Pickled Mexican Vegetables

Pickled Veg

I don’t know if any dinner featuring the tastes of Mexico would be complete without this dish … in Mexico it is often found sitting on tables just waiting for you to nibble.

This keeps for weeks in your fridge and is a great accompaniment to sandwiches or burgers and always perfect for tacos.

Like many pickled recipes, this is just a guide.  Use whatever vegetables are fresh and ready at hand.  Today’s version included garden fresh cauliflower, zucchini, green & yellow beans, carrots and sweet Walla Walla onions.  Prepare vegetables in bite size portions, i.e., cauliflower florets, wedges of zucchini, carrots sliced on diagonal … you get the idea.  I like to prepare everything ahead of time, and have them ready on the cutting board so I can see the colours and shapes together to make sure it is a pretty picture.  (yep, I’m that weirdo)  If you like a bit of spicy kick, slice up a jalapeño or two as well.

Start by heating up some good olive oil, (a generous portion – more than you would normally use to sauce) sauté onions until soft.  Add garlic, carrot, and any veg you think might take a while to soften.  You are only looking for crisp tender as your finished product, not soft and overcooked veg.

Add:

2 1/2 cups white vinegar

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp peppercorns

1 tbsp dried mexican oregano

4 bay leaves

Simmer just until heated through and remove from heat.  Store in glass jar (or non reactive container) in the fridge for weeks!

 

 

 

 

Asian Style Salad with Red Rice

I love salads that make a whole meal – perfect for hot summer nights that let you feel satisfied but not stuffed!

Asian Style Salad with shredded chicken on a bed of cooled red rice

Asian Style Salad with shredded chicken on a bed of cooled red rice

Tonights version included:

base – cooked red rice
mixed greens and fresh seasonal vegetables
poached shredded chicken (easily substitute prawns)
roasted peanuts and sesame seeds
slivered green onions

DRESSING
2 tbsp Thai sweet chile sauce
1/4 tsp chile flakes
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp raw sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 rounded tsp peanut butter
1 garlic clove

Blend all ingredients until smooth – gradually add in 1/4 cup peanut oil until well incorporated.

Every brand of these ingredients is different. Start from here and then taste it. I usually take a lettuce leaf and dip it in. If I don’t love it, keep adjusting! It should have a balance of sweet, salty, spicy and tangy ….

Corn Season! Summer Salad with fresh Basil Vinaigrette

I love fresh corn, and at this time of year it ends up in so many meals, even a bright summer salad.

Fresh Corn Summer Salad with Basil Dressing

Fresh Corn Summer Salad with Basil Dressing


Right now fresh corn, sweet peppers, cucumbers and green beans are all in season along with delicate greens.

Dress your favourite greens with:

Basil Dressing
1/2 cup basil leaves
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1 rounded tsp grainy mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 – 1/2 tsp chile flakes (to your families taste)

Blend in food processor until smooth, and then gradually add in 1/3 – 1/2 cup very good quality extra virgin olive oil.

I usually start with the 1/4 tsp chile flakes, and 1/3 cup olive oil. Taste once it is all smoothly blended. Add a little more chile flakes if you think you can handle it, and add olive oil as needed. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.

Tabouli Salad

This tabouli salad is made with quinoa, so a complete meal for a vegetarian option, or serve alongside a grilled chicken breast …. or tonight’s choice – chicken wings with a Pomegranate Molasses Barbecue Sauce …. yumminess.

Tabouli Salad

1 cup quinoa – rinse well
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, torn in rustic pieces
1 small bunch kale, very finely chopped (remove stem)
1/2 English cucumber, cut into fine quarters
1 cup finely chopped assorted colored sweet peppers
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced (pickling instructions below)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp lemon zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp orange zest and 2 tbsp fresh orange juice

Pickling red onions: Thinly slice red onions and pour boiling water over for 10 seconds – drain off, and cover with fresh squeezed lime juice and a sprinkle of kosher salt. They turn such a great color.

Tabouli
Place the rinsed quinoa in a medium sauce pain, ccover with 1 3/4 cup cold water and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat and cook until water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, 18-20 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff with a fork and let it cool.

In a large bowl toss all prepared vegetables and the cooled quinoa.

Dressing
Combine zest and fruit juices, drizzle oil slowly in to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss with prepared Tabouli Salad and taste …season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Tonight tabouli salad was also made with some grilled zucchini and served on a fresh bed of spinach

Tonight tabouli salad was also made with some grilled zucchini and served on a fresh bed of spinach

Grill Roasted Pasta Sauce

I love the flavour that comes out of the vegetables right out of the garden – give them a grill before simmering this pasta sauce and you will be treated to that flavour all winter long.  

30 roma tomatoes, halved

12 cloves garlic, peeled

5 small onions, unpeeled and sliced very thick

3 sweet red peppers, whole

Grill all vegetables until you get nice grill marks and the garlic and onions are soft, lightly browned.  As soon as the sweet peppers are charred, put them in a ziplock bag or a tightly covered bowl and allow to steam for 15 minutes – remove the skin and seeds.

Put all tomatoes with the vegetables in a large pot and simmer until tender. 

Add:  

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp chopped fresh or dried oregano

3 tsp white sugar

3 tsp salt

Bring to a boil, then allow to simmer just until all flavours have had a chance to blend well.  Make sure to taste it and adjust seasonings if you need a little more.Image

Either freeze in freezer safe containers, or process in hot water bath.

 

To preserve in hot water, canning bath – fill jars to within 1 inch, cover with hot seals and rings.  Process in hot water bath 35 minutes for pints.

This recipe makes about 7 pints.

Roasted Vegetables

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This works really well all year long in a hot oven, and even better on a grilling basket on your barbecue.

Preheat oven to 400. Use any assortment you like of vegetables, I usually try to go for color and cut the items so they cook at about the same rate – i.e., onions, broccoli and cauliflower take a little longer to cook so either cut them smaller or put them in the oven first, adding the peppers, zucchini and tomato after the first 15 min of cooking time.

Once you have all your vegetables prepped, toss in a generous amount of really good quality extra virgin olive oil, a couple cloves of crushed garlic and a good handful of fresh herbs.  Season with salt and pepper.

Turn vegetables out of oil seasoning onto roasting surface.  Reserve bowl that the oil and seasonings are in.

Roast until just tender and little brown carmelized bits appear.  Anywhere from 30-45 minutes.Toss again into the olive oil, seasoning mix just to brighten up the flavours a bit – taste for seasonings and dust with freshly ground pepper and salt to taste. 

Cilantro, Jalapeno and Sunflower Seed Pesto

You are going to love this!  So versatile, you can use it to toss with pasta, spread on baguette or bun for sandwich or burger topping, or even mix it with some freshly chopped tomatoes and onions for salsa.  Try it on top of grilled meat for an extra bit of flavour.

1 small – medium jalapeno pepper, depending on your taste for spicy food

1 cup roasted sunflower seeds

Pulse until coarsely chopped

5 cloves garlic

2 cups fresh cilantro leves

1 tsp grated lime zest

juice of 1/2 lime

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2/3 cup olive oil

In food processor (or mortar and pestle if you are feeling like you need a good workout) combine jalapeno, roasted sunflower seeds and garlic – Pulse or mash until a coarse grind.  Add the cilantro, lime zest and juice, salt and pepper.  Pulse a few times until blended.  In a steady stream, with processor running – slowly add oil

This can be kept in the fridge for a few days, or frozen in small containers to use all year long.

All ready for the freezer!