About minos1023

Misha Smith has been teaching and researching political philosophy at Oglethorpe University since 1996. Her current research is on the Platonic doctrine of law.

Wild Onion Pickle

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We are very excited about our new plot at the local community garden.  Visions of red ripe tomatoes, plentiful cucumbers, grillable eggplants, and fresh green beans fill our heads (idealistically, probably).  In an attempt to involve The Brood, we took them to the plot and had them help dig, pull weeds, and plant seeds.  Number 4 Child lost interest relatively quickly and hung out at the picnic table with the food (and his DSi).  Number 3 Child was interested in payoff…now.  When I pointed out the ubiquitous wild onions to her, she found her mission.  We ended up with a full bag of them and nothing in particular planned for them.  So I, rather predictably, said, “Hey, why don’t we pickle some?”

Wild Onion Pickle

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tsp each sugar and salt

1/2 tsp each cracked peppercorn and mustard seed

small bunch of fresh tarragon

a garlic clove, finely sliced

a small bunch of wild onion

Heat the water, vinegar, sugar, salt, peppercorns, and mustard seed in a saucepan until simmering.  Meanwhile pack garlic, tarragon, and onions (which have been thoroughly cleaned and trimmed) in a half pint jar.  Pour the hot hot vinegar mixture over, seal, and wait.

That’s what we’re doing.  Can’t wait to try these!

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Dinner: Lemon Pizza

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Fridays have become Pizza Friday around here.  Not that long ago, in an email thread now long lost, we documented a blog with a lemon pizza.  When I found cheap Meyer lemons just after those emails were exchanged, it was clear that Pizza Friday must feature the lemon.  With olives and onions and garlic, it was so surprisingly good.  Like sunshine on a slice!

Dinner: Stewed Artichokes and Favas

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It’s spring and I’ve been craving artichokes.  I have not, however, been craving the work of prepping them.  Having a bag of frozen green fava beans, I bought a bag of frozen artichoke hearts and made a simple stewed version of these with white wine and homemade stock (of which we now have scads).  Along with a fresh tomato salad, farro, and the lovely French Rose Paul brought me, it was an infusion of spring.

 

Marmalade

After the blood orange marmalade went over well at the last Food Swap, I decided to get serious about making more before the blood oranges disappear from the markets.  So today is marmalade day!  We’re making two variations: blood orange (again) and lemon ginger.  Some day I might try a meyer lemon rosemary.  Hmm.

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Snowjam: Vegetable Soup and Dumplings

Atlanta is now infamous for its lack of coping skills in winter weather.  I was lucky to have only spent 3 hours in the snow and logistics induced traffic jam of 2014.  Even though I was lucky compared to others I knew who spent 7 and 13 hours in it, it was still a hideous way to spend an afternoon.  When I got back, I wanted comfort food.  Big time.  There was no matza meal, so I looked for dumpling recipes on the internet and found this semolina dumpling recipe at Smitten Kitchen.

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Cheese Series: Smoked Cheese

In our quest to know more about different cheeses, we went on the smoky side.

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Smoked Sulguni (Karoun)
Karoun is a California company specializing in Mediterranean cheeses such as the Ackawi we reviewed earlier.  The smoked sulguni tastes a bit liked a smoked provolone.  The smoke flavor is relatively mild compared to the Irish cheddar listed next.  Sulguni is a specialty of Georgia (Eastern Europe not Southeast US) and is a stretched curd cheese like mozzarella.  We didn’t find this sample to be as soft as most mozzarella, and it was perhaps a little more rubbery than a provolone.  It would be yummy used as you would a smoked provolone, but Georgians also use sulguni in stuffed mushrooms.

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Irish Knockanore Oak Smoked Cheddar
Knockanore is a family owned cheese company in Ireland.  They breed their own cows for cheese making.  This cheese has a strong cheddar flavor.  It is sharp and a little crumbly like a good aged cheddar.  The smoke does not overpower the cheddar flavor, so that the flavor is balanced.  It’s a powerfully flavored cheese….not for the faint of heart.  I can imagine sitting in an Irish pub with a Guiness, dark bread and some of this cheese!  Slainte!

Grafton Village Maple Smoked Vermont Raw Milk Cheddar
Grafton Village Cheese Company has been making cheese in Vermont since the 19th century.  This was very mild in cheddar flavor and in smoke.  It’s texture was smooth and creamy.  Of all these cheeses, this is probably the best to eat raw on crackers or rye with a smear of mustard or a slice of apple.

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Cranberry Relish

I love cranberry sauce just as it is.  But when we were making trade items for the November Food Swap, I figured plain wouldn’t cut it.  Researching cranberry relishes, chutneys and sauces is overwhelming!  I ended up combining elements from a couple of recipes.  Some of the seasoning comes from a chutney recipe.  It doesn’t really taste like an Indian chutney, but it has a little bite from ginger and some mellow sour from the balsamic vinegar.  The slightly chunky texture that comes from using the food grinder gives it textural interest but leaves the relish spreadable.  If you don’t have a food grinder, a food processor would work as long as you don’t overprocess and end up with a paste.

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Vegetarian Chili

Much vegetarian chili is unsatisfying to me.  Maybe it’s beans in vaguely chili flavored tomatoes.  Or maybe it’s tvp or seitan, and I’m not absolutely crazy about those.  But I didn’t have any alternative, so I kept trying different versions.  This one has a chili-like texture provided by the split moong dal.  If you can’t find those, French lentils should work as well.  Korean black bean paste gives it a depth that spices alone don’t.  When I reheated some leftovers, I added a half tablespoon of butter for a little richness.  If you don’t mind the calories or fat, give that a try.

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Chili Seasoning Spice Mix

Spice blends are so useful, particularly when time is short.  Many premixed blends in stores can be bland, too salty or just stale.  In any case, it’s nice to customize blends to one’s own taste.  One of my recent obsessions is the quest for a good vegetarian chili that has a authentic texture and rich flavor.  This chili mix came out of that quest.

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