Hi y’all, it’s been a busy week as I gear up for my first day back at work after a full 14 months of maternity leave (yes, being Canadian has it’s perks, it can be perky). Deep washing my chef’s blacks. Organizing recipes I’ve tested over the break. Gathering a fresh set of razor-sharp cheap-O Thai knives. Anticipating the springy feel of my black plastic kitchen slippers (you know the kind). Really, REALLY wanting to shave all my hair off. Like, almost every hair (the better to air-condition one’s head with in the heat of the Food Dungeon).
I’m also baking as much as I can, and meanwhiles occupying every jar I own with some sorta preserved thing, ostensibly for the Food In Jars Mastery Challenge, but anyone who knows me knows that I would be doing this dance anyway. For example, no one is forcing me to make large quantities of apple butter but I just can’t fight this feeling (anymore). The apples right at this moment are too good, too absolutely perfect, and when is the next time I will get a couple hours to babysit stewed fruit? I mean, and not get paid for it? And get to keep it? You know what I mean… stuff made at home gets all the looooovvvvve poured into it. 🖤💜
So Mastery Challenge-wise, April is quick pickle month, which couldn’t be more perfect, because even though I screwed up and made slow, cold pack pickles instead, quick means QUICK, right? So I (quickly) made a jar of pickled green almonds with spicy brine that also neatly solved the problem of what exactly to do with the green almonds sitting in your crisper when your husband isn’t the biggest fan of sour things.
I bought them because they have a seasonal window of about nothing, between mid-April and mid-June. The little fuzzy green pods that can be eaten whole, with a pleasantly sour and squeaky-crunchy outer flesh hiding a gelatinous baby almond inside – which is not actually a nut but a kind of tiny stone fruit! Intriguing, and a perfect candidate for pickling, to appreciate them well into spring and summer. They have a flavour reminiscent of tart green apple, cucumber, green bean, even celery, and once pickled have an amazing fresh caper-y quality that just shouts “spring is here!” If you decide not to pickle them, there are lots of other ways to use them, too, like:
Green Almonds in Jam (I am definitely trying this one)
Pickled Green Almonds with Jalapeño
Heavily lifted from Leda Meredith
- 3 cups (330 grams) fresh green almonds, unblemished (enough to fill a 30 oz. jar)
- 1 cup (250 grams) water
- 1 cup (250 grams) white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon (21 grams) mild honey
- 1 tablespoon (18 grams) kosher salt
- 1 fresh hot chili (jalapeño, bird’s eye, serrano, cayenne – up to you)
- 4 or 5 sprigs fresh dill or fennel leaves
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
- ½ teaspoon dried dill or dill seeds
- 10 black peppercorns
Wash a 30 oz. jar with hot soapy water, then rinse and dry (there’s no need to sterilize it if you aren’t going to seal the pickles).
Wash and rinse the almonds. Trim the stems with a sharp paring knife (or flick them off with your fingers), then carefully cut around the seam to split the outer shell and reveal the whole almond within.
Slice the chili into thin strips, leaving the seeds intact for a hotter pickle, or removing the seeds for gentler heat. Arrange the chili strips and fresh dill (or fennel fronds) artfully around the outside of the jar. Fill the rest of the way with prepped almonds.
In a small saucepan on high heat, add the spices, honey and salt to the water and vinegar, and bring to a boil. Stir well to ensure the salt is dissolved, then pour the hot brine over the almonds. Seal the jar and store in the refrigerator. You can also seal them in a hot water bath to store them indefinitely (once open they will have to be refrigerated). Let them mellow for at least 1 week before enjoying, and they’ll keep at least 2 months.
I also was honoured to be linked into a blogger appreciation chain by Pia @
spoonful O’ spice who makes mouthwatering Indian food (both vegetarian and meaty) with clear, bright and sharp photos that make me want to lick the screen. Which I don’t do, because I am antsy about smudging my computer, but it is very tempting. Thank you so much, Pia!
Now I must give blogging advice (whaaaaaaat, ok), and explain how this blog came to be. Briefly. You don’t have to read this.
1. My advice for any blogger is simply to do it out of love, because it nourishes something in your own own life and the lives of those around you. Don’t fret about comparing yourself to others or stress about making everything perfect. Just do it because you love to cook or write or take photos and blogging is a perfect way to push those talents even further.
2. All this (*gestures lazily blogward*) came about because I’m currently on a pastry chef career path, but I never went to culinary school so everything I know I learned either on the job, or while challenging myself at home. The blog keeps me vigilant about record-keeping. Also, someone professorial told me in high school that I wasn’t the worst writer in the world, and I do occasionally still think it’s fun to jam words together and watch them squirm.
I also do it to connect with people! Here are some of those people. I hereby nominate all y’all ~~~
- Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
- Write a post to show your award.
- Give a brief story of how your blog started.
- Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
- Select 15 (or whatever number) other bloggers you want to give this award to.
- Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated and provide the link to the post you created.
That’s it. Sorry so wordy today. Cheers!