This past weekend was a culinarily exciting one, to be sure. Hook and I tried two new recipes, both from Eating Well. The first -- a salad of small potatoes, green beans, and sirloin in a creamy, horseradish-based dressing -- was good enough to warrant a repeat preparation. The second, a wheatberry & veggie salad, was not. I actually expected to like the wheatberry salad more, being a huge wheatberry fan (and not so much a fan of potatoes), but the dish ended up being too oily, the proportion of vegetables to grain out of whack. If I were to prepare it again (and "prepare it again" is a generous classification: what I mean is, if I were to use this recipe as a starting point for another wheatberry-centric salad), I'd use half the amount of oil and would add a more diverse mixture of vegetables: broccoli florets, lightly-sauteed mushrooms, maybe some fresh corn. Who knows?
More exciting is the fact that Hook and I made refrigerator pickles(!) This activity was also inspired by an article in Eating Well -- Hook was so excited about the prospect of homemade pickles that 1) could be eaten within 24 hours of preparation; and 2) would not require the use of proper canning techniques that he went out the same day and got a set of canning jars. We pickled cucumbers, beets, and jalapenos, all purchased at the Civic Center farmers' market (save the golden beets, which I got at Haight St. Produce); we prepared a sour brine and used a variety of spice blends, including a traditional pickling blend, cinnamon/clove, curry/ginger (for some beets), and fresh herbs from our small, new herb garden: thyme, oregano, basil. I know I run the risk of tooting my own horn, but the pickled goods turned out phenomenally well. The curry ginger beets are my favorite: the curry flavor is less dominant, and the ginger adds a kick. YUM. Be advised that, if you are in the SF area this summer, you will be goaded to try 27 varieties of homemade pickles. Just saying.