Posts Tagged ‘Pickles’

Cold Finger Food for Your Next Bash

April 25, 2009

Add a few of these little finger foods to the menu for your next spring get-together.  They’re quick, easy and tasty.  There’s no cooking involved so you can make up platters of these the day before or morning of your party.   That gives you time to cook the hot dishes, have a cocktail and relax for a bit.  Scandinavian Smorgasbord is the inspiration for this menu.  My father was Norwegian so I come by this naturally.  However, my mother was French and German and cooked every ethnic dish imaginable, including Scandinavian dishes.  She was a “foodie” before the word was invented.

  • Prosciutto Wraps – goat cheese spread on a thin slice of prosciutto with arugula and half a fig
  • Melon & Prosciutto – a small slice of honeydew melon or cantaloupe wrapped in a thin slice of prosciutto
  • Smorgesbröd (dainty, open faced sandwiches on buttered slices from a mini-loaf of deli bread) with frilly lettuce, smoked turkey, and basil pesto on sourdough
  • Smorgesbröd of lettuce, roast beef, Havarti, horse radish, and dill pickle on pumpernickel
  • Smorgesbröd of lettuce, smoked salmon, capers and onion on bagel slices with cream cheese
  • Stuffed cherry tomatoes with olive tapenade and goat cheese dollop
  • Mediterranean Black bean salad in endive leaves
  • Platter of crudites with a blue cheese dipping sauce
  • Platter of pickles – Kalamata olives, sweet cornichons, sweet & sour plums, spicy figs, dilled green beans, dilled okra, antipasto, small marinated bocaccini cheese balls, beet pickles, pickled herring and marinated octopus
  • Baskets of crisp breads, crackers, and pita triangles with bowls of avocado yogurt salsa and sun-dried tomato pesto
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Pickled Ginger (Gari)

March 26, 2009

sushi-with-gingerI’ve been using this recipe for the last 20 years and it never fails to impress my guests.  It’s from Jeff Smith’s book, The Fugal Gourmet – Our Immigrant Ancestors.  The only thing I’ve changed is to substitute the red food-coloring with a sliver of red beet.  Be sure to buy fresh young ginger root and wear plastic or rubber gloves when peeling and shaving the root.   Otherwise, your hands will be on fire for the rest of the day.  Use a potato peeler to shave strips from the root.  This is a Japanese condiment used to cleanse the pallet between sushi courses and is served along with wasabi, takuan pickles and the like.  Try it with pork roast, roasted chicken, or ham steaks.

1/4 lb. of fresh young ginger root, peeled and shaved paper thin

1/2 cup Rice wine vinegar

2 Tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 slice of raw red beet

In a stainless steel sauce pan, place the vinegar, sugar, salt, and beet slice, bring to a boil over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved.   Add the ginger, reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 minute.  Remove beet slice once the ginger is lightly pink in color.  Pack sterilized jars with the ginger, pour brine over and seal.  When cool, refrigerate up to one month.

Once you have your  ginger pickles and daikon pickles made, plan a sushi party and include tempura veggies, hijiki seaweed salad, pear and saki sorbet, and almond cookies.

Daikon (Salad & Pickles)

March 26, 2009

daikonDaikon radish is fairly common in supermarkets and Farmers Markets these days.  And it’s not just for Asian cuisine anymore either.  It tastes very much like our little red radishes, perhaps more mild.  If you haven’t tried daikon,  it could be an acquired taste, I urge you to buy a small one and experiment.  Here’s a couple of simple ideas :

Wash and peel daikon like a carrot.  Make long threads of daikon on a mandolin or with a zester.  Do the same thing with a carrot so you have  equal  parts daikon and carrot.  In a small bowl whisk together 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (or any vinegar you have on hand), 1 tsp sesame oil, 1/2 tsp sugar, and 1 tsp soy sauce.   Pour over the angel-hair daikon and carrot and toss lightly.  This can be added to a master-piece Chef salad or your favorite green salad.  It’s crunchy enough for a sub-sandwich and of-course it can be added to a sushi box or sashimi plate.

Daikon has amazing health benefits, such as digesting fats and as a diuretic, and you can get those facts on the web, just google daikon health benefits.

This Japanese pickled daikon (called Takuan) is good with fish and meats and very simple to make.   It’s usually yellow in color from the addition of yellow food coloring, however you can attain the same color with a small slice of fresh turmeric or 1/4 tsp of ground turmeric.  Fresh turmeric  is available at Asian markets and looks like ginger root.  Once pickled, Takuan will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks and makes a great gift for foodie friends…add it to a basket of your homemade pickles. 

Takuan (Daikon pickles Japanese Style) 

 6 medium Daikon radish – peeled, sliced 1/4 inch thick and halved

1/4 cup sea salt or pickling salt

1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1 sliver fresh turmeric root (or 1/4 tsp ground turmeric)

1 dried chili pepper – chopped

1 cup water

Pack sterilized canning jars with daikon.  Boil all the brine ingredients until sugar is dissolved.  Cool.  Remove turmeric root.  Pour over daikon in jars and cover.  Place in refrigerator.   Shake jars occasionally.  Pickle will be ready in about two days.

Plum Pickles

March 9, 2009
Pickled Plums and Pork Roast

Pickled Plums and Pork Roast

Grandpa stewed dried prunes every morning before going out to milk the cows.  He claimed they “kept him regular.”  Prunes are simply dried small plums and they do aid the digestive tract.   Preserved as a pickle they make a gourmet gift for any “foodie” and can be made anytime of the year.   Cover the tops of jars with pretty callico and a ribbon.  Add a gift card with this quick recipe. 

1 lb. dried prunes

2 cups water

1 cup vinegar

1 cup brown sugar – firmly packed

1/2 tsp. whole cloves

4 sticks of cinnamon – broken into pieces

Cover prunes with boiling water for 1 hour.  Drain and reserve liquid.  Combine sugar, vinegar and 1/2 cup of reserved liquid with spices and simmer for 12 minutes.  Remove cloves and cinnamon sticks, pack prunes in sterile jars and pour hot syrup to 1/2 inch from top of jar.  Seal and water bath in boiling water for 15 minutes.  Remove and cool.  Serve with your favorite pork, chicken or lamb dish.