19 May 2013
So. PICKLES. I love pickles. You may have noticed me loving pickles over the past year or two as I merrily made pickled beets and refrigerator dills and curtido de repollo. If I ever form a band, it's going to be called Zesty Pickle, and the first single will be called Cronching. Okay?
This week it was time for carrot pickles, aka "the finest garnish to ever grace a taco."
I made my first-ever batch of refrigerator carrot pickles about a year and a half ago after reading about them on Budget Bytes. They were totally delicious and vanished in short order.
When I was making this batch, I realized I had a lonely half bunch of radishes sitting around unloved at the bottom of the crisper. Clearly, they needed the pickle treatment too, so I sliced them up and added them to my carrots, jalapenos, and red onion. The finished pickle is more or less a complete set of excellent taqueria-style garnishes, all crammed together into one beautiful jar. Perfect!
Side note: is it just me, or is everyone cooking their radishes lately? Roasts and braises and pan-fries and pickles...so tasteable.
Spicy carrot, red onion, and radish pickles
1 cup water
2 cups vinegar
1 tsp salt
~15 grinds black pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
1 red onion
1-2 jalapenos, depending on your spice preference
Combine everything except the vegetables in a 3-quart pot. Bring the pot to a boil, covered, while you trim and chop all your vegetables into whatever shapes you prefer.
When the pot is boiling, carefully add your chopped vegetables. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the veg is all done to your preferred texture. Decant into warmed mason jars, lid, and put in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, voila! Pickle melange! This made about 3 pints.
So pretty! I especially love how bright pink the brine is. I'm guessing both the red onion and purple carrot help with that.
These guys are classic as a garnish on the taco, tostada, or burrito of your choice. They'd be great with fresh grilled corn (whenever corn makes its way into the market, that is). I have also been strewing them liberally over bowls of chili to excellent effect. Hooray for carrot pickles!
Have you been pickling anything lately?
15 May 2013
One big benefit to living in California is the produce. No, I can't have ramps, but yes, I can have a 2-lb bag of tiny avocados for $2. Seems like a fair exchange to me.
So the other day I was pondering my breakfast options. I had my bag of avocados, a couple bananas, a new vat of plain yogurt, and a bunch of spinach. It was clearly time for a cool and comforting green smoothie.
I've said I dislike bananas in smoothies, and this is generally true, since the bananas required are generally the truly squishy and brown ones that get chopped up and thrown in back of the freezer as a last resort against waste. But I didn't use a frozen overripe banana--I used a fresh, barely ripe, slightly firm banana. In short, I used a banana caught at the exact stage I want to eat it most.
This turned out to be an excellent plan.
Banana avocado spinach flaxseed smoothie
1 banana, unfrozen
big handful spinach leaves
1-2 tsp flaxseed meal
several large spoonfuls plain yogurt
1 small avocado or 1/2 large
Blend it! Drink it!
The result was very thick and creamy, so if you prefer a thinner smoothie, you may want to add a couple ice cubes or a splash of the milk of your choice before blending.
What are you chucking into your smoothies lately?
12 May 2013
Like everyone who writes a foodblog, I make and eat a lot of food I don't write about. Let's look at some of it!
I was excited enough about zucchini that I made and ate not only two separate instances of zucchini tacos, but also a pan of fried rice. Green onion, mushroom, carrot, zucchini, leftover brown long-grain rice, and egg. I mixed the onion greens and some chopped cilantro in at the end, then scattered the plate with little bits of parmesan. Yes please.
I got super excited a couple weeks ago when I saw this recipe for Goan black-eyed pea curry on Girl Cooks World. So I cooked up a batch, and we ate it for dinner, and was it ever good. SO good. It's absolutely going in the rotation.
Next time I think I might shred a couple carrots and add them near the end of cooking, to up the vegetable content and add another textural element. Or maybe I'll serve it over a big plate of barely blanched spinach tossed with a little melted butter instead of rice. Either. Both. I don't know!
And finally, because I don't know about you, but I totally bought an entire two pound bag of tiny avocados a few weeks ago, we have AVOCADO TOAST. I just sliced up half an avocado, put it on a piece of hot toast, and added a sprinkle of salt and pepper. With a little bowl of cottage cheese with chopped green onion and cilantro, it was a perfect breakfast.
What have you been cooking, photographing, eating with great gusto, and then never posting about? You guys must have all kinds of delicious business that never sees the light of day too, right?