Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Savoring Summer

Ready and Set for Pickling
Meandering through the back roads of Rhode Island today, time-traveling back in history to the days of homesteading and into old colonial farmsteads, showing their well-worn years and maintained through several generations still tilling the land. Cows languidly lying beneath the oak trees in the late September sun. Goats continually eating their weight in grass and brush, clearing the land. Black sheep scattering through a wind-kissed field next to the tall stalks of corn ready to be harvested from now into the early Autumn. The same feeling I get when traveling through Tuscany with my friends Pat, Wende and Judy Witts-Francini on our food tours. A lazy day spent exploring and laughing with friends that I've known now and in lives past.
Stopping at a farm with my friend Katie to buy some ears of "popping" corn that will be dry in time for a late night snack on Thanksgiving night around the table with a game of cards amongst friends. The farmer proudly displaying a photo taken from the air of their corn maze in the shape of a large and looming, yet friendly enough cow. Taking the road further we come into a town that "feel's just right". You know the feeling. A place that you know has been waiting for you to discover it, patiently by the side of that road. North Scituate. We stopped for lunch at a small restaurant, or coffee shop, or meeting place. A spot right out of a movie set, The Village Bean. Waitresses cracking their dry New England wit with the regulars who lean patiently against the counter, glancing at us "newcomers" eating our turkey sandwiches. Then, back down the road again to my friend Doreen at Pezza Farms for a half bushel of tomatoes for my upcoming "You Say Tomato, I Say Tomatl" class at the Grange. I can never resist the freshness of her produce. A few pounds of hot cherry peppers destined to be made into gifts of jam to spread on cream cheese, to glaze a chicken or pork tenderloin. But today, a quick recipe for some pickled tomatoes to peck on before dinner or to add to my martini, in lieu of the usual olive. Very simple. Very good.
Tomatoes packed in their jars

Pickled Tomatoes

2½ pints Grape Tomatoes
8 Pepperoncini Peppers, jarred
4 Dill sprigs, fresh; stemmed
4 Garlic cloves, gently smashed
1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
1 Cup Cider Vinegar
1¼ Cups Water
2½ Tbl. Kosher Salt
1 Tbl. Sugar

Combine peppercorns, tomatoes, pepperoncini, dill, and garlic in a sterilized 2 quart glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Bring vinegar, salt, sugar, and 1¼ cups water to a boil in a saucepan; stir until salt and sugar dissolve. Pour vinegar mixture over tomatoes to ½” from the top and wipe rim clean.
Seal jar and let it cool completely. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Alternately – Process the jars, lids and rings in boiling water fully covered for 20 minutes. Remove and dry upside-down on clean dish towels. Add the tomatoes to the jars, fill with the liquid to ½” from the top, wipe rim clean for a perfect seal and top with lids. Screw on rings tightly and place in a large pot covered with water by at least 1”. Bring water to a boil and process for 10 minutes from the minute it begins to boil. Remove carefully back onto a rack and let cool for 24 hours without touching them. They’ll keep for several months this way unrefrigerated in your cupboard.

A gift for myself and my friends


  1. Adore your blog! The photographs are glorious and your written words are a wonderful...full of family history and current day events with friends and what is "cooking in your kitchen". You certainly do share your view as a cook and are inspirational! As a matter of fact, I was looking out my kitchen window this morning and saying to myself...boy that sage and thyme are beautiful...it really grew this year I need to do something. As I looked over your blog I came upon your Tuscan Herb entry...WOW...this is what my project for today or tomorrow will be. It sounds so wonderful I am going to fill some jars and give this delightful "Herbs de Cook with a View" as gifts...will also add my making of this recipe to my blog. Will continue to read your blog...it really is wonderful. Elizabeth

  2. Thank you Elizabeth for that heartfelt message. In fact without realizing it, you have discovered how I came upon the name for my blog and business. Looking out the window one morning, while doing dishes, I was admiring my new garden and said, "what a beautiful view I have." DING! Combine that thought with one of my favorite movies, and A Cook With A View became a reality. You've inspired a posting to come soon. Thank you again, Joseph

  3. Hi Joseph...Please email me at swimcgick15@cox.net....Thanks, Beth from the Isle of Capri