Pickled Blueberries — a tart treat for summer salads

Pickled Blueberries w/ Summer Greens

Pickled Blueberries w/ Summer Greens

My husband and I took a trip to Tacoma recently to visit my family. We didn’t have much in mind in terms of plans, so when it turned out my aunt wasn’t feeling well, we happily took over dinner duty. My husband, who can never do anything halfway, took our meal to a whole new level of delicious.

We started with the several pounds of beef ribs that my aunt had planned on making and added to them: a huge pan of mac and cheese, green beans with crispy bacon, roasted new potatoes and (to add some semblance of health) a green salad.

To make the salad as interesting as its accompaniments, we jazzed it up with plenty of fresh herbs (parsley, chives, tarragon) and a lemon cucumber from my grandma’s garden. Deciding it still lacked some zing, we raided the last of the blueberries from one of her bushes and quick pickled them.

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The “recipe” is simple — combine water, red wine vinegar and sugar using the basic ratio of 3:2:1, heating until the sugar has dissolved. Cool slightly and pour over berries. Add a few springs of thyme, a bay leaf and a clove. Let sit for an hour or longer.

Once you drain the liquid, you can use it to make a vinaigrette for the salad. We started with a portion of the liquid and added minced garlic, a pinch of finely chopped fresh thyme and EVO. I only wish we had had some pecorino or Parmesan cheese but I can say it was still a mighty tasty salad.

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I’d call this a successful last-minute meal! (*Not pictured was dessert: my favorite summer standby, mixed berry spoonbread, with fresh whipped cream. Yum!)

So good!

So good!

A new pickle will perk up old summer favorites

Pork Tacos w. Pickled Corn

Pork Tacos w. Pickled Corn

These three things are not much of a surprise to anyone who knows me: I love corn, pickled anything (except herring) and culinary magazines. So when I came across a recipe for pickled corn in the latest issue of Bon Appetit, I waited…oh, like two hours before making it.

Seriously. Two hours, no lie. The magazine arrived that afternoon, I leafed through it while basking in the sun and then it was time to start cooking.

My husband and I had decided to make tacos for dinner and I had two beautiful fresh ears of corn that I wanted to use up. I almost just shucked them and added them to the pot of beans but then I gave in and made this instead. It seemed too serendipitous to resist the temptation.

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Adventures in Fried Chicken: Recreating the Cover

Bon Appetit's Fried Chicken Sandwich

I’ve done a lot of experimenting in the kitchen over the years — making everything from foie gras torchons to my favorite dim sum treats. But one thing I have always stayed away from attempting is fried chicken. It just seems like one of those things best left to the professionals — Southern grandmas, fast food joints and Thomas Keller. Plus there are plenty of places in Portland that make it easy to just go out for fried chicken when the craving hits — I’m looking at you, Country Cat.

But when reading the April issue of Bon Appetit, I was seduced by the cover recipe: a mile-high, slightly sloppy fried chicken sandwich. Conveniently enough my friend DB and I had plan to cook together but didn’t have a menu in mind. I sent him the link to the recipe and he was sold.

We started out making the spicy sauce (Hellman brand mayo mixed with shaved garlic and hot sauce, easy enough) and the cole slaw. The slaw recipe made us hesitate for a second — pickle juice used as a dressing? But we went for it…and oh man, I am so glad we did (more on that later!).

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