Ingredient: Produce, the mother lode

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This is the kind of post that defines the idea that a picture is worth a thousand words. It’s August and everywhere there is color, abundance, ripe flavor…it’s all self-evident, isn’t it?

But I will say just a few, if not a thousand, words. We’ll talk more later this week about the tremendous art of preserving, Lebanese style. That description, tremendous art, is not meant to scare any of us off from doing some preserving ourselves. The art is about knowing how to take what’s good and simply, intelligently, and I’ll say it even though my brothers will have a good laugh over it: lovingly coax out as much flavor and texture as possible—both for now and for winter’s store.

The great thing about pickling the Lebanese way is that just about anything goes; most everything that is good to eat from the farmer’s market right now is good to pickle.

Maybe you’ve got a little bit of this and a little bit of that left from last week’s market run, a few beans and carrots and peppers. They’re going to find themselves tasting all crunchy and extra-succulent after they’ve had a soak in some brine for a few days. The love of a good crunch is, I believe, inherently Lebanese.

When I stopped at Bill’s to see what would be good to pickle with you this week, I was astonished at what has taken place up here place during the short time that I was away in Chicago. The mother lode has arrived, and it seems there aren’t enough hours, or calories, in the day to provide for all that one wants to eat during harvest time. Never mind that it’s just my mama and me in the house all week. The gals at Bill’s said we must be cooking for a crowd. Nope, we said, just us. We’re not holding back at the market—too much is just about enough—some to eat now, and some to preserve to eat and share later.

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  1. Paula says:

    What a paradox: the colours look so beautiful and and bright that seems they are artificial.

    Love and love your blog


  2. Diane Nassir (My maternal grandmother was an Abowd) says:

    I learned about the love of crunch from my Dad: so now I know, it is intrinsically Lebanese! I like that–
    Maureen, you inspire, entertain, evoke powerful memories, and, you educate–all at the same time–looking forward to the pickling recipes–my Mother always pickled turnips–and I just bought some from my Middle Eastern market last week (and yes, they are from Lebanon!).