Thursday, July 8, 2010

pickled lemons

I have probably mentioned that I fell madly in love with pickled lemons from a local middle eastern grocery. Although I've now bought them two more times at a different middle eastern grocery, I've also tried to make them myself. I read a few recipes and came up with my, which was something like this:

Slice four lemons. Salt with kosher salt and put into a colander to drain overnight, in the fridge, for at least 24 hours. Then pack them into a glass jar (I used a three-cup jar for four normal lemons or five small ones), adding more salt and sprinkling in some hot paprika. Cram them very tightly into the jar and add additional lemon juice to cover, if necessary. Let sit in fridge for three weeks.

The first batch was way too salty, almost inedible. No good. I started a second batch before I tasted the first one, and even though it's not "done" yet, I tasted one today and it seemed less salty. Also, I used flaked red chile pepper (like you put on pizza) instead of hot paprika, since the ones I bought seemed to be done that way.

I put in a third batch today, and omitted the pre-salting and draining. I used considerably less salt and the chile pepper again. So I think batches two and three will be something of an improvement.

My second NYU interview today didn't seem to go quite as swimmingly as the one yesterday. I was interviewed by two women, who both seemed fairly young (of the three who interviewed me yesterday, the most senior was probably closer to my age), and they seemed to be reading their questions off an HR form of some sort, so it was of a conversation, though I was certainly asked questions yesterday. But I got the sense yesterday that they were pleased with me, and I didn't necessarily get that vibe today. Let's hope at least one comes through.

Back to recipes -- since it's been so monstrously hot lately, and since we were a bit broke waiting for Barry's unemployment check today, I made cold pasta-and-bean salads twice this week, which I kind of made up as I went. Like so:

Cook pasta al dente, drain and rinse with cold water. Combined with a can of drained beans (I used kidney one night and great northern another). Add basil (or oregano, or both), salt to taste, flaked chile pepper, and garlic powder. Dress lightly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

This can also be dressed with mayo, and you can add tuna. We'd been eating a lot of tuna and egg salad with mayo lately, so I decided on a lighter dressing, and it didn't really take much to moisten the salad and add a little flavor. We ate it all up both nights. I know this is probably a little starchy for a person with diabetes, but this was a classic what's-in-the-house meal.

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