Awww … There Goes August!

edamame salad 5I made up a salad!  I am quite excited about this … this is the way things are supposed to work. I had a bunch of ingredients (including WAY too many zucchini – if you can possibly believe such a thing about this time of year) so I said to myself “Self – how can we put these together so they taste better together than they do apart?”  And the “Serendipity Salad” was born and got rave reviews on its first few outings.

Mind you, the name is misleading.  I was able to put this together because we stay prepared.  We always have pickled ginger (gari) on hand.  We always have beautiful red onions, Canadian grown, shelled and frozen edamame, a selection of herbs and of course, the beautiful produce from our organic farm.  Perhaps this salad needs a new name (suggestions welcome).

So here we go …

I love gari or, as you may know it, “sushi ginger”.  I used to go to the Asian market and buy a bunch of  jars of it to cook with.  Then, one day I read the ingredients!  Now we make our own – cheaper, healthier and much more fun.

Slice peeled ginger – young and firm is best – as thinly as possible, making sure you cut across the grain.  A kitchen “mandolin” or V-cutter is useful for getting ginger paper thin.  Be careful with this instrument, though! v cutter 2It is so sharp and you can get going at such a clip that it is easy to miss the transition from ginger to finger and we don’t want that!  Place the ginger slices in a canning (heat resistant) jar.

At this point, you can add a couple slices of raw, peeled beet – to give it the traditional pink colour, if that is important to you. It won’t affect the taste but it is pretty.  Just don’t add too much beet or it will turn out quite a surprising colour!

Bring to a boil …            

2 c rice wine vinegar

1 T sea salt

½ c sugar or maple syrup or honey

When this liquid is boiling, pour it over the ginger in the jar – making sure to cover well. Allow it all to come to room temperature then lid and refrigerate.  Let it sit in the fridge for 3 days before using.  Make a lot, it’s good for you and your digestion (see my post “Ginger is the New Garlic”) and it lasts almost forever!  Use the juice in salads or sauces.

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2 hours before starting on the recipe … start the onions pickling!

Place in a steep-sided stainless steel or glass bowl …

2 c red onion – sliced thinly and attractively

Cover with red wine vinegar and add …

1 t salt

1 T black pepper

2 T maple syrup or sugar

Stir well and leave in a warmish place to pickle – stirring occasionally. The red colour will soften to pink and blur slightly and the harsh taste will soften as well.

Mix … 

8 c zucchini – very finely sliced (the mandolin works well here too)

1 c pickled red onion

1 c edamame (without shells)

¼ c sliced green onion

¼ c chopped cilantro

2 T slivered pickled ginger

Whisk together …

1/4 c pickled ginger juice

2 T lime juice

3 T toasted sesame oil

Whisk in slowly – to form an emulsion …

1/4 c vegetable (or other neutral-flavoured oil)

Dress the salad and garnish with black and white sesame seeds.

Enjoy! gari 5Wishing you a most felicitous fall!  I hope this recipe will help you take care of any backlog of summer squash … freeing you up to take care of yourselves, our mother earth and each other!  ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reflections on a gift of a Watermelon Pickle recipe.

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This title will only make sense to people who remember a certain middle-school English Literature textbook.  I’m not sure I really understood the poem at the time but now I am glad that I (was forced to) read it … otherwise when I finally did stumble across a recipe for pickled watermelon rind, I might have laughed in disbelief and turned away!  Yes, it sounds weird and it may not have many redeeming nutritional qualities but it certainly is yummy and it surely makes a unique gift as well as a sure-fire conversation piece.

You will need a watermelon with a solid, thick rind for this recipe.  If you can manage to leave a little of the red flesh clinging to the inside, it provides a nice visual accent.  Carefully pare all traces of green off of the outside and cut into your preferred shapes.  I am partial to triangles and parallelograms but I have seen “fingers” that look great served in a ‘rocks’ glass.  Most recipes call for salting it overnight and then rinsing well in the morning … this is supposed to give it a better texture.  One day I will do a carefully designed and conclusive comparison of the two methods but until then I just race right in to the pickling stage and that leaves more time for the 1001 other tasks that daily surround us all!   Some recipes advise tying the spices in a cheesecloth for easy removal.  Personally, I like the look of the star anise and the cinnamon sticks.  As for the ginger and the cloves … well, I just chew them up for an extra flavour hit!

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Watermelon Pickle

Bring to a boil in a non-reactive pot …

2 c apple cider vinegar

2 c apple cider

1 c organic cane sugar

1 T sea salt

2 pieces of star anise

2 cinnamon sticks

1 whole nutmeg – carefully cut in half

1 T each of whole cloves and peppercorns

2 T ginger root – peeled and sliced across the grain

10 c watermelon rind – all green removed and cut into small, attractive pieces

Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until rind is translucent and texturally soft – but not soggy  (about 10 minutes).

In each of 2 one-litre canning jars (heat-resistant!!) place….

1 lemon and 1 orange – sliced and de-seeded

Fill the jars  with the watermelon pieces and pour the hot pickling liquid over all to cover.  Lid the jars and allow them to cool.  These pickles are really better if you can allow them to macerate for a couple of days … but I will understand if you can’t wait.

Note, please that these pickles need to be refrigerated!  You can process them in a water bath so that they are shelf-stable … but I never do.  There is always room in the fridge and they don’t seem to last long anyway!  Enjoy!

 

And finally … one of the 1001 reasons that I love my job …

fawn 1 cropped The scenery is fantastic!  This little darling’s Mom parked him/her for the day in the long grass in the centre of the labyrinth while she went off to do Mom-deer things.  I hope the little guy got a lot of meditation done.  Thanks to everyone for being so respectful and letting her/him enjoy the peace of this place.

Take care of yourselves, each other and the rest of the world!  ❤