Cucumber Salad

This recipe comes from my husband’s Grandmother.  This year marks her 90th birthday.  In honor of her birthday I have decided to share this great family salad.  It’s not a secret and I know many of you have made some version of this salad before but here is the way Grandma would make it.  I will then add my own notes to the end if you want to clean the salad up a little 🙂

 

Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

4 to 5 large cucumbers washed and thinly sliced (skin on or off your choice) slice them either by hand or on a mandolin

1 large red onion sliced (if you like bite size pieces then cut slices in half)

apple cider vinegar 1 tablespoon at a time

15 oz sour cream (add one scoop at a time)

salt and peper to taste

1 tablespoon granulated sugar (optional)

 

Directions:

Slice cucumbers and onion.  Place in a large bowl with a lid.  Fill bowl with cold water just to cover cucumber and onions.  Add about two tablespoons of salt to water.  Stir in salt, cover and let sit over night.

Drain off water the next day.  Add a spoonful of sour cream at a time mixing well after each spoonful.  Your are looking for cucumber and onion to be covered by no floating in sour cream.  Then add 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, mix and taste.   If you like vinegar at another but I would not go over 2 tablespoons unless you really like vinegar.  Mix well and add more salt and pepper to taste.

Keep refrigerated.  More often than not this salad is better when it can rest for a few hours before serving.

 

If you want to have this salad but no dairy.  Use a tofu sour cream.  I found one at my local health food store and I did a taste test with my husband and he enjoy the tofu sour cream just as much as the dairy one.  The only thing I would suggest is to add a little more vinegar and let the salad rest a little longer.

If you skip the soaking the cucumber and onions in the salt water bath you will taste the difference.  The cucumbers are much better with a salt infused into them.  If you just mix in salt the cucumber just does not have enough time to pull in the salt.

 

Enjoy!

 

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Potato Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives

I found this recipe in the book “Eating on the Wild Side” By Jo Robinson.

It is now a family favorite.   We love that it is not a mayonnaise base salad. I do not put the meat on this salad.  We think  it tastes great without it. I try very hard to find blue flesh potatoes however it is sometimes very difficult. Try your best to find small potatoes that have colored flesh.  One thing to remember is to cook the potatoes the night before you want this salad.

Another great salad for the summer!

Enjoy!

Ingredients:
2 pounds unpeeled new potatoes or unpeeled baking potatoes, preferably with red, blue, or purple flesh
1/2 cup oil packed sun dried tomatoes drained and chopped or julienned
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion or chopped scallions (including white and green parts)
1/3 extra virgin olive oil, preferably unfiltered
3 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 to 2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard or 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/2 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives
1/3 cup chopped prosciutto or diced cooked bacon (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Steam or microwave the potatoes in their skins until they are tender. Cool and sore in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Quarter the chilled potatoes, then cut into 1/4 inch slices and place in a large mixing bowl. DO NOT REMOVE SKINS
2. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over potatoes. Toss to coat evenly. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Dill Pickled Cucumbers a summer treat

About two weeks ago I decided to try my hand at fermenting food.  In Michael Pollan’s book “Cooked” he talks about using the different elements: Earth, Water, Air and Fire to cook.  So far I have worked with water and air.  Truly in Arizona I don’t feel the need to cook over fire, but one day I think I might.  Maybe this summer when we head back to Michigan I might cook using a wood fire.  Any ways my pickles are my first atempt to using “earth”. Letting what nature has to offer to make food taste different.  So here is my pickle recipe that I used.  My family loved them.  My husband even ate the pickled garlic from the jar too!

 

Dill Pickled Cucumbers

Ingredients:

3-4 pounds young and small cucumber (dark green and firm)

2-4 springs of fresh dill

6-8 cloves fresh garlic, peeled cut in half if you like

water

kosher salt

white vinegar

 

1. In a large jar place 2 sprigs of dill 3 to 4 cloves of garlic

2. Wash and cut ends off of cucumbers

3. Cut cucumber into spears if  cucumbers are large.  Place cucumber into jar until full

4. Add water to the jar, one cup at a time.  Then add 1 Tablespoon kosher salt and 2 Tablespoons of white vinegar for every 3 cups of water added.

5. Top with 2 more sprigs of dill and a few more garlic cloves seal jar

6. Once jar is sealed gently shake to mix

7. Set in a window or outside to get direct sunlight.  Allow 4 days for fermenting. If you like more sore pickles let them sit a day or two more.

8. Refrigerate and enjoy!

Farm

Well the local farm I visit has been cleared for over 200 herbicides and pesticides.  They have kept their “organic” label.  Back to the farm we go.  However, the weather in the summer  in Arizona makes it hard to grow so the farm will be closing until October.

Sad News

So today I thought I would stop by out local organic farm and grab some treats for our holiday this weekend.  To my utter amazement the farm was packed! I thought this was a good sign but sadly I found out there were so many people on hand due to the bad news they received about their soil sample they sent in.  The soil has a herbicide.  I have such mixed feelings on this news.  I am so happy they shared right away.  I am also happy that they do what they said they do and test the soil regularly.   They also gave out information about the herbicide.  They also gave the customer the option to shop or to get their money back if they paid in advance.  Stand up customer service I LOVE IT!  

However, when I read about this herbicide, I just can’t believe that our local Government would be using this to kill weeds in the water drainage area when the notice on the herbicide says not to use near water.  This just leads me down the road that our Government just does not understand life has a whole.  Life has been reduced so much that people are forgetting that we are not a lone. What each and everyone of us does in some way shape and form effects the person next to you and half way around the world too.  We need to start to really think about our actions.  

I just read an article that put a negative spin on giving people hope to make small changes.  I am sorry but I just don’t agree with that.  Each of us no matter how small the change, we can change.  Change is nothing to be afraid of.  Look at all the change that has already occurred.  

I am not going to stop buying from my local farm.  I rather have one herbicide to have my body detox then whatever and how many ever are in the commercial industrialize food from who knows where.  

Just remember set backs sometimes are Gods way of making sure we are honest people.  I thank the farm for staying true to their word.  I trust my local farmer and I support the local farms!

 

 

 

Bread

So I haven’t posted in awhile due to the fact I am obsessed with bread.  I just finished Michael Pollan’s book “Cooked”.  What a wonderful book.  If any of you are looking for a great book about food I recommend reading the collection by Michael Pollan.  Okay back to the bread. So in the book “Cooked” Michael Pollan talks about making bread and it got me thinking if a writer can make bread then I could make bread.  I started by reading a few more books about making bread, just to make sure I had the knowledge I really needed and not just a crazy idea to do this.  With all tools in hand and the knowledge in my brain I set out to make my first loaf of a Rustic Wheat bread.  Four hours later I had a wonderful loaf of bread.  The loaf only lasted three days due to my family eating it all up.

I was so excited to have made an organic loaf of bread for only $2.50.  When here in Arizona a loaf of organic wheat bread cost anywhere from $4.99 to $5.99 a loaf.  Since I started this about a week ago I have made three loafs of bread and crescent rolls for Easter dinner.

I love the feeling I get when I eat food that I have made with my own two hands.  While preparing our Easter dinner my sister and I were talking and she asked about my bread.  The next thing I knew she handed me money and said “I am pre-ordering my loaf.”  Wow I just got an order for bread.  One small step to stop all the processed food we eat and get back to making and knowing where our food comes from

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Here is my Rustic Wheat Bread.