Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jess & Herb's Chow Chow Pickles

Jess & Herb's Chow Chow Pickles

Shortly after I told my husband that I wanted to start pickling more things, he requested I make him some chow chow. 

To which he got a very strange look from me, as I'd never heard of it. 

He didn't want just "any" chow chow, either. 

He wanted me to make the kind he used to have when he'd visit his grandparents in New Plymouth. 

Since they live 6500 miles from us, I couldn't just go over and ask them how to make it (like I would have preferred). 

I have fond memories of his grandparents' house.  It was where I first unearthed a potato, which I still rave about quite a bit because I thought it was one of the coolest things ever. 

Still do. :)

I also loved having them show me around their garden.  They had a beautiful array of plants and flowers, and grew several different kinds of food.  I'm sure if I lived there, I'd have gone over to visit with them often. 

Jess was kind enough to email me their chow chow pickle recipe, and I couldn't be more thrilled.

And, thankfully, I didn't mess it up too badly because my husband has already almost finished one jar of it, and another jar is "magically" in the fridge ready to be consumed. 

And, a bonus, my grandmother is enjoying it, too!  She says it is good with tuna salad, but I haven't gotten the details about how she prepares that exactly. 

My husband eats his just spread on bread like an open faced sandwich. 

So that is how I tried mine today. 

Herb and Jess's Chow Chow Pickle recipe:  [Text in brackets are my comments]

4 cups cauliflower
4 cups pickling onions
4 cups green tomatoes
4 cups diced cucumber
1 1/4 cups salt [we used non-iodized salt]
2 litres water
1 cup plain flour
4 teaspoons dry mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons tumeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup sugar
1 litre malt vinegar

Put the prepared vegetables in a large non metallic bowl.  Dissolve the salk in water and pour over the vegetables.  Leave to stand for 24 hours. 

Drain.  Mix together flour, mustard, tumeric, cayenne pepper and salt with enough vinegar to make a paste.  Gradually add in the remaining vinegar and bring to the boil in a large pan, stirring until mix thickens.  Add vegetables and boil for 5 minutes or until vegetables are heated through.

[I cut this recipe in half because it made more sense, given the number of green tomatoes we had on hand at the time.  I used a full head of cauliflower and am not sure how many "cups" that was.  All the veggies and the onion were cut into 1/2 inch pieces.  I boiled the vegetables until they were just fork tender.  Next time, I will cut the cauliflower a little smaller, per my husband's request, but I thought they were fine the way there were and so did my grandmother.]


Some of the raw ingredients.  The tomatoes were just picked off our plants only minutes before. 

The tomatoes, onion, cucumber and cauliflower - as used in the recipe.

One-half of my open-faced sandwich from today.  The other half was eaten before I got my camera out to take the picture.

This picture is for my husband's grandparents.  The mostly empty jar says it all - he loves their chow chow pickles! :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Veggie Bites

Veggie Bites

I'm not sure where or how I was inspired to make this snack, but I do know they have been in my head for a week or two.  I think I was having a craving for my sister's seven layer dip, but I'm really not sure.

I thought this would make a fun snack for us to enjoy while we waited for food to cook on the barbecue.

It would have, I think.

But they never made it outside.

They were eaten almost as fast as it took me to put them on the plate!

The veggies we used were cucumbers, radishes, carrots and zucchini.  [The avocado was used to make some guacamole.]

The veggies were sliced.

The avocado was smashed and mixed with a little black pepper, lemon juice and a bit of Tapatio (hot sauce).

Then I opened a can of chili beans and drained most of the liquid from them.  I pureed the beans in my food processed.

Everything was then stacked as follows (from the bottom up): cucumber, bean puree, carrot, guacamole, radish, bean puree and zucchini on top.

I made these using some of the thicker veggies I could find, but I think they would be better a little smaller in diameter.

We ate these stacks by putting the entire stack in our mouth at once.

They were good, and I especially liked the way the flavor changed as I was eating them.  The flavors each seemed to take their turn in the spotlight. 

I will definitely be making these again, substituting different veggies and other things such as salsa, hummus, cream cheese, etc., depending on what we have on hand, who will be eating them and what I think they might enjoy.

If you give these a try, I'd love to hear your substitutions!  :)