Refrigerator Pickles

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These easy-to-make pickles are fresh, crisp, tangy and nicely seasoned. The amount of brine is sufficient for preparing 2 quarts of pickles.

Ingredients:
• cucumbers, any variety, but pickling cucumbers are best
• 1 large onion, thinly sliced
• 3 cups filtered water
• ½ cup champagne vinegar or white vinegar
• 3 T sea salt or kosher salt
• 1 T organic sugar
• 2 T minced garlic (6 cloves)
• 2 T fresh chopped dill
• 1 tsp whole coriander seeds (optional)
• 1 tsp whole peppercorns or ½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
• 2 bay leaves

Technique:
In a bowl or large measuring cup, dissolve the salt and sugar in the vinegar and water to create the brine. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaves, dill and optional coriander seeds and pepper to a large container with a lid, or divide among 2 mason jars.

For smaller cucumbers, such as pickling cucumbers, leave unpeeled and slice in half or quarter lengthwise. For larger salad cucumbers which have tougher skins, use a vegetable peeler to cut strips of peel away, leaving some of the peel intact. This gives the cucumbers a nice variegated appearance; then cut into ¼ to ½-inch crosswise slices.

Stand the spears upright or layer the slices in the 2 jars. If using a large container, lay the spears on their side or layer the slices.

Pour the brine over the cucumbers, submerging them completely. Cover tightly. Refrigerate for a minimum of 72 hours, but the longer they “pickle”, the better. Enjoy!

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Three Bean Salad with Cumin-Scented Vinaigrette

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Fresh cooked green beans, mukimame (shelled edamame aka green soybeans), chickpeas and sliced onion are tossed with a light and refreshing cumin-scented vinaigrette.

Ingredients:
• 1 lb. fresh green beans, ends trimmed
• 1 lb. frozen mukimame (shelled edamame)
• 1 can (16 oz.) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed well and drained
• ½ small sweet onion, sliced paper thin
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• ¼ cup olive oil
• 2 T white wine vinegar
• 2 T fresh lemon juice
• 1 T sesame tahini
• 1 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
• 1 handful fresh parsley
• 1 clove garlic (1 tsp minced)
• ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
• coarse ground black pepper, to taste

Technique:
Steam the green beans until crisp tender. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and drain. Cook the mukimame according to the package directions; rinse with cold water and drain. Add the green beans and the mukimame to a large mixing bowl. Add the thoroughly rinsed chickpeas and the sliced onion. Set aside.

In a small skillet, toast the cumin seeds over medium heat until fragrant. Place the cumin seeds in a blender with the remaining ingredients except for the black pepper and process until smooth. Pour over the beans and gently toss to avoid breaking the green beans. Add the black pepper, to taste, and gently toss again. Chill for a minimum of 30 minutes to blend the flavors before serving.

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Cilantro Pepita (Pumpkin Seed) Salad Dressing

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A creamy dressing with a South of the Border taste; its’ beautiful pale green color and fresh herbal flavor will brighten up any green salad. Anaheim green chilies are very mild; if necessary, canned green chilies can be substituted for fresh.

Ingredients:
• 2 medium Anaheim chilies, roasted, peeled and seeded
• ¾ cup vegetable oil
• ¼ cup red wine vinegar
• ⅓ cup roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds with shells removed), plus additional for garnishing the salad
• ¼ cup water
• 3 cloves fresh garlic (1 T minced)
• ½ tsp coarse ground black pepper, or more to taste
• ½ tsp sea salt or kosher salt, plus additional to taste as desired
• 2 bunches fresh cilantro
• 1 cup No-Eggy Mayo (from either of my cookbooks)

Technique:
Place all ingredients except for the cilantro and mayonnaise into a blender. Blend approximately 10 seconds. Pack in the cilantro and continue to blend until smooth.

Add the mayo and blend briefly to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper as desired.

Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to serve. Add small amounts of additional water to thin to desired consistency, if needed.

Use additional whole pepitas to garnish the salad before serving.

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Singapore Salad

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Singapore salad is refreshing combination of fruits and vegetables with a Malaysian-inspired, oil-free, sweet and spicy chili lime dressing. The recipe makes ½ cup dressing, which is enough for 2 servings.

Ingredients for the salad:
• mango
• pineapple
• cucumber
• jicama
• tomato
• onion
• sesame seeds (optional: I like to use a combination of white and black)

Ingredients for the dressing:
• ¼ cup pineapple, mango or orange juice (or a combination)
• ¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 2 large limes)
• 2 T light brown sugar
• 1 tsp tamari, soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos™
• ½ tsp Thai red chili paste or Sriracha™, or more to taste
• ¼ tsp guar gum or xanthan gum

Notes:
Fresh pineapple is always preferred but if canned chunk pineapple is used, the juice can be reserved for the dressing. The guar gum or xanthan gum is important to this recipe as it adds viscosity to the dressing which helps it cling to the salad.

Technique:
Cut your fruits and vegetables into bite-size pieces in any shape you desire (the onion should be sliced thin).

In a bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. The dressing may seem thin at first but will thicken upon standing – so resist the urge to add more. This is because when guar gum or xanthan gum are subject to vigorous whisking or shaking in a solution, the viscosity will thin, but will thicken when the solution is left undisturbed. This is called shear thinning, and is a unique property of these gums. That’s why they are frequently used in commercial salad dressings.

Toss the salad with the dressing and chill for about 15 minutes to let the flavors blend before serving. Garnish with sesame seeds if desired.

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Jicama Slaw

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Jicama (pronounced hik-uh-mah) is a large, bulbous root vegetable, weighing one to two pounds. Jicama has a rough brown skin which needs to be peeled before eating. The flesh is white, wet and crunchy, similar to a raw potato but with a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. This refreshing slaw is ideal for cooling the heat of spicy Mexican, Indian or Thai cuisine or simply as a side dish on a hot Summer day.

Ingredients
• 1 large jicama, peeled and shredded
• ½ red onion, shaved thin
• 2 carrots, shredded
• ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro leaves

Dressing ingredients:
• ½ cup light-tasting vegetable oil, your choice
• ⅓ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
• 2 T organic sugar or brown rice syrup
• 2 T fresh squeezed lime juice
• 1 tsp ancho chili powder (or other mild chili powder)
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• 1 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
• ½ tsp coarse ground black pepper

Technique:
In a bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients; set aside. Place the shredded jicama, red onion and shredded carrots in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the jicama mixture and toss to coat well (you may not need all of the dressing; just add enough to thoroughly coat the mixture). Fold in the cilantro. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, allowing the flavors to merge together.

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