Earth laughs in flowers.
~ Henry David Thoreau
A friend once told me that the way someone prepares food is an innate expression of their soul. I'm too scared to even ponder what my food says about me, nevertheless I couldn't resist turning this week's French Fridays with Dorie cooking group assignment into something that Dorie had probably never envisaged - visually, anyway - when she was writing up her award-winning cookbook, Around My French Table.
It's an easy recipe with no cooking involved, Crunchy Ginger Pickled Cucumbers. Dorie suggested that we cut the cucumber into chunks and add minced ginger and red pepper flakes to the pickling liquid. So what did I do? I sliced the cucumbers across into rounds and punched out holes in the middle using a round cutter I use for making donuts. And instead of mincing the ginger, I decided how lovely it would be if the ginger was turned into teeny flowers. My flower shaped fondant cutter proved handy for this task and I was glad it got some usage because having never ever worked with fondant, my exotic cutters were lying in my baking cabinet doing, well not very much. Please don't ask me why I even have so many of them in the first place....that's like asking why I have more pairs of shoes than I'll ever need. It's just one of those unresolvable mysteries of the universe!
In place of the red pepper flakes, I thought fresh sliced red pepper would complement the green of the cucumber and still give off some heat. For an extra dimension of flavor, you could sprinkle some minced herbs, either cilantro, parsley or chives on top of the cucumbers just before serving but I chose not too, because after cutting out all those miniature ginger flowers, why would I want to hide them? These pickles are quick to prepare and make such pretty picnic food, I will definitely be thinking up new ways of serving this up in future. Oh, and there will always be a more interesting way just around the corner!