Baton Rouge hasn’t had the easiest 2016. The Alton Sterling shooting, followed by the shooting of three law enforcement officers, followed by an epic flood. The somber mood has made us cleave to what really matters – friends and family. Weekends have many of us huddled up watching football (another letdown lately if you’re an LSU fan) stuffing our faces with gameday eats. That part isn’t so bad.
If you have an abundance of summer produce, but the thought of traditional canning sounds daunting, this recipe is the answer. Quick pickles are an easy and flavorful use of a variety of seasonal vegetables, but they work especially well with items that are in full swing right now: cucumbers, squash and zucchini. Throw in sliced onion and peeled garlic cloves for extra flavor and hot peppers for added punch.
The method couldn’t be easier. You’re simply creating a straightforward brine with vinegar, water, sugar and salt on the stovetop, turning off the heat and adding thinly sliced vegetables. Transfer everything into an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of hours and you’ve got an incredible bread-and-butter pickle that will enhance a range of dishes.
I’ve just updated this post to include a veggie version of these easy and delicious muffin tin eggs. This is a great way to use fresh produce before it goes bad. Enjoy!
The local butter lettuce in my fridge was calling out for larb, the simple, adaptable Thai salad generally made from minced pork or chicken cooked in broth with the addition of fish sauce, lime juice and other spices. Served at room temperature and tucked in lettuce or cabbage, larb (or more properly, larp or lahp) is sublimely citrusy, gently spicy and full of pleasing crunch.
It’s also really easy to make. Here’s how:
I know you’ve heard this before, but the nice thing about buying local it that takes minimal effort to make fresh ingredients taste great. That’s exactly the kind of stripped-down cooking I’m about these days as I try to simply keep my head above water (like everybody).
Last Saturday, (our three kids shockingly free from morning activities) John and I snuck out and dropped by our local Red Stick Farmers Market in downtown Baton Rouge to do some shopping. We were having friends over that night, and I wanted to put together an easy appetizer and a tray of roasted vegetables.
This time of year in south Louisiana, we start to hit that fun period at the market where we can find both cooler temperature crops, like carrots, Brussels sprouts, beets and asparagus, as well as warmer crops like peppers and cucumbers. Gotta love a year round growing season! I bought a big variety of veggies, along with honey from two vendors for morning smoothies, and herbed goat cheese and a whole wheat half baguette for a quick hors d’oeuvre that evening.
The veggies were, as usual, gorgeous and inspiring! I know, food nerd. But still….
My friend Elena once set a clear and simple personal goal: eat a salad everyday. The resolution was straightforward and easy to measure, exactly as a doable goal should be. Elena’s idea was that by committing to a daily dose of green, she was assured of a healthy injection — no matter what the rest of the day brought.
I love salads – and I love this idea. It checks so many boxes. Salads are affordable and generally good for you. You can change them up daily, creating something substantial and rich in protein, or something light and refreshing. They’re seasonal, portable and naturally stress-reducing. All that crunching takes your mind off life’s realities.
This week, I’ve got three comforting and filling salads that will start your new year off right. Enjoy.