Friday, July 20, 2007

Beans, Beans, the Magical Fruit

These Dragon's Tongue, purple and flat bean pickles were inspired by Ruth Reichl, who featured the Wynad peppercorns used in this recipe in last week's Gourmet newsletter. In Ruth's words, "everything else is just dust." This $23-a-bag spice is fragrant enough to sew into sachets and store with your unmentionables--if you're into that kind of thing.

I spent days wandering the thousand-year old spice market in Kerala last year, but never encountered these rare peppercorns.wild Balinese long peppers, which I've used instead of bay leaves (per Big Tree's rec). It's an experiment, so don't go cursing Pickle Girl come fall. Have fun with your pickles, people.

1 lb. unusual beans
1 Qt. white vinegar
1 c. water
6 Tb. kosher salt
1 clove garlic
1/2 jalapeno
1 long pepper, snapped in two
1/2 tsp. Wynad peppercorns
1/4 tsp. dill seed
1/4 tsp. black mustard seed
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

You know the drill.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

'Scape from New York

In this New York City heat, I've been dreaming of stowing away to the country on a farm truck at the Union Square Greenmarket, like some lucky little Pixar character. Instead, I spent an evening standing over a boiling canner while my husband tried to pickle me with mojitos.

Dangle these pickled garlic scapes in cocktails, chop them up in lieu of capers in salsa verde, or serve them alongside grilled meats.

1 qt. white vinegar
1 cup water
6 Tbs. kosher salt
2 bunches garlic scapes
1 tsp. mustard seed
1 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. peppercorns
1 bay leaf

1. Wash scapes and trim ends. Line up a handful of scapes and wrap around your wrist, knotting the tops through the opening. This should yield two or three knotted groups of scapes, which will help you wrangle them into a sterilized quart jar.

2. Boil vinegar, water and salt for five minutes, then keep warm.

3. Add scape bundles and spices to the jar, then pour hot liquid over to within 1/2 inch of the top. Wipe rim clean and seal with a new lid.

4. Process in a hot water canner for 10 minutes, or refrigerate for a few months. Scapes will be perfectly pickled within three weeks.