I bought pepperoncini seeds during my seed-buying frenzy late last winter. While it is true that I like the pickle, I began to doubt that I would ever actually eat these once they began growing. I collected them one by one and refrigerated them, but I suspected they would only end up being chicken feed. In one final burst of guilt, I tore open the seed packet to read the directions.
Wash the peppers thoroughly and poke a couple holes in each near the stem. Pack them into a clean jar. Combine one part water, one part white vinegar and a teaspoon of salt per pint of liquid. Boil it for five minutes and pour it over the peppers in the jar. Leave 1/4" of headspace, cover the jar, and refrigerate the pickles for two to three weeks before eating them.
I threw in some jalapeños since I had them and didn't want to waste them either. The Greek pepperoncini are the long wrinkly green peppers. I finally tried them, and they were great! The jalapeños were great too. I've NEVER been one to just pop a jalapeño in and eat it, but mine weren't too spicy. Just good. This is a great way to preserve peppers.
There were lovely piles of fresh okra at the farmer's market last Saturday. I couldn't buy any because I still had a half pound languishing at home from the week before, but it did strengthen my resolve to cook it instead of feeding it all to the chickens. I found a recipe for okra in the section of my Greek cookbook entitled, "lathera". (I can't figure out how to type in Greek, sorry!) Lathi is the word for oil, so I wonder if what appears to be a vegetable section is actually labeled "oily things". (This recipe is very similar to a Lebanese green bean recipe that I love and have been meaning to post all year. Soon.)
I know a lot of people are a little wary of okra, but if you don't absolutely hate it, you should try this. I can't understand why this was so good, all I can do is be honest and confess that I ate it all myself. All. Myself. No one else had the opportunity to confirm that the goodness wasn't all in my head. Crunchy, soft, rich, sweet, and savory. I want more. This could be a side or the meal.
The best part is, the amounts are estimates and the directions only amount to a glorified version of "cook it until it's done." This is EASY. It's from the Greek Cookery book I mentioned in my post about Greek salad.
1 pound of okra
2 medium onions, diced
3 ripe tomatoes, diced and peeled too if you care
1/2 cup olive oil
3 Tablespoons of vinegar
In a small bowl, combine 1 Tablespoon of salt and 3 Tablespoons of vinegar. I used red wine vinegar. Clean the okra, cut off the stem end, and dip it into the vinegar. Put the okra, onion, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and olive oil into a pot or large frying pan. Add 1-2 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Once it comes to the boil, turn down the flame and simmer it until the vegetables are done but the okra is not mushy. Taste it for salt and pepper and season it accordingly.
If you have ripe heirloom tomatoes then you have to try this. My friend told me how to make this delicious pizza while we were working out together a few years back. It's her version of a pizza made at a well-known place in Phoenix (I think). I tried it, wrote it down, and make it every year when the heirloom tomatoes are in season. I couldn't find the scrap of paper I wrote it on and had to go by memory this year. I probably didn't get it exactly right, but it was great. No one complained except for my daughter who hates tomatoes. (Who hates tomatoes??) She got mushrooms on her half of the pizza.
The pancetta is what makes this so good. Salt and oil. It's really delicious and pretty quick to make. It's even quicker if you buy the dough, but sometimes that just means an extra trip to the store, so I've included a recipe for pizza dough here in case you have the time to make it yourself and let it rise for an hour and a half. The dough recipe was from Williams Sonoma and I thought it was perfect. When I make it I try to double the recipe and freeze a batch for the next night we make pizza.
This makes enough for 2 pizzas.
1 Tablespoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
shavings of parmesan
2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
4 large tomatoes thinly sliced
sprinkle of dried oregano
1/4 pound thinly sliced pancetta
Directions for the dough:
Stir the yeast and sugar into a cup of warm water. In the bowl of an electric mixer or a food processor fitted with the dough hook/blade, put the flour and salt. Mix it to blend. Add the olive oil to the yeast mixture, and add it slowly to the flour with the machine on. Let it finish mixing, and when it has formed one ball of dough, put it in an oiled bowl and cover it. Let it rise for an hour and a half. It should double in volume.
To roll it out, cut it in half and roll each one out on a lightly floured surface. Because of the oil, it doesn't seem to stick much at all. You can make a round pizza and cook it on a pizza pan or just put it on a baking sheet that you've either oiled or lined with a silpat mat. I have a pizza stone, but I have yet to remember I have it until after I've baked a pizza. Maybe next time.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees while you put on the toppings.
Directions for the toppings:
Marinate the tomatoes in some olive oil and oregano. Put parmesan shavings and garlic slivers down on the dough. Layer on the tomatoes, salt and pepper. Go light on the salt since the pancetta is pretty salty. Layer the pancetta on top, and bake the pizza until the crust is light golden and the pancetta has browned.
I love trying new foods, cooking, and gardening. I hope to share these experiences on this site. Thanks for taking a look!