Effortless Living: My Cucumber Christmas Pickle
Welcome back to my blog!!
I thought it would be a good time to bring music back to the blog! I soon tell you why! My instruction for the blog is to listen to Destiny's Child's "Winter Paradise", while you read! Somehow...Destiny's Child...seems to get what Christmas is supposed to be like. Me and my millennial self...am at the point where I'm stuck in age between those who are still excited enough to celebrate Christmas and those who are either up in age, retired, or jaded enough by life to not feel like the season is worth celebrating. All I have to say...is that you are responsible for your life experience. Protect your Christmas Spirit!! In an age where stem cell extractions and injections exist...and more than likely you'll be living till 100 plus...you might as well enjoy the time that you're here.
This past three weeks, I've been taking the time to actually get the house ready for Christmas in my own way. I don't live alone, and with a household of five people, I've learned to pull my own weight in the household. I'm more of a home maker, and while I do work on my vegetable patch, the heavier yard is done by our gardener. I touch up where I can and keep the place in order. The tradition in our home at Christmas involves:
a) Decorating the house. We've always had Christmas trees and lights. With the youngest person in the household at 27 this year...all I managed to do...was put a string of lights on the bay windows. We have a pine tree outside...so that counts as the year round Christmas tree. Another simple yet...Christmassy touch...is the poinsettias. We have three in the house. One on the coffee table, one on the side table, and I have my own own poinsettia in my room. I guess all of this...plus the presence does suffice! When I have my children I'll have a big splash!! I managed to get a small 4ft Christmas tree when our gardener was trimming our pine tree. It's the most ratchet tree...but I light it at nights as I'm watching Hallmark movies. It brings me joy!
b) Making Christmas Cake. I don't know a year when this wasn't done. You need to start soaking your fruit if you haven't reached there yet. As a quick tip from a Chemist...if you haven't started soaking your fruit yet...catalyze the reaction by warming your red wine (not boiling) and then pour that warm wine over your fruit in a large glass bottle. Cover the bottle immediately after you do this, so that the alcohol doesn't evaporate. Set aside...mince into your batter, and bake your cake one week to one day before Christmas. If that fails...as modern people...you can buy cake at every supermarket known to Jamaica for about $9.00 for the small cake, and $12.00 for the large cake. You have plenty of options...just make sure you have cake on the table on the day!! If you're stressed about 2020...just buy the cake...and then catch up in 2021 when you feel better and life gets back to normal.
c) Cooking Christmas Meals: When I was 12, we stopped cooking Christmas dinner because we started attending one of the most fabulous Christmas parties I've ever been to in my life. After the pandemic ends...I'll start my own Christmas tradition...lol...because this year we can't gather as we want. All the people you thought were annoying...are now so amazing because you can't really gather with people. What a life! I'll miss the Christmas party...as much as I've missed Carnival. Christmas...will involve waking up...going down stairs...and having Christmas breakfast with my family. It'll be just like it was when I was younger...except we're all grown now. The meals...have already been planned...so I will participate in the baking part of it. The men in the house tend to do the big cooking...and I clean up after. It all just works out somehow.
With my new found "freedom" in 2020...I've been able to be creative and think. I've created my own pickle this year. The quarantine inspires new skills. Thank you 2020...for making me great. Let's make:
SAVORY CUCUMBER PICKLE
To make this delicacy, you will need:
a) A small glass jar. The jar I'm using is one that I recycled from the kitchen. When spices finish...if I like the bottle, I tend to keep it. The bottles I gravitate to have a nice gold cap, uniform body, and have the high end look. I'm sure that at this point...you realize that I love glass the way that Gold Member loved gold. The jar I have holds about 150 ml of liquid. It's not that big, but it's enough for one meal with five people.
b) A small cucumber, strainer with a handle and bowl
c) 2 glove of garlic
d) A small sprig of rosemary. You'll honestly need about half of what I have in the picture because the jar is small.
e) White vinegar and sugar. If you have a sweet vinegar, you won't need to add any sugar to your vinegar.
Start the process of preparing your pickle by cutting your cucumber into almost thin slices. If you have a mandarin that works as well. Place the cucumber in your strainer, and then balance the strainer on top of your bowl to strain away the excess water. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt on the cucumber and let the salt dehydrate the cucumber for 30-120 minutes based on how much time you have.
While your cucumber is curing, you can take the time to actually prepare the rest of the filling for the pickle. Cut your onions on the equatorial plane, so that you'll get rings when you separate the pieces. See the image to the left for a visual.
Cut the few cloves of garlic into small pieces as shown.
The rosemary will be a garnish for the pickle and will add additional flavor.
Ten minutes before you are ready to pickle, place 200 mL of vinegar and sugar mixture ( you won't need more than a tablespoon for a 200 ml volume) into a small saucepan, on a low-medium flame. Stir gently, and dissolve the sugar. Bring to a gentle boil.
While the vinegar brine is heating, wash the salt off your cucumber, and dry the pieces with a paper towel. With alternating layers in your glass jar, place your onion rings, cucumber slices and your garlic. Add the rosemary sprig to the side of the container as a garnish. If you have spices like pepper corns...you can place them in the vinegar as well. I just kept mine simple.
With everything arranged as you'd like, pour your hot brine solution onto to your pickle, and let the solution cool to room temperature with an open top. Once the container is cool to touch, you can then cap the bottle, and refrigerate. You can place this pickle in the fridge for up to two weeks. This is a preservative free creation, so two weeks is advised in the refrigerator.
Total time to prepare: A cool...1 hour and 20 minutes.
While you're waiting for the cucumber to cure, and the solution to cool to room temperature...you can do things like have breakfast, call a friend or watch another cooking video. It's a really effortless thing. I'm planning to serve this on the Christmas table...provided no one eats it before the time. You know how things go in reality.
Take the time to enjoy the 2020 Christmas! Destiny's Child is right!! When you stop thinking too hard about the holiday...you see it for what it really is...another occasion to just have fun! We need fun in 2020!!
I love you for reading!!
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