Sweet Marinated Cucumbers

I’m a vegan. I respect the environment and I do my best to spread the importance of such an issue.
— Jared Leto

Jared told me that in an interview one time. We're pretty much BFFs. Okay, that might not be 100% factual, but the quote is.

I honestly don't recall where I first had these marinated cucumbers. It must have been at some holiday potluck or gathering. Cucumbers aren't really anything special to me and I hardly ever buy them (I just don't get the all commotion, plus they go bad so quickly!), so I was taken aback by how much I truly enjoyed this light side dish. Yet, vinegar delights me and I'm fairly certain I'm a sugar addict. Cucumbers are downright neutral so it's really no surprise why I enjoy these marinated 'cumbers so much. This dish is basically sugar and vinegar, let's be real. 

Produce On Parade - Sweet Marinated Cucumbers

After I first tasted them I was on a mission from god to try and replicate what I had eaten. Of course, now I know this is a super common, kind of southern(?) side dish. Okay, so I might of made that one up but it sounds right. Right? Southern sounds right. Anyway, who knew?! I certainly never grew up eating it so I had no idea! Parading around like I'd discovered Narnia or something...what a fool

I've made this recipe several times and I use about 1/4 cup of vinegar and sugar, per cucumber. So no matter how many 'cumbers you want to marinate, that's a good ratio to start with. Three cucumbers might not seem like a whole lot, but this recipe makes enough for a crowd. I promise. 

Produce On Parade - Sweet Marinated Cucumbers
Produce On Parade - Sweet Marinated Cucumbers
Produce On Parade - Sweet Marinated Cucumbers
Produce On Parade - Sweet Marinated Cucumbers

This dish is a perfect marriage of sour and sugary with notes from the delicate, herbed cucumber slices and sweet onion. 

Sweet Marinated Cucumbers 

Serves 6-8

Notes: It's best to leave the cucumbers to marinate overnight if possible. Use a mandolin if you have one. If you don't...it's time to hop on that bandwagon! I freeze, then reuse the marinade because I'm frugal like that.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dill weed 
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 heaping tsp. celery seeds
  • 3 cucumbers, sliced
  • 1/2 sweet onion, sliced

Instructions:

In a large bowl, whisk together everything but the cucumbers and onion. Slice the veggies then add them to the bowl and stir well to coat. I like to press the cucumbers down so they are all submerged. 

Allow to rest in fridge overnight if you can. Serve chilled using a slotted spoon. 

Produce On Parade - Sweet Marinated Cucumbers
Produce On Parade - Sweet Marinated Cucumbers
Produce On Parade - Sweet Marinated Cucumbers

German Word of The Day

Cucumber --> Gurke (guhkin)

Good Deed of The Day

Share this new documentary trailer, Cowspiracy, with everyone. EVERYONE! 

Sweet Ginger Soba Noodles + Crispy Tofu & Asparagus

This one's a keeper. It's going in my recipe rolodex for sure. Just kidding, I don't have one of those. But seriously, this is a dish I wouldn't mind having daily weekly. I love soba noodles. Oftentimes soba and peanut butter get married together, so it's nice to have a soba noodle recipe in your back pocket that doesn't involve peanut butter. Especially if you've got nut allergies, like my BFF. Produce On Parade - Sweet Ginger Soba Noodles + Crispy Tofu & Asparagus

Soba noodles mingle with a sweet ginger-sesame sauce and tangle with crispy tofu, sauteed asparagus, and fresh cilantro. This is great dish for introducing meat eaters to the wonderful word of vegan food, and how great it really is

Produce On Parade - Sweet Ginger Soba Noodles + Crispy Tofu & Asparagus

Seriously, who isn't going to love this? On a separate note...it's World Spay Day. Just a friendly reminder to get your furry children fixed!

Sweet Ginger Soba Noodles + Crispy Tofu & Asparagus  

Serves 6

Notes: The trick to browned, crispy tofu is saute dry tofu. I like to buy the super firm sprouted tofu that comes vacuumed sealed, as opposed to the type that comes in the plastic bin. There's less water and I don't need to press the tofu. Also, be sure to towel it off before sauteing to remove any residual wetness. 

  • Sauce:
  • 3/4 cup green onions, sliced thinly 
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. agave nectar
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced 
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh chili paste
  • Sustenance: 
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 10 oz. extra firm tofu, cubed small
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and sliced thinly 
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • splash of soy sauce
  • 9 oz. soba noodles, dry
  • Garnish:
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • red pepper flakes
  • sesame seeds

In a medium bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients. Set aside for later. 

Produce On Parade - Sweet Ginger Soba Noodles + Crispy Tofu & Asparagus  Produce On Parade - Sweet Ginger Soba Noodles + Crispy Tofu & Asparagus  Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the noodles. 

Meanwhile, in a large saute pan heat 1 tsp. of sesame oil over low heat. Towel off any residual wetness from the tofu and the asparagus and add them to the pan, along with the brown sugar and ginger. Turn the heat to medium-high and saute until the tofu is browned, about 10 minutes. When done, add a splash of soy sauce and stir. 

Produce On Parade - Sweet Ginger Soba Noodles + Crispy Tofu & Asparagus  Produce On Parade - Sweet Ginger Soba Noodles + Crispy Tofu & Asparagus  When there's about 5 minutes left for the tofu, add the soba noodles to the boiling water. Cook according to package, this is often 4 minutes in the water, drain and set aside. 

Produce On Parade - Sweet Ginger Soba Noodles + Crispy Tofu & Asparagus  Return the noodles back to the pot, add the sauce and the tofu and asparagus. Stir well to combine. 

Serve hot and topped with more fresh cilantro, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds.

Produce On Parade - Sweet Ginger Soba Noodles + Crispy Tofu & Asparagus  You should definitely jam out to The Cars – Just What I Needed with me. 

Good deed of the day: Sign this petition by Emergency Wildlife Services to have General Mills change the design of the Yoplait yogurt cups. I don't consume dairy and I suspect a good deal of you don't either, but it's well known that something needs to change with regards to the design of the Yoplait yogurt cups. Wildlife often get stuck in them and die. In fact, when I did eat yogurt (when I was ignorant to the atrocities of the dairy industry...) I didn't buy Yoplait for this exact reason. Nothing will change if we don't!

German word of the day: Asparagus --> Spargel (pronounced: shpar-gull)

[yumprint-recipe id='84']

Blueberry Breakfast Polenta with Toasted Coconut

Blueberries, sweet corn and toasted coconut. Some may think it's an odd combination, but I am here to assure you that it is an absolute divine marriage of flavors and texture. I'd never had polenta for breakfast and I thought it was about time. It's kind of like oatmeal for breakfast but the polenta is a finer texture of course and maybe a bit sweeter. It's fun to try new things! So, if you're bored of oatmeal try this breakfast instead and think outside the oatmeal box. When I first ditched cow's milk a couple years ago, I tried Silk's coconut milk. It was watery and bland to say the least and it made me very sad. I forgot about coconut milk and moved onto almond milk. Later down the road, of course, I began to make my own almond milk! If you want to learn how and all the lessons I found out the hard way, check out my post here.

Well, I recently decided to give Silk's coconut milk a go again. It had "Great New Taste!" slapped across the front of the carton so obvs I had to see what was up. I can't be passing that up! Boy am I glad I didn't...it was delicious! Their new coconut milk is creamy and thick, silky and very coconutty.

I don't want to know what kind of coconut-flavor additives they put in there to get it that way, because I am sure that their original coconut milk was probably more akin to the coconut milk that'd one would actually get from a real, legit, hairy coconut. Out of curiosity I looked at the ingredients and they are, " Coconutmilk (Filtered Water, Coconut Cream), Cane Sugar, Natural Flavor, Carrageenan, Yam Flour." Apparently coconut milk is one word? I don't know...is that right?? Anyways, nothing seemed to crazy. Carrageenan isn't that great, but it's pretty unavoidable if you're buying carton non-dairy milk of any type.

Produce On Parade - Blueberry Breakfast Polenta with Toasted Coconut

Regardless of how they do it...what I know is that I love the new wonderfully coconutty flavor! So, of course, it was the perfect milk to go along with this breakfast polenta. The toasted coconut chips give a wonderful and toasty crunch. The sweet corn kernels are delightful bursts of texture and the show-stealer of this dish is of course the wild blueberries!

Wild blueberries and store-bought blueberries are two entirely different creatures. If you can get your hands on some wild ones, I think you'll find that they're delightfully tart and bursting with flavor, as opposed to their lackluster cousins at the store. They're smaller as well much less watery. Here, I used my wild, frozen berries and just popped them into the bowl! No need to thaw them out or anything like that. They're perfect as is. Oh wonders of the universe, take my back to Saturday please!

Blueberry Breakfast Polenta with Toasted Coconut

Inspired by the wonderful The Whinery

Serves 4

  • 1 cup coconut chips, toasted
  • 4 cups of coconut milk (and a little extra for serving), I use Silk's Original Coconut Milk
  • 1 cup dry polenta
  • 1 cup sweet corn kernels
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 cup blueberries, I used wild frozen

To toast the coconut chips, if already not toasted, bake at 300 F on a clean cookie baking sheet for about 15 minutes. The coconut should be in "chip" style as opposed to "flakes". Below are coconut "chips".

Produce On Parade - Blueberry Breakfast Polenta with Toasted Coconut

In a medium saucepan bring 3 1/2 cups of coconut milk to a  boil. Add the dry polenta and whisk continually for about 5 minutes, until it's very thick.

Produce On Parade - Blueberry Breakfast Polenta with Toasted Coconut Produce On Parade - Blueberry Breakfast Polenta with Toasted Coconut

Add the remaining 1/2 cup of coconut milk as well as the sweet corn kernels. Whisk well to combine and then remove from heat.

Produce On Parade - Blueberry Breakfast Polenta with Toasted Coconut

Add the remaining ingredients excluding the coconut chips and the blueberries and stir well to combine.

Produce On Parade - Blueberry Breakfast Polenta with Toasted Coconut Produce On Parade - Blueberry Breakfast Polenta with Toasted Coconut Produce On Parade - Blueberry Breakfast Polenta with Toasted Coconut

Garnish each bowl with a quarter of the coconut chips and the blueberries.

Produce On Parade - Blueberry Breakfast Polenta with Toasted Coconut

Pour however much milk you'd like over the polenta and serve warm.

Produce On Parade - Blueberry Breakfast Polenta with Toasted Coconut Produce On Parade - Blueberry Breakfast Polenta with Toasted Coconut

Bobby enjoyed his warm breakfast of peanut butter and puppy chow!

Produce On Parade - Blueberry Breakfast Polenta with Toasted Coconut

A wonderful and warm breakfast for a rainy, late summer Saturday.

Blueberry Breakfast Polenta with Toasted Coconut
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Author: Katie - Produce On Parade
Serves: 4
Toasted coconut chips give a wonderful and toasty crunch, the sweet corn kernels are delightful bursts of texture and the show-stealer of this dish is of course the wild blueberries!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup coconut chips, toasted
  • 4 cups of coconut milk (and a little extra for serving), I use Silk's Original Coconut Milk
  • 1 cup dry polenta
  • 1 cup sweet corn kernels
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 cup blueberries, I used wild frozen
Instructions
  1. To toast the coconut chips, if already not toasted, bake at 300 F on a clean cookie baking sheet for about 15 minutes.
  2. In a medium saucepan bring 3 1/2 cups of coconut milk to a boil. Add the dry polenta and whisk continually for about 5 minutes, until it's very thick.
  3. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of coconut milk as well as the sweet corn kernels. Whisk well to combine and then remove from heat.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients excluding the coconut chips and the blueberries and stir well to combine.
  5. Garnish each bowl with a quarter of the coconut chips and the blueberries.
  6. Pour however much milk you'd like over the polenta and serve warm.