All posts filed under “Sauces & Condiments

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Herb-scented Salt

Thyme Marjoram Sage

Now that it’s finally getting warm in Berlin, we’ve been blessed with a bumper crop of produce from our farm share. I’ve had more rhubarb than I’ve known what to do with (it ended up in jam and more syrup), tons of fresh salad greens, the first tastes of local strawberries and cherries, and this week, a large harvest of fresh herbs. With the delivery came some sound advice: the herbs may bountiful, but the bunches of sage, thyme, chives, and marjoram were likely the majority to be harvested all summer, so we should preserve them. We already had a bundle of dried herbs from an April delivery, so rather than dry these herbs, I decided to make some seasoning salts.

There are a number of options for preserving when you have a large amount of fresh herbs—flavored oils, compound butters, and herb pesto are just a few examples. But flavored salts are really nice to have around during the grilling season—they are perfect for rubbing on steaks or adding to fried chicken seasoning, and are nice to sprinkle on top of grilled corn. You can use just about any herb, but hearty robust flavors work best, like thyme, sage, and marjoram. I’ve chosen a large grain salt here, planning to use it in a grinder, but the technique works with a flakier salt as well. It’s an incredibly easy way to keep the flavor of fresh herbs in your pantry all year long.

Herb-scented Salt
Herb-scented Salt
Servings: 2 cups
1 cup mixed herbs, leaves picked from the stems
2 cups salt

In a food processor, pulse the herb leaves until chopped. Add the salt and continue to pulse until well combined. Spread the mixture in an even layer on a lined sheet tray and let dry for two days. Transfer the mixture to a jar or spice grinder. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 year.

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Pickled Yellow Squash

Pickled Yellow Squash

I came across this recipe on The Kitchn a few weeks ago and I went home and immediately made a batch with a yellow squash and green pepper from our CSA. The combination of the crunchy bite of the squash, sweet-tart brine, and serious garlic bite is so addictive, I made a second batch the next week. And I’ve been rationing the pickles ever since—cautiously sharing with friends and occasionally putting them on my lunch time salads.

What’s the secret to such great pickles? Starting with delicious produce certainly helps. And a flavorful pickling liquid is key. I used a combination of organic apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, toasted spices, and mustard seeds to create this one, and it’s so good, I’ve taken to using the leftover liquid for whatever vegetables we happen to have (including those pretty tomatoes from last week).  I love the pop of the tart mustard seeds on your tongue against the squash.

And while it may be a condiment, just like the best old fashioned “pickle” pickles, this squash dish is good enough to eat all on its own (it’s also great on top on sandwiches). It’s definitely my new favorite pickle. Do you have a favorite? What have you been pickling for the fall?

Pickled Yellow Squash

Pickled Yellow Squash

Pickled Yellow Squash, adapted from The Kitchn
Servings: 2 pints
3 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced
½ sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 small green or red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
4 garlic cloves, finely diced
¼ cup kosher salt

½ tablespoon pickling spices
1 tablespoon mustard seeds

2½ cups apple cider vinegar
¾ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground mustard

Combine squash, onions, peppers, garlic, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add a few ice cubes and enough cold water to just cover. Combine and set aside for 30 minutes.

Rinse the vegetables well and place in a colander to drain. Meanwhile heat a small saucepan over low heat and toast the pickling spices and mustard seeds. When the spices are aromatic, add the vinegar, sugar, and ground mustard and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, stirring to make sure the ingredients are dissolved, and cool for 3 to 5 minutes.

Gently pat the vegetables dry with a towel and place in canning jars or an airtight container. Pour vinegar, spices, and seeds over the mixture and use a knife to push seeds and spices down around vegetables. Cover and refrigerate for up to one month. Strain from brine before serving.

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I mentioned on Friday how I inspired I’ve been with all the new food publications popping up lately—everyday I’m finding another one. Our new South Williamsburg home has been another major source of inspiration—we’re right across the street from Marlow & Daughters which tempts me on a daily basis with fresh bread, local meats, and a whole slew of top notch products. And the pages of Diner Journal—produced by Marlow owner Andrew Tarlow—gives a peek inside the cooks and recipes of his restaurants (Marlow & Sons, Diner, Reynard).

I was immediately tempted by this kimchi recipe in the Fall 2011 issue—TH and I have been on a serious kimchi kick lately—and our lovely CSA Partners Trace has been stocking us with tons of cabbage and kale primed for this spicy, tangy, fermented dish.

Although kimchi can seem a bit intimidating, it’s not. With a few additions to your pantry—Korean chile paste, Korean chile powder, fish sauce—you can easily make a batch. The hardest part is waiting a few days, necessary to let the flavors ferment and fully marry, to eat it! And it’s a kind of empty-your-fridge recipe—although the traditional version is made with napa cabbage, you can use whatever veggies you have, including carrots, radishes, cucumber, apple, Asian pear, and as I have done, kale. Once refrigerated, the kimchi will last up to two months, so it’s a great way to preserve some if that end-of-summer produce. Kimchi is a wonderful addition chopped into salads and scrambled eggs, and I’m eager to try this quick kimchi sauce from The Cuisinerd. I’d love to hear how you like to eat kimchi!

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