Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Watermelon Pickles:: Roasted Greens and Hash Browns :: Stone Fruit Custard Pie

Yes, it's been quiet here on BaltimoreDIY. Lots of personal projects lately, and I hope to post soon about last week's Walmart zoning hearing and the urban gardening as hipster culture debate.

But since I've been gone for a few days, I'd like to jump back in with a fun post about what I've been doing to use up all this summer produce. Stay tuned for some more heavyweight topics soon.

For now, I hope this menu inspires you to grab some friends, crack open a beer, turn on the radio, and get chopping!

Your knife will be busy, but in the end the food is worth it. Yum.

Since Chicken Man and I have way more produce than two human beings can possible consume in a reasonable amount of time, I spend most of Saturday and the last two evenings canning, canning, canning.

It's awesome that all the produce that comes in each week somehow manages to be everything I need for a particular recipe. And this week it was salsa! Onions, tomatoes (red and yellow), anaheim peppers, cucumbers and tomatillos all came in the One Straw Farm CSA this week.

The recipe was from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

There are two jars of pickled watermelon in the background. I made pickled watermelon rind last year and it was a big hit. The secret is modifying the spice mixture and sugar amount to create a more sour, sweet, and spicy pickle instead of the usual syrupy cinnamon flavor. (Hint: use ginger!)

As long as you have the same amount of acid in your recipe, you are generally free to modify your canning recipes. My math teacher would be happy that sometimes I have to figure out the ratios in the different Ball recipes to make my own!

This year I tried an experiment and pickled some actual chunks of watermelon as well. There was a recipe for pickled canteloupe in the Ball book so I figured it was worth a try. We'll see if it turns out.

Once I made a dent in the produce with canning, it was time to cook up food to actually eat. By shredding and roasting both kale and potatoes we managed to shrink down the flood of produce into something somewhat manageable (and delicious.)

No idea what to do with that celery root?

We shredded it along with the potato, tossed it with oil, and threw it in the oven at 375. Do the same thing with chopped kale in another pan and cook it at the same time as the shredded root vegetables. Fit for a picnic!

The shredded potato mix taste just like a latke or hash browns but are way easier because you don't have to stand over a greasy skillet. (Special thanks to my brother for the recipe idea!)The best part was that it stayed crispy after sitting in the fridge overnight, and was a delicious breakfast as well.

I wanted something to cut through the more oily foods and had a nice dollop of saurkraut on the side.

And what to do with the bags of plums and peaches turning to mush in the fridge because we can't eat them fast enough?

Stone fruit custard pies!

The recipe came from Lucie Snodgrass' book Dishing Up Maryland.

I'm not usually a baker (the pie crust were a total storebought cheat!) but these pies were crazy easy. Somewhere in my head I knew that custard is just a mix of cream and eggs, but for some reason I thought it would be more complicated to make.

And they look lovely! The fruit, eggs, and cream all came from Mill Valley.

The summer produce meal:

What are some of your favorite ways to use up all of this summer bounty?


mscharmschic said...

All the food looks amazingly good! Happy to see you are back to blogging.

bukra! said...

I love this post.

************* said...

Thank you for your comments! I've been feeling pretty burned out lately and it helps to know people are reading and enjoying :)

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