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!


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.

Pan Fried Oyster Mushroom


These are so simple and so delicious. I have done this with both Blue and Pink Oyster Mushrooms.

Start heating up a good size frying pan on medium heat. I used my cast iron since I love cooking in that. In the pan, add a tablespoon or 2 of oil. Any oil will do: olive, safflower, canola or the like. You will want to make sure there is enough oil to cover the surface of the pan, but you do not want it to be too deep.

I like to cut the bigger mushrooms into smaller parts, so they lay flat in the pan. You will want to make sure they have good contact with the surface of the pan, so they get really nice and brown.

Lay the mushrooms in the pan in a single layer. Salt the mushrooms to taste.

Check the underside for browning and when there is a nice light brown color on the mushrooms flip them over to brown the other side. Once both sides are brown, you are done!

The number of mushrooms you are cooking might vary based on the number your cakes produce! If you are cooking a few mushroom caps, use less oil and salt. More caps, use more oil and salt. If you have a lot, then you might think about cooking in two batches.

Pink Oyster Mushrooms – I am calling it a comeback!

6/1 A few days ago, my Pink Oysters Mushrooms started to pin and are doing great!!! They have tripled if not quadrupled in size! I am also noticing that there is a slight color change in the fruit. As they get bigger, I guess the color fades just slightly? They are still a really pretty color of pink though!

6/3 My Pink Oysters are now NOT doing great! I think I got over zealous with a few of the things I had read. Early on in the growth, I left the edges of the plastic that covered the mushrooms more open. A few days ago, I started to tamp the edges of the plastic down after I sprayed the water under the plastic. Not tight but I think it prevented the good air exchange. That allowed carbon dioxide to build but did not allow for oxygen to flow freely around the mushrooms. This is only a guess, but I think I am on track with my thinking here.

I hope my mistakes help others!

**Update – I looked at the mushrooms again and noticed that there was a clump of pins under the original old mushrooms. I find this a bit odd but also fantastic. Maybe they are not a total lose? I will update on their progress. I am keeping the end of the plastic more open now.

YAY! Success! And OMG were these delicious! I just did a super simple Pan Fry!

My Pink Oysters, I am letting rest right now. I took them out of the plastic, and I am letting them dry out just a bit. In about 2 weeks, I will try to get them to pin again.

How’s the produce coming along?

I got my first cucumber on May 15th, so pretty much 1 month after it was planted! Yay! I did pick it a bit small. I was just too excited to leave it. I have not tasted it yet to see how the plant is really doing but soon!

Sadly, yesterday, I noticed 2 of my 3 tomatoes did get blossom end rot. 😦 Guess I did not fertilize soon enough. Hopefully, any future fruits will, indeed, turn out good! I decided to cut them off and threw them in my neighbor’s compost bin. I did not want them taking any more resources from the plants for any longer. I still have one tomato that is looking good! Fingers crossed!

My zucchini is starting to produce, too! Yay! Currently, I have 2 little guys coming off that plant. A little sad at myself for not recording whether or not I fertilized the zucchini in time for them to not end up with blossom end rot. :/ I guess we will see. So I fertilized them a today.

Peppers have put out the first of their fruit too! I have 2 very small peppers coming up! I was actually surprised that I was only now getting peppers, I think I assumed I would have them before now. The flowers seem like they have been there a while.

My Pink Lemon tree still has its fruit. I am starting to realize, I do not actually know when it will be ripe or what it will look like. HUM. I have seen some pictures online, but I think it will be a guessing game. I also notice that the tree flowered again a few days ago! I am hoping that means, I might get more fruit on it! I believe I have 6 fruits so far.