#PGMinseason | Lindsey Love
As a part of the #PGMinseason project, our community leaders will be posting their interpretation of in season cooking both right here on the blog and on their personal accounts! We value each for their knowledge, experience, and unique "tastes" on the way that they implement this process into their lifestyle and are excited to share these posts with you! So whether you are well-versed in the ways of harvesting or are a curious newcomer, we hope you can enjoy each blogger's individual celebration of eating in season! First up: Lindsey Love of Dolly and Oatmeal.
AS A CHILD, IN SEASON MEANT WATERMELON, PEACHES, AND CORN IN THE SUMMER, APPLES AND PEARS IN THE FALL; cranberries and winter squash in the winter, and strawberries and asparagus in the spring. As I've gotten older, I began to fill in the gaps between a few common fruits and veggies, with things I began seeing only at certain times of year; garlic scapes, Maine blueberries, squash blossoms, currants, radishes, pomegranates, and citrus fruits. Where I live in Brooklyn today, I am very fortunate to be in such close proximity to a few different farmers’ markets, most of which are open year-round – I love talking and connecting with the people that grow our food. They redefine what and how I eat on a weekly basis. Additionally, Brooklyn is lucky to have Good Eggs, a food distributor of locally owned farms and small businesses that add a level of accessibility and visibility to our community.
I've made it a point to know as much about my food as I can. Even on a very simple and basic level, what food and how I’m cooking it is dependent on what’s available at my market, and just generally what I’m feeling. I take into consideration that I’m going to want to get more than one meal out a single purchase – be it a bundle of kale or a pound of tomatoes – I survey the vendors to get an idea of what I want to prepare that week. Knowing this, I think how I will store my food to last the week. I learned from a farmer at the market how to keep herbs perky and vibrant all week long by filling the plastic bag with air and tying a knot to keep the air secure. Veggies, like tomatoes are kept out on the counter to ripen up. My mother-in-law taught me that to keep berries fresh - and without mold - wash them right away, let them air dry, then spread them in a single layer on a paper towel-lined plate and keep them refrigerated. I also keep a small potted garden on my fire escape where I grow herbs, summer squash, beets, and hot peppers all spring and summer long.
Cooking in season to me means a rhythm of things. How the right crop planted after another replenishes the earth, while the wrong one can deplete it further. What it takes to get certain items during particular parts of the year and living in certain places, what it took to grow them, how far they had to travel to get there, and all the side effects that process has multiplied by the thousands or millions of times it's repeated. Communities that live and eat in season can reap so many benefits that have a huge reach. From nutritional, standard of living, economically, environmentally, and socially to bring a community closer and more connected. Simply, food that is in season I feel is food with integrity.
Today I prepared a Pickled Corn Succotash Salad. Personally, August means the sweetest, crunchiest, and juiciest corn, so I wanted to start with that. I’ve been making a variety of salads through the seasons, rotating ingredients as they became available; and in the summer, our apartment can get very hot when cooking, so I felt a cold refreshing salad would really hit the spot. Wanting to encompass a showing of other seasonal items since so many are around this time of year, I came to the idea of a succotash. Generally, succotash is a warm summery dish, but in wanting to make the dish cold, I recalled a recipe for pickled corn I pulled from a magazine a few years ago. I thought the flavor of the corn would strike a good balance and add a tasty element to the dish with a bite of tanginess from the pickling, mixed with the sweetness of the kernels as they burst when you bite into them. I’m super happy to be sharing it on the Pure Green Magazine blog today, I hope this may spark an idea in your personal in season endeavors! Happy in-seasoning, friends!
PICKLED CORN SUCCOTASH SALAD WITH HERILOOM BEANS & WHITE NECTARINE
- 3 ears of corn, shucked and charred, either on a grill or over a gas stovetop
- 8 sprigs cilantro
- 1 large shallot (or 2 small), thinly sliced
- ¾ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1 teaspoon raw honey (or natural cane sugar)
- 2 ½ teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- 3.5 ounces green, wax, and/or purple pole beans, blanched
- 1 white nectarine, sliced (or cut into chunks)
- 1 large heirloom tomato, sliced
- 1 small zucchini (or summer squash), sliced into thin medallions
- 10 basil leaves, chopped
- 3-4 mint leaves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon reserved pickling liquid
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- leftover chopped herbs
- squash blossoms, petals torn
- mixed herb flowers
Note: charring the corn is optional, but I love how it gives the corn a smokiness you otherwise wouldn’t taste. Additionally, you could substitute the nectarine for what is in season and available to you, fuzzy peaches make a for a lovely pairing as well.
Heat a stove or grill on a low flame; let the corn cook in 20-30 second intervals. Using tongs, rotate the corn to cook and char evenly – you will hear a crackling sound and smell the corn cooking. (If you are using a grill, the same technique applies.) Remove and let cool. Once cooled, place the corn upright on a large cutting board; using a sharp knife, start from the top of the ear and cut straight down, dislodging the kernels from the cob. Rotate and repeat this process on all sides of the corn. Set corn kernals aside and dispose of the cobs. (Fun fact: you could keep the cobs and use them later for a vegetable stock or chowder.)
In a 2-quart heatproof jar, evenly layer the corn with the shallots and cilantro.
In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine the cider vinegar, water, honey (or sugar), and salt and pepper. Bring contents to a boil, stirring to dissolve the honey and salt. Once dissolved, turn off heat and remove. Pour hot contents over the corn, shallots and cilantro. Let cool to room temperature; then seal jar and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or up to a few weeks. (The longer the corn pickles, the more flavor it will take on.)
In a hot skillet, add about 2 teaspoons olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan); once hot, sauté the onion with the jalapeño pepper until they have softened a bit; then add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat, and set aside.
In a prep bowl, prepare an ice bath. Fill a small saucepan with water and a pinch of salt; bring to a boil. Toss beans in for 1 minute; using tongs, quickly transfer to ice bath. Once cooled through, allow beans to dry on a clean tea towel. Cut in half and set aside.
In a large serving bowl, combine the beans, nectarine, tomato, zucchini, chopped basil, mint, and cilantro, drizzle with 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil; season with salt and pepper, and toss gently.
Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of pickling liquid, and discard shallot slices and cilantro sprigs. Add the pickled corn, along with the reserved tablespoon of pickling liquid to the salad; give it all a good toss and season accordingly.
Lastly, garnish with leftover chopped herbs, herb flowers or torn squash blossoms.