Monday, August 13, 2007

The fruits of our labors

A little photo essay of yesterday's kitchen work:
Roasted tomatillos, jalapenos (chili peppers), and garlic under the broiler for 10 min, then dumped them into a blender with cilantro and onions. The tomatillos are home grown - they look like little tomatoes surrounded by a papery bag, which is the calyx (foderblad, in Swedish). They are incredibly easy to grow - try to grow them in Sweden too.
Push the button on the food processor, and simsalabim - you have wonderful salsa. We served this on top of grilled salmon.
The day before I made tomato sauce from kilos and kilos of fresh Roma tomatoes. Here it is, ready to the frozen and served on pasta. We added lots of fresh basil and garlic.
Next project was pickles. LA helped me with this, and he was a bit concerned that
vinegar eels could survive in the pickle jars. He learned about those in science class last year. Here we are chopping up lots of pickling cucumbers I bought at a roadside farm stand, locally grown little cukes. I don't know what kind they were, they were just sold as 'pickling cucumbers'.
Sterilizing jars by boiling them, I learned this from mom when I was a kid. I remember lots of jars and bottles being boiled, and then put in the oven to dry. We never used the canning method that is so common here in America, where you boil filled jars with food. Mom used to make pickled cucumbers, beets, saft, lingonberry jam (sylt)... probably lots more I don't remember. Grandma KE's rhubarb-strawberry jam was a classic, a must on grandpa RE's pancakes.
This is the 'pickle juice' as LA calls it. Distilled vinegar, salt, dill crowns, and sugar. I called mom in Sweden to get a real recipe, so what we are making here are 'Skånsk ättiksgurka" (Scanian pickled cucumbers).
After the chopping block.
And then you take the hot jars, fill them with cucumbers, dill crowns and brown mustard seeds and pour the pickle juice over. Close the lid, let cool, and store in fridge. Everybody in the house wondered when we could start tasting them, but we will have to wait two weeks. The cucumbers have already started to loose their fresh green from the acid in the vinegar - the photo was taken immediately after I closed the lid, but this morning they are more yellowish.

I felt so productive after this kitchen work. It is like Martha Stewart says: "If you make it, you own it. If you buy it, you don't own it." I feel like I really, really own these pickles. Also, both the tomatoes and cucumbers are grown here in New Jersey, not in faraway Chile or Guatemala.


PP said...

look at the pic of the pickles in the jars...there is one slice that seems to be saying:uh oh, now I'm in a pickle!:

LS said...

Haha, poor little cucumber being all sour.

O.K. said...

That cucumber looks really unhappy!
I am happier, I have a jar of your pickled hot peppers! :) A habanero a day keeps the doctor away... Or?

LS said...

Get eating - we are planning to send you more! West Virginia pea peppers are MUCH hotter than habaneros, but the heat dissolves faster.