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Chow Chow

To be totally honest, my tomato crop this year was a big fat disappointment. After hours spent poring over seed catalogs and months of carefully tending seedlings and young plants, I got nada. Zilch. Not one ripe red tomato from the six tomato plants I successfully transplanted into my new garden. As someone who prides herself on her ability to grow a delicious tomato, this was not my finest hour.

chow chow 2

This morning, however, I poked around the garden as I planned my fall crop (read: collards) and noticed my tomatoes had a few flowers that had set fruit. Finally! Just in time for the first cold snap of the season. Here’s hoping that at the very least I will come out of this summer with enough green tomatoes to make a decent batch of chow chow. I feel like my little urban farm owes me at least that much.

chow chow 3

Chow Chow
makes 6 half pints

1 dozen green tomatoes

1 medium head of cabbage

2 green bell peppers

2 red bell peppers

3 medium onions

6 jalapeños

12 garlic cloves

1/4 cup kosher salt

1 tbsp mustard seeds

1 tbsp red pepper flakes

1/4 cup brown sugar

3 cups apple cider vinegar

Combine vegetables and 1 tbsp salt and mix well. Cover and chill overnight.

Strain vegetables and transfer to a medium sized pot. Add vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, red pepper flakes, and salt. Simmer 15 minutes.

For a refrigerator pickle transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight before serving. The relish will keep up to two weeks.

For canned chow chow sterilize 4 half pint jars by boiling the jars and lids for 10 minutes. When you’re ready to fill them remove them from the water bath, ladle relish and brine into the jar (leaving 1/4”/1/2cm head space), cap, and return to the water bath. Boil an additional 10 minutes. Remove from water bath, tighten the band, and let cool to room temperature. When the jars have cooled check to make sure each jar has sealed (check to see if the lid will pop). Store one week in a cool dark place before opening. The canned relish will keep up to a year in a cool dark place.

 

 

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Lovely Internet 9.19.14

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1. My family has always gone to Kings on  70 in Kinston, and the pig in a puppy holds a special place in my heart.

2. Cornbread Panzanella Salad

3. This is something beautiful that is happening in our society.

4. Zero waste supermarket in Germany

5. Every comment on every food blog. So true sometimes.

6. Scale and gut a fish at home.

7. Ahh, that beer is refreshing! Thank you for throwing it in my face on this warm summer evening.

8. Good one, Elmo.

9. This is great news! (this too)

10. One of the best things about  marathon training is that I feel completely comfortable eating whatever my body tells me to eat because I know that it is craving what it needs. Though this article makes a great point that it’s ridiculous to feel guilty, ever. It’s okay to treat yourself, ladies.

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Spicy Pickled Okra

You know those days that just completely kick you in the ass? And then, while you’re down they kick you some more? I have had a few of those days this week. First, a predator dug into what I thought was my secure chicken coop and got my girls. And then it just kept coming, to the point where when the class fish, Car, died I had nothing left to do but laugh. It was overwhelming, how too-damn-much the situation was.

garlicy pickled okra 3

Life can sometimes feel like all you’re doing is treading water in open ocean, just trying to breathe deeply between waves hitting you in the face. I’m great at treading water, though, and when you get on the boat there is always a jar of pickled okra in the cooler. Or at least there should be.

garlicy pickled okra 1

Spicy Pickled Okra

4 pounds of fresh okra

6 pint size canning jars with lids and bands

3 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar

3 1/2 cups water

6 tbsp red pepper flakes

24 cloves garlic

2 tbsp salt

6 tsps whole mustard seeds

6 tsps whole cumin seeds

2 jalapeños, sliced

1 habanero, minced

6 tbsps garlic hot sauce

Begin by sterilizing your jars.  About an hour before you want to can fill two large pots with water.  I recommend that you have some canning equipment, at the very least a large pot with a rack and a pair of tongs.  You’ll need a separate pot for sterilizing your jars and lids.  Bring both pots of water to a boil.  In one pot (the one without a lid) place your jars and the lids (not the screw bands).  Allow them to boil for at least 10 minutes, but keep them in the pot until right before you fill them.

In a non reactive sauce pan heat vinegar, water, and salt.

Clean the okra and cut off the stems.  In each sterilized jar, place two cloves of garlic, two slices of jalapeño, a pinch of fresh habanero, 1 tbsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, and as much okra as you can pack in tightly.  Whisk hot sauce into vinegar mixture and ladle into each jar, leaving about 1/4″ headspace.  Wipe the rim down, place a clean lid on each jar, and screw band on tightly.  Process in your large pot (with rack) for 10 minutes.  Remove from water, give the band another squeeze, and allow to sit.  Once the jars have sealed (you’ll know if you can’t pop the lid up and down), set them in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks.  They will stay for up to a year.

**As with any preservation process, there are risks.  If you notice anything abnormal, discard the pickles immediately.  Botulism is no fun.**

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