There are so many things to love about June.
The shockingly long days. The first fireflies. The very feel of the air on your skin...And the fact that the combination of the earth's bounty and the long days' blessings make it ok for you to basically eat snacks for three hours straight outside under the glow of the last rays of sun and effectively call it dinner. The lingering evening outdoor nosh is one of our favorite shared Two Pony traditions, so it's natural that we share the magic with the CSA.
Of course this exact same thing can happen indoors any time of the year, but there's something about small bites, small plates, and a big June mood that just go together. Allow us to clarify: when we say "snacks" we aren't talking about a bowl of chips (though there is certainly room for chips on the outdoor table), we're talking about putting together small bites of whatever is at hand and in season, popping it all on a tray, and grazing until the sun goes down. You can find a few of our favorite tips for putting together a "this-totally-counts-as-dinner-nosh-platter here and below are a few CSA-tailored recipes that cascade into each other (make one, or make them all!) to dovetail perfectly with these long, glorious twilights.
Quick Pickled Rhubarb
No canning required, these sweet, tart, tangy, and delightfully PINK rhubarb pickles are ridiculously easy. They make a great bright and acidic friend for punching up your mezze, both visually and flavorfully. Save that bright pink pickling brine, you'll see why below!
4-6 rhubarb stalks/sliced to your preference
2 cups water
2 cups red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cup Turbinado Sugar
zest of 1/2 small orange
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
3 tbsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh ginger
3 dried chile peppers (we love ancho or thai, but crushed red pepper will work in a pinch... feel free to adjust for your spiciness preference!)
1 tsp mustard seeds
Slice rhubarb in your desired shape. We like 1 1/2" batons sliced on the diagonal, but you do you! If you encounter stings when you're slicing the rhubarb (similar to celery) you can give it a quick peel first with a vegetable peeler if that's your preference.
Add rhubarb to a clean jar—large enough to hold all of the pickling liquid—with a lid.
In a non-reactive pot (stainless steel or tin; avoid cast iron, aluminum and copper), combine water and red wine vinegar.
Place over medium heat and add in remaining ingredients.
Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low to simmer for 5 minutes, until sugar is dissolved.
Once cool, remove bay leaves. Pour over the rhubarb, making sure the rhubarb is fully covered with liquid.
Put the lid on and refrigerate for at least a day. If you leave the chiles in it will get spicier as it sits!
After a day, enjoy!
Rhubarb Pickled Eggs
2 tsp. honey
5 cups (625 g) all-purpose flour
5 tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1 Tbsp. Morton kosher salt
6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for hands
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for pan
Flaky sea salt
2-4 stalks rhubarb, chopped
1 cup water
1 cup honey
Combine the rhubarb, honey, and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft and the liquid has thickened slightly, about 20 minutes.
Set a fine-mesh strainer (or a standard strainer lined with cheesecloth) over a large bowl. Pour the rhubarb through the strainer until most of the liquid is in the bowl. Press the solids a little with the back of a spoon to extract more syrup.
Carefully pour the syrup into a clean bottle. Close or cork the bottle and refrigerate. Rhubarb syrup will keep for quite a long while in the fridge.
The leftover solids are also delicious as a rough, chutney-style jam! Excellent on yogurt, toast, cake, or alongside everything else. Keep refrigerated.
Add this bright, sweet, scarlet treat to cocktails, lemonade, iced tea, ice cream, or homemade soda: Mix in a good bloop with some sparkling water and ice, throw a mint leaf or two in with it, pop your stainless steel reusable straw in there, give it a swirl, and head outside with it for a blissful sip.
If you want to turn golden hour into cocktail hour, then go ahead and whip up a...
Juice of 1/2 a lime, plus thinly sliced lime for garnish
2 ounces tequila or gin
2 ounces dry white vermouth
2 ounces Rhubarb Syrup
Dash of bitters (we like Peychauds)
Combine all ingredients over ice in a shaker, shaking vigorously until the shaker feels icy cold. Strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice, garnish with lime wheel.