Quick Pickled Peppers
November 14th, 2010
12:00 AM ET
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Happy National Pickle Day! Make Jill's quick pickled peppers or try Chef Linton Hopkins' bread and butter pickles recipe.

The days of fresh produce from local farms are numbered now that fall is fully upon us and winter will soon be whispering at the door. During a recent trip to my local greenmarket, I spied a gorgeous batch of Hungarian - or banana - peppers, and I bought a bunch with the express idea of pickling them for Bloody Marys.

I’m in love with the idea of pickling and canning, the romance of it. I imagine my early pioneer sisters, putting up provisions to sustain the family through the harsh North East winters. It makes me want to install a wood stove in the middle of my Brooklyn apartment, build a floor to ceiling shelving unit of some dark, rough-hewn wood and fill it with canned vittles. But whoops - here I am again in reality and that is not going to happen.

While I was growing up, my mother canned and it was quite an affair. My sister and I were banished from the kitchen for most of the day, and of course, it made us want to be there so badly that we couldn’t resist sneaking in and peeking. There was my mother moving amongst vats of sliced cucumbers and huge steaming pots of boiling water on the stove. Sacks of sugar, pickling spices, vinegar and canning jars littered the counter tops.

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Filed under: How To • Make • Pickles • Recipes • Staples • Techniques & Tips

From scratch? Scratch that.
August 30th, 2010
10:00 AM ET
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Jill Billante is a Senior Producer at AC360°.

I recently took a break from the grind and headed home to Pittsburgh. It's always lovely driving across the bucolic Pennsylvania countryside, where farm stands dot the roadways and fresh produce is readily available.

My mother always has special treats waiting for us. Some are inspired by our German heritage - like pickled beets and eggs or potato salad. Most make use of the delicious seasonal produce and my mother's penchant for easy and quick cooking. She whipped up a delicious plum skillet cake, modified from a recipe that asked her to do it all from scratch.

Here's what she told me.


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Filed under: Make • Recipes • Sweet

Scorpacciata – farm stands
August 26th, 2010
03:00 PM ET
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Scorpacciata is a term that means consuming large amounts of a particular local ingredient while it's in season. It's a good way to eat. Jill Billante is a Senior Producer at AC360°

I hit an area I call "farm stand alley," while driving the last stretch of a recent trip back to my hometown, a suburb outside of Pittsburgh. The alley spans about a quarter mile dotted with local purveyors standing under ramshackle roofs, hawking basket after basket of beautiful fruits and vegetables in every color of the rainbow.

There are few things in life I like more than a roadside farm stand. For me, it beats even the big Greenmarkets that populate the boroughs of NYC. There is solidarity and security in the big Greenmarkets, where local farm owners are guaranteed customers from the largest city in the country.

But, those lone roadside warriors have no similar guarantee. They stand alone hugging the road, taking a chance that a car will stop and sample their wares. To me, it feels like the closest an eater can get to the real people who grow this stuff.

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Filed under: Bite • Farmstands • Ingredients • Local Food • Make • Path to the Plate • Recipes • Scorpacciata • Tomatoes

Scorpacciata – zucchini
July 15th, 2010
03:30 PM ET
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Scorpacciata is a term that means consuming large amounts of a particular local ingredient while it's in season. It's a good way to eat.

Zucchini, summer squash, courgette, green, yellow, round or oblong, whatever you call it, whichever shape you choose it’s delicious right now. You think squash, you think savory, but this story ends up sweet. Stay tuned for that.

Some of my most vivid childhood memories are of summers, my favorite season, in my father’s backyard garden. Every year, he tilled the soil and tended to the plants with great care. He planted rows and rows of tomatoes, beans and squash: a lot of squash, specifically the green zucchini.

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Filed under: Bite • Ingredients • Make • Recipes • Scorpacciata

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