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Marinated Summer Vegetables_Katherine Sacks
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Marinated Summer Vegetables

With summer in full force, it’s suddenly picnic time. TH and I love sitting in the park, relaxing with a bottle of wine and a good book, and last year we brought our little grill along several times for a full-on barbecue. This year we’ve been spending many of our weekends doing long hikes in the Brandenburg countryside, but I’m happy to take a day and just sit in the park and picnic with friends.

This hardly constitutes a recipe, but these delicious marinated vegetables are the perfect side dish to eat on a summer day. Bright, fresh, and slightly sweet, it’s a mix that’s easily eaten straight from the jar. It’s also great for a quick salad tossed with greens or stirred into pasta or a grain like quinoa or basmati rice. Grilled corn, scallions, or mushrooms can be added for variety.

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Pickled Beets_Katherine Sacks
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Pickled Eggs

The one and only time I’ve had pickled eggs, we were tucked into the back roads of Traverse City, Michigan, sitting in the most charming barn that doubled as an apple cider tasting room. We had spent the day driving from delicious place to delicious place, tasting wine, cherries, seafood, and many other culinary delights. And although I hadn’t spotted Mario Batali, who spends his summers in the area, I was certainly on a foodie high. Inside the barn, the tasting room offered a variety of ciders, and, I imagine thanks to some Amish influences, the only option for snacking was a bright jar of pickled eggs. Perhaps because of the foodie high—because at the time I was really not a fan of eggs—I decided to order a couple, which we happily ate along with our brews.

I’m not sure if it’s the very fond memories we have for the trip—which was so lovely that I recommend a visit to the area if at all possible—or if the tangy eggs really were delicious, but three years later I still remember the very specific details surrounding our tasting them. And now that I’ve made peace with eggs as a food option, I thought how lovely it would be to have the bright pink pickled eggs for our Easter lunch. We have a long overnight hike in Brandenburg planned—60 kilometers through the woods surrounding Berlin—and this will be a great snack to bring along. I’m also looking forward to turning them into a pickled egg salad for our Easter celebrations. Enjoy and Happy Easter!

Pickled Beets_Katherine Sacks

Pickled Eggs, adapted from The Kitchn
Yield: 12 halves
6 eggs
1 can pickled beets
1 cup apple cider vinegar
 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt

Gently place eggs in a medium sized pot and cover with cool water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then cover pot and remove from heat. Let sit for 10 minutes. Drain the eggs and place them in an ice water bath for several minutes to cool. Carefully remove shells from eggs, and set aside.

While the eggs are cooking, prepare the brine. In a large glass jar or bowl, combine the can of pickled beats, vinegar, sugar, peppercorns, and salt. Stir together, and then carefully add the hard-boiled eggs. Cover and let sit for at least 12 hours, or up to 3 days, depending on how strong (and pink) you want the eggs.

 

 

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Zucchini with Chili Flake

ZucchiniSaute_KatherineSacks-2

As I mentioned last week, we’ve had tons of produce this summer from the CSA, almost more than I’ve known what to do with. More than any other farm share we’ve participated in, this experience really feels like we are a vital part of the farm—in part because we are. With Wilde Gärtnerei we help regularly with the unloading and cleanup for the weekly deliveries, we’re asked to spend at least 6 days a year on the farm pitching in, and if we have the time, we can help at the weekend farmers’ markets. We also receive weekly updates and know when the farm is harvesting, dealing with problems with bees, or needs help with a last minute project. There is a strong emphasis on building a community, and it’s so much more than just picking up a weekly vegetable box.

With summers bounty fully in bloom, we’re reaping the rewards of this added commitment, including a ton of zucchini in the last few weeks. I processed several like the Sott’Olio eggplant I made a few years ago and  I also grated a few and froze the flesh, with a plan to make zucchini bread later in the season. But when I came upon this recipe in June’s Bon Appétit, I knew I’d use at least one of the zucchini for it. The wonderful crunch of the toasted almonds, combined with the spicy chili flake oil, makes for a pretty addictive side dish. It’s a good thing we have a lot of zucchini, because I’ve been craving this dish ever since we first made it a few weeks ago.

Sautéed Zucchini with Chili Flake, adapted from Bon Appétit Magazine
Servings: 4 portions
2 large zucchini, cut into matchsticks
1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
¼ cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon lemon zest
Freshly ground black pepper

Place zucchini in a colander set in a large bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon salt. Let stand 10 minutes, then squeeze well to remove as much excess moisture as possible (do not rinse).

Meanwhile, toast almonds in a large sauté pan over medium heat until lightly brown and toasted. Remove from heat and transfer to a dish to cool. Heat oil in the same pan over medium heat and add the garlic, red chili flake, and lemon zest. Cook for about two minutes, stirring often, until the spices are fragrant. Add squash and cook until the vegetables just start to go limp, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, fold in almonds, and serve.