A short while ago, I wrote a post saying I didn't know if my family/community had many cooking traditions, and what they were. I'm sure they did, just that I never bothered with them that much. But we did have one tradition, no, two, that I remember right now. One was to pour ice cubes into a napkin, gather the ends and clutch it so that none of the ice-cubes fell out, and bang it heartily against the wall. And we would have crushed ice. (Though I no longer remember what it was used for.)
The other, more mine than family's, was this.
Don't do that, the doors will get damaged, my grandmother would say, but who would listen to her? (I'm sure one of the adults showed me this trick.) The walnuts, whenever they were available, would be cracked like that in the space between the door and the hinge jamb, and consumed. I wouldn't crack that many walnuts, and never did the doors get spoilt.
A few months ago, my mother sent me a bag of whole walnuts. (Aside: I'm suddenly anxious to buy more whole walnuts even though I have half a bag of them with me still, are they still sold whole?) Anyway, I was more exasperated than happy and I suspected she was getting rid of them (there will be rather indignant recriminations if she reads this, I'm afraid) but managed to sporadically use up about half of them in sundry cakes - I recently went through a baking phase.
They are beginning to smell rather odd from being cooped up inside a plastic packet inside a plastic container, and I despair of using them up before they smell more desperate.
But asides and digressions aside, here's what I rediscovered in my cookbook shelf:
This is The New York Times Natural Foods Cookbook, by Jean Hewitt. How I could have not tried something from this since I bought it a few years ago beats my comprehension (or have I?). It's in excellent condition and the inside cover has 'Senke' written on it. Of the many links that I came across about this book, I read just a few, and all of them related how the writer had stumbled on to this cookbook at a sale. Here is some more information about the book.
Bereft of a mystery or a sitcom to immerse myself in, I took this book to bed, and came across this Mediterranean Cucumber Salad, which I made today. It was attractive to me because I had all the ingredients, though the cucumber was regular size, not small, and the raisins were not monukka. I let it chill from morning to evening and ate two helpings of it for dinner. The Spouse has promised to have it for breakfast.
I think the raisins did it. Made all the difference, I mean. This recipe was contributed by "Jane Margulies, New York, NY"
Here's what you need:
Cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced: 1-1.5 cups
Curds/Yoghurt: 1 cup
Raisins: 3 tbsp
Onion, chopped: A small fistful
Walnuts, chopped: 1/4 cup
(Sea) Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Mint leaves, chopped: 1 tbsp
Place the cucumbers in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Chill and serve very cold.
And yes, I've started another tradition here - using my expensive, branded, and very impressionable (read 'not stain-proof'), ab stretch exercise mat as background for my pictures. What crazy traditions did you follow?
This post is off to Haalo who is hosting Weekend Herb Blogging this week, the event started by Kalyn.
Weekend Herb Blogging Curds/Yoghurt salad vegetarian humour