Grill It, Roast It, Smoke It

And just like that, September is here. Long before I’m ready for summer to be over, the month that signals the start of fall rolls in. But even though a few of August’s garden-fresh favorites are finished for the season, September’s list of harvestable fruits and vegetables is the longest of year, with the last of the summer beans, berries, and corn bumping up against the first of the fall greens, plums, and winter squash.

If August is the month for enjoying fresh fruit and veg, September is the month for adding a bit of charred, caramelized, and smoky flavor to the produce on the table. We’ll be grilling, roasting, and smoking all month at Twice as Tasty—mostly thanks to some incredible response from recent Twice as Tasty workshops.

Although my September schedule is quickly filling up, it’s not too late to get in on the current lineup or featured workshops locally. And Twice as Tasty will be on the road again in late October! For more details, click here.
Read more about grilling, roasting, and smoking

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Refrigerator Pickles

I don’t advocate small-batch canning, but I am a fan of quick and easy pickling that fills your refrigerator one jar at a time. If your only experience with pickling is opening a store-bought jar, then refrigerator vinegar pickles will convert you to homemade. Even if you grew up in a household that put up shelves of pickled vegetables every summer, like I did, refrigerator pickles have surprising benefits.

The disadvantage of refrigerator pickles—that they aren’t sealed in heated jars and thus shelf stable—can be an advantage in freshness and crispness. Small-space gardeners or CSA members can put up a jar at a time as produce ripens. Even expansive gardeners can use fridge pickles to test new flavor combinations. Cucumbers are ideal refrigerator pickles, because they soften so quickly when heated. You should still only use pickling cucumbers; the thick-skinned slicing cucumbers you find in grocery stores and even lemon cucumbers are really only useful as fresh pickles. After years of pasteurizing summer squash, I’ve switched from the canner to the fridge to keep the pickles’ crunch.
Learn to make Cucumber Refrigerator Pickles and Cumin-Spiced Zucchini Refrigerator Pickles

Pick a Pickle

Almost every vegetable garden explodes in July. My first July harvest included the last of the spring greens and asparagus, midcycle broccoli and garlic scapes, and the first snap peas, carrots, beets, and bulb onions. The harvest will go straight into our mouths, but as the yields grow jugs of vinegar and a box of salt will be front and center, ready for pickling.

All of my recently harvested vegetables can be pickled, along with snap beans, summer squash, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, garlic, cabbage, and even fruit. That’s the beauty of pickling: it lets you preserve any low-acid vegetable safely. And like many of my favorite processing techniques, it’s endlessly variable. Various pickling techniques let you preserve everything from a single cucumber to a box of cukes. You can flavor them to fit any meal: American dills or bread-and-butters with burgers, Japanese kyuri asazuke with sushi, Indian kheer uragai with curry—and that’s just a few variations on cucumber pickles.
Read more about quick and easy pickling

Frittata

If you like quiche but hate to roll crust, or if you crave omelets but your homemade ones always turn into scrambled eggs, you really should be making frittata. This crustless quiche or open-face omelet is just as adaptable to the ingredients you have on hand as its more finicky cousins. You can eat it at any meal and serve it as a tapa or a main. What’s not to like?

My first memorable frittatas were made by a Spanish woman running a hostel in Greece, so in my mind a frittata must have potatoes and the best additional ingredients are homegrown tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, and basil and homemade feta. I include the potatoes in my base recipe, but you can easily drop them and highlight other ingredients—or just use whatever’s in your fridge. Before summer crops explode, I tend to fill my frittatas with baby chard or spinach and herbs.
Learn to make Basic Potato Frittata and Spinach and Herb Frittata