Tuesday, September 28, 2010

24 hour raw Pickles

Lets face it. If you're like me then fermentation is kind of an intimidating thing, and raw pickling is basically the same thing. 
I've spent hours online looking at pickling recipes, trying to make heads and tails of most of them, and the rest are just way too confusing or vague --- I can't help that I'm a simple girl! One sunny morning not too long ago, I got out of bed and made my way down to the Tuesday Farmers Market. The Pickles were calling to me you guys! They were everywhere! I finally gave in and purchased a bag of pickling cucumbers and embarked on my very first no-nonsense pickles. These can be made in twenty four hours, they're crunchy, salty, and just yum-yum-yummy! Please feel free to bug me if I've confused you on any of the following steps, as I'm going to try to be as specific as possible!
24 hour Pickles

Step 1. 
Prep your Pickling Cucumbers:
I used 9 Pickling Cucumbers and sliced them each into 1/4 inch thick rounds.
Step 2. 
JARS and Figuring out how much WATER you need:

I used 4 wide mouthed glass jars with lids. It's veryvery important that your jars are SUPER clean, and also that each lid screws on very tight.
WATER: Here's the tricky part. You want to be sure that your water covers your pickles by at least 2 inches. You also want to be sure that there is at least 1 inch of air between your water line and the lid of your jar - this is important because sometimes fermented veggies will expand, and you don't want to make a big mess now do ya?
This is the best way to assess how much water you will need:
- Place your sliced Pickling Cucumbers into your jar(s)
- Proceed to use a measuring cup and pour water over your Cucumbers. When your water has reached the "2 inches above" mark you should know how much water you will need!
For my 9 Cucumbers I ended up using 6 cups of water.
Step 3. 
Making your Quick Pickling Brine:
Combine the following in a blender -
For each 1 and 1/2 CUP Water you will need to add:
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 (heaping) Tbsp Sea Salt
Blend your Vinegar + Salt water for at least a minute, making sure that the salt has completely dissolved.
Proceed to evenly pour your Water into the jars containing your sliced Pickles.
From here you get to move on to seasoning your brine!
Step 4. 
Seasoning your Brine:
There's no rules here, only suggestions - so if you have a favorite blend of herbs/spices you'd like to use then by all means - go for it!! Here's what I used (I plan on experimenting a lot with different flavor blends in the future)...
For each 1 and 1/2 CUP Water:
1 tsp dried Dillweed
1 tsp Mustard Seed
1/2 tsp Coriander
1/2 tsp dried Tarragon
Combine your herbs/spices in with your Brine and Pickles. Proceed to place the lids on your jars and shake-shake-shake! Get all of those spices moved around!
Yay! Look at those pretty Pickles...almost finished with the work.
Alright, now lets review:
You've sliced your Cucumbers all purdy-like
You've made the proper amount of Brine and poured it over the Cucumbers
You've spiced your Brine and shook it up all nice and fancy...

What's left???....(from here it's just too easy!)
UNSCREW your Pickle Jars, leaving the lids loosely sitting on top, not completely off though...
If it's a nice sunshiney day outside you can opt to place your jars out in the sunshine for 3 to 5 hours. If it's not sunny in your town then I totally empathize - it's not going to make that big of a difference here. If you don't place your jars in the sun then you can simply set them in a corner of your kitchen and  *gasp* walk away!
Revisit your Pickles precisely 24 hours later...screw the lids of your jars on nice and tight. Put your Pickles into your fridge and keep them there until you're ready to eat them!!
Do the happy Crunchy Pickle Dance! 
You just made your very own 24 hour Pickles! 
These tasty little buggers will keep for at least 1 to 2 months after making them...that is, if you haven't eaten them all ready.

Thanks you guys!!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Pear-Cucumber-Tomato-Avocado Salad

I honestly didn't plan on making something brand spanking new for dinner tonight, and I also didn't plan on it turning into such a simple and tasty success that I would want ever-so-badly to share it with you all. But I did, and it did! 
The funny thing about this Salad is that I practically gave out the complete recipe in the Title of this post, so hows about I finish the details right now...
Pear-Cucumber-Tomato-Avocado Salad
Try to keep everything in this salad fairly uniform in size when chopping.
1 large Cucumber - peeled and chopped
2 ripe Pears (I used Bartlett) peeled and chopped
1 small basket of sweet Cherry Tomatoes - sliced in half (mine were from the Farmers Market)
2 Avocados - chopped
In a large mixing bowl combine the above ingredients, and proceed to add the following:
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper to taste
Toss evenly! The rest of the magic in this salad happens when you let it sit for about a half hour in the fridge to marinade. Amazingly simple and amazingly good! 
Enjoy this salad on a bed of greens or as is. 
For those of you wondering what else was on my Dinner plate, I also enjoyed 
Leek/Broccoli/Cauliflower Risotto from this post (I didn't have fresh leek though, so I subbed it for white onion).


Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Favorite Guacamole & My Farmers Market

I was a little late in getting out the the door this morning, but I made it to Saturday's Farmers Market, and I am SO glad! Everything was bright and colorful - I felt like I was a kid in a candy shop. 
Needless to say it was really hard for me to focus...but I managed to harness all of my excitement and took a bunch of photos to share with you all...

All of that amazing produce definitely helped in working up quite the appetite, so by the time I got home I was ready for a snack. 
It seems like everyone I know has their own special recipe for Guacamole, and I though it was time for me to share my own personal favorite version of the popular dip, along with my favorite accompaniment.
AtV's Favorite Guacamole
3 Avocados (1 lb)
Mash your Avocados until smooth, then proceed to mix in the following:
1/2 c Sweet White Onion - minced
2 Tbsp dried Cilantro //or// dried Parsley
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp Garlic Granules
1/2 tsp Onion powder
1/4 tsp Sea Salt (or to taste)
Ancho Chili Powder //or// Cayenne - to taste
My current favorite way to enjoy this Guacamole is with a crisp Apple...if you haven't tried this yet then you simply MUST the next time you have guacamole, regardless of whether or not it's my recipe or your own.

Sarahfae - AtV

Friday, September 24, 2010

Creamy Anti-Pasta Salad & The Versatile Blogger Award

Getting back into the swing of things, not to mention going over a ridiculous amount of new recipe ideas this week...is anyone else excited about the Holidays?!!
Here's a fairly simple and easy recipe, one that happened by chance while I was on the road last week. It turned out to be something I continued to crave into this week, so I was quick to make it again. 
Creamy Anti-Pasta Salad 

Make ONE Batch of: Sweet Garlic Aioli
Make a HALF Batch of: Garlic Herb Ricotta
Mix/Whisk together your Aioli & Ricotta...
Make a big salad consisting of:
1 c Cauliflower - chopped
1 c White Onion - chopped
1 Lg Bell Pepper - chopped
2 Carrots - chopped
2 Med Tomatoes - chopped
Capers - to taste
Optional (for an awesome flavor punch):
Artichoke Hearts
Mix your salad and dressing together. Let it sit in the fridge for at least a half hour so the flavors can dance around together...it's a veggie party in your fridge!
Enjoy this nommy salad on top of a bed of sprouts.
My lovely friend Lacey of The Kuntrageous Vegan(gotta love her for boasting such a bold blog name!) gave me a Versatile Blogger Award a little while ago and I'm so embarrassed that it's taken me this long to acknowledge it! Here goes nothing...just for you Lacey!
7 Things About Me You Don't Know:

1.  One of my biggest influences in life is my little Sister. I love her more than I can put to words, she helps keep my humor fresh, fuels my love for good new music, inspires me to make crazy food, and has played a vital role in my personal growth over these last few years. Plus she's just freaking brilliant.

2. I haven't had the chance to travel a lot in my life - but some of my favorite destinations are the small coastal towns in California. Mendocino and Occidental being the top two thus far.
I dream about owning a small cabin in the sleepy little town of Mendocino someday.
Visit Howard's Cafe in Occidental if you're ever in the area - it's TRAIN themed!

3. I have a very intense love of Trains - anyone who knows me knows this - but no one really knows how deep my love of trains runs. I have a Steam Engine tattoo on my forearm, a Train themed sitting room, and if I had my way, every single out of town destination would revolve around some kind of train related activity. Seriously you guys. I love TRAINS.

4. I am the biggest daydreamer I know. 
I could spend an hour sitting in the sunshine wishing that it was normal to burst out in song and dance at any given moment. I love trips to the grocery store and smiling at strangers in the produce section. I try to wear rose-colored glasses wherever I go, and I really believe that every day holds some kind of new and exciting adventure.

5. My least favorite food is: Eggplant! I hate the stuff...but I'm hell bent on changing this. Any advice is welcome! This is my only successful recipe involving Eggplant.

6. My all time favorite food is: Zucchini!

 7. I don't think of myself as being a very exciting person. I don't drink, I don't do drugs, and my idea of fun (has changed greatly from even just a couple of years ago) is a big cup of sun tea, good conversation, and good food.

Almost forgot - I have to pass this on to 5 awesome bloggers. Here's who I'm thinking about right now:

Marci of Pumpkin Spice. Seriously one of the sweetest people you will ever meet. My blogging sister-from-another-mister. Love you Marci.

Caitlin of The Hardcore Herbivore. My blogging kid sis - Caitlin is the sharpest foodie/photographer I know, and I also owe her a lot of thanks for some kick ass recipe inspiration.

Griffen of Friendly Eating. I haven't known Griffen for very long but I really love his blog and look forward to reading every entry.

Greg & Kristen of The Casual Vegan. Two amazing People with a passion for green-living, and raising a beautiful little bundle of joy. I'm honored to know this duo, and proud to call them my friends.

Nikki of Yummy Raw Kitchen. I really like this girl, and I hope some day to meet her in person. Also, she makes some really wicked yummy looking food.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

AtV's Do's and Don'ts of Travel Food

Let me start this off by first noting that I'm not claiming to be any kind of authority when it comes to packing food for travel. I'm learning...and the following is simply confirmation of this. I hope to improve with every road trip, and hopefully through this educational learning process I can offer some helpful hints to you all...along with some cute pics of puppies too.
DO: Write a meal plan at least 1 day before you leave for your road trip! This should happen AFTER you've assessed what food is in your fridge, and what food you will be bringing with you.
DON'T: Write a meal plan the day of your road trip (while sitting in your car) This will result in a very poorly written meal plan...no me gusta.

DO: Bring a cooler with all of your refrigerated items 
DON'T: Forget the ice!

DO: Pack dessert...and be prepared to eat it for breakfast.
DON'T: Forget to share with your family. (Sorry you guys! Love you!)

DO: Pack a survival bag that can stay next to you while you're in the car - with plenty of dry foods and some fresh fruit like Bananas or Apples.
DON'T: Worry about packing too much dry food snacks...these won't go bad. My dry foods snack consisted of:
Apples & Bananas!

DO: Eat at the very first sign of hunger!
DON'T: Push back eating until you've reached your destination...this will result in eating a big plate of food that might be really really yummy, but could also end up giving you a tummy ache.
In above photo: My first meal upon reaching our destination: Tomatoes & Herb RicottaBrown 'Rice' Salad with Broccoli, Onions, Sprouts and Two Herb Squash.

DO: Have a midnight snack if it involves some kind of fresh produce.
DON'T: Forget to pack a yummy Salty-Sweet Cashew Almond butter --- recipe coming soon!

DO: Eat before you go out to breakfast if you're not sure what the breakfast menu where you're going looks like.
DON'T: Hesitate to pick apart a menu - most friendly local eateries will happily let you order a bunch of sides for you to mix up onto one plate! One of my breakfasts consisted of an amazing salad with all kinds of veggies and salsa for dressing!

DO: Pack one really really yummy dip for veggies. Mine was Caraway Cottage Cheeze.
DON'T: Pack more than two dips...you probably won't need them. And if all else fails you can pick up some Avocados for a quick Guacamole.

DO: Pack one leafy green - mine was sprouts.
DON'T: Forget to bring a salad dressing.
In above photo: Creamy Anti-Pasta Salad --- recipe coming soon.

DO: Pack one batch of Veggie Miso Soup & a half batch of Brown 'Rice'.
DON'T: Be afraid to put sprouts in your soup!
In above photo: Creamy Veggie Miso Soup with Brown 'Rice' and crumbled dehydrated Mushrooms --- recipe coming soon.

DO: Incorporate puppy-snuggle time into your snack breaks.
DON'T: Lay down...you might fall asleep!
Honestly the biggest frustration I experienced with my travel food is that I once again packed WAY too much. This isn't that big of a deal really, but I hope that I'll eventually unlock some kind of hidden secret to packing the perfect amount of food. The best lessons learned from this trip (concerning travel food) were: 
DO: Pack foods/sauces/dips that can be combined to make new flavors. 
DON'T: Be afraid to pack your own herbs/spices - even if you're going to stay with friends.

I'll be back on Friday to share a new recipe - I hope you'll be back too!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

AtV News: Trying to get back to work...

Well, I'm home. 
Back in foggy rainy coastal Northern California, missing the sunshine and my extended family...but that's a whole other post.
A mid-day Snack: Caraway Cottage Cheeze & Broccoli

I just wanted to let you all know that I'm working on writing about my trip, reflecting on the lessons learned about packing travel food, and scouring through a ton of horrible quality photos (I think it's time for me to learn how to use a real camera). 

I hope you're all doing well, eating well, and most importantly wherever you are - know that you are loved.

Sarahfae - AtV

P.S. For a behind the scenes look at Addicted to Veggies road trip check out AtV Behind the Scenes.