Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pickle peppers, pig’s ears or blue berries

Pickled peppers, pig’s ears, blueberries, flowers, mangoes and more await those who like to spice it up. I have succumbed to “The Joy of Pickling: 250 Flavor-Packed Recipes for Vegetables and More from Garden or Market,” Linda Ziedrich’s revised edition of a very resourceful, readable book. I am usually on the receiving end of such goodies. Armed with little more than sugar, vinegar and pickling salt, I can create such wonders as pickled peaches, pickled plums with red wine, honeyed jalapeno rings, and zydeco beans. The author likes to experiment, so novice though I am, I played around with seasonings to make spiced oranges and kumquats. It was a winner. This one’s next on my list:

Thai Pickled Carrots
1/2 pound carrots, thinly sliced, diagonally, then slivered
2 teaspoons pickling salt
1 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 to 2 small fresh hot peppers, such as serrano, seeded, if you like, and minced
In a bowl, mix the carrots with the salt. Let the carrots stand for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, bring the remaining ingredients to a boil in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Let the liquid cool
Drain the carrots. Return them to the bowl, pour the pickling liquid over them and toss them. Let them rest at room temperature for 1 hour. If you don’t eat them right away, store them tightly covered in the refrigerator. They will keep at least a week but are best eaten sooner. Drain them just before serving.

Small plate club
I love and faithfully use a Fiber One health tip: use smaller plates and your healthy portions won’t look so small. I have faithfully enjoyed the new Fiber One blueberry muffins you keep in the fridge. With a sweet flavor and 28 percent of daily fiber value, they fill me up until lunch time, where I meet my small plate again.

It’s the tops
Bottle Top is the answer to a question you may not have been asking. These colored plastic lids convert beverage cans into a reclosable “bottle” to prevent spillage, keep your drink fresh and identify which drink is yours. Bottle Top allows you to snap your can of drink closed so a bee won’t sneak in and sting your mouth when you drink it.
How often does that happen? I just received a Christmas newsletter announcing the dad of the family suffered just such a sting. OUCH! Talk about an ounce of prevention. Look for these at Walgreens; Wal-Mart; Bed, Bath & Beyond; Target; and CVS.

Maybe you’re vain and only interested in Mavea’s sleek design. Maybe you’re vain and hoping that drinking better filtered water will improve your looks as well as your health. No matter, this pitcher with a “Smart Meter,” and one-of-a-kind recycling program is designed to empowers consumers to send back used filters at Mavea’s expense, where they reuse each component in commercial grade products.
If you like movies where parched travelers squeeze the last drops from their canteen into their dry throats, you may feel particularly hydrated after learning about Mavea’s micro-screen that eliminates black particles from ending up in the water the European design with a pour-through and neoprene handle and feet to prevent sliding and scratching and the reduction in chlorine taste, odor, and other unwanted elements. I love the feature of a “silverized” filter to inhibit the risk of bacteria growth. Drink up: Mavea looks great on the counter and it’s all BPA-free.

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