Tag Archives: Vinegar

Christmas 2013: Calamari Salad

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No real story here. This is a standby side for our holidays and a rather typical salad for an Italian Christmas or New Years Eve. It made its return as the seafood accompaniment to the meat-wrapped meat entree I prepared.

My father’s version is good, but it’s not quite as balanced as the version served at Asti Caffe and Trattoria in Syracuse, which this salad is patterned after. Continue reading Christmas 2013: Calamari Salad


Pickling Without Canning: Sweet Dill Pickles


The entire basis for this is the garlic dill pickle recipe from the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: An American Roadhouse cookbook. The brine is the same, as is the distribution of pickles. What happened was that I bought 4 lbs. of cucumbers at the market this weekend and didn’t know what to do with the remainder that didn’t fit in the container.

I didn’t want more garlic dill. That would be boring. So, why not bust out some extra sugar. I had the brine going anyhow, so I scooped out about 2 or 3 cups of it into a saucepan and kept it boiling.

My container was a 1-quart Gladware wrapped in plastic. It did the trick.

Continue reading Pickling Without Canning: Sweet Dill Pickles

Pickling Without Canning: Garlic Dill Pickles

IMG_4663Dill pickles have been standard summertime venture ever since I picked up my first copy of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: An American Roadhouse. I made my first batch while still living with my father, who hated the dill-vinegar smell that would hang in the house for the day or two following.

IMG_4653The project moved to my own dwelling(s), where it is something I put together once or so each year. Frankly, I can’t stand the steamed vinegar that hangs in the air either. However, the payoff is worth it.

I use a modified version of Dinosaur pickle recipe. I don’t know how to do it better than them, but I know that my primary audience (The Wife) does not like jalepeños with her pickles. Sooooooooooo, I try to balance it off with the requisite amount of garlic.

My past container of choice has been a 2-quart Rubbermaid container wrapped twice in plastic. This time around, I’m using a 2.5L sealed lockjar.

Continue reading Pickling Without Canning: Garlic Dill Pickles

Pickling Without Canning: Garlic cilantro dill pickles

2012-09-03 at 17-06-12This post was originally published on September 4, 2012 and is in the spirit of Pickling Without Canning.

We ate a lot of pickles in my house growing up.

A lot of them.

We were a Claussen household. For some reason, my mother refused to buy pickles that weren’t refrigerated. Vlassic was never seen. I’d like to think that it was because my mother was nuts (true) and thought the non-refrigerated variety would spoil quicker, but it was probably because the Claussens are better. My sister and I would eat them by the jarful as kids (I think we’ve covered the excessive eating my household on this blog.).

Continue reading Pickling Without Canning: Garlic cilantro dill pickles

Pickling Without Canning: Okra

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I had my first taste of pickled okra last winter in Dallas. My brisket at Stampede 66 was served with a small lock jar full of little pickled treasures: cucumbers, jalepeños and okra. I couldn’t get enough. After scarfing mine down, I stole the jars from my colleagues/friends that I was with.

Prior to this, okra was just the weird green vegetable in the gumbo I would order at Empire Brewing Company.

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Al Dente On The Side: Green and Wax Bean Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

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We established long ago that I’m a food bigot. It’s an ugly habit that I’ve worked hard at breaking. It turns out my discrimination went beyond mere food genres and straight to ingredients.

Yes, I was a bean racist. When it came to string beans, I was not color blind. Green was the beginning and end of any conversation, and yellow was never mentioned. I’m not entirely sure why. They taste the same and, with the exception of color, look the same. Maybe it’s the name: wax beans. Who wants to eat a wax bean?

Anyhow, I regularly buy fresh beans during the summer and make side dishes or salads from them (a Mancini classic: blanche string beans, mix olive oil, garlic and red wine vinegar, toss with beans, refrigerate, enjoy). This week at the Regional Market, Monarch Farms — a non-certified organic farm — had enormous green and wax beans. At $3.50 a basket, they were a winner in this recipe that was part of a feature in The New York Times dining section.

Continue reading Al Dente On The Side: Green and Wax Bean Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

Al Dente On The Side: CNY Regional Market Pasta Salad II

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My first CNY Regional Market Pasta Salad was gone in a matter of days. The Wife scarfed it down without much challenge.

This one has sat a little while, but not because it wasn’t good. There’s just a lot of it. Stupid orzo.

Orzo is a great pasta and probably my favorite shape. It’s also deceptively small. The little grains seem to explode in size when cooked. A seemingly small bag of pasta explodes like a family of rabbits.

The pasta came from my favorite haunt at the market — Flour City Pasta — and the tomatoes from Schrader Farms in the outdoor B aisle.

Continue reading Al Dente On The Side: CNY Regional Market Pasta Salad II

Saturday Dinner: Coffee-Crusted Pork Tenderloin

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Coffee and beef make for a very good combination, but I had never tried it with pork. If you’re going to make a rub or crust from coffee, you need to keep two things in mind:

  1. Grind it fine. The coffee should be there, but you should not feel like you are eating from a can of Folgers. It should have the consistency of dust, like any other spice rub.
  2. Try a light or medium roast. Dark roasts offer a richer flavor, but after hitting the grill grates, the end result may tasted burnt.

I blended one of Starbucks‘ Blonde Roast coffees with Symeon’s spice (a Greek spice that I’ve used here before), but any spice rub will pair up right in an even ratio.

Continue reading Saturday Dinner: Coffee-Crusted Pork Tenderloin