Best Relish Ever

This weekend is full of the fall canning I won’t have time for in a few weeks.  It was originally scheduled for September long weekend and wasn’t supposed to be as busy as it’s ended up.  The list for this weekend was supposed to be Spaghetti Sauce (recipe here), Cabbage Borscht (recipe to come), and Dill Pickles (my grandma’s recipe).  The first hurdle we had to jump was that my mom couldn’t FIND my grandma’s pickle recipe.  The second hurdle, which I’m still jumping, is that my mom bought ingredients to also make Salsa and Relish, both of which we made last year and I don’t need any more of.

Now, the thing you must know before I continue is that I don’t like cucumbers.  I don’t like the smell, I don’t like the texture, I don’t really like anything about them.  This dislike extends to pickles and relish.  The only pickles or relish that I eat are my mom’s homemade pickles and relish.  (My mom did a LOT of canning when I was growing up.)  The relish recipe I’m about to share with you is the only relish I enjoy.  We couldn’t find my grandma’s pickle recipe tho, so we found one that my mom thinks was similar and we’ll see how they turn out.

Relish

1 1/2 dozen large cucumbers

4-6 Onions

1 green pepper

2 red peppers

1/2 cup pickling salt

6 cups water

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup flour

1.5 tbsp mustard powder

1 tsp turmeric

2/3 cup pickling vinegar

1. Shred cucumbers, onions, and peppers in a food processor (large shred).  Put in a large bowl and add pickling salt and water.  Let sit for 4 hours.

2. Drain veggies and place in pot.  Add enough pickling vinegar to just cover the veggies.  Add 2 cups of sugar and cook till vegetables are translucent.

3. Make a thin paste of the flour, mustard powder, turmeric and 2/3 cup vinegar.  Add to pot and stir till thickened.

4. Add 3-4 drops of green food colouring (optional, it’s very yellow without it) and put into hot pint jars.  Place new, sterilized seal lid and ring.  It’s safe to let it sit at room temperature unless it doesn’t seal.

Yield – 7-8 pint jars depending on the size of your cucumbers.

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Ash-e Jow (Persian Barley Soup) Recipe

I was all kinds of motivated this weekend and made a new kind of soup.  I did use the lamb called for in the recipe, mostly because I still have most of the lamb I bought last december in my freezer and need to find new ways to use it.  This has really gotten me to try different ethnic food simply because I didn’t grow up with lamb and don’t just want to eat the chops and leave the rest because I don’t know what to do with it.  It’s pretty awesome.  This soup was made in the slow cooker instead of on the stove top.  It’s hearty, but light at the same time.  It doesn’t have much for seasoning or spices, which really allows you to taste the ingredients.  It’s really, really good.  You can leave out the lamb completely for a completely vegan soup, or you can substitute chicken, beef or pork instead of the lamb. 

Ash-e Jow

2-3 tbsp olive oil

1 lamb shank (I used a half leg roast, bone in)

2 onions, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 tsp turmeric

3 quarts stock or water

1 – 15oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 – 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 mixed lentils (can use any lentils you want)

1 cup pot or pearl barley

1 lb spinach (fresh or frozen)

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt (I forgot this…oops)

1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet, brown the lamb shank on all sides.  Put lamb in slow cooker.  Add onions, carrots and turmeric to the skillet, cook till onions are soft (5-7 minutes) and put into the slow cooker.  Add water, let cook on high for up to 3 hours. (my slow cooker cooks very hot)

2. Add the beans and lentils, simmer another 30-45 minutes.  Add the barley and simmer about another 30 minutes.  Take out the lamb shank, remove the meat from the bone and dice.  Add lamb back into the soup along with the spinach and salt/pepper.  Cook till spinach is wilted, stir in sour cream or yogurt (optional) and server. 

Variations:

substitute half the barley for brown rice

change up the types of beans

use pork, beef or chicken instead of lamb (bone in if possible, makes a better stock)

I forgot to add the sour cream, might have been better with it, I’ll have to try adding some to the next bowl I have.   This recipe filled my 6.5 quart slow cooker and gave me 3 quart jars, 4 pint jars and a large ziplock square container of soup.  Unfortunately one of the quart jars and 2 pint jars didn’t seal properly and I will need to throw them out.

Recipe adapted from here.

Update :o

So I’ve decided to post again a bit.  I’m starting to feel more like myself, but some days are still rough.  I still haven’t been cooking much for myself, it’s been all quick easy foods or a lot of takeout unfortunatly.  I want to make minestrone this week and found a recipe for curry beef stew which sounds interesting.  I also want to make biscuits to take to work isntead of buying them from Tim Hortons.  I have all this meat in my freezer that I was saving for when Adrian was up here, but since that’s not happening I don’t really have to store it up anymore.  I also haven’t really felt like eating much meat in the last few months.

I’ve been able to register for University courses, but I’m on a waitlist for 3 of them.  One of them is a compulsory course for my degree that I might not be able to take till next semester.  I’ve decided to take introductory french this year to brush up on my french, hopefully it’ll be an easy-ish credit.  Textbook prices are making me cry.  I’ve already bought one, but have more to get.

I still need to go see a doctor, but haven’t.  I dont have a family doctor in Winnipeg and hate going to clincs for serious stuff, but I dont have a choice really.  I don’t know when I’ll have time tho, so we’ll see.  I still have August 20th off so I might go then.

Hopfully I will have a more substantial post soon.