You read about me going to the farmer’s market pretty regularly around here. Well, I’ve got more than one that is close to my house and you can’t beat the flavors of produce that’s picked and eaten in the same day. Actually, you can. When my garden is coming in full throttle the flavor of warmed from the sun tomatoes picked fresh off the vine beats the farmer’s market hands down…but I don’t grow all of the fruits and vegetables that we like to eat around here. However, I do supply at least 6 of my neighbors with all of the tomatoes they can handle in the summer.
Recently, I took a little field trip to visit a foodie friend of mine named Greg. He writes a fantastic website called SippitySup! And wait until you see the food porn that illustrates his writing. Consider yourself warned for the drooling that you’ll encounter. He took me to his favorite farmer’s market – The Hollywood Farmer’s Market. Yes, as in that Hollywood. If you read any of the gossip rags (or digital rags), you’ve seen pictures of various celebrities hanging out there with their kids. Sometimes the celebs outnumber the vegetables. Fortunately for us, our visit entailed no celebrities or the ensuing pain in the ass photographer’s that follow them everywhere. (We wore disguises so as not to be recognized and hounded by the paps.)
We discussed how we love going to our respective farmer’s markets, but tend to fall into the same routine with each visit. Going to the same farmers and buying the same things unless we have something special to cook up for visiting friends or a party. It was decided, on the spot, that we were going to do our own version of ‘Chopped,’ but without the chopping part. Each of us was going to buy something for the other that they would have to cook with. We had no input as to what we wanted.
Greg quickly vanished into the crowd. After I was finally able to find him (I get lost pulling out of my driveway…so having never been to that market, it took me a couple of minutes to find him.), he was handing his money to the guy and shoving a white bag into my market bag. Then, he stabs this neon green ball, with a toothpick, that’s covered in some kind of equally neon orange goo and sprinkled with some white stuff on top. He hands it to me and tells me to eat it. Now I feel like I’m in an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations.” As I bite into the crunchy green orb, my lips start to tingle from something spicy (the orange goo is actually hot sauce), my nose scrunches from the rush of sour juice and then I get hit with the salt. What a cool sensation! I’ve never tasted these attributes so distinctly in one food before. Once Greg gets done chuckling at the goofy face I made when I first bit into it, he tells me that it’s a sour plum. The ingredient that I bought for Greg wasn’t quite so “exotic,” but I learned that he had never used it before (in cooking). I bought him a bunch of fresh lavender. I think the look that he gave me when I handed him the lovely bouquet was probably quite similar to the look I had when I first bit into the sour plum. He scrunched up his nose too – HA. But made a fantastic lavender creme brulee (which you can, and should, check out on his site).
Sour plums can be found in Middle Eastern cuisine (Gojeh Sabz) as well as Japanes cuisine (Ume). These sour plums happen to be the Gojeh Sabz. They are traditionally eaten raw and sprinkled with salt. (They are also incorporated into some Middle Eastern dishes as well.) I’m guessing that the addition of hot sauce is a Southern California thing (because you’ll find people slather hot sauce on just about everything out here). The Japanese version of sour plums is typically found as a salt pickled version of the Ume plum called Umeboshi. The Umeboshi are served along with rice.
After pondering my pounds of sour plums and what I should do with them, I decided to make spicy salt pickled plums. These can be eaten along with rice or just by themselves. I found myself just eating away at them after I had taken them out of the fridge to check them out. I did it again as I was taking pictures of them. They’re really quite addicting. The sourness tends to disappear with the salt pickling, and you can taste the plumminess. If you want to have it a bit more sour than salty, sprinkle them lightly with sugar (after thoroughly chilling them and just before serving).
I stopped reading Cosmopolitan when I graduated from college. How many times can you take those regurgitated quizzes that tell you he’s just not that into you and you have the sexual tendencies of a rabbit? Of course, when you’re finally away from home and drinking alcohol on a (beyond) regular basis and hanging out with horny boys in their sexual peak OF COURSE you’re banging away like you’re a freaking rabbit. But I will admit that I check out their online edition, from time to time, to keep up to date on the latest sexual positions. Because you know you need to spice it up ladies! (Oh stop scrunching up your nose…you know what I’m talking about and you know I’m right.)
This position is going to fulfill his secretary and the boss fantasy. Don’t let the mundane name “Desk Detail” fool you. This is just the thing to distract your guy when you can’t get him to step away from his work. First, pull him away from the monitor (this is made easier by the fact that he needs to stay in his chair, so you can just pull his chair). Next, you need to sidle on up between his legs and lower yourself down on top of him. Lean forward and put your arms on his desk and pick your feet up off the floor. Let him be the boss now.
- 1 Pound Sour Plums
- 3 Teaspoons Fine Grain Sea Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Sichuan Peppers
Pit the sour plums by cutting them in half or into quarters and remove pit.
Put pitted plums into wide mouth jar.
Add salt and Sichuan peppers to plums.
Gently mix plums, salt and peppers thoroughly.
Weight the plum mixture down and set aside overnight. (I used another jar, placed into a plastic bag and put that on top of the plum mixture. I then put another heavy jar on top of that to give it some extra weight.)
After 24 hours, remove the weights and place plum mixture into a colander. Thoroughly rinse salt from the plums. You can leave some of the peppers if you like, or remove those too.
Put rinsed plums into a container, cover and refrigerate.
Serve thoroughly chilled.
Optional: you can sprinkle, lightly, with sugar just before serving. This cuts down on the saltiness and brightens up the plum flavor.