We’ve been steadily harvesting from our fire escape garden over the past month: tomatoes every week, a handful of strawberries, a big bunch of chard. It’s not exactly satiable amounts, but freshly-picked produce that we grew ourselves just tastes better than store-bought, or even what we get from the CSA.
My mom was also a DREAM mom this week and shipped us plums from California. We have a tree in our backyard there that I eat off of all summer. This is the first summer I won’t be going home, so it was so nice to get a shoebox filled with them.
Phone photo of the tree via mom (who knows how to take phone pix and text now!)
I have to say my first Spring and Summer in New York has been amazing so far. Everything is green and alive (quite unlike Southern California). Sure, this week was HOT (in the 90s with thick humidity) but then the rain came and everything sort of reset. The thunderstorm yesterday was the biggest I’d ever witnessed. I bet our tomatoes and chard on the fire escape garden loved it.
Recently, we signed up for the Bushwick Food Co-op CSA and now, each week, we get to pick up farm fresh eggs, veggies, fruit and flowers. Our first share was overflowing with strawberries so we had to put them to quick use. We ate kale and eggs on toast with fresh strawberries on the side for a couple breakfasts in a row. Leah also baked a really tasty Strawberry Rhubarb crisp to finish off the berries before they could go bad.
Dylan moved to New York with most of his stuff in old wooden crates, and while we made a bookshelf out of most of them, there was one left over. We hung onto it for 6 months, thinking we’d eventually turn it into a planter. It took Dylan leaving for a 10-day California trip for my mom and I to decide to finally plant a little garden. We headed to the Union Square Greenmarket this morning for seedlings. Clockwise from the top, strawberries, swiss chard, and eggplant.
Moses soon interfered.
I couldn’t resist buying a few types of heirloom tomatoes, even though I had already grown two tomato plants at home from seeds. There are going to be so many tomatoes now! We also picked up two more planters because the one wood crate just wouldn’t fit all of these plants. So excited to see everything grow.
This is pretty much my favorite lunch and it’s simple. We are lucky to have a great tortillaria around the corner where we pick up fresh corn tortillas. Just add pinto beans, tomato, onion, cilantro, avocado, queso fresco, Tapatio & lime. Boom. It’s not the perfect taco but it reminds me of San Diego a little bit.
Dylan got me an all-vegetable cookbook for Christmas, and I immediately gravitated toward this recipe. Making the best food in the world, pickles, out of something that usually gets thrown away? I had to try it.
The book is The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without by Molly Katzen. I love illustrated books and I love vegetables, so this was pretty much the perfect gift. There’s a pretty painted cluster of veggies on the cover, and black and white drawings throughout.
Here’s the recipe. You need at least 4 good broccoli stems, a tablespoon of light-colored honey, 1/2 cup of hot water, and 1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar.
This is how much I used, which ended up being just a tad too much to fill a medium-sized jar. Trim and peel the stems, and then cut them into smaller piece.
The recipe said to cut 1/8″ thick, matchstick sized pieces, but I didn’t want to make them that small. I want my pickled broccoli like I want my pickled cucumbers. After they’re cut up, place in boiling water and lower heat to a simmer for 1-2 minutes. This’ll soften them just a bit. Drain in cold water.
This is what you need for the brine. Place the tablespoon of honey into a big bowl and add the hot water. Dissolve the honey into the water and then add the rice vinegar. Mix in the broccoli stalks and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before transferring into the jar and refrigerating.
That’s it! We added some garlic and red pepper flakes at the last minute because you can’t really go wrong there. Since I cut thicker slices, the pickling will take longer than the recipe calls for (minimum of 4 hrs). After a few days these should be ready to eat.
If there was a big annual pickle festival, Leah and I would be there every year (OH WAIT – there is). While McClure’s has better label design, Brooklyn Brine Co. is definitely our favorite right now. We bought each other some really tasty, spicy, tangy treats for Christmas – I mean damn, have you seen Sriracha bitters before?! This stuff will last maybe a month, not even.