Saturday, August 1, 2020

Spicy Pickled Okra


No matter what you've always thought about okra being slimy, pickled okra is not. Spicy Pickled Okra using the freshest okra you can find is crisp and tender and does not get mushy.


I'm very fortunate the Bradford Heirloom Okra is grown local to me. The pods are larger than most okra varieties, and always harvested and sold while super-fresh, either the day it's harvested or the very next day.

A few years ago a small group of us visited Nat Bradford on their farm and learned all about the families heirloom products, which includes the okra, but also the Bradford Watermelon, African Runner Peanuts, Hanson Lettuce, Bradford Collards and more. For more about the farm, please visit Bradford Watermelon Company


Growing up in New England okra never touched my lips until we lived in the south, and my first experience with it was less than favorable. Okra to me was slimy and the only way I could eat it was fried.

Visiting the Bradford's quickly changed my mind when I tasted their okra raw in the field. It was so tender and crispy. Did you know okra is related to the orchid family? Isn't the flower beautiful?


You can use any fresh okra you have in this recipe, but always make sure it's fresh and buy it from your local farm or farmers market. Pickling it fresh is what keeps the okra from getting slimy and mushy. If you don't want to pickle the pods whole, they are also delicious cut into okra chips.


Pickled Okra is wonderful on a cheeseboard, as an addition to a relish tray, a snack anytime, or try breading them and frying for a crispy, spicy treat.

RECIPE
Ingredients
2 1/2 pounds okra pods 
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
2 tablespoons pickling salt
1 teaspoon dill seed
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 jalapeno pepper sliced into rings (optional) 

Method
Wash the okra pods and trim away the stem ends (for chips cut 1/4-inch thick slices). Combine vinegar, water, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.

Place the dill seed, red chili flake, mustard seeds, and peppercorns in each of the four jars. Add 2 slices jalapeno peppers to each jar.

Pack the okra tightly into the jars over the spices, alternating them stem side up and down to fit more snugly if necessary.  

Pour the brine over the okra, leaving 1/2-inch head-space. Gently tap the jars on the counter to loosen any trapped air bubbles. Run a plastic knife around the inside of the jars to get rid of any stubborn air bubbles, if necessary.

Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath or steam canner for 10 minutes.

Once processed, remove jars from the canner and allow to sit on a kitchen towel on your counter-top undisturbed for 24 hours. Jars are sealed when the button on top of the lid is fully depressed and won't flex up and down.

Store sealed jars in your pantry up to one year. Spicy Okra Pickles are best if allowed to sit for 2 weeks before opening a jar to allow the flavors to develop. Open jars must be refrigerated.

Enjoy,
Mary

© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 



Saturday, July 18, 2020

Jalapeno Pickle Relish


A short time ago my son mentioned this Jalapeno Relish they'd been buying, and how much they really liked it. He sent me a photo of the front and back of the jar so I could see it and, more or less, see the ingredients (they never tell you everything).


A later conversation with my daughter, who had also talked to her brother about the relish, resulted in us deciding this relish was basically like any pickle relish, only with jalapeno peppers instead of cucumbers. Luckily I just happened to have a sweet pickle relish recipe we all enjoyed, and so began the experiment with this Jalapeno Pickle Relish. 

What do you need to make Jalapeno Pickle Relish?
  • 20 medium Jalapeno peppers
  • 1 medium white onion
  • White vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Celery seed
  • Mustard seed
  • Salt
  • Turmeric
  • Non-reactive bowl (stainless steel or glass)
  • Measuring cup
  • Mesh strainer
  • Water bath or steam canner
  • Half-pint canning jars
This Jalapeno Pickle Relish is the perfect blend of sweet and heat; not too hot with just the right touch of sweetness. 

How to use it?
  • Top it on burgers, brats or hot dogs
  • Mix it up with some stewed tomatoes for a savory side dish
  • Add it to a pot roast for an extra punch of flavor
  • Mix it in egg salad, potato salad or chicken salad
  • Mix it in mayo for a twist on tartar sauce



RECIPE
Ingredients
20 medium jalapeno peppers
1 medium onion
Brine: 
1 cup vinegar
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp mustard seed
1/2 tsp turmeric

Method
Cut stem end from jalapeno peppers and pulse until finely minced in your food processor. Repeat with the medium onion, pulsing until finely minced. Add both to a non-reactive bowl such as a stainless steel or glass bowl.

Mix the brine in a small saucepan or 2 cup measuring cup and heat or microwave until sugar is dissolved.

Pour brine over pepper and onion mixture, cover with plastic wrap and let sit 1-2 hours.

Pour mixture with brine into a mesh strainer placed over a bowl to catch the brine. Spoon relish into half-pint canning jars leaving 1/2-inch head-space and top with brine. Run a knife around the inside of each jar to remove air bubbles and add more brine if necessary. 

Top jars with lids and rings and process in water bath or steam canner 10 minutes. Remove jars, and let sit undisturbed for 24 hours on your counter-top. Jars are sealed when button on lid is fully depressed and won't flex up and down.

Store sealed jars in your pantry up to one year, open jars need to be refrigerated.

Cook's note - recipe is easily doubled

Yield: approx. 2 half-pint jars

Enjoy,
Mary

© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 


Monday, May 18, 2020

Strawberry Crisp





Every spring and early summer we look forward to juicy, fresh strawberries from a local farm. We buy them by the gallon and always flash freeze some for use over the year.


Recently after a short visit with my daughters, they left a large container of strawberries they purchased at a roadside stand with me. The berries were fresh, but several days old, so I was in a hurry to make something with them. Since we'd already had so many other strawberry "things" I decided to make a crisp.


What will you need to make Strawberry Crisp?
5 heaping cups fresh strawberries
granulated sugar
brown sugar
vanilla extract
3 tbsp cornstarch
rolled oats
flour
salt
cinnamon
butter or vegetable oil

Combine the strawberries, sugar, vanilla and cornstarch; stir until all the berries are well coated and pour into prepared baking dish. 

In a separate bowl combine the flour, oats, white and brown sugars, salt, and cinnamon. Stir well to combine then pour on melted butter or vegetable oil and stir well, until topping is crumbly. Spread evenly over strawberry filling.


RECIPE
Ingredients
Filling:
5 heaping cups fresh strawberries,hulled and quartered
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp cornstarch
Topping:
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted (or you can use vegetable oil)

Method
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 or 10-inch deep dish pie plate or 9 x 9-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray and set aside.

Combine the chopped strawberries and sugar in a large bowl and mix until the strawberries fully absorb the sugar. Add in the cornstarch and vanilla extract and stir until all of the strawberries are evenly coated. Pour into the prepared baking dish.

In a separate medium size bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Pour in the melted butter and stir well until well coated and crumbly. Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the top of the strawberries.

Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until fruit is bubbly and topping is golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top. 

Enjoy,
Mary

© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.