Mozzarella, Tomatoes, and Sweet Pickles

I made Mozzarella yesterday using The Kitchn’s recipe. So simple and yummy. I was really hoping that I would have ripe tomatoes by now to eat with this, but mine are still green. I made a quick salad of store bought tomatoes, mozzarella, and my quick sweet pickles.

I used one Roma tomato salted. I let it sit for about 10 mins to drain.
About 1/3 cup of the mozzarella
1/3 cup for the cucumbers and onions from my Sweet Pickles Recipe

I mixed these up with a little bit of the brine from the pickles. It was a yummy quick lunch!

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Yogurt Sauce Base

The cream sauce I use is always changing just a bit. The basic ingredients are:

½ cup yogurt
a squeeze of mayonnaise (for me, I use just a little as I am not a big mayo fan)
a couple of cloves of garlic (around 5/6)
Juice of a Lemon or Lime (can also use zest )
Salt and Pepper
Blend all these together in a magic bullet or blender until smooth. You might need to add just a little water or more juice if the mixture is not blending well.
At this point, I taste and adjust the seasoning.

This gives me the base for this sauce. I add herbs like cilantro, basil, or chives. Other ideas are onion, cucumber (salt and drain before adding),  hot sauce, honey or anything that sounds good to me at the time. When adding new ingredients that I have never used in this, I add them slowly and blend. Taste to see if I want more of that flavor not. Adjust as needed.

Salmon and Cucumber Rice Bowl

Salmon and Cucumber Rice Bowl
So, I was excited to think about how to use some of the yummy things coming out of the garden but also use some things I had in the fridge to make a yummy dinner! I had some frozen Salmon, and thought a rice bowl would be fantastic! I knew I wanted to use fish or shrimp since my Hubby was not going to be home and he dislikes seafood.

This was very simple and easy!

So, I had half of one yellow zucchini (from the garden), zucchini flowers (from the garden), half a cucumber (from the garden), carrots, green onions, and rice. This also gave me a reason to pick the bell pepper that got sun-scorched before it when bad. I also had some limes in a bowl that I wanted to use.

I also usually have a few homemade sauces on hand. One is oil based, and the other is a garlic yogurt cream sauce. I chose to use the cream sauce here, but I think the vinegar one would have been great too.

This rice was from yesterday and was cooked with coconut oil, so it had a sweet floral flavor which went nicely in this. I put this on parchment paper to reheat it. I let it cook long enough where some of the rice crisped up and got crunchy for some texture.

I really like my seafood cooked with my sous vide. I prepared it by thawing it and then marinating it in the bag it would be cooked in. I did a garlic salt dry rub on this. I used more salt than I normally would use to season my fish. Once that sat for about 20/30 mins, I poured the juice of one lime in the bag and swished it around to get some of that salt off. I let that sit for 10 mins while the water came up to temp. I poured the lime juice out of the bag before submerging it with the fish inside in the water. I let that cook for 45 min at 120 degrees. I wanted this to be cooked but not overly so. You could cook yours to whatever temp/texture you wanted.

I cut all the veggies into thin rounds or strips. I decided I was going to eat all the veggies raw.

Once the rice and fish were heated, I assembled my rice bowl! I topped my bowl with my cream yogurt sauce! This was really great! You could use salad dressing instead.

The cream sauce I use is always changing just a bit. The basic ingredients are:

½ cup yogurt
a squeeze of mayonnaise (for me, I use just a little as I am not a big mayo fan)
a couple of cloves of garlic (around 5/6)
Juice of a Lime (can also use zest from the lime)
Salt and Pepper
Blend all these together in a magic bullet or blender until smooth. You might need to add just a little water or more lime juice if the mixture is not blending well.
At this point, I taste and adjust the seasoning.

This gives me the base for this sauce. You can add herbs like cilantro, basil, onion, hot sauce, honey or anything that sounds good. When adding new ingredients that you have never used in this, add it slowly and blend. Taste to see if you want more of that flavor not. Adjust as needed.

This was great! Very fresh tasting and healthy! I will definitely do variations of this as my vegetables start coming in!

 

Cucumbers are really starting to produce

6/3 – I have a few great looking (and growing) cucumbers! SO hard to wait for them to get full size! I decided to pick the biggest today and make Lime and Cucumber water. I am a big flavored water and sparkling water fan. I ran out yesterday, and I did not feel like going to the store. Think this will be a great solution and a way to use some of my extra cucumbers! With the other half of the cucumber, I think I will make Salmon and Cucumber Rice Bowl tonight!

Sweet Pickle Brine – AKA Joan’s on 3rd knockoff.

I lived in LA when I was 24/25. It was there that I had some of the best pickles of my life! These were from a deli/bakery shop called Joan’s on 3rd. However, I no longer live in LA, but I still think about those pickles. I started to look up what type of pickles those were; low and behold, I come to find out, I am not the only one thinking about those Pickles! There are a few versions of this recipe out there. They all seem to have the same basic ingredients.

Brine for 1 16 oz Mason Jar:
2 tablespoon salt
1/3 cups white vinegar
3/4 cups cold water
1/3 cups plus 2 Tablespoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon celery salt/seed (I had celery salt but not seed. I think it worked just as well. Use what you have)
1 1/2 teaspoons juniper berries (I bought mine on Amazon since I did not see them in my grocery store)
1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard seed
¼ cup fresh dill or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill (I used dry since that is what I had)
1/3 small onion, sliced thin

What I have brined in this mixture:
1 Cucumber and 3 small zucchinis (Just items I had from my garden that day)
You will want to cut up your items and LIGHTLY sprinkle some salt on them (too much salt here will end up giving you very salty pickles). Let them sit and drain for about 30 mins before adding them to the brine. You can also do this to the onions.

Other ideas to add to this? How about sweet and spicy? Add a pinch of red pepper flake to this!

Most recipes have you bring this mixture to a boil and then pour into the jars. I don’t really think this is necessary, since I plan to eat mine within a week or so. I do not recommend using this method for long-term storage. I just poured all my ingredients in the jar, closed the lid tight, and shook it until all the sugar and salt had incorporated. Plus, one less thing to clean!

This is NOT a long sitting pickle recipe. In fact, I did not wait more than 30 mins before I had some.

**This was the first time I made this. I will refine the mixture when I do it again.

Chives

As my crops come in, I want to be prepared with ideas! As I make these, I will post recipes.

  • Chive Vinaigrette
  • Chives Potatoes
  • Chive butter
  • Lemon Chive sauce for fish
  • Cheddar Cheese and Chive Biscuits
  • Garlic, Mushroom, and Chive Pasta sauce
  • Chive Cucumber and Corn Salad
  • Potatoes and Chive Pancakes
  • Chive Corn
  • Chive Pico de Gallo
  • Garlic and Chive Butter with Parmesan Pork
  • Cream Cheese and Chive Duchess Potatoes
  • Cheese and Chive Scones
  • Chive Pesto Sauce Potato Salad
  • Bacon Chive and Cheese Egg Bits
  • Chives instead of onions in a salad
  • Chive, Garlic, and cheese stuffed Mushrooms
  • Chive and Mushroom Sautee
  • Tomatoes, Chive, and Feta Salada
  • Chive Flower Vinaigrette
  • Chive Flower Vinger
  • Chive and Pork dumplings
  • Mashed potatoes, cheese, and chive waffles
  • Corn Pudding with chives
  • Tomatoes, Avocados, and chives
  • Asian Coleslaw with chive dressing
  • Salmon with chives
  • Shrimp and Chives
  • Dried Scalloped Potatoes
  • Parmesan Truffle Chive Popcorn or Fries
  • Cilantro Chive Taco Sauce
  • Cream Cheese and chive stuffed chicken
  • Quiche with chives
  • Chive instead of onions on a sandwich
  • Chicken with Chive Dumplings
  • Zucchini, Fate, and Chive pie
  • Loaded Hasselback potatoes
  • Veggie Fritters with Chives or Chive dipping sauce
  • Tomato sandwich wich Chive Spread
  • Chives and cucumbers

Eggplant

  • Roasted Vegetable
  • Eggplant and tomato pasta sauce
  • Eggplant Parm
  • Eggplant roll-ups
  • Eggplant chips
  • Baba Ganoush
  • Pesto Eggplant Sandwiches
  • Crispy eggplant
  • Eggplant Gyros with yogurt sauce!
  • Garlicky Eggplant and Potatoes
  • Eggplant Lasagna
  • Eggplant and tomato soup
  • Eggplant and Caramelized Onion Flatbread
  • Roasted veggie pasta
  • Eggplant and Meat Meatballs
  • Eggplant and Cheese melt

Cucs making you crazy! Ideas for cucumbers

Just brainstorming ideas for how to use my cucs as I am going to make the assumption I will have a bountiful harvest! Go positive thoughts! As I come up with recipes, I will share them!

  • Quick Sweet Pickles: Been a fav since my days in LA – Joan’s on 3rd still has the best pickles
  • Cucumber and tomatoes salad: Think I will be having a lot of these
  • Asian marinated cucs: Yummy and refreshing
  • Cucumber water: So tasty on a hot day!
  •  Tzatziki sauce: I want some now! Great greek yogurt sauce
  • Ceviche: get that in there with some shrimp!
  • Poke bowl: I love cucumber with seafood
  • Noodle or Rice bowl: Give this a bit of crush
  •  Salads: good ol’ standby
  • Cuc and Tomato sandwiches: I hope there will be so many of these in my future
  • Dehydrated cuc chips: Might as well have another use for this thing!
  • Eye Mask: might as well!
  • Greek Quinoa Bowl: Sounds like an amazing lunch!
  • Cocktails!: Need I say more?
  • Creamy cucumber salad: light and crunchy
  • Cucumber sorbet: Not sure if this sounds good or weird. Going to have to try it!
  • BLTC sandwich: Yup, one more thing can’t hurt, right?
  • Cucumber salsa: Interesting take on salsa.
  • Cucumber noodles: Sounds like a great idea!
  • Cucs and chickpeas: Healthy lunch? Why, yes!
  • Watermelon and Cuc salad: Excited for this one!
  • Boozy pops: How good does a boozy pop sound during the summer!
  • Cucumber and tomato Gazpacho: Light and easy for the summer
  • Cucumber and melon Sangria: You know you want that!
  • Cucumber dressing for tacos: I love a good taco sauce!
  • Asain Slaw with cucumber: Asian slaw is one of my new favorite things
  • Cucumber bread: Love zucchini and banana bread. I give this one a go!
  • Mojito bar: I love mojitos! A mojito bar just sounds like heaven!
  • Cucs and feta: Great little side dish!
  • Cuc wraps: Kinda like they do with sushi.
  • Veggie rolls: Of course, I want spring rolls!
  • Corn, tomato, and cuc side dish!
  • Gin and cucumber juice: Does that sound good? Weird? Not, sure. Guess I’ll just have to try it.
  • Cuc, lime, blueberries, and mint: YUM
  • Salmon and Cucumber Rice Bowl
  • Yogurt Sauce 

Any plans for those tomatoes?

I am hopeful that I will get a ton of tomatoes! I have visions of of copious mounds of tomatoes so high they touch the cieling! But, what can I do with all of those!? Time to brainstorm ahead of the curve!

  • Canned tomatoes: I have never canned but I did just get an Instant Pot, so I am going to try water-canning once I get enough tomatoes.
  • Dehydrated tomatoes: I also got a dehydrator, which I LOVE! I have already dehydrated some tomatoes and used them in sauces.
  • Quick Tomato Pasta Sauce: This one is yummy and good for fresh tomatoes
  • Long cook Tomato Pasta Sauce: This one is good if you have a ton of tomatoes and space in your freezer
  • Tomato sandwiches: So many variations on this, but the basics are good bread, tasty tomato, salt, and vinegar.
  • Tomato salad: Many variations on this too, but I have a feeling a lot of them will have cucumbers in them!
  • Bruschetta: Good ol’ classic Italian go to
  • Caprese salad: We all love this one!
  • Marinated tomatoes: Great side dish and can be made ahead!
  • Tomato paste: I guess if I get desperate enough and have TOOO many tomatoes, this will be a great way to use them.
  • Roasted tomatoes: For sources or a side
  • Parmesan baked tomatoes: side dish
  • Tomato and zucchini bake: good use of two garden vegetables!
  • Creamy Tomato and Cucumber salad! Yum!
  • Pesto stuffed tomatoes
  • Tomato jam
  • Fried Green tomatoes: Good ol’ southern go to
  • Pizza sauce: Love making homemade pizzas
  • Tomato tarts: 8) Looing forward to that one!
  • Eggs cooked in tomato sauce: Recently ran across this idea
  • Tomato soup! It’s like childhood!
  • BLT! One of my favorites
  • Pickled tomatoes: I think this sounds good. We will see!
  • Corn and tomato side dish or taco topping: Love this one!
  • Tomatoes and Avocados: It is a staple around here!
  •  Roasted tomato sauce: Variety is good!
  • Pico De Gallo: Need I say more?
  • Tomato powder: could be interesting to use instead of paste?!
  • Sun Dried tomatoes: I have always loved these!
  • Creamy tomato sauce: Can never have too many sauces!
  • Pasta salads: I make a killer one that the Hubs even likes
  • Chow Chow: Never had this, but I think I need to
  • Tomato salad: So many ways this can go!
  • Roasted tomatoes and chickpeas: A good Spanish staple
  • Tomato and eggplant salad: Funny enough had this down in Puerto Rico! Delish!
  • Roasted red Pepper and tomato sauce or dip: How good does that sound!
  • Tomatoes and cheese: Let’s be honest, there are sooo many cheeses that work well here
  • Pickled green tomatoes: Also something I have never had!