My podcast is having an effect on me. I had Jenni Konner on my second episode and she talked all about letting people into her kitchen during a dinner party, giving people tasks, sharing responsibilities. That’s the total opposite of what I normally do; normally, I get everything done hours ahead then just warm everything up when everyone gets there. It’s a control thing. It’s also an anxiety thing. Basically, it’s a me thing.
Not too long ago, my friend Cary asked if he could cook with me and, with Jenni’s podcast on my mind, I said: “Sure.” I didn’t know what to expect. I went to the market in the morning and bought a bunch of tomatoes, green peppers, and a melon. He texted that he was picking up prune plums from his farmer’s market.
[My friend, filmmaker Matt Morris, offers up his own take on hot sauce, “an easier one” he points out after reading the post below this. Take it away, Matt!]
I recently moved to the Napa Valley, a land of such abundance that it’s almost impossible to visit a friend without leaving with large sacks of produce, dozens of backyard eggs, and cases of wine in tow.
In order to keep this food from going to waste, you must find ways to preserve, pickle, and can. Most people who regularly cook never think to make their own condiments, which isn’t that difficult and always significantly tastier than store bought. But which condiment stands above them all?
There are many things in this world worth pickling–cucumbers, carrots, pig’s feet (if you happen to have a few lying around)–but my favorite thing to pickle? It’s peppers, just like that tongue-twister about Peter Piper. (How do you pick a peck of pickled peppers, anyway? If they’re pickled, aren’t they in jars? I guess you can pick from jars. I wonder if he had tongs?) This is a recipe I learned from Brandon Pettit (aka Mr. Orangette) while writing my cookbook. It’s hidden in a sidebar, next to a pizza recipe, but it remains one of my favorite recipes that I learned how to make writing the book.