Three Cucumber Salads

Cucumber Salad

Why three cucumber salads in one post? Because I got 15 pounds of cucumbers from the Food Bank’s Harvest Share program and cucumbers do not keep that well without some vinegar. So, I spent a long time slicing and dicing and mixed up three huge salads. Two of them based on my mom’s delicious old-fashioned cucumber salad.

This is mom’s recipe. Slice your cucumbers no more than 1/4 inch thick. I used a mandoline and easily sliced wafer thin slices. Layer the slices in a container with high sides, lightly salting between layers. I used Glad’s 13 cup family size container which held about 8 -10 large cucumbers, sliced. I put a sheet of wax paper over the container and set my cast iron fry pan on top of the wax paper and then put my tea kettle on top of that so it was weighted down heavily. I left it for a few hours and came back to add the dressing.

After two hours, I dumped the cucumbers into a big colander and let them drain. Rinsing the Glad container to get the saltiness out, I mixed the dressing right in the container while the cukes drained. I used 2 cups of white vinegar, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 TBSP of dill weed, 1 tsp of garlic salt, and 2 tsp of celery seed.  I squeezed the juice out of the cucumbers, added them back into the container with the dressing and refrigerated overnight so they absorbed back the fluid I had drawn out with salt. Now they are saturated with a fresh dill flavor that has a mild bite. Makes 10 cups of salad.

Cucumber Salad

I only made about 7 cups of this salad because I used oil so it won’t last as long. To make it I cut the cucumbers into 4-6 inch long lengths that I shredded on the mandoline, making threads of cucumber. I also sliced and diced finely two purple onions. I salted and let rest for about an hour. Squeezing out the excess, I grated the zest of two limes over the salad, mixing it in. Then,  squeezed the lime juice into a sauce bowl for the dressing. I added 3/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar, 1/4 cup light olive oil, 2 TBSP of soy sauce, salt, pepper, and 2 tsp of red pepper flakes. I poured on top of the cucumber and onions, shook and let sit to absorb flavors for a few hours. This is a spicy, tangy salad with that delicious earthy tang of limes and the heat of peppers.  It’s delicious on a sandwich with pulled pork. Makes six cups of salad.

Cucumber Salad

These are pepper-salted cucumber slices, also a recipe from my mom. As before, I sliced the cucumbers, layering with salt until I filled the 13 cup container. I added weight on top of them and let them sit for two hours to draw out the liquid. I drained them in a colander, squeezing out all the liquid I could.

In the 13 cup plastic container, I added 2 cups of vinegar, 1/4 cup of sugar, and 1 TBSP of pepper. I mixed together, Added the cucumber and let it soak up the vinegar overnight. This has a fresh vinegary taste with a bit of bite from the pepper, fresh and cool followed by just a bit of heat. Makes 10 cups.

Advertisements

Sausage & Lima Bean Stuffed Portabello Mushroom

Portobello mushrooms were just 1.99 per pound at the grocery store last week, so I picked up a couple, knowing how much I love them stuffed. Then I went and used the spinach I planned to stuff them with for something else and had this crazy idea I would try lima beans. I have some frozen lima beans from Harvest Share and thought why not? After all, lima beans are not super moist, so they might be great stuffing.

I preheated the oven to 350° F while I mixed the following in a bowl.

  • 1 cup of lima beans (thawed in microwave for 1 minute)
  • 4 links of half-cooked breakfast sausage, peeled and cut (I heated in microwave for 1 minute and drained off the fat, peeled off the skin and cut into small pieces.)
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • stems from 2 large portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 egg

Mix all this together and stuff into the cleaned caps of two large portobello mushrooms. I had some left over, I will use it with scrambled eggs.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

You can shred some parmesan cheese on top if you like, but it’s not needed. Lima beans are a great choice for stuffing as they don’t lose their shape or substance when cooked, so the stuffing does not become overly mushy. All the ingredients in the stuffing were chosen to remain their constituent selves while holding together. They worked. The stuffing was completely cooked, but not the least bit soggy or mushy…thanks to draining off the sausage grease and using ingredients with low water content. Paprika seems to be made for mushrooms and works well, too with lima beans and sausage. This is a very satisfying meal that takes care of all your umami longings while remaining relatively light and fresh. This makes two stuffed mushrooms which would serve two if accompanied by salad or soup, or one meal on their own.

Broccoli Frittata

singleservings-8

Turn oven on broil

Bring water to a boil in a small pan. As soon as it’s boiling, drop broccoli in for 90 seconds. Drain.

Chop up 4 slices of bacon. Toss in 2 sprigs of fresh thyme. Cook in medium cast iron skillet.

Dice one small onion (I used a red onion.) Add to skillet and sauté until transparent. Add parboiled broccoli.

Beat 4 eggs, add 1/2 cup milk and pour into the skillet. Stir slowly, pulling from the outside to the center. When the eggs are early cooked through remove from the heat.

Add a 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese across the top. Broil until toasty.

singleservings-7

This is delicious and makes four servings.

Scrambled Eggs with Bok Choy and Bacon

Eggs Bok Choy Leaves

Chop up two slices of bacon into small bits and fry in cast iron skillet on medium heat with about 2 TBSP of chopped red onion until onions are transparent.

Tear the green tops off some bok chop and rinse clean. Roll up into a tight little cigarette shape and chop finely (usually called chiffonade) and sauté lightly.

Crack 3 eggs, stir together with 1 tablespoon of cold water. Pour into skillet, stir briefly before turning down the heat and keep stirring gently until done. You want to soft scramble the egg so it’s fluffy, moist and soft.

Add salt and pepper when you’re done. Salt added during cooking ruins scrambled eggs.

Makes one serving. It’s delicious, the bok choy leaves are a great blend with bacon and onions.

Chop Salad

dscn6848

This is a simple salad that is fast, easy, crunchy and delicious.

Strain a can of chickpeas and rinse in cold water. Let drip dry a bit before tossing in a bowl.

Chop up the following veggies to add:

  • Dice 1/4 red onion
  • Slice 2 radishes
  • Chop one celery stalk
  • Chop one Carrot
  • Chop some fresh cilantro

Mix together 1 TBSP of seasoned rice vinegar with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. The usual ration of vinegar is 1 to 4 to emulsify, but I like it a bit more vinegary. I do it about one to one, then add some salt and pepper.

It’s better the next day. Makes two servings.

 

Scrambled Eggs with Rocket, Peppers and Onions

dscn6745

This was a delicious breakfast scramble and so easy.

I heated my cast iron skillet to medium, melting about 1 TBSP of butter, tilting the pan to make sure it was all coated with butter. I had a bag of those mini bell peppers in all colors.  I chopped up about 2 TBSP of red onion, added it to the pan and let it cook. Then I chopped up 2 TBSP of red and yellow peppers and added it to the onions. I cooked until tender. I lowered the heat to low, so I could slow scramble.

While they were cooking, I cracked 3 eggs, added 1 TBSP of water, and blended with a fork. I also grabbed about 1/2 of fresh rocket (arugula) and chopped it up.

After the heat was lowered, I added the eggs and began stirring, stirring, stirring, stirring. Slow scrambling makes super creamy eggs, but they do require a lot of stirring. As soon as the eggs started to solidify, I added the rocket. I did not want it to overcook, so it went in last. I kept stirring until the eggs were done. I then added some salt and pepper to taste. Remember, never add salt to scrambled eggs until they are cooked or they will break.

This was a delicious and hearty breakfast. I like the peppery zest of the rocket.

Fry Bread with Apples and Yogurt

dscn6739

I made these last month when it was too hot to turn on the oven, but wanted to make an apple dessert. I decided to make some fry bread with apples and yogurt.

To make the fry bread. Heat vegetable oil in a deep pan. Use plenty of oil (1 or 2 cups), you can strain it through a cheese cloth and use it again.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup water

Mix together and form into four rounds. Drop into the oil, one or two at a time, depending on the size of your pan. You want plenty of space. When one side is done, flip it over and fry on the other side. Remove and rest on paper towels to drain, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

So, these are slightly savory apples. I put 1/2 TBSP of butter in a pan with some sliced red onions and a few rosemary leaves. I added two apples, peeled and sectioned, and cooked until tender but not mushy, adding a TBSP of sugar at the end to sweeten the onions a little bit more.

I served  half the apples with two fry bread and a spoonful of yogurt. This made two servings.

Roast Pork with Cabbage Slaw Sandwich

DSCN6192

I love sandwiches, but don’t buy bread that often. However, I got a few loaves of Dave’s Killer Bread Good Seed bread and having been trying it out. It is a sweet, moist bread filled with all sorts of seeds as you can see in the picture. Being on the sweet side makes it tricky, because you want to counter that sweetness. i have found the perfect sandwich to make with it though, using a sweet/sour cabbage slaw that has a tart brightness that balances perfectly.

I made a nice big batch of cabbage slaw, enough for a few lunches and several sandwiches. I cut up a small head of green cabbage in thin strips, leaving out the core. As I cut the cabbage, I lightly salted it and let it rest to release some of the liquid. About an hour later, I poured off the liquid and squeezed the cabbage. I diced one small red onion and added it to the cabbage. Then I made a dressing of 1/2 cup of rice wine vinegar and 2 TBSP of sugar. I adde some salt and pepper, stirred it up and poured it on the slaw. Then I sprinkled a teaspoon of celery seed on top, put a lid on it and gave it a good shake. Pro-tip: make sure that lid is nice and secure because even the slightest gap will send some of that vinegar heading directly for your eye. After it’s mixed up. Let it rest for a couple hours so the cabbage soaks up that sweet and sour vinegary yumminess.

DSCN6189

I had roasted an pork roast coated in Earl Grey tea the day before and cut a few slices off the roast for the salad. I  took two slices of bread, spread some mayo on it, added a nice layer of cabbage slaw, a couple slices of the roast pork and topped with with the other slice of bread. Wow! The aromatic flavor of the pork and the sweet and sour slaw are a great combination, which I already knew. On the bread, though, it was really a revelation in how balancing flavors can enhance them. That bread was good before, but now it was excellent when it had that slaw as a foil to balance its sweetness.

Serena’s Roast Pork, Celery and Asparagus Salad with Lingonberry Vinaigrette

Serena's Roast Pork, Aspragus and Celery Salad

  • 1/3rd cup of Red Onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, cleaned and sliced diagonally
  • 2 raw asparagus spears, sliced with a peeler into thin strips
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese
  • 3 oz. Earl Grey roast pork
  • 6 toasted almonds, chopped

Dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon lingonberry preserves
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • 1/2 fresh lemon, squeezed for juice

The apartment manager came by this morning with someone from Sherwin-Williams to see about fixing the problem with my flooring. I had a Earl Grey pork roast in the oven and the apartment smelled like a dream so I asked her to come by later for lunch. I served some Fresh Asparagus Salad with the roast pork. It was delicious, but she asked for apple sauce. I didn’t have any, so I suggest trying lingonberry preserves. They were the first she has ever had and she is already planning a trip to Ikea. Anyway, her enjoyment of the lingonberries, which she put on both the roast pork and the salad inspired me to try to come up with a lingonberry vinaigrette and salad. Of course, I named it after to Serena as she was the inspiration.

The asparagus strips are not very substantial, so I knew I needed another vegetable to give the salad some body or the pork would overwhelm it texture-wise. I opted for celery since its flavor is mild and in the same wheelhouse as asparagus Also, the crispy texture would be a plus. I added some red onions for color and to balance the feta. I knew I wanted some cheese, but though parmesan would not be as happy with the roast pork as feta. The chopped almonds are the crack that makes all salads irresistible. I used two slices of roast pork, which I weighed out at 3.1 ounces, sliced them into small pieces and tossed them in.

In a separate small bowl, I put in 1 TBSP of lingonberry preserves, the juice from 1/2 of a fresh lemon, 1 tsp of olive oil and 1 TBSP of red wine vinegar and mixed it altogether. It was tart and sweet and had a real bite to it, though tossed with the entire salad, that bite was mellowed out to a perfect tartness.

The salad was everything I had hoped for. Made one large serving

Sour Cream Slaw with Fennel

Sour Cream Cole Slaw with Fennel, Carrots and Dried Cranberries

I had company the other day and decided to make a big batch of cole slaw. I love cole slaw and am always trying to find new ways to make this favorite form of salad. Of course I started with cabbage. Using a mandoline, I cut 1/2 of a medium sized head of cabbage into thin slices. I added some salt and let it rest for an hour. After an hour, I squeezed the excess liquid out. This keeps the salad from getting watery after it is dressed.

Next I sliced one bulb of fresh fennel on the mandoline, I set the slicer blade at the thinnest option for both the cabbage and the fennel. I then peeled and sliced on carrot, switching out the triangular piece of the mandoline from flat to one that cuts matchsticks. I chopped up one half of a Spanish or red onion and added that. I shook all the ingredients together.

For the dressing, I added about 1/2 cup of sour cream and squeezed in the juice of one fresh lemon. I then added 1 TBSP of white wine vinegar, some salt and pepper and a tbsp of poppy seeds. Lastly I added a large handful of dried cranberries.

The fennel adds a great light tanginess to the hearty slaw. The dried cranberries balance the sourness of the sour cream and the choice of sour cream instead of mayonnaise made this salad much lighter and fresher tasting, perfect for a hot summer day.

This made 8-10 servings.