|Garden gone wild!|
I’ve been experimenting with cucumbers and zucchini all day, trying to figure out how to preserve the bounty of these tasty veggies — well, they’re really fruit — in different ways. Why? Because we eat only seasonal, locally grown produce. So when there are no cucumbers in my backyard and none at the farmers’ market, there are none on the table. So that means at least six months a year without cucumbers.
I love cucumbers. Cool, neither sweet nor sour, they are one of the most refreshing things I can think of to eat raw, out of hand like an apple, in a salad, with dip. Love them with rice wine vinegar and a sprinkle of sesame oil. Just a sprinkle of lemon-pepper is lovely. Or chile-lemon salt (look in the Mexican section at the grocery store — tasty stuff). Sour cream and dill make a creamy little cukey salad (learned that one from my mom). Or I can lay a few slices on my eyelids for a mini-spa treatment. One of my favorite salad dressings is cucumber dressing — no longer made commercially, but I used to buy it all the time and used it on everything from sandwiches to fish, as well as salads. Cucumbers rock da house. But (and this is a big but) — the fam doesn’t really like pickles. Only so many jars of pickles can I make. We still have last year’s stock, unfinished. And probably some from the year before. Disheartening, to say the least.
Zucchini I also enjoy, though with less enthusiasm than the crackin’ cuke. I have discovered how to freeze zucchini in many forms and thus it is not as big a challenge for me. Zucchini and other summer squashes are pretty easy to chop, blanch and freeze — grated, for baking, or sliced, for dinner veggies. And yet…what else can I do with these things?
Onward: I made pickles last week and started wondering how the cucumbers would taste if there were no spices in the mix — that is, dill pickles without the dill? Wouldn’t they just be vinegar pickles? Cucumbers with a little vinegar taste? Could I use those in a salad? Especially if I’m just going to put salad dressing on them anyway? I don’t know. Maybe. So I gave it a whirl today — sliced up a batch of cucumbers and poured plain brine over them — no spices except for the salt. I made just one jar because a bunch of the cucumbers turned out to be spoiled — argh! The refrigerator got too cold and froze everything, then warmed up. Love the crappy old refrigerator that came with the rental…So the extra cukes for my experiments turned into chicken food, all mushy on the inside. Oh well.
Exhibit A. Here are one jar of “preserved cucumbers” and a partial jar of dehydrated cucumber flakes. I’d like to show you the zucchini chips but there are none left. Somebody Ate Them All Up.
6 Replies to “playing with my food”
Great writing as always, thanks for the words!
Did you know the older the eggs, the easier to peel when hard-boiled?
Usually read you on my blackberry and can’t comment from there, so I’m just taking a moment at my computer to say how I look forward to every one of your posts. I don’t know what it is, but I think I could read you writing about dryer lint. I thoroughly enjoy your blog.
And now I have to make zucchini chips in the dehydrator. I wonder about eggplant chips?
(Unlike you, who haven’t had summer, we’ve had uber-killer summer since the end of May. The only thing working for me this year is peppers, eggplant and sweet potato.)
Thanks, Deanna. Now you’ve got me thinking about dryer lint…hmmm…..
I duno about eggplant chips. Bitter? Let me/us know. Sweet potatoes, however, are one of my faves. I actually bought some yarn because it was called “yam” (color). That’s how my brain works. (I know yams/s.p. aren’t the same thing, but close enough for your average bear.)
See if your library has a copy of “Dry It You’ll Like It” which is a nifty little book on dehydrating foods. I seem to remember a dried soup vegetable mix recipe.
I bet if you dried the eggplant you could fry it later, it would be an eggplant chip!
I have some Asian recipes that call for cucumber in soup, it sounds weird but is very good. Maybe you could use the dried cukes in something like that?
It’s been a hot as hell summer here and my home tomatoes have not turned red (other than the cherry ones) but the ones I have on the other end of town at my community garden are turning red on a regular basis…a few at a time…
I have to go down there tomorrow and pull out my squash (which was supposed to be zuchinni but turned out to be patty pan, much to my chagrin). My cukes kinda died while I was on vacation (in spite of someone supposed to be watering for me…but we do have a water ban…so maybe they weren’t so happy to fill an extra watering can?). Anyhow…found your blog via FB as you liked my comment on something and I checked you out. Haha. 😀