Courtesy of Rooftop Farms’ Annie Novak
When the Gazette team set out to get a recipe using fresh vegetables, there was only one person to ask: Annie Novak, North Brooklyn’s queen of urban agriculture! Here’s what she gave us:
“I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, a city known for such gastronomical feats as the Triple Cheeseburger and ‘kraut-covered juicy Polish sausages. On top of our meats, the Midwest borrows many southern culinary traditions, one of which I remember seeing as a child at the Taste of Chicago: the Kool-Aid Pickle. Since I’m a lifelong vegetarian, this was my single treat. A strange toady pink and a mouthful of sweet and sour, they’re weird and yet somehow, once annually, amazing. This food alone probably pushed me to then bandwagon of growing my own organic produce. Like the brownies I ate after running the New York Marathon, the naughtiness of this recipe is counterbalanced by the fact that I get to eat them only once a year, and after three months of sweating it out to grow my own cucumbers. Using Kerby-types is best, though I’ve tried it with other pickling cucumbers with success, as well.”
Growing Chef’s FRIDGE PICKLES
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
6 cups sliced rooftop farm cucumbers
Optional: 2 cups white sugar, hot peppers to taste, 1 cup sliced onions
1. For simple fridge pickles, mix the vinegar, salt, water and cucumbers in a (plastic or glass) bowl.
2. Stir to dissolve the salt, then place in the fridge in the covered bowl or in a sterile sealed plastic bag, for about five days.
3. If you’re adding sugar, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil. Boil until the sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes.
4. Place the cucumbers (add onions and peppers if desired) in a large bowl. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables. Transfer to sterile containers and store in the refrigerator.
Rooftop Farm’s South-Meets-North KOOL AID PICKLES
Lots of your pickles (this recipe is measured for 1 large 46-ounce jar)
2 cups water
2 packets red Kool-Aid (such as cherry flavored)
And if that’s not enough for you, add 1 cup sugar
1. Drain and discard the juice from the pickle jar.
2. Remove the pickles from the jar and cut each one in half lengthwise. Return the pickles to the jar and set aside.
3. In a large measuring cup, combine the sugar (if desired), water and Kool-Aid. Mix until the sugar has completely dissolved. Pour enough of the liquid into the pickle jar to cover the pickles. Discard any excess.
4. Cover the jar and refrigerate at least 24 hours. Makes one 46-ounce jar of the most bizarre pickles you’ve ever had!
Throughout August and September, the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm’s open Sundays will feature chefs (and authors who can cook) showcasing their favorite recipes. The Farm is open on Sundays from 10am-4pm for their produce market, and all lectures begin at 2pm. August kicks off with Brooklyn Brine’s free pickling demonstration. For details and upcoming celebrity chefs, check out Eagle Street Rooftop Farm on Facebook, or at www.RooftopFarms.org