Saturday, June 15, 2013

Mom's Cucumber Salad

Another simple one today! This recipe is especially simple because it is essentially recipe-less. It's what I like to call a "to-taste" recipe. Every single ingredient should be to your taste. You can put a ton of or completely leave out the vinegar, oil, onion, salt, pepper, sugar, the list goes on...
What you should probably definitely include, is cucumber. Because it is called cucumber salad. And you do not want to be a fraud.
Look at how pleasantly all of my ingredients match :) Except for that damn tomato! Which is ironic because I wound up taking the tomato out of the finished salad to put on a salmon salad sandwich the next day. It was good- I didn't take pictures because I was too busy eating it, but trust me.
So, this feels unnecessary because it's pretty straight forward, but here's what I did:
Sliced everything up nice and neat with my mandolin (which my boyfriend gave me as a gift with the EXPLICIT condition that if I cut myself with it, he would never be able to forgive himself and it would be taken away from me for good... stay tuned folks, I'm a kitchen accident waiting to happen.)

Look! Even here, the tomato knows it doesn't belong... it looks all pathetic and desperate. Damn tomato.

Then I just poured in the oil and vinegar. I'm certain this is the unpopular opinion, but I almost always do about 5:1 vinegar to oil, because I love vinegar. I crave it on a regular basis. Also, I think that's pretty close to what mom used to do with cucumber salad because it always tasted vinegar-heavy to me (in the best possible way).

Add a little salt and pepper, and just a touch of sugar to balance out your salt, and that's it. This recipe-less recipe is also great because it creates no immediate dishes-to-be-washed. You can slice directly in to a container that has a lid, throw the lid on and shake.

Fair warning- this is one of those foods that tastes better the next day. You have to let the flavors soak in to the cucumbers. So if you eat this right after putting it together, it pretty much just tastes like cucumbers. You could save yourself the eight seconds it takes to make this and just eat a cucumber.

Thanks for the recipe, mom! I can't wait to come in and edit this post once you tell me that I forgot something! ;)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Here it is... my first blog post

Well, I did it. Or am doing it. It's only taken me about two months to get this first post up! So, let that serve as a warning to you right off the bat, I guess. I'm scattered. And lazy. And I don't even have some fabulous excuse like, say, a house full of kids or a full time job. Nope. Just me being lazy.
Also, I feel like I should probably warn you that this blog does not have a particular category at this point. I know, I know, I read all the first-time blog advice about "finding your niche" and "writing about what you love" or "who you are", trust me. It's just that... I'm not really sure who I am (which feels embarrassing as it is, being in my late twenties and all) and I love so many different things... that don't always fit together or make a nice neat post with a nice neat category. So, for now, the blog is niche-less. I'll cook things and bake things (mostly bake things) and try craft projects- and they won't all be winners, but I promise to share them. I like to find the humor in things and it is usually quite humorous to watch me fail at something. Just ask my friends and family. I'll also write about other stuff- shows, movies, music, podcasts, whatever I'm into that day. Now THAT I will try to edit down, because I like a lot of shows and movies and music and podcasts. I wouldn't want to inundate you.
In fact, since I'm warning you about things, here's a shortlist:

- the pictures of said projects will be taken by me. I'm a terrible photographer. I promise to take a class... eventually... I promise.
- these pictures will pretty much always be taken in my home, which is not the cleanest home in the world. Or the country. Or the state. Or my block. I'll do my best, but you're likely to catch some of our clutter in the background. It'll be ok, I swear.
Ok so with the introductions out of the way, here is last night's adventure... mint simple syrup! I figured, what better way to start than with something that literally has simple in the title. I'm a sucker for anything that claims simplicity right in its name...
Before I started I looked up a few recipes because I couldn't remember what the ratio of sugar to water was for a simple syrup. I found a delicious looking mint gimlet recipe over at So Alaina (thanks to Pinterest, of course) that included a brief run-down of mint simple syrup, so thank you Alaina!
The whole reason I wanted to make this mint simple syrup is because I had one of those small packages of fresh mint burning a hole in my pocket (not a relevant phrase here, I know. Insert whatever phrase you like better when you re-read this.)
(you can see it's on its last leg here- that's why I wanted to use it all up at once, if possible. You can also see my sausage fingers.)
I gathered my ingredients- the shortest ingredient list ever. Sugar. Water. Mint. (Oh, and a super cute bottle to transfer the finished product to. Or a regular-level cute bottle.) The sugar to water ratio is 2:1, so I've got 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water there. That filled the bottle to about the midway point; if I had more mint I would've gone 2 cups sugar & 1 cup water, but, alas, I had the mint I had.
Combined the sugar and water over medium heat

Added the mint leaves (I tore mine up a bit in an effort to release some extra minty-ness)

Let it all cook together for about 15 minutes, then cooled it down to a point where there would not be a trip to the hospital if I spilled while transferring it to the cute bottle (see below)

(Precarious. Also probably unwise.)
I'm sure there was a better, less precarious way to accomplish the straining of the mint leaves, but I like to live on the edge.
So that's it- mint simple syrup! I feel like I'm letting my mother down by not using this immediately in some sort of alcoholic beverage, but I just couldn't wait to make my own mint iced tea this afternoon. It was delicious, by the way. And still plenty of syrup to get completely drunk on mojitos or those gimlets...
Thanks for getting all the way to the bottom of the post!