Our Katimavik volunteer, Fiona Tunmer, contributed the following report on a Zukes and Cukes workshop we did earlier this week with a group of self-professed junk food loving teenagers as part of an initiative with Health and Wellness Nova Scotia. Enjoy!
We kicked off the cold and foggy morning with a preserving workshop in Dartmouth. With very little to do outside in these slow moving days it seemed to be the perfect place to be; in a nice warm kitchen. Since most of the morning was occupied by chopping vegetables and herbs there was a heavenly aroma.
Thyme, mint, and chives were received wonderfully with everyone, yet the controversial cilantro as not appealing for everybody. However the eyes are not so pleased when it came to dicing the onions. Once the last knife made the final cut and the mouths had tasted the new flavors it was time to begin the mixing.
The different smells and textures blended into a new combination that seemed not always appealing to everybody. However in the end once the fritters were fried and topped with the raita and the salsa the explosion of new tastes was very insightful.
This was a slightly saltier meal then I am normally use to having in a workshop. But I can say that there will be plenty of salt in the dill pickles that I will not be criticizing. This morning the water seemed to be in no rush to boil for it took many attempts and most of the workshop to get it perfect. The rest of the pickling process was as smooth as a cucumber. When the time came for the cucumber to be stuffed into the glass jars their seemed to be many strong fingers in the room pushing and rearranging them to get the maximum amount of pickles.
Overall the workshop was a pleasing experience where lots was learned and that salt is not always that bad for us especially if it is making pickles!
Zucchini Fritters with Feta and Herbs
6 medium zucchini, shredded with skin on
3 teaspoons sea salt
6 large free-range eggs
1.5 cup white, whole wheat flour or spelt flour
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
2/3 cup fresh herbs – mint, dill, sage, chives, thyme, parsley – whatever you’ve got!
2 bunches green onions
zest of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
extra virgin olive oil, for cooking
Place the shredded zucchini in a medium bowl, sprinkle with salt, toss, and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Rinse zucchini to remove excess salt. Press out any liquid with a clean dishtowel and then toss one more time to fluff up the zucchini again.
Combine zucchini, chopped green onions, eggs, flour, chopped herbs, salt and pepper in medium bowl. Mix well. Fold in crumbled feta cheese and lemon zest. (Zucchini mixture can be prepared 3 hours ahead. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Stir to blend before continuing.)
Preheat oven to 300°F. Place baking sheet in oven. Cover bottom of large nonstick skillet with olive oil. Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, drop zucchini mixture into skillet by heaping tablespoonfuls. Too much batter and the zucchini will steam and not get any of that crispness you are after. Fry until pancakes are golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer each batch of pancakes to baking sheet in oven to keep warm. Serve pancakes hot with raita or salsa.
3/4 cup plain yoghurt
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 English cucumber, skin on, finely, diced
1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds, ground
2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint
freshly cracked black pepper
Combine all raita ingredients in a bowl and blend well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Fresh Mexican Salsa
6 large tomatoes or 3 cups diced grape or cherry tomatoes
3/4 cup finely diced white onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of ½ lime
1 tbsp minced jalapeno pepper
1/4 tsp salt
In bowl, stir together tomatoes, onion, coriander, lime juice, jalapeno pepper and salt. Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
Fast Garlic Dill Pickles
3 pounds small pickling cucumbers
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
2 Tbsp pickling salt
4 heads fresh dill (or 4 tsp dill seeds)
4 small cloves garlic
Start sterilizing jars – fill canner up with water, and once boiling, place your clean jars in the canner and boil for at least 10 minutes. Put your canner lids in a bowl with hot (not boiling) water. Cut a thin slice from the ends of each cucumber.
- Meanwhile, combine vinegar, water and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Remove hot jars from canner. Place 1 head of fresh dill, or 1 tsp dill seeds and 1 clove of garlic into each jar. Pack in cucumbers tightly. Pour boiling vinegar mixture over cucumbers to within ½ inch of rim. Process 10 minutes for pint jars (500ml) and 15 minutes for quart jars (1 L).
Makes 4 pint jars.