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.
At least fifteen years ago my grandparents went on an educational cruise through the Greek Isles and asked if I would like a souvenir. Yes! A Greek cookbook, in Greek! They lovingly obliged and returned with two copies of the same book, one printed in English and the other in Greek.
Mediterranean food was the rage then, and Italian food was held up as the model of all things healthy, so I was pretty sure I knew what Greek food would be like: light, practically vegetarian, and healthy according to the beliefs of the time. What I saw in this cookbook horrified me. Instead of perusing light, healthy, low-calorie, fat-free, vegetarian recipes containing only a drizzle of olive oil, I found what might, after all, be the real deal. Eggplant fried in copious quantities of olive oil, meats, liver, snails, butter, potatoes, more butter, whole pigs on spits, and béchamel sauce. Ew.
Mrs. Seferiadis, a friend and an amazing Greek cook, agreed to teach me the secret to the best Greek cooking. The secret? I don't think she'll mind if I share this- butter. BUTTER!?! We made spanakopita, pastitsio, butter cookies, and baklava, all oozing with butter, and all delicious.
Back then the only recipe I could be sure wouldn't kill me and clog my arteries was Village Salad, and I made it regularly. So here it is.
3 firm tomatoes
1 red onion
2 green peppers, peeled of most of their skin and seeded
1 cup of black olives
6 oz. feta cheese
1 tablespoon of capers
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
oregano, salt, and pepper
Cut the tomatoes and cucumbers into slices and the onion and the peppers into rings. Put it in a bowl and sprinkle with salt, pepper, oregano, and olives. Cut the feta cheese into chunks and add to the other ingredients. Pour the olive oil and vinegar over the salad. Toss. Eat. Enjoy.
I love trying new foods, cooking, and gardening. I hope to share these experiences on this site. Thanks for taking a look!