Swimming Cucumbers

This is a family recipe for refrigerator pickles that, in my family, we like to call “swimming cucumbers”.  It is simple and basic, but the tartness from the vinegar and the chilled cucumbery goodness are so refreshing in the heat of summer.  I can remember eating these all the time when I was a kid, and now with fresh organic cucumbers from Sage Mountain Farm, I make them for my kids and they love ’em as much as I did.

Start by washing the cucumbers and slicing the ends off.  Then using a vegetable peeler, I like to give my cucumbers some stripes.  I peel a strip of skin from one end to the other and then I rotate the cucumber before peeling another strip (leaving alternating strips of skin on and skin off).  This is just personal preference.  My kids would prefer not to have any skin on and, as a mom I would prefer them to eat the skins.  So we have found a happy medium with striped cucumber rounds, everybody’s happy.  Do what you like here…but, fair warning, stripes are fun!

Next slice the cucumbers into rounds about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch thick, depending on your preference.  Also, if you like you can make these into half rounds.  Whatever floats yer boat!

Put all of your slices into a lidded container that has a bit of extra room for liquid.  Using a mixture of equal parts water and apple cider vinegar, cover all of the cucumbers.  Finally sprinkle the top of the liquid with a generous amount of fresh cracked black pepper, course grind works best.  Place the lid on the container and tuck these babies away overnight in the fridge.  Next day, enjoy!

For another tasty summer treat, revisit this recipe from last summer- Strawberry Basil Lemonade!

Give us a comment below if you tried either of these recipes!  We’d love to have a conversation with you!

 

3-2-1 Pinto Beans

Hey everyone!  I want to share with you today one of the recipies that I make at least once a week, if not twice.  This is how I make my pinto beans.  A lot of people ask for this recipe, so here it is!

Ingredients:

3 cups dried pinto beans, soaked overnight

3 dried chiles de arbol (or chile japones), with the stems picked off

3 Tablespoons of dried chopped onion, or a 10 oz bag of frozen diced onion or 1 medium onion chopped (This is a great place to use some fresh organic onions from your CSA box)

2 Tablespoons of dried ground cumin

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2 in square of Kombu seaweed (this one is totally optional.  I recently started adding this to help with the digestibility of the beans, it breaks down mostly while cooking and can be scooped out at the end, or blended into the beans, it really doesn’t change the flavor of the finished beans.)

1 Tablespoon of granulated garlic, alternately you can ad fresh minced garlic from your CSA box!

1 Tablespoon of salt

 

Method:

Soak beans overnight, then rinse them well.  Place rinsed and soaked beans into your pressure cookimg_2758er and add the rest of the ingredients.  I like to break my dried chiles into smaller pieces because I img_2763blend them into my beans.  If you want the flavor of the chiles but not too much spice, then leave the chiles whole and discard after cooking, before blending.

img_2764Fill
your pot to 1 inch above the beans.  This will give you an excess of liquid, but more is better, and as you will see it is possible to ladle out the extra water before blending the beans.

Use either the bean or the manual setting on your img_2765pressure cooker and adjust the time up to 45 minutes.  Make sure it is on high pressure and that the steam valve is closed for pressure cooking.

While you wait, this is a great time to chop some onion and cilantro, hit that with a little squeeze of lime juice and salt…heaven on a taco!

When the time has come to open your pressure cooker (I would let the pressure come down on it’s own rather than a rapid release because beans create a lot of foam while cooking and it is a total disaster, I know this from first hand experience…more than once…) you will fill your home with a delicious smell that will make you hungry!

Now is decision time.  Whole beans or “re-fried” aka blended?  Spicy or mild?  If your goal is spicy and whole, do nothing.  Use a slotted spoon and serve these bad boys on a tortilla, or over chips.

If your goal is a “re-fried” bean analog (only healthy because they are made without oil), then you need to either remove the chiles or not based on your heat preference.  Then you will need to ladle out as much water as you can without becoming OCD about it! img_2766 Seriously, if the beans are a bit runny the first night, while they are refrigerated overnight they will soak up some of that extra liquid and become firmer the next day.  This is really personal preference.

img_2767I use an immersion blender for this step.  You could use a fork, a potato masher, or a blender if you like…or see the instructions for whole beans above!  Blend or mash until the beans look like the right consistency to you.  Some people like ’em totally mashed and others like to see some whole and partial beans in the mix.  It’s totally up to you!

 

Voila!  Beans, done.  If you give this recipe a try, let me know in the comments below.  Tacos and nachos and even enchiladas are a great way to feature some of the great produce and meats that we have here at Sage Mountain Farm!

P.S. If pressure cooking isn’t your bag, these beans can also be done in a crock pot on high for most of the day, or even on the stove (if you don’t mind the heat in the middle of summer, ugh!).