of veg – from squashes to parsnips, potatoes, beets, carrots, rutabagas, leeks, shallots, and more. It is a time of year rich in food in our home, and will continue to be for some time in fact – nearly all the way into spring when the veg starts to go sideways, the cider stash drops, and the freezers are once again navigable. All the way into the ‘spring gap’ that I’ve largely found ways to close.

Since my cellar seems to be desired stop number one for folks that visit my home, I thought it’d make a decent location to shoot video at a time of year when the food scene has moved from outdoors to underground. It’s a cold place to shoot video – about 2C at this time of year. So I grabbed some things from the cellar, put together a snack for my wife and I, and rolled some…SD card. Rolling tape sounds way cooler.

Reject Pickled Carrots: Another Reason to ‘Work for Food’


Just when I thought I’d posted about as much as one needed to about pickled carrots

My wife and I have been helping out Green Eggs & Ham lately with their labor crunch – heading out to the farm when we can arrange sitters to help bag produce for the market, harvest carrots like crazy, or whatever else they need done. They need hands, and if you have hands and time, they have a great ‘work for food’ futures program that you should take them up on. Let’s see: support local agriculture, help people, see where you food comes from, educational and colorful company, head-clearing work relative to the day job – and get top-shelf food in return. Win-win-win-win-win. Win.

Very quickly in our helping out did I find that there was produce that simply didn’t meet their stringent standards. I get it. The consumer understandably doesn’t want a potato, squash, or carrot that was previously visited by a slug or rodent, or that is cracked or damaged during harvest. And it makes no sense to spend scarce time trimming and fussing over defective produce when you have tonnes, literally, sitting in the field that needs harvesting. There’s no time: such is the nature of agriculture during harvest. So guess what. If you ask, they might just be kind enough to let you take the ‘rejects‘ or ‘goat food‘ home. A potential additional perk of their ‘work for food’ program, apparently. [I felt bad stealing the goats' food until I learned the goats prefer grass anyway.]

Both quarts of pickled carrots in the photo – and 5 others – were made from a portion of the morning’s rejects. The crazy pink/red color being the bleed from the cool purple varieties they grow. My 3 year old is gonna dig the white-carrots-turned-pink. Win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win.

Latest farm in the From Local Farms project: Sundog Organic Farm.

Pickled Onions with Wild Thyme & Bay


With a pretty heatlhy crop of onions in the garden – the best and biggest I’ll have grown, well, ever – my mind has started drifting towards pickled onions. I got the notion that I should start making these when they were the first bit I’d long for when tying into a jar of the pickled whitefish we made a while back. I’ve quick-pickled onions before, but have never played with putting up jars and jars of them. Not wanting to risk my garden crop, I decided to test recipes on walla wallas from the store first. Would be far less heart breaking if they sucked. Which they probably won’t.

After reviewing many, many recipes [and Hank, I tripped over your post while googling this], I came to the following conclusion. Most folks brined the onions in a fairly widely-opined ratio of 2 oz of salt per pint of water, for 24 hrs. They were then drained, and covered in vinegar that had somehow been flavored with aromatic spices and herbs. Easy enough. And explained why when I substituted garden onions last year in my pickled carrot recipe, it was a grand failure [far too dilute in vinegar]. No wasting garden onions this year.

This time around, I used white vinegar [I like the clean, perky acidity], wild thyme, and bay. We shall see.

Pickled Carrots


I was short-of-breath-giddy to get this jar put together. Since I was a kid, I could pretty much pass on pickles – pickled cucumbers that is, but not these. Pickled carrots, in my little world, are in an elite class of their own. And baby carrots, they top that elite class. It just so happens that I married a lady who loves them perhaps even more than I. We both love them so, but our cheapassedness prevents the purchase of $10 pints from the farmer’s market – so we abstain. Last year we put up quite a few quarts and pints, hoping they’d last a while. They did not. We were out by…fall? So this year, we’re on a bit of a mission. We are resolved to have a veritable army of pints and quarts awaiting our every pickled carrot desire. And for this season, it has begun.

Here’s the recipe we use, which I acquired from my mom:

Per pint: 1 clove garlic, 1 head dill [better if young rather than mature-seedlike], 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1 tbsp pickling salt. Stuff jars with dill head & garlic, then carrots [I pack the jar reasonably snug], then salt and vinegar. Top with boiling water. Waiting a few weeks improves the overall product, but it’ll be darn tough to wait that long.