I’ve been digging through my backlog of photos and I’ve found a bunch of single random ones that more-or-less fall into the category of “fall harvest.” So this is going to be a bit of a hodgepodge of a post. (yeah, somebody’s gotten into the thesaurus again)
Throughout summer and fall, Lindz was making semi-regular stops at the local farmer’s market and on one trip she picked up some gorgeous sweetcorn.
The most consistent way I’ve found to cook sweetcorn is to get a pot of water boiling, add the corn, and let it come back up to a full boil. I then let it cook for about a minute and then pull it out. This way the corn is still nice and juicy but doesn’t taste raw either.
I think it was the same trip that Lindz also picked up some delightful green beans. These I steam for about five minutes (checking often) so they come out nice and al dente. Toss with a pat of butter and a pinch each of salt and pepper.
I enjoy sausages anytime that I can get my grubby little hands on them, but for whatever reason, I always think of them as cold weather comfort food. I think they are best with either a spicy mustard or some horseradish (preferably homemade).
My boss, Steve, has really been into canning the last couple of years. This year he was working on perfecting his pickle recipe. He found a spicy pickle mix (I think it’s this one) at Mill’s Fleet Farm and gave me a jar to try. It definitely packed a nice punch of jalapeno with a good and crisp pickle. It was one of those nice burns that wasn’t too overpowering, but stayed with you for some time. The more you ate, the more intense it got too.
Mom picked up a half bushel box of peaches this fall and make most of it into jam. It didn’t last very long once Lindz and I opened it and got a taste.
Along with the usual jellies and jams that Mom made, she also did some salsa this year. Generally, I’m not a fan because the flavor usually seems dull and overcooked. Probably the same thing. This primarily applies to store-bought salsas. I prefer a nice pico de gallo (fresh uncooked salsa) any day of the week. However, the recipe that Mom used has me hesitating on my anti-salsa stance. It was a bit sweet (from the tomatoes), a bit spicy (just enough to round out the flavor), and a whole lot of tomatoey goodness.
And now for something completely different: Oreos.
Let me guess, you’ve never heard of it either. Cub Foods had a great sale on frozen fish, so I picked up four pounds of frozen fish for about $10. There wasn’t much of a selection, so I grabbed a couple of packs of cod (a favorite), one of tilapia, and because I was curious, one of swai. When I got around to cooking it, I was as completely clueless about this fish as when I bought it. It was a firm fleshed white fish, I decided to go the safest route that I could think of: baking it. Which is what the bag recommended as well.
I seasoned the fish with a dill dip blend that I like to put on cod and a bit of lemon juice sprinkled over it. It then went into a 375 degree F oven for 10-15 minutes. It turned out to be decent, but I think it would have been better pan fried. Flavor-wise, it reminded me of catfish which makes sense from the research that I did for this post. And should have done before I cooked the darn things.
Basically, swai is a Southeast Asian river catfish that is farmed commercially and available across the U.S. in its frozen form. There are some concerns about the farming practices used to raise this fish, so domestic catfish is a better sustainable option. The flavor is milder than channel cats and the flesh is a bit more delicate. Knowing this now, I would have taken an entirely different approach to cooking swai. I would have treated it just like catfish, i.e. cornmeal breading and deep frying the nuggets.
I found a couple of websites that I have now bookmarked and will be referencing quite a bit in the future. The first one is the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. This site is jam-packed with information about ocean issues, sustainability, recipes by some pretty big names, and info about numerous types of seafood species, just to name a few of the areas. The other site is Chef’s Resources. I haven’t dug around this one much, but what I can say is that it has all the info that you can think of that is useful in the kitchen. For example: flavor profiles, purchasing guidelines, nutritional info, history/habitat of the species, and in the case of fish, a link to the Montery Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch page.