Rice & Veggie Bowls with Thai Coconut Lime Dressing

Here's something I don't take pictures of: cooked food.

I take many, many photos of our raw produce (haha, funny joke, everyone knows I only take baby and flowers photos now), but I don't ever photograph prepared meals. I feel that without professional lighting and staging it is basically impossible to make cooked food look appetizing in photographs, and ain't nobody got time for that in high summer. But, if I were ever going to photograph cooked food, it might have been this rice bowl. I guess you'll have to trust me that it was gorgeous and instead enjoy this photo of our carrots, which were featured prominently in said bowl.

This recipe meets one of my main criteria for summer eating in that in can be described by the following three steps. Step one: make some kind of spicy sauce and some kind of rice. Step two: cut up whatever veggies were harvested that day. Step three: mix together in an obscenely large bowl and eat. 

Adapted from this recipe on Food 52 for two people, but you should probably double it - it makes great leftovers! 

For the Thai coconut-lime dressing:
Juice of 1 lime (about 1/4 cup)
2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
Zest of 1 lime (about 1 to 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons fresh lemongrass, finely chopped
1/2 serrano pepper, seeded and minced (I used a japapeno!)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint

For the salad bowl and toppings:
1 1/2 cups cooked black or red rice
10 ounces poached chicken breast, shredded, if you want. Or tofu. Or nothing.
2 cucumbers
4 large radishes, thinly sliced
1 - 2 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
4 hakurei turnips, thinly sliced
1 cup onion scapes or scallions, cut thinly on the bias
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh mint

Turning Cucumbers into Pickles

There's really only one logical thing to do when the cucumbers suddenly start ripening 50 pounds of fruit a day... Start making pickles!

I dedicate a lot of time and energy over the course of the summer to putting up food for winter, which feels crazy when it's 11:30 pm on a Sunday in August and there are four different vats of simmering brines on the stove and juicy rotten tomatoes all over the dining room, but the curries and shakshukas and hot sauces that we feast on in the winter are reminder enough that it's worth it. All that mayhem is still to come this season though, so we fully enjoyed our first, relatively small, pickling adventure last night. We made 9 quarts of spicy pickles - and a pretty insubstantial mess, all things considered.  

I'm very good at taking over the entire kitchen and dining room (which are, in fairness to me, tiny) once I get going on a pickling or fermenting project. Especially when I have Elise's expert pickling (and mess-making) help.

I'm very good at taking over the entire kitchen and dining room (which are, in fairness to me, tiny) once I get going on a pickling or fermenting project. Especially when I have Elise's expert pickling (and mess-making) help.

Having tried quite a few pickle recipes, I can confidentially say that this is one of my favorites. It's sweet but not too sweet, spicy but not too spicy, and very flavorful. And, like most good classic recipes, I stole it from my mother. These pickles get crispy and delicious after a few days in the fridge, and stay good for at least three months. 

Makes about 1 quart

1 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dill seed
4 to 5 small pickling cucumbers, peeled in stripes and sliced into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
1 small red onion, thinly sliced into rounds

1. Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, black pepper, cloves, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and dill seed in a quart jar. Place the lid on the jar and shake until the sugar has dissolved.

2. Layer the cucumbers and onion in the jar using a wooden spoon to press them tightly into the jar. Place the lid on the jar, shake it well, and refrigerate.


Care & Storage

For Eating Fresh: You can store cucumbers in your fridge's crisper, but we recommend not waiting too long to eat them - they dry out and shrivel after four or five days. They do not store well once they have been cut.


June - July


Refrigerator Pickles
Makes enough for 5 quart jars. These will be delicious after as few as three days, and will keep up to two months in the refrigerator.

8 lbs of cucumbers
5 tbsp salt
1 bunch fresh dill, chopped coarsely
1 1/4 tsp peppercorns
2 1/2 tsp mustard seed
2 heads garlic
White vinegar

Cut cucumbers into spears and place in a large bowl along with the dill. Sprinkle with salt, mix, and let them sit for 30 minutes. Pack cucumber spears into jars. To each jar add 1 or 2 squeezed garlic cloves,  1/4 tsp pepper corns, and 1/2 tsp mustard seed. Pour white vinegar into the jar until the liquid comes up about 1/3 of the way, then fill the jar to the top with cold water. Screw on lids and shake the jars to mix. Refrigerate.


Ten Minute Pickles
Adapted from Momofuku by David Chang and Peter Meehan 

2 small or 1 large cucumber, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1 tbsp sugar
1tsp kosher salt

Combine the cucumbers with the sugar and salt in a small mixing bowl and toss to coat with the sugar and salt. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Taste the pickles. If they are too sweet or too salty, put them into a colander, rinse of the seasoning, and dry in a kitchen towel. Taste again and add more sugar or salt as needed. Serve after 5 to 10 minutes, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.


Mom's Magic Cucumbers
Contributed by Deborah Kanter 

6 cups cucumbers, skin on and sliced very thin
3 small Vidalia onions, sliced thin
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons salt
1 cup cider vinegar

Combine sugar, salt and vinegar in a small bowl. Pour over cucumbers and onions. Let stand several hours for best flavor. Divine when refrigerated and eaten cold on a hot day!