Posts tagged ‘Cucumber’

June 26, 2012

Pickles!

Though pickles have long been a favorite of mine, it wasn’t until I gave up all foods with High Fructose Corn Syrup in them that I started pickling on my own. Pickling has not only made me ¬†popular with my friends, I do take pickle requests, it is quick and simple. This is all you need for pickling.

All you need

You need vinegar, kosher salt or pickling salt as it is sometimes called, jars, pickling spices, you can make your own or buy them, I buy them from my local spice shop, water, and kirby cucumbers.

The ratio is very simple. For every 2 quarts of water you need 1 cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup kosher salt. Put those ingredients into a pan and bring to a boil. After you have sterilized the jars by soaking them in boiling water, put one tablespoon of your pickling spices into the bottom of each jar. I add a teaspoon of red hot pepper flakes for a little kick , but you don’t have to. I also add two sprigs of dill to each jar if I have it on hand.

While the water is coming to a boil cut the Kirby cucumbers into either spears or slices. I find that 6 pounds of Kirby’s makes 5 1 quart jars of pickles. This batch I did both.

Once the water comes to boil top off the cucumbers with the brine, seal the jars, done and done. They will keep in the fridge for months. You can also pickle nearly any vegetable using this brine. Cauliflower, asparagus, carrots, green beans (yellow ones work best.)

Pickles

6 pounds Kirby’s
4 quarts water
2 cups vinegar
1 cup Kosher Salt (or pickling)
5 tablespoons pickling spice
5 teaspoons red pepper flakes
10 sprigs dill

Now that the secret is out, my phone is sure to stop ringing.

May 25, 2011

Curry Spiced Cauliflower

Though eating vegan was much easier than I anticipated, I have to admit that a large part of what helped keep me focused was learning to cook several Indian dishes with my friend Shiva who has not only been kind enough to teach me some of what he knows, but also help host an Indian themed dinner party.

Roti Rolls with Fresh Paneer, Cilantro and Cucumbers, Spiced Cauliflower, Fresh Roti's, Chickpea Cake (savory) and Golgappas

I have always been curious about Indian food, the colors, the smell, the fact that a huge amount of it is vegetarian and vegan. But last fall when I tried to make myself some dishes I didn’t have great success, my chicken came out tasting like soap, and my chickpea dish was heavy in that bad heavy way, not in the satisfying way. I was also imbued with the nagging suspicion that the Indian food that I had eaten in New York, which I found incredibly greasy and gut busting, was not the real deal. The wrinkle of Shiva’s nose when I stated this to him let me know that I indeed was correct and for the last two months I have been taking Indian cooking lessons. This cauliflower dish is not only simple to make, but delicious and can be eaten either cold or hot. One of our guests said to me, “I don’t usually like cauliflower, but I liked that.” The success of taking an ingredient that people normally turn their nose up at and have them digging their fork in for more, is the greatest compliment that I can get as a cook.

Curry Spiced Cauliflower

Foodnerdjen factoid: Turmeric is amazing stuff and among its many assets are the fact that it has both anti-bacterial and disinfectant qualities.

Curry Spiced Cauliflower

serves 4

1 head cauliflower broken down into small floret (this is by far the most time-consuming part)

2 tablespoons fresh ginger minced

2 tablespoons cumin seeds

1.5 tablespoon Turmeric

3 tablespoons neutral nut oil (safflower, grapeseed, etc)

1/4 cup water

Once the cauliflower is cut up, heat the oil in a pan that you can cover, or a wok, until the oil is quite hot but not smoking. Add the cumin seeds and cook them until they start to pop (less than a minute), add the ginger and stir then add the turmeric and stir, you want to toast the spices but not burn them (Less than 30 seconds). Quickly add the cauliflower and stir coating it in the spice mixture. Add the water and cover the cauliflower. Turn down the heat to medium low allowing the cauliflower to steam. 10 minutes is usually long enough. Cook longer for a softer texture. An added bonus to this dish is that it retained its texture and taste for several days in my fridge and I used the leftovers I had with some cooked potatoes, celery and yellow onion to make a quick and healthy potato salad.

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