Saturday, September 29, 2007

Relish - For Hamburgers, Hotdogs, etc.

Living in Japan, the tiny and high priced jars of pickle relish just are not a frequent option. Imagine my delight when I went to C---- and had a hot dog in their eating area and SMOTHERED it with relish and ketchup. YUM! We found a big 1/2 gallon jar of relish at C---- and I brought it home with great expectations. Unfortunately the relish was hard and crunchy! How do you make relish that is not hard and crunchy???

A few months later the flower lady down the street's mother asked if I knew how to make pickles. "Of course," I answered. Or, at least my Mom and Grandma used to make them when I was in early elementary school. A few years ago. So, after that bold statement, I went to the Web, and found a microwave recipe for pickles. I have to tell you I was so surprised that you actually COOK cucumbers. Hmmm. Looks like I missed something watching Mom and Grandma.

After some adaptation, I now have a wonderful homemade pickle relish recipe to share with you!!!

  1. 2-3 cups shredded cucumbers (About 4-5 Asian skinny ones. Not sure about American ones.)
  2. Sprinkle the shredded cucumbers with 1/4 tsp. of salt and set aside while making the following:

In a sauce pan combine:

  1. 3/4 cup of sugar (adjust to taste)
  2. 1/2 cup of vinegar (I use rice vinegar - I live in Japan, after all.)
  3. 3/4 tsp. of salt
  4. 1 Tbsp. of Pickle Spice (I found this little pack at Isetan Dept. Store. Do you have this in the States?) Put it in some of cheese cloth or tea bag packet.

Cook till the sugar dissolves. Squeeze as much of the liquid as you can from the shredded cucumbers (I use an old cotton towel). Add the cucumbers and cook over medium heat stirring occasionally. Cook till cucumbers turn the color of relish - kind of dark green. Maybe around 8-10 minutes. Cool in the saucepan, and put in a Tupperware container in the fridge. I leave the spice packet in the container with the assumption that the yummy flavor will just keep getting stronger and stronger.

I have also added a few hot dried peppers to the recipe when dissolving the sugar. Don't add too many. YIKES!

Yes, this was originally a microwave recipe, but, I am a control freak and you CAN'T see what you are cooking in the microwave. Also, messing with wrap with one hand while holding a baby on your other hip, just doesn't work well for me. So, WALA, the saucepan!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Real Juice Jello

I live in Japan and don't have the rows and rows of JELLO brand jello to choose from when shopping. Also, I have a little baby and was looking for some way to get a few more veggies into her. I came across this simple recipe for homemade jello. I use store-bought vegetable/fruit combination juice. My baby loves it. My husband and I prefer the sweet artificial flavors of Jello brand jello, I am afraid. SMILE. Perhaps if we used a fruit juice instead, we would like it much better.

  1. 2 Cups of juice
  2. 1 Tablespoon of gelatin

Pour one cup of juice in a bowl that can take some heat and sprinkle the gelatin over the juice evenly. Let it set while heating the other cup of juice just to boiling. Stir the cold juice, add the boiling juice, and stir. Refrigerate and eat when ready - a few hours. I thought of putting orange colored vegetable juice jello in a cute little food mold and add some frozen peas to it. Maybe cooked carrots with the green juice. Maybe I should stop while I am ahead!