To continue further with the topic of preserving methods we previously talked about, today’s blog will be on one of the easiest methods of saving vegetable, pickling.

Here at Taino Farm I have brought in the concept of the quick pickle method. It is super simple. The basic method is just submerging thinly sliced vegetables in a solution of water and vinegar (usually around a 3:1 ratio)

This method will hold the food over for weeks and you can make variations of seasoning blends to accompany the primary pickling vegetable to enhance its flavor!!!

Recently we had a large harvest of cucumbers, not normal pickle size as you can see, and I created this very simple quick pickle that can be used for an assortment of other vegetables as well as the cucumbers I used.

To make the pickling liquid find a appropriate sized container for whatever you intend to pickle, in my case i used a medium sized tupperware, and fill it ⅔ the way full with a 3:1 ratio of water to white vinegar. (you can use apple cider vinegar as well)

To flavor my quick pickled cucumbers I used local organic red onions and red peppers ¼ inch diced, salt, sugar, and black pepper corns grown here at the farm.

Make sure that you have the vegetable fully submerged, then cover and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour and as long as a couple weeks. It’s common practice for the staff here to take out small bits as desired for meals and let the remaining portion continue to pickle. Here we also like to keep the same liquid base across many batches and allow it to accumulate more  flavors adding to the depth of the pickling liquid flavor.
You can modify this in countless ways by either changing the water to vinegar ratio, adding hot peppers, or simple using different vegetables as the primary ingredient.

Sustainability is a huge driving force for us here at Taino. I had mentioned our aquaponics system in a previous post but that ideal should never escape our minds.  Keeping this focus allows us to positively impact the land and lands surrounding us and finding creative and effective uses for our waste is a core component.

Today we will look at a few food storing methods that I have done here at the farm to keep our food supply sustainably and waste free.

Harvests sometimes yield more that we predicted (not a bad thing) but we then end up with a surplus of specific foods and having methods such as drying and pickling allows us to preserve them for longer periods of time. Below we will discuss some drying projects I have been working on (pickling to come in a future post).

This is our solar dehydrator. Basic in both its function and construction; it allows for the heat of the sun to extract the moisture from the plants and angles the rising moisture out to eliminate rotting.

The first crop to come to me in surplus was Thai Chilis. A tiny red chili that packs a surprising punch.Here at the farm they grow tremendously well and I used the preservation method of drying to make homemade crushed red thai chili peppers.

This turned out so well that I am now currently in the process of testing the drying capability of many of the herbs that grow here on the farm. (oregano, sweet basil, thai basil, mint, curry)

The current crop to come to me in a big enough surplus to dry was habanero peppers. These just came in and they are in the beginning stages, but as you can see I have chosen the hanging drying method for these.

Now while most of my inspiration comes from the local staff, community and this region of the earth, today has a little different vibe. I say this because today we will talk about the hot sauces that we have been making over the past few days.

Now why isn’t this inspired by the local people and community you may ask??  Dont worry I had the same thought, but in actuality, while hot peppers grow relatively well in this climate, the Dominican people for the most part don’t like spicy food. Was an absolute shocker to me, but this is why we come to learn about other cultures to learn.

The hot sauces were actually inspired by our interns who missed having access to spicy side condiments for their food. So here is what we did.

Harvested habaneros, chives, garlic greens, thai chili and sweet peppers from our garden. Non harvested ingredients include sugar, vinegar, water and salt.

Basics to this version: roast all the veggies in the oven, puree all together (omit salt and sugar), place on the stove and simmer with the sugar and salt added.

We have been able to come up with many variations to this basic base included the darker bottle on the right, which is chipotle/rum hot sauce.

For exact recipes, questions, comments, or pictures of your own variations please email me at tainofarm@gmail.com and always remember to be inspired in the kitchen!!!

 

As luck has it, after writing my first post I was able to come into some local cheese from a neighbor. Yes, the thought to sit and eat the whole pound crossed my mind, but instead I decided to integrate it into my first major recipe for my fellow interns.

I decided that I was going to cook a dish that would be a representation of myself reinterpreted using all local and organic foods available at Taino Farm and neighboring farms.

I crossed the three following ideas, they should be relatively familiar to most, to create something unique. The recipes I combined were those of an eggplant parmesan, vegan lasagna, and a french peasant dish known as ratatouille.

I give you Ratatouille Parmesana

(shout out to local artist Samantha Chilvers for helping inspire this dish)

Used all local organic and sustainable farm carrots, potatoes, eggplant and local cheese similar to mozzarella.

Combined that with a variant of marinara using tomatoes, sweet peppers, and herbs from our personal garden (basil, oregano, sage, chives, and garlic greens

This dish was inspired from my italian upbringing where we ate lots of pasta with marinara. Chicken parm is also one of our holiday traditions and I wanted to take those flavors and create something truly unique here at the farm. Sadly this picture does not do it justice but this place came out spectacular and was a huge hit.

For the full break down and recipe please send me an email at tainofarm@gmail.com and I’ll have it written up and sent. Same goes for any dish of method I explain in all of my posts. Don’t be shy. I would love to hear about recreations or variations. Inspire me to inspire you.

Taino Farms, located in the picturesque town of Los Brazos within the Espaillat Province of the Dominican Republic, is a chef’s inspirational zen garden.  Matter of fact, it could be any food enthusiast’s inspirational playground.

My name is Matthew Arnold and I am chef, foodie and culinary enthusiast.  There is not a type of food that I am not interested in or don’t want to learn to cook.  Since I arrived at the farm 2 weeks ago, I have been brimming with new and creative spins to my vastly growing repertoire of recipes. My apologies for not getting this blog up and running sooner but the overwhelming amount creativity, tranquility, and inspiration that exudes from this farm and the townspeople located here has kept me otherwise occupied. But here we go (better late than never).

Locals here grow and raise such a variety of fruit, vegetables, and livestock that the combinations of dishes seems to be endless. At Taino Farm alone we are currently producing 35+ different fruits, vegetables, herbs, greens, and livestock.  We are producing things such as, but not limited to, eggplant, cucumber, thai basil, oregano, sage, habaneros, kale, mustard green, chicken, turkey, tilapia; the list goes on and on. (for full list of available in season items email tainofarm@gmail.com)

My hope for this blog is to inspire you to play and have fun with your cooking, to take the things from here and begin to tweak them to your own liking, take variations of what I have done and show me really what different cooks can collaborate on and bring together. Being inspired to make things that you never thought to attempt before. SHOW ME WHAT YOU DO!! I want to see anything you cook involving organic, locally grown, and whole foods.  What you do inspires me and with any luck what I do will inspire you.

One of my first few days I found myself laying back and trying to collect my thoughts and organize all the things I had seen here at Taino Farm into a dish that would that would represent me to my fellow coworkers and the staff here. I felt that my first big dish needed to really show them a side of my cooking that drew from both my personal tastes as well as incorporate all this farm has to offer. You know, sometimes you just need to step back and take a look at what’s around you, the larger picture, to find your own direction (thanks dad for that one). This is exactly what I did.

The dish will be explain in the following blog. For the actually recipe with full details please send an email to tainofarm@gmail.com and ask me 🙂