Zucchini Relish

Confession: I am not a member of the clean-fridge club this week (see my last post for details on why). It's frustrating, since I'm very goal-oriented, and frankly, not reaching my goal of using all my vegetables makes me feel like I failed. However, one of the many lessons I've learned in my very lengthy 28 years on the planet is that I get to learn from my mistakes, and I should really be grateful for screwing up (for more ways I've screwed up lately, see my broccoli rabe and turnip vs radish posts).

It's natural to not reach all of the goals you set for yourself, right? It's all part of life's process....

I am so Zen.

Not really. But it's okay.

I thought that in addition to sharing a recipe in this week 4 wrap-up post, I would also jot down a few things that I'd have done differently. I plan on referring back to this list often, so that I can continue to strive for living my normal do-everything-as-planned-and-do-it-perfectly lifestyle.

"Week 4 Should-a Would-a Reminder List"
1. You don't have to eat/make recipes with all of your veggies each week. It's okay if there are some things left in the fridge.
2. Look ahead at the beginning of the week and try to anticipate which veggies will last the longest, and use those with the shortest life span first.
3. Invite people over to my house more often and have pizza parties, because this is REALLY how to get rid of all your veggies.

For example...If I cannot eat all veggies received from the CSA/garden, I can store most vegetables by blanching and freezing. I did manage to freeze some of my broccoli and cauliflower. I plan on using these vegetables in, perhaps, a pasta primavera, when tomatoes and other vegetables are in season, or, in a creamy broccoli-cauliflower soup when it starts getting chillier.

I should eat more salads. Or add some mesclun mix into scrambled eggs. And, if I don't get to eat the hardier greens, such as kale, tatsoi, chard, collards and mustard greens, I should quickly steam or blanch them, squeeze out the moisture, and freeze them for later use. Or, make a quiche or frittata with mesclun mix. Or lasagna with the chard. Can you make veggie ice cream? Just kidding. I've heard about making lettuce soup, but this sounds gross. Can anyone vouch for lettuce soup? If so, please send a recipe.

And finally, invite friends over more often. We tend to only hang out with one couple on a regular basis. Unfortunately, we split the CSA share together, which means each couple's always trying to invite the other couple over to eat greens. Note to self: get some more friends.

And now, for a recipe that I DID manage to try out this week...

Recipe: Zucchini Relish
from by Linda Ziedrich

I made this relish last night, after surveying my refridgerator contents. I had peppers and onions left over from the baby shower we threw this weekend, and I still had a ton of summer squash and zucchini. I've always got onions and the spices listed below, so I was in business. I tried the relish this afternoon, and it's got a very tasty, crispy, mouth-puckery, bread-and-buttery flavor. Plus it's really colorful and looks wonderful in the canning jars. I plan on using this as a hostess gift, and serving it as part of a Cuban sandwich.

The original recipe says that it makes about 3 1/2 pints, but I only managed to fill 2 1/2 pints. If you've never tried canning at home, I suggest researching proper canning techniques via the web, and/or by purchasing a canning book.

You'll need:
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped summer squash and/or zucchini
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped onions
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped bell peppers
  • 1 1/2 tbsp pickling salt
  • (you can use coarse kosher salt at a 1:1 ratio)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp each of celery seeda AND yellow mustard seeds
  • 7 thin fresh ginger slices
  • 1 cinnamon stick for each 1/2 pint jar

Mix vegetables together in a large bowl. Toss with salt, and cover vegetables with cold water. Let sit 2 hours at room temperature.

Dump vegetables into a strainer. Rinse with cold water and drain.

Fill your canning pot with water and heat to bring to a boil.

Add one cinnamon stick and one slice of ginger to each jar and set aside.

In a non-reactive pot combine sugar, vinegar, mustard seeds and celery seeds, and bring to a boil, stirring mixture to dissolve sugar. Add vegetables to pot and bring mixture to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Scoop relish into jars, packing down and adding a little of the pickling juice. Seal jar with lid and ring and place jars into boiling water. Bring bath back up to boiling and process for 10 minutes. Remove jars from heat and let sit. Store in a cool, dry place.

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