Spicy Cucumber Salsa
4 medium sized cucumbers (about 2 pounds)
1 red or green bell pepper -finely diced
1-2 jalapeno peppers – seeded and finely diced
½ cup red onion – finely diced
2 cloves garlic – crushed
½ Cup fresh herbs – parsley, dill, fennel fronds, basil or cilantro - finely chopped
¼ Cup cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons fresh ground coriander seed
½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
❖ Peel cucumbers and cut in half long-ways. If seeds are large and tough remove and discard seeds. Dice cucumbers finely.
❖ Combine cucumbers with remaining ingredients, stir, and allow to sit for at least an hour before serving.
❖ Pack in jars and store in the fridge. Relish will keep for several weeks in the fridge
If using a food processor:
❖ Cut cucumbers into chunks and in a food processor pulse the cucumbers to finely dice but NOT puree. If your cucumbers are juicy, pour them into a mesh strainer, capture the juice for a refreshing drink or discard. Put strained cucumbers into a large bowl.
❖ In the food processor pulse, peppers, onion, garlic, and herbs to finely dice but NOT puree.
❖ Combine with remaining ingredients.
Sun Gold Tomato Pesto – makes almost 1 cup
The first time I tried making tomato pesto I didn’t cook the tomatoes. It looked awful. It was runny and separated with a thick glob of stuff at the top of the bowl and watery stuff on the bottom. I must admit it still tasted pretty darn good, so I tried again and cooked my tomatoes to release some of the juice. It worked like a charm. My sweet momma always says, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
2 cups Sun Gold cherry tomatoes – or any variety tomato
½ cup Parmesan cheese – fresh is best
2 cloves garlic - crushed
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
❖ Put tomatoes in a saucepot on the stove and cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes. Stir often in the first few minutes of cooking until tomatoes release their juice. Once the juice releases, simmer, uncovered until most of the tomato liquid is gone.
❖ Puree all ingredients together in a food processor, blender or with a mortar and pestle.
❖ Serve alongside Corn and Black Bean Cakes, Zucchini Fritters, toss with pasta, smear on chicken, roasted vegetables or use as a sandwich condiment.
Marinated Summer Salad – serves 6
Salads can be challenging. Especially if you take them to gatherings and forget the dressing. That is one of the many reasons I love a marinated salad. Made in advance and grabbed out of the fridge just before leaving, I never forget the dressing for this salad.
6 cups thinly sliced summer squash
1 red bell pepper – diced
¼ cup basil leaves coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic minced or crushed
1 lemon – finely grated zest and juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
❖ Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
❖ Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to 4 days.
❖ Serve alongside grilled burgers, green bean hummus, herb focaccia, polenta tomato pie, on a bed of greens, or tossed with cooked rice, or pasta.
Easy Refrigerator Pickles – makes about 2 quarts
These are neither sweet nor sour pickles, and they have dill in them but I wouldn’t call them a dill pickle. What they are is crunchy and flavorful. Because there is no heat involved they don’t get soft like some canned pickles do. As a bonus, you can just keep adding cucumbers to the brine over several weeks for a continuous pickle supply.
2 cups water
¾ cup sugar
3 cups cider vinegar
8 cloves garlic – peeled and sliced
10 Bay leaves
2 Tablespoons fresh or dried dill
4 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons mustard seeds
1 Tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon peppercorns
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
6 cups sliced cucumbers (3 pounds)
❖ In a sauce pot bring the water and sugar to a boil, stir to dissolve sugar.
❖ Remove from heat, allow to cool 10 minutes, and add vinegar.
❖ Add remaining ingredients, except cucumbers, to the brine.
❖ Pack cucumbers in jars or whatever kind of container you like. Pour brine over cucumbers, making sure the brine is covering them.
❖ Put in the fridge and let sit at least 12 hours.
❖ Pickles will keep refrigerated for several months.