Bay Area Bites has a super-sweet recipe for pickled jalapeños, which are vegan by default and also one of the world’s greatest foods. Not just sour, not just salty, but vegetal and SPICY, it is truly wonderful.
Don’t want to bother with canning? You can do this in the fridge! Refrigerator-pickled produce is a simple and easy way of preserving food you have no intention of letting sit around longer than a week, because it is too delicious to wait for.
It’s summer, let’s preserve some produce! »
You guys know how I’m all enamored of DIY and bartering with your neighbors and making your neighborhood your actual community? I know, I’m so on trend right now! The latest cookbook to cater to our 21st century homesteading obsessions is Marisa McClellan’s Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, and I want it SO BAD.
Bay Area Bites has an interview with McClellan that features her recipes for apricot jam and pickled okra, as well as dates when she’ll be signing books and holding canning classes in the Bay Area. She sounds appealingly pragmatic, and I really wish I could attend one of these events. Maybe you can? I’m totally making refrigerator pickles this weekend. They don’t sound any more complicated that cold-brewed coffee, which I drink constantly now that it’s warm in the suburbs. And with all the extra storage room (closets! garages! attics!) there’s no reason not to put up a bunch of delicious summer produce for savoring during the leaner months. Not that it’s ever lean in California, but we do have growing seasons.
What do you think? Are you creating your own Little Apartment on the Prairie? Or is all this for us deluded, un(der)employed suckers? Who even has the time to make jam out of everything except people who don’t have jobs? I have some time for it, but that’s because the only other thing I do is work, and I don’t have kids or fun to take up my time. Just a new kitchen project every weekend. And canning seems practical! Think of all the homespun sack-garments I’ll be able to trade for my strawberry jam and spicy bread-and-butter pickles!
[photo by Jessica via Flickr]
Lord knows I hate a pear. Not as much as I hate grapes in their un-juiced forms, but I really, really hate pears. They’re so mealy and cloyingly sweet, and if they’re not crunching raw, they’re bruised to mush. Ugh.
But it’s pear season, and they’re all over the place, so what do you do when they appear (zing), as they inevitably do, in your kitchen? You can make pear preserves, like the adorable and earnest Patti Moreno the Garden Girl teaches you how to make here in this video. To veganize the recipe, replace the honey with agave or simple syrup, and voilà. It seems an easy way to make something tasty out of all those icky fruits weighing down your CSA boxes and grocery bags.
Really, jars are the solution to any item of produce you otherwise hate: pickle the vegetables, preserve the fruits. Then if nothing else you can make sandwiches and bloody marys.
men people(!), by Julie Zielinski of d.i. wine and dine! They only have eight ingredients and are pretty adorable, right? I bet you could give them eyes and maybe some buttons with coconut shavings or bits of dried fruit really easily, if you were looking for maximum little-kid-appeal. Because little kids are the only ones who appreciate a gingerbread person with features. Ahem.
Here’s the recipe! You’ll most likely want to replace the honey with agave, or maybe a combination of agave and molasses to replicate honey’s binding powers.
You guys, I think D.I. Wine and Dine might be written by geniuses. Vegetarian geniuses, but these recipes seem easily veganizable. I mean, look at this recipe for pickle soup. PICKLE SOUP. Oh my god imagine it with those big juicy salty pickles that Sabra gives you. OK brilliant idea: Let’s have a Cuisine of the Communist Bloc party, and we’ll eat pickle soup and sauerkraut and Krautroulade and goulash and vodka and Slivovitz. Yes? Yes. Let’s DO THIS.
[photo by di.wineanddine]
Review: Rosamunde Sausage Grill! »
Rosamunde is a shitbox hole-in-the-wall where you can order all kinds of gross-ass dead animal sausages and a couple vegan sausages. I believe they use Tofurky brand. The sauerkraut is first-rate and the grilled onions are delicious too. Basically everything you ever wanted to put on a sausage and the buns are terrific! And I’m not talking about the crazy German lady who works there! Or if I am, I’m also talking about the actual sausage buns too! The pickles are NYC Jewish deli-style too, definitely worth the buck. Other than that, you can’t really eat in but you can take your sausage to one of the 54 bars nearby and enjoy it with some beer. Sausage and beer, people love that, right? I think that’s how it goes, fuck if I know, I’ve checked out of relating to the human race like three years ago.
A final note: Whenever I come in here, I feel like recreating the breakdown scene from Half Baked* but with sausage. First I would point to the dead chicken sausage and say, “Fuck you!” and then I would point to the dead lamb sausage and say, “Fuck you!” and then I would point to the vegan sausage and say, “You’re cool!” and then, “I’m out!” Actually, I would prolly say, “I’m out, bitches!” but that wouldn’t be staying true to the film. And if I’m anything, it’s accurate. And very good-looking.
*This is a really great movie, by the way. It was written by Dave Chappelle, directed by Tamra Davis (WHO ALSO DIRECTED THE PEERLESS BILLY MADISON and is married to Beastie Boy Mike D!) and has a cameo by Tommy Chong as the Squirrel Master. Have I piqued your interest?
[photo via yelp]
Review: Sabra Grill! »
You climb a narrow staircase to get in here, and the noise from Chinatown/FiDi/Union Square fades away. The walls are covered with Jewish and/or Israeli art/photography/iconography (the Dalí print is a highlight). The owner is a big, friendly, intimidating man. The last time I was there, the waiter’s yarmulke had Mario (as in, one of the Super Nintendo Brothers) embroidered on it.
Important note: They close two hours before sundown on Fridays for the sabbath, and they close for Jewish holidays, too. I recommend checking an online calendar before getting your hopes all up for the food. I have made this mistake, and it’s crushing.
I have eaten there about 10 times now, at first during my painful FiDi lunchbreaks, and most recently with my cousin who had never had falafel before. Sabra probably ruined him, as it is doubtful he will ever find such divine little falafels outside of the Holy Land. The service is not the fastest, but everyone is so polite, and I think the prices are quite reasonable. One of my omnivorous friends got the lamb sandwich, and sang its praises to the heavens.
The lamb, friends, is not what I am here to tell you about.
THIS IS THE BEST FALAFEL I HAVE EVER EATEN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. It has ruined me for all other falafels, and I have eaten a lot of balls of fried chickpeas in my life. I had NO IDEA that falafel could be so fucking moist and crispy and delicate and goddamn, just thinking about it has started me salivating like Pavlov’s dog, the falafel is just so fantastic. Not kidding.
But! I completely forgot about my other favorite part of Sabra: the pickles. I am barely a pickle person; sometimes I can choke down a few bites of a sweet pickle, and I generally have no problem with relish in and on the many things you can put it. Real pickley pickles, though, much like raw cherry tomatoes and soft grapes, make me absolutely gag. Biting into one of those things is one of my worst food experiences ever. This is why I like sweet; they’re teeny, unintimidating, pleasant every once in awhile. What Milka is to Lindt 70 percent, so is the sweet pickle to the dill.
Sabra’s pickles are no wussy-baby sweet pickles: they are thick slices of juicy, salty dill pickles that they give you on a plate before bringing you your precious falafel. And I love them. I could, and once almost did, eat myself sick on them. It’s hard to share them. Just these lovely pickle slices in front of you, calling your name. Sabra changed my life, or at the very least, changed my palate.
If you are visiting the city, it is just inside the famous Chinatown gates on Grant Avenue, and after an hour (read: more than one minute) wandering around that neighborhood, an hour of quiet upstairs at Sabra with the city’s best falafel is exactly the remedy for your case of exhaustion/overstimulation. Tip: If you only want a falafel-in-a-pita lunch, order the falafel sandwich. It is not on the big menu, but sometimes they forget to give you the small sandwich menu, so be sure to ask for it.
[external photo by Brett L.]