Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Squash and Pickles

This weekend I had to do some garden clean up. The cucumber and squash vines were dying back pretty severely and several leaves had powdery mildew. So, I harvested all remaining fruits on those vines. Above, you can see the cucumbers. The white one is perfectly solid and good to eat; it just didn't turn green because it was growing so deep inside the vine, it never got any sunlight.

I was pretty happy with my delicata squash harvest. I like delicata, as I like pretty much all vegetables, but it's not my favorite winter squash. I grew it because I thought it had a better chance of ripening in the shorter growing season of the Pacific Northwest than say, a typically larger squash, like butternut. But now, I think that's immaterial...these delicata were set and ripening all the way back in July. They could have grown a lot bigger; they just didn't for some reason, maybe the variety (they were a bushing variety). Next year, I'll try a different kind of winter squash.

green pumpkin to ripen indoors (hopefully)
And then of course, there was my brave volunteer pumpkin vine, from which I already harvested quite a large specimen a while back. I had to cut this guy off the vine and am trying to ripen him in my sun room...we'll see how that goes.

crock pickle fixins
I decided to try some crock pickles with the fat cucumbers from my garden. I remember going to a German deli with my mom when I was kid and being fascinated by a large barrel of enormous pickles floating in an eerie brine. I always had to have one, and my mom would always oblige. I assume these pickles that I remember were crock pickles, soured in a salt brine.

I followed this recipe on Planted at Home blog. I just had to try a recipe from a lady who also likes to devour peanut butter and dill pickle sandwiches! The likes of which, I think I took for lunch every single day of my grade school career.

cucumbers in jars, along with dill weed, garlic, and hot peppers

Here they are in the brine; they should be fully sour in 3 weeks (fingers crossed) :

And then, with some pickling cucumbers from the farmers' market, I made a small batch of bread and butter pickles. Again, a childhood favorite. By the way, have I mentioned that I like pickles?


  1. Rose,

    I can't wait to hear how your crock pickles turn out. This is something I haven't tried yet, but I love them.

    Peanut butter and dill pickle sandwiches! How did you think of this? I love both peanut butter and dill pickles, but have never had them together. As soon as I get some dill pickles I will let you know what I think of the combination.


  2. I'm excited about the crock pickles too, but I don't want to get my hopes up too high...they haven't started clouding up yet like they're supposed to.

    Anyway, my mom used to make peanut butter and dill pickle sandwiches for us when we were kids, so I grew up eating them. She also used to make peanut butter and lettuce sandwiches, which were good too. People think it's odd, but then when they try it, they are surprised to find they like it.

    That's why I was excited when I read the Planted at Home blog and found someone else who loved this combo.

    I've read that peanut butter isn't very good for you if it's made with roasted nuts, because as with most nuts, they become rancid when roasted...but I do like a little peanut butter once in while... do let me know what you think when you get a chance to try it.

  3. wow. The picles look awesome.

  4. Rose,

    Peanut butter and lettuce, another interesting combo. Thanks for sharing its on my list. Was you mom a vegetarian when you were growing up? I was the outlier in my family, especially in the midwest.

    I had not read that about roasted peanuts, but will definitely keep it in mind when reading nutritional info. It is easy to make peanut butter I have a recipe on the blog. Also, the peanut skins are high in antioxidants so I include those when I make peanut butter now.


  5. Mom wasn't vegetarian, but I would not eat any kind of meat in my lunches, so my mom always gave me some variation of either a cheese or peanut butter sandwich.

    I think if you make your own fresh peanut butter, it's probably not going to be rancid... I read about that from Raymond Francis (Never Be Sick Again) he provides a lot of excellent info that I trust, but he is a total purist when it comes to nutrition....for him peanut butter is a no-no. However, I think he is considering the fact that most people don't make their own peanut butter, and that most of the store-bought stuff is probably highly processed and hence not very good for you.

    Anyway, Happy Anniversary again. :)

  6. Rose,

    Wow, your mom was very creative especially considering she wasn't a vegetarian. You were very lucky. My mom still can't boil water.

    I have got to read that book. Now I am annoyed I didn't pick it up today before class.

    We are such an old married couple. As soon as we got back from cooking class I turned on the new episode of "Top Chef" and Dan went to his home office to do a little work. Thanks again for the anniversary wishes.


  7. Sounds great, John and I are real homebodies too, and enjoy quiet evenings. I'm following Top Chef too, but only through this realityTV.org web site, so I don't know whether it's the same season that's on TV at the moment.

  8. Top Chef Las Vegas is on now. Is that the same one you are watching?

    They are cooking fresh cactus tonight. I may have to buy some now and play with it since I haven't cooked with catcus before. It looks interesting, especially the ceviche. We love ceviche so it would be great have it again.

  9. Yes, that's the one I'm watching...I don't think it will get posted until tomorrow...I'll be watching it over the weekend. Even though it's all very meat/seafood based, it's still so fun to watch chefs and gleen little snippets of professional insight.

  10. And...re: Top Chef, I'm sure your brain is going full speed on "how could I veganize this?" you'd be a match for them ;)

  11. Rose,

    I absolutely agree with you about watching chefs work and seeing how they think and the things they combine. We have a chef friend and I have learned so much eating his food. The things he combines sometimes blow my mind. There really is nothing like a meal prepared by a classically trained chef with imagination.

    When we were eating meat we used to go to Washington DC to have dinner at MiniBar at Cafe Atlantico. That man is a genius with his deconstructed dishes, air, foams and pearls. Talk about unbelievable. I still get inspiration from meals we have had there. His menus are posted online if you want to take a look. The chef is the genius.


  12. I checked out the mini bar site; the descriptions are very intriguing, makes me wonder what it all looks like...I'll have to leave it to my imagination.

  13. Rose,

    Each item at the minibar is one or two bites. They like to serve things on sticks, in shot glasses and on Asian soup spoons.

    Our favorite item at the minibar was a warm white chocolate mousse with cold hazelnut and chocolate gelato in the center with crispy chocolate macaroons crumbles on top. The counterpoint of warm with cold and soft and crispy was amazing.

    I got interested in the lecithin air after eating there so many times. I make different flavors airs at home periodically (sometimes the texture is better than other times). As soon as I can make it predictably I will put the recipe on the blog. It looks like a dollop of fine bubbles but with flavor.

    I need to get back into the kitchen for a few minutes. I am making balsamic glazed onions tonight as part of dinner.


  14. Hi Rose,

    Just wondering if the pumpkin is beginning to ripen inside.

    hope you aren't too swamped this weekend,

  15. Hi Alicia,

    The pumpkin is ripening; it's almost completely ripe. I'll post a picture with my next post. I decided to take the plunge and do VeganMoFo, so I'll be posting a lot more (hopefully).

    I've had to do a project for work over the weekend (Yuck), but I'm hoping that things will settle down next week; I've got mid-term exams that I have to study for.

    Hope you're having a good weekend!


  16. Rose,

    Congratulations on the pumpkin. I was wondering how that would work.

    Wow, aren't you the overachiever. VeganMoFo with everything else you have going on. You are a better woman than I no doubt about it. I am looking forward to reading your posts next month.

    Good luck on your mid-terms but somehow I don't think you will need it.



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