Friday, July 18, 2014

Week Five - Catching Up!

It’s been a busy couple weekends – our usual 4th of July celebrations got rained out, which was a bummer since the rest of the weekend was beautiful! Last weekend I was in Knoxville, TN with my family – what a drive! We passed a Wal-Mart distribution center that was at least a mile long (below), drove the long way through Virginia, and at really good food in downtown Market Square (think Faneuil Hall/Quincy market area without the market buildings in the center).
Allll those trucks are Wal-Mart branded.
This is about the longest direct route you can take through Virginia.
I-81 all the way, through the beautiful Appalachians.

We had a good harvest last week – Matt & Aly dropped off cucumbers, golden beets (you know what that means – cupcakes! Yay!), summer squash, and green and gold zucchini for us. I made some yummy fridge pickles – I can’t wait for my dill to get a little bigger so I can use it for extra flavor. I may also try spears, too. They take a little longer but I'm sure they're worth it!
Mmmm pickles
Easy Fridge Pickles
inspired by Smitten Kitchen
As I was re-reading the ingredients to list here, I noticed that I had accidentally doubled the vinegar and halved the cucumbers. I don't know if I mind, but that would explain how incredibly pickly and spicy they turned out... Her recipe uses 8-10 Kirby cukes and 1/2 cup of vinegar. My version is below.

4 small to medium cucumbers, washed and sliced thin (she recommends Kirby or pickling cucumbers)
1 cup white vinegar 
5 teaspoons salt (coarse, pickling, or kosher)
Optional tasty things:
  1 to 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  1 or 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
  1/2 teaspoon or so red pepper flakes
  freshly ground black pepper

Slice up the cucumbers super thin with a mandoline if you have one, or carefully on a cutting board. Put them in a large bowl with a leakproof lid, then add the salt, vinegar, and your choice of optional tasty additions. Close the lid and shake everything up. Chill in the fridge, shaking occasionally, until ready to eat (wait at least an hour - they'll supposedly last 3 weeks).
The fun part about using a mandoline is that the slices just stack up all on their own!

I roasted up the summer squash to have alongside some chicken. I did a quick marinade with olive oil, garlic, and salt & pepper, tossed the chicken and then the squash in that, and cooked everything at 400* for about 20 minutes. Delish! (Tip: preheat the baking sheet in the oven while you prep everything!)

And a quick garden update: We have pumpkins! No pictures yet, but there are at least three that are fist-sized or bigger and growing every day. The vines are reaching out to the radishes and broccoli, and will probably be at the driveway soon. My radishes went a little wild when I was gone, so I'm not sure if any are now too big to be tasty - some of them have flowered, so I need to clear those out and give everything else some space to breathe.

Another update soon!

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