Ginger-Pickled Cucumbers


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With too many cucumbers to keep up with from the garden, I made batches of ginger-pickled cucumbers!

IMG 3202 300x225   Ginger Pickled Cucumbers

ginger-pickled cucumbers!

This is an excellent snack to keep on hand in the fridge or at work.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 Cucumbers
  • 1/4 cup Rice Vinegar
  • Splash of filtered water
  • 1/2 – 1  tsp sugar
  • 1″ piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • Salt, Pepper

You can either peel the cucumbers or leave the skins on.  I like to peel them in stripes because I think I’m fancy.

Combined the sliced cucumbers and all other ingredients in a shallow dish.

You only need splash of water, but you can adjust the vinegar/water/sugar ratio to taste.

Shake the container to coat cucumbers in the mixture and allow to sit at least a few hours in the refrigerator.  The longer these sit the softer and more pickled-tasting they get.  The ginger flavor is so good!!

August 12, 2011
Food, Recipe

 
 

Fresh Garden Salsa: Tomatillo, Tomatoes, and Peppers


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In my garden, the tomatoes just started coming in like crazy! 
I don’t eat tomatoes on everything, so I needed to come up with a way to use the ripe ones so they wouldn’t go to waste.

IMG 2733 300x225   Fresh Garden Salsa: Tomatillo, Tomatoes, and Peppers

cherry tomatoes

IMG 2734 300x133   Fresh Garden Salsa: Tomatillo, Tomatoes, and Peppers

More garden tomatoes

It just so happened that this weekend at the Catonsville Farmer’s Market, my favorite vendor, the White Rose Farm folks, had a huge bag of mixed peppers (purple bell, cowhorn, jalapeno, mild/spicy varieties, etc) at a ridiculously good price.  I’m growing jalapenos, chilli peppers, and bell peppers, but I don’t have that many of any of those yet.
They also had tomatillos for sale, which I got to taste for the first time thanks to the friendly man at the farm stand.  They are really good raw! Crunchy and buttery!

This was also the first time I’ve purchased garlic from the farmer’s market.  At $1 a bunch, it’s not the most economical, but wow was it good! Crisp, so fresh, flavorful, and much more potent.  I only used 2 cloves where I might normally use 4 or more!

With all this in tow, and a bunch of cilantro, I set to work.

IMG 2857 300x225   Fresh Garden Salsa: Tomatillo, Tomatoes, and Peppers

Blended peppers, cilantro and garlic , frozen for future use

Many of the peppers wouldn’t have lasted a full week in the fridge before going off, so I decided to food process all of them at once.   It’s a pain in the moment, but I am so excited for all the leftover pepper/garlic/cilantro mixture I have frozen and waiting for my next culinary usage of them.  At the very least, I can keep this frozen until I get my next batch of ripe tomatoes for more salsa :).

Here’s the general recipe for a delicious, fresh, garden salsa made from tomatillo, peppers, and tomatoes:

Ingredients:

  • 1 part tomatillos
  • 1 part diced tomatoes
  • 1 part mixed peppers (bell, cowhorn, jalapeno, mild/spicy varieties, etc..)
  • garlic (2 cloves of farmer’s market garlic goes a long way!)

    IMG 2854 300x225   Fresh Garden Salsa: Tomatillo, Tomatoes, and Peppers

    Mixed peppers, Tomatillos, Tomatoes, and Garlic

  • leek (1/4 cup chopped or to taste, or onion if you prefer, but leek is milder, and I didn’t use much)
  • cilantro (handful–to taste!)
IMG 2860 300x225   Fresh Garden Salsa: Tomatillo, Tomatoes, and Peppers

Cilantro

Directions:

Add garlic, leek, cilantro, peppers and tomatillos to the food processor and blend into very small pieces (but not entirely pureed).

IMG 2853 283x300   Fresh Garden Salsa: Tomatillo, Tomatoes, and Peppers

peppers in the food processor

IMG 2856 300x225   Fresh Garden Salsa: Tomatillo, Tomatoes, and Peppers

Food processing ingredients

Dice tomatoes and combine in a bowl with salt and pepper to taste.  Adjust amount of jalapenos and hot peppers for spiciness.

YUM!

IMG 2865 300x225   Fresh Garden Salsa: Tomatillo, Tomatoes, and Peppers

Fresh Garden Salsa with Tomatillos, Tomatoes, and mixed Peppers


After devouring our first batch with chips, we added more on top of some homemade shrimp burritos! YUM!!
This salsa had just the right amount of spiciness (adjust pepper ratio to taste)!

IMG 2871 300x225   Fresh Garden Salsa: Tomatillo, Tomatoes, and Peppers

Garden Salsa on a shrimp burrito

August 6, 2011
Food, Recipe

 
 

Banana “Nice” Cream: dairy-free frozen treat


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I discovered a recipe for Banana “nice” cream last summer via the Whole Foods email list.

An earlier post describes tips for making chocolate-cherry “nice” cream, but this post will give a better breakdown of our version of this basic version of this dish.

Instead of throwing out your over-ripe (or nearly over-ripe) bananas, peel them and toss them in the freezer.  With a little almond milk (or soy) and peanut butter (or almond butter) and a blender, you can have an ice-cream like dessert that is dairy-free, lower in sugar and much lower in fat content than regular ice cream.  You can modify this recipe by adding different flavors or ingredients.  I would like to make it with cardamom and/or tea–a chai version maybe!

This is a quick, easy, and delicious dessert for the summer!

IMG 2466 300x225   Banana Nice Cream: dairy free frozen treat

Banana "nice" cream -- frozen dairy-free treat made with bananas, peanut butter, and almond milk

Unsweetened almond milk is delicious in this context and doesn’t have as strong / over powering of a flavor as soy milk, in my opinion.

Ingredients

  • 2 bananas, sliced and frozen
  • 1/2-1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp – 1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
  • dash of vanilla extract

    IMG 2463 300x225   Banana Nice Cream: dairy free frozen treat

    Almond milk, frozen bananas, peanut butter, vanilla extract

Directions

  • Add all ingredients to the blender or food processor

    IMG 2464 300x225   Banana Nice Cream: dairy free frozen treat

    Blending the Banana "nice" cream

  • Purée just until bananas are blended, but not so much that everything melts and turns runny
  • Pour into two bowls and serve.

    IMG 2465 300x225   Banana Nice Cream: dairy free frozen treat

    Banana "nice" cream

August 5, 2011
Food, Recipe

 
 

Chana Masala


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I absolutely LOVE this simple dish!  I’ve adapted it from Rabbit Food, Dan’s favorite vegetarian cookbook.

Note two important things:

–  Canned beans and tomato paste have a LOT of salt in them.  If you have time to rehydrate your own chickpeas or can find a no-salt-added variety, that would be a good idea.

–  All spice amounts are subjective.  I use the amounts given in Rabbit Food to get an idea of proportion (a little of this, a lot of that), but I don’t really measure anything.  The flavor I go for is bold but not painful, whereas Dan prefers to sweat when he eats.

Ingredients

2 cans chickpeas, drained and liquid reserved

1 in. piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

3-6 garlic cloves

1 Tbs lemon juice

1 small can tomato paste

2 Tbs olive oil

Spices: 1tsp garam masala, 2 tsp coriander, 1/4 tsp cayenne powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp amchur (optional)

photo 11 300x225   Chana Masala

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions

Heat the EVOO with the spices (adjusted to taste), ginger, and garlic.

photo 13 300x225   Chana Masala

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add the onion, 2-3Tbs of the tomato paste, lemon juice, and about 1 cup of the leftover bean liquid.  You could probably substitute the liquid with something less salty like water or low sodium broth.  If I’m going to add in other things to this dish, which I often do, I’ll add in more tomato paste and more liquid.  I’d suggest adding peas, potatoes, or any veggies you really like but adjust the cooking times accordingly.

photo 14 300x225   Chana Masala

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let this simmer briefly.

Next, add the chickpeas.  Cook covered about 20 minutes.  Add in your ad-libbed veggies as appropriate.  The chickpeas will be soft and have soaked in the flavor of the sauce when they are done.

photo 15 300x225   Chana Masala

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You probably want to cook some rice to go with this.  I like to garnish it with tomatoes (today, kumatos) and cilantro.

 

July 12, 2011
Food, Recipe

 
 

Tzatziki (Greek yogurt / cucumber dip)


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Throw away your ranch dressing! It’s awful for you.
Well, at least try this first.

This is one of the easiest, most delicious, healthy, versatile dips/sauces you can make, and I urge everyone to give it a fair chance.

Tzatziki: Tzatziki, tzadziki, or tsatsiki (Greek: τζατζίκι [dzaˈdzici] or [dʒaˈdʒici]; English pronunciation: /zæˈdziːkiː/)
You’ve probably seen tzatziki on top of your gyro, or served along side pita wedges as a part of a mezze.  Greeks do meze / mezze / mezzedes  like the Spanish do tapas:  small plates of food shared amongst diners.

IMG 1296 300x225   Tzatziki (Greek yogurt / cucumber dip)

Cucumber, lemon, fennel, yogurt

There are variations on this dip, but in general these are the ingredients:

  • Greek Yogurt (I used Chobani, which I love and is fat-free.  I also love the Total/Fage brand.  Whichever is on sale)
  • Diced cucumber, and additional sliced cucumber to dip/garnish
  • Garlic or garlic powder (if you don’t have time to let it sit overnight, use powder)
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt, pepper
  • Optional but delicious: dill or Fennel (I used fennel and loved this). I highly recommend these herb scissors I just received as a gift from my mom ( Beach Dazed) as they have 4 blades that slice your fresh herbs right into your bowl–no waste of flavor or herbs, and quite a time saver.
    IMG 12741 300x225   Tzatziki (Greek yogurt / cucumber dip)

    Fennel leaves

  • Parsley, mint, and olive oil are all optional enhancements.  Feel free to play around.

Greek yogurt, which is frequently fat-free, is high in protein (higher than other yogurts), has a thicker, creamier texture than other yogurt, and can be used as a substitute for cream and other products in baking and cooking.  For instance, replace cream, cheese, or coconut milk in a curry with Greek Yogurt.  It works, and is delicious. I’ve done it many times.
How I made this batch of tzatziki that had me “mmmmm-ing” with everything I dipped into it (zucchini fritters, dolmades / stuffed grape leaves, cucumbers, keftedes / meatballs, bread… etc.):

  1. Get a large container of greek yogurt and transfer to a larger bowl.
  2. Peel 1/2 of a cucumber, dice and add to the yogurt.
  3. Take the other 1/2 of the cucumber (skin on, if you like) and slice it thickly for dipping/garnishing
  4. Add a healthy squeeze of lemon (1/2 a lemon or less will do, to taste) to the yogurt dip
  5. Sprinkle in a little garlic powder (to taste, again, but tzatziki should be garlicky). You can add fresh minced garlic if you have time to let the dip sit overnight, to absorb the flavors.
  6. Chop 1/3 cup fresh fennel leaves into the dip, or dill if you have that.  I recommend using these herb scissors, they made my life SO much easier (above).
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste
IMG 1297 300x225   Tzatziki (Greek yogurt / cucumber dip)

sliced cucumber, and tzatziki before mixing

Enjoy!! Use as a dip for raw veggies, meze foods, fritters, meatballs, pita or bread.  The prep time is only 5 minutes!

IMG 1308 300x225   Tzatziki (Greek yogurt / cucumber dip)

Tzatziki served with Dolmades (grape leaves), Keftedes (meatballs), and Zucchini Fritters

May 3, 2011
Food, Kitchen Gadgets, Recipe