(Becky, the Mama) Now that summertime is here in Colorado, it is hard for me to stay away from the perfect weather on our inviting back porch!
We nap, visit and eat outside as much as humanly possible. Yesterday, we hosted a group of young couples and little ones for an outdoor brunch. A friend dropped by last night and we enjoyed a plate of nachos and cool drinks as we rocked and swung and chatted in the evening breeze. Tonight we had some dear friends and their little girls over for an old-fashioned supper-on-the-porch that brought back memories of meals around my own grandmother’s table. I made garlic & lemon roast chicken, baked sweet potatoes, Asian peanut buttery green beans (recipe to come soon!), corn, and my simple rustic, pastry-style cherry-blueberry cobbler (a festive July 4 recipe, by the way, with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream and raspberrg sorbet).
But it was the refreshing side-dish that I prepared for tonight’s meal that made me wax nostalgic for potlucks and picnic tables of my childhood: sweet n’ sour refrigerator pickled cucumbers & onions. I updated this beloved Grandma dish by using the small Asian or Persian cucumbers that are often sold in little packages of six to twelve, and becoming increasingly popular in grocery stores everywhere. Sliced a little on the thick side they hold their crunch for days in this pickling liquid. I like to keep a container of these marinated cucumbers and onions hand in the fridge all summer long to add a crisp, cold delightful punch to almost any meal.
You can get creative and add some diced fresh tomatoes, olives, artichoke hearts or any kind of cooked beans and a handful of fresh chopped herbs to this basic dish to create a quick, pretty, refreshing marinated salad for potlucks, picnics and summertime side-dishes. Crunch on and enjoy!
Crunchy, Easy, Refrigerator Pickled Cucumbers & Red Onions
6 to 8 small Asian or Persian cucumbers, sliced about 3/4 inch (leave peel on)
1 small red onion, peeled and sliced thin, pulled apart in strands
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar (depending on desired sweetness)
1 T. sea salt
T. dried dill (or 2 T. fresh chopped dill)
1 T. celery seed
1 T. black sesame seeds (optional)
Directions: Mix all of the above together in a dish with a lid. Let the mixture sit on the counter , with lid on top, at room temperature for about an hour and then put in fridge to chill until ready to serve. (Let the veggies marinate at least 3 hours for the best flavor through-out.) Will keep in fridge up to a week, maintaining its crunch.
(Becky, the Mama.)
“Now, that’s a good meatball,” my husband said as he took a bite of these amazingly moist Asian meatballs.
Quick. Name the scene and the movie that came to my mind in that moment.
If you guessed the scene with Rosie and the meatballs from The Wedding Singer, well, you get this free recipe for meatballs in your inbox today!
And if you didn’t guess correctly, you not only get the recipe free, but here’s the dialogue from the movie that left me smiling.
Adam Sandler is teaching a darling little old lady singing lessons, so she can sing to her husband on their 50th wedding anniversary. As he turns to leave after the lessons Rosie says, “But your payment!” And Adam Sandler’s character Robbie says, “My payment. Can I get it to go?”
Rosie calls from the kitchen, emerging with a sauce pan. “You’re such a sweet boy…letting an old woman pay you with meatballs.”
Robbie dismisses her protest. “They taste so good, it’s like I’m ripping you off.”
“I don’t have any clean Tupperware.”
“All right, definitely next time.”
“Don’t be silly. Now hold out your hands.”
He obeys and she plops a giant messy meatball in each of his hands and encourages him to taste one on the spot. He sweetly obliges, in spite of the awkwardness and takes a bite, then looks up at her and smiles. “That’s a good meatball.”
Let me tell you, the recipe for these meatballs are so good you’ll have people begging to eat them out of their hands!
They are made from ground turkey, so it is a surprise how moist and savory they taste. The sauce is just to die for: thick and rich, sticky with hoison sauce balanced by the tang of lime and vinegar and chopped green onions. Serve over rice with assorted chopped veggies and you’ve got a one bowl wonder.
Unless, that is you prefer to skip the fork and bowls, and eat them with your hands, Wedding Singer style.
Sweet n’ Savory Asian Meatballs
Preheat over to 400 degrees.
Ingredients for Meatballs:
1 lb to 1.25 lb ground turkey
3 peeled cloves garlic
1/4 red onion
1/2 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 T. sesame oil
1 T. olive oil
1 1/2 pieces soft fresh bread, torn into small pieces
1 inch square, fresh peeled ginger
Directions for Meatballs:
Put all ingredients into food processor and process the above into a thick meatloaf like mixture. Add more oil or a little water if needed to keep the processor moving. Roll and pat this mixture into 1 1/2 inch meatballs. Mixture will be a little sticky so you may want to grease your hands with a little olive oil, to help the process. (They don’t have to be perfectly round either… ) Don’t worry, the meatballs firm up beautifully, but also stay moist, when cooked. )
Bake uncovered 400 degrees in an oblong Pyrex pan that has been sprinkled with olive oil, turning periodically, and baking until the meatballs are golden on the outside and cooked on the inside about 20 minutes. If they are cooked through but not browned, run them under the broiler to get the outsides nice and brown and crispy!
Ingredients for Sauce:
2/3 c. bottled hoison sauce
1/4 white or rice vinegar
1 grated garlic clove
1 t. grated fresh ginger
1 T. soy sauce
Juice from 1/2 fresh lime
1 T. sesame seeds
2 T. chopped green onion
Directions for Sauce and Putting it All Together:
Put first 5 ingredients into a big sauce pan, and simmer for about a minute, until good and hot. Add juice from lime and then, gently put cooked meatballs in sauce and cover them all with sauce, heating until the meatballs are nice and hot.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and chopped green onion. .Serve over rice (jasmine is our favorite) with any steamed or sautéed vegetables that you like. (May also garnish with chopped peanuts and cilantro and additional lime or hot sauce, if you like.)
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