Three months with not a word here! It’s been a summer into fall of transformative miracles in addition to the dependable botanical ones. Starting in June with knuckle-replacement surgery – all four knuckles of my left hand. Continuing with my mother Olga’s 95th birthday farewell party in August and her infinitely graceful death three weeks later. And those events feel like just the beginning. An incredible beginning, brimming with gifts.
Meanwhile the summer’s seed crops matured beautifully. The seeds are doing their last bit of drying, in bags and buckets and wrapped up in sheets, and most of the squash still in their beautiful fruits. They’ll be available here in December – or, let’s be realistic, January.
My current favorite – because I’m eating it every day – is the pimiento pepper. What a food plant! Each little bush produced dozens of thick-walled sweet fruits over the course of almost three months. Juicy and crunchy raw, smoky and rich in sauces, delicately complex sautéed, holding their bright red in any preparation. Most often I toss bite-size chunks in olive oil and roast them in the oven until they caramelize. Candy that’s good for you.
Here’s a recipe from Tera Wood for muhammara, a Syrian pepper spread, and another recipe for the little seed crackers she makes to put it on:
Muhammara: Combine 4 roasted peppers, a handful of toasted walnuts, 2 T olive oil, chopped garlic and lemon zest to taste, and a pinch of ground cumin in food processor. Add chile flakes and 1 T lemon juice and pulse until pasty.
Seed Crackers: 1 cup wheat flour / 1 cup all-purpose flour / 1/3 cup poppy seeds / 1/3 cup sesame seeds / 1 ½ tsp. salt / 1 ½ tsp. baking powder / 3 T olive oil / ¾ cup water. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and knead a few times until mixed. Cover and let rest 20 minutes. Roll out very thin and cut in desired shapes. Bake at 375 degrees F approximately 15 minutes.
Wish I had a picture of the spread and crackers, but they didn’t last long enough.
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